It was November 2008 at the height of the economic crisis and
Tom Howard picked possibly the most difficult time in history to leave his stable job in the UK government. His wife, Alyssa, convinced him that life would be better in sunny California rather than rainy overcrowded London, besides he had grown up watching the popular TV show “The OC” and thought that life in California would be all about surfing, big houses and sunshine. Instead, Tom hopped off a plane and ended up in a small apartment in the Fruitvale District of Oakland, just off of International Blvd. Not much surfing to be had. He had a plan and savings, but as the famous adage goes, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. The enemy in this case being the high cost of living in the Bay Area and the boredom of being unemployed. In 2009 Tom saw a job ad on Craigslist, advertising for a Political Reporting Specialist at Nielsen Merksamer. It seemed intriguing, and he thought he could take it while he studied for and completed his CPA exams. Unfortunately, he did not get the job but a couple of months later Cate Castonguay gave him a call out of the blue to see he was available to help out on a special project on a temporary basis. Well, that temporary job turned into six happy years at Nielsen Merksamer where Tom began in the National Compliance Section, then moved to the California Federal team and then back again as a Supervisor on the National Compliance team. Then in October 2015, Tom was lucky enough to be offered the position of Business Operations Manager at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, where he is responsible for managing all aspects of a busy and hugely successful political reporting unit. This challenging position exposed him to many different types of clients and the compliance issues they faced. Looking back, Tom says that he was always lucky to work with the best attorneys and reporting specialists both at Nielsen Merksamer and at Olson Hagel. Special recognition needs to go Chip Nielsen and Lance Olson who have provided him with extraordinary guidance, and have a depth of experience that is legendary. He would also like to thank Richard Rios, Lacey Keys, Darrin Lim, Cate Castonguay, Mia Brumfield and Lindsay Rice for their support, dedication, and most importantly their patience! Last but not least very special recognition should go to Sheila Scally, one of the best managers he ever had, and someone who loves the work so much even retirement cannot stop her!