The day after Tony Scillia ’79 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of New Haven, he stepped into public accounting and hasn’t looked back. Today he’s the partner-in-charge of the New England region at Marcum LLP Accountants and Advisors and serves on the executive committee of the international firm.
He’s plied the CPA trade for three decades, starting at Ernst & Ernst, now Ernst & Young, one of the “Big 4” accounting firms. He stayed for 10 years, left for what is now McGladrey & Pullen, and three years later started his own company. “I started my own firm on April 1, 1991: April Fool’s Day,” Scillia laughs.
Scillia was CEO of the New England arm of UHY Advisors from 2000 until it was bought by Marcum last year. Now, in addition to his partner-in-charge role, he’s an audit partner with clients ranging from high-tech international firms to local manufacturing businesses and construction. In the last few years, Marcum has expanded from New York and New Jersey to New England, Florida, Pennsylvania and California, going from $100 million in revenue to $250 million, with 1,000 employees and 140 partners, Scillia says.
“We want to fill in major cities, like Chicago, Houston and Atlanta, to build a top-quality, top 10 accounting firm,” he says.
Scillia’s strong background in construction has included serving as an expert witness in claim litigation, arbitration and mediation, and he has been a frequent speaker at building industry conferences. “I’m sort of known for construction,” he says.
He led the team that audited the University of Connecticut’s $2.3 billion UCONN 2000 and 21st Century UConn campus rebuilding projects. “I think we delivered a good product to UConn and the citizens of Connecticut,” Scillia says. Now he’s working on a similar project for four campuses of the state university system.
As a consultant, Scillia believes the greatest value is found in advising a client during a large event, such as a company purchase, merger or sale. “It’s not the Peace Corps, but you get good gratitude when you help people in public accounting,” he says.
Scillia’s desire to help others extends to his community. He has served on the UNH Board of Governors and on the board of the Shubert Theater, where he now is treasurer. Scillia is a strong proponent of the arts, especially this New Haven theater that was the birthplace of many 20th century Broadway blockbusters. “I love the performing arts and I also like the economic impact and what it does for the community,” he says.
Scillia grew up in a working-class neighborhood in New Haven, attending St. Francis Grammar School. He chose to attend UNH so he could keep his job in the laundry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, be near enough to help out at home and take night classes. “I got a great education and it was very flexible for someone who had to work,” Scillia says.
His roots at UNH run deep. His father graduated in 1939 from New Haven YMCA Junior College, the precursor of UNH. And Scillia even taught some accounting classes here in 1980.
Perhaps Scillia is proudest of his 4-year-old son, Nicolas, who asks his father every Monday for his weekly schedule and has been known to preside over Saturday pizza breaks in the board room at Marcum’s Long Wharf Drive office in New Haven during the busy season. Will Nicolas be going into accounting? “He’s already agreed to that,” Scillia says.
Posted Winter 2012