According to Jim Renacci, 1980 accounting alumnus, CPA, successful business owner, and eight-year member of the United States House of Representatives, “Majoring or minoring in accounting is good no matter what.” According to Renacci, “Every business
will run.” However, it is important to find out what really makes that business successful and to exploit that certain trait for all it is worth. Accounting is the tool that will enable people to find that specific trait.
On March 25, 2019, the Student Accounting Association hosted guest speaker Renacci, who has lived an extraordinary life since he graduated from IUP. He began his career in public accounting, left to work for a client, became a business owner, and entered
politics, where he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for the past eight years. Currently, Renacci is a board member and director of Custom Glass, Inc. and the founder and president of LTC Management Services, where he
provides management and financial consulting for small business owners.
Renacci came from a modest background, growing up in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, the son of a nurse and railroad worker. After studying accounting at IUP, he joined the public accounting firm Grant Thornton, where he had previously interned. Renacci earned
his certified public accountant license and continues to maintain it. While at Grant Thornton, he specialized in the healthcare segment, which was a newly-developing area within the accounting firm. By the age of 23, Renacci had approximately 14 clients,
which is quite a feat for at such a young age.
After working at Grant Thornton for three years, Renacci accepted a job with one of his clients, American Health Care Centers. Soon after beginning this new position, Renacci realized that his new employer had not filed a tax return for the past 10 years.
He quickly set out to correct this error. As he stated in the meeting, “Most people would have run from this mess.” Renacci however chose to embrace it and learn from it.
After filing a consolidated return, the Internal Revenue Service chose to implement an audit. Renacci shared the feeling of being barely 24 years old and having IRS agents coming in to hand down harsh penalties; it was something college does not teach
students. He was able to exonerate the company from most litigation by simply developing positive relationships with the agents. Simple things such as having friendly conversations and taking the agents to lunch often helped. The act of human decency
seemed to permeate throughout all of Renacci’s experiences.
Photo: Jim Renacci, 1980 accounting alumnus and eight-year member of the United States House of Representatives
Renacci worked at American Health Care Centers for two years, then founded his own business, LTC Management Services. After owning 25 nursing homes and selling an entire entity which he created, Renacci became mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio. He led the effort
to balance the city’s $80-million budget and convert a multi-million-dollar deficit into a surplus without increasing taxes. In 2004, Renacci was asked by General Motors to take over a struggling dealership. Renacci agreed, and by 2008 the dealership
was highly valued within GM for its sales and revenues. Unfortunately, the GM bankruptcy of 2009 led to the government bailout. During this time, the government released a list of dealerships to be shuttered, and Renacci’s Chevrolet dealership was
on the list. After his local congressman vowed to save the dealership, but ended up lying to him, Renacci vowed to unseat the congressman even if he had to run himself.
Renacci did just that. He ran against the incumbent in 2010 and won. He ended up serving four two-year terms in congress, where he served on the Agriculture Committee. However, after fighting for a spot on the House Ways and Means Committee for four years,
Renacci finally succeeded. While in congress, he authored nearly 60 pieces of legislation focusing on taxation, health policy, the financial sector, and labor and employment. He spoke of the massive $22-trillion deficit gripping the nation. While
this deficit is large, there is an even larger debt through unfunded liabilities. Renacci also had a role in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Being on the House Ways and Means Committee meant that Renacci had direct influence on the final bill that
was voted on in Capitol Hill.
The SAA’s next meeting is scheduled for April 2 in the Eberly auditorium at 5:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Jeanna Kutz, vice president and audit manager at S&T Bank.
—Jonathan Rorabaugh, SAA Publicity Chair
Eberly College of Business and Information Technology