As I mentioned in yesterday's post and my site, I have started interviewing state tax professionals across the country and will be posting them on this blog to help each of us build connections and get to know each other better.

My first guest is David Brunori. David is currently a Partner with Quarles & Brady LLP in Washington D.C. He has been a research professor of public policy and public administration at The George Washington University for 18 years, and is currently teaching today as well. You may know him as the prolific teacher and writer on state tax policy from when he worked at Tax Analysts for 14+ years.

His practice focuses on all aspects of state and local taxation, state and local government and regulatory affairs, as well as exempt organizations. He has a particular interest in state tax policy, a subject that he has taught for years and written about extensively.

Without further ado, here are his answers to the 14 questions:

1.  Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania

2.  Education: BA, MA, The George Washington University; JD University of Pittsburgh School of Law

3.  Career: Very varied! I have been a lawyer, writer, teacher, consultant, and business manager. I have worked for the government, a non profit, and in the private sector.

4.  Best Career Move: Joining Quarles & Brady LLP. I also made a good move starting to teach many years ago. But the truth is I have made good choices over my career. It has been quite a ride.

5.  Career Goals: Honestly, I look for interesting things to do and get paid for. Helping people, solving problems, having some positive impact on the planet -- are all good goals. But ultimately, I am looking for meaningful work -- work that allows me to make a difference.

6.  Best advice ever received: I had a boss many, many years ago who advised his folks to "always do right."  Life is one big decision tree.  We should try to do right as we face those decisions whether they are big or small. So I try to do right by my clients, readers, students, family, and friends.  Second best advice -- and related -- was from a partner at a big law firm when I was a very young lawyer. She said try to live a life without regret. She was talking about professional regrets, but that is darn good advice in general.     

7.  Most difficult situation faced on the job: I have dealt with many, as I am old. Most difficult situation was working for someone I did not respect. It was often hard to get out of bed to go to work. But that was a long time ago.

8.  Career tip for students:   Think hard about what you want to do. Then think again. Don't settle. Pursue your passion, particularly when you are starting out -- you may not be able to when you are older.

9.  Role models:  Easy. Personally, it is my dad and my father in law.  They were menschen, which, for the gentiles among us, means men. They were honest, hard working, responsible, loving, and genuinely good guys. They treated people with respect. I am not half the man they were. But when I think of "doing right" I immediately think of them. Professionally, I have had the honor and privilege to work with many leading men and women in the law and public finance fields.  Many have had a positive influence on my career.

10.  Family: excellent wife, three grown children (two girls, one boy), soon to be son-in-law, two dogs, two cats, and a beta fish that apparently will never die.

11.  Pastimes: I like baseball, bourbon, deep sea fishing, watching certain TV shows, college basketball, drinking beer, college football,  and serving on several non profit boards (not necessarily in that order). I should add, in case she is reading, that I like to spend time with my wife.   

12.  Most memorable book: I suspect that for most people, the answer is David Brunori's books on state and local tax policy. But for me, it was Robert Caro's biographies of LBJ. 

13.  Favorite restaurant:  Dolce Vita in Fairfax, Virginia. Try the veal.

14.  Ideal vacation: My ideal vacation? I am now thinking about the Croatian coast. Seriously, look it up.

If anyone finds this interesting, you may contact David at:

I hope you enjoyed meeting David. I also hope you will consider answering the 14 questions and sending them to to be published on the blog.

Thank you.