The accounting department has a very important role at Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group: they make sure everyone gets paid.
Nine people make up the PTTG accounting staff, with duties split between three companies – Pittsburg Tank Ground Division, Pittsburg Tank Maintenance Division, and Allstate Tower. The following blog is an introduction to the people who work in accounting and what they do.
Chief Financial Officer Tom Beckert graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a double major in accounting and finance. After college, he worked in public accounting as an auditor. His career has included stints at Mead Johnson, Toyota, and most recently at Brenntag Mid-South as vice president of finance.
Since former CFO Jeremy Dixon was stepping into the newly created role of chief operating officer, PTTG President Ben Johnston was looking for someone to succeed Jeremy. Ben approached Tom, whom he’d known socially for years, to gauge his interest in joining PTTG.
“Even though I wasn’t looking, it sounded very intriguing,” said Tom. “One thing led to another, and here I am.”
He started on June 22 – several months into a pandemic that’s upended work routines.
“It’s different,” Tom said. “One of the things I like to do when I start a new job is to try to sit down with everyone and really learn what they do.”
That’s a little difficult to do with social distancing in place and some people working from home. Tom has been able to work with Jeremy to learn financial reporting and financial analysis for the company. Working closely with the previous CFO is not a luxury new CFOs generally have. Tom said that it’s also fortunate that several members of the accounting department have more than 20 years of experience.
“That’s also another luxury coming in as a new person,” he said. “They know what they are doing so I can focus on learning the financials because they don’t need much assistance on the day-to-day.”
Tom said he knew very little about water tanks and towers before being hired but that he is learning.
“The accounting is unique in an industry like this,” he said. “It’s been over 20 years since I’ve done job cost accounting where you are doing job-by-job tracking of costs.”
Tom has received a warm welcome from everyone at Pittsburg.
“It’s made an easy transition despite the pandemic,” he said. “Everybody is very friendly, very welcoming, very family-oriented, which makes it comfortable to come into work.”
Gigi Bryant is Pittsburg’s accounts receivable clerk. She makes daily bank deposits, sends out invoices for jobs, and makes collection calls for past due invoices owed, among other duties.
Perhaps most importantly, she said, “I’m the one that has to make sure your paychecks are good each week. Without money coming in, we can’t operate.”
Gigi likes working at PTTG because of the Johnston family and all her co-workers.
“This is my work family,” she said. “I like the environment around me. I also love a challenge.”
Rachel Smithhart is the accounts payable clerk and has worked for PTTG for 23 years. Her job duties include processing payments to material and equipment suppliers, as well as subcontractors. She also does taxes and handles credit card payments.
Rachel said she enjoys Pittsburg’s family atmosphere, something she’s missed out on while working from home during the pandemic.
Asked what she would like for others to know about her job, she said, “It takes money to make money. Gigi and I always say she brings the money in, and I send it out.”
Steel, paint, insulation, ladders, manways, heaters, nuts, and bolts – a storage tank is comprised of all these things that have
a price tag.
“Not to mention something as basic as the utility bills for the office and shop,” Rachel said. “There are a lot of bills to take care of. I take my job very seriously because it could delay a crew’s production if they weren’t able to get the equipment or materials that they need to perform their job on time.”
Tammy Alves has been Pittsburg’s payroll clerk for 22 years. As the job title implies, she handles payroll, but is also in charge of reporting the 401k, certified payroll reports, filing monthly and quarterly withholding, and sales/use taxes.
“You can tell that PTTG really cares about their employees,” Tammy said. “Being here for so long, you can tell that the bigger the company gets, the better the benefits are. Now with the ESOP, we all own a part of it.”
As part of Angela Garrett’s job as Pittsburg’s financial analyst, she works on financial reporting, compiling tax documentation, completing prequalification requests, and helping the chief financial officer and chief operating officer with various tasks. Garrett has been in her current role for a year and a half, though she previously worked five years for Pittsburg’s Elevated Tank Division.
“The family aspect drew me back here after being away for 10 years,” Angela said. “I missed the challenge of having something new and different every day to tackle. I also love elevated water tanks.”
What people should know about accounting is that it’s “all about providing information in a format that helps others do their jobs better, whether it be job costs, invoicing, payroll, or anything else,” she said. “I’m willing to help anybody so that I can learn and grow and so that PTTG can continue its success.”
“I believe we have a strong team in accounting, and that is a direct reflection of the guidance we’ve received from Jeff, Jeremy, Ben, and now Tom,” Angela said. “We appreciate you all very much!”
Aimee Russelburg has been Pittsburg’s accounting clerk for four years. Her co-workers lovingly refer to her as “the floater” since she has cross-trained to perform the jobs of the accounts payable, accounts receivable, and payroll clerks. She also sets up jobs for the Ground and Maintenance divisions, does invoice and receivables for the Inspection Department, reconciles bank statements, and handles inner company billing.
“If there is anything anybody needs help with, then I am there,” she said.
Aimee said she loves working at Pittsburg because of the people and the family atmosphere.
Andrea Rowland also enjoys Pittsburg’s family atmosphere, plus the company’s focus on wellness. Andrea has worked for four years as the payroll/human resources/and systems assistant for Allstate Tower.
Her job duties include processing payroll each week, which means she makes sure that each employee is paid correctly. She also sends the payroll file to the bank for direct deposits, communicates 401k employee contributions and company matches to PTTG, pays federal payroll taxes, forwards child support and garnishment payments, updates PTO balances, among many other duties.
Shalyn Rice has worked in accounting at Allstate Tower for seven-and-a-half years. She oversees accounts payable and accounts receivable.
Jeff Garner is the controller for Allstate Tower, a position he has held for six of his seven years with the company. He manages all aspects of accounting, including payroll, accounts payable and receivable, job cost, inventory, tax compliance, and various analyses.
“My staff is dedicated and excellent in their work, making my job easier,” he said.
We are truly blessed to have this group serve PTTG!