Paul Spillers: Alumni Speaker Series


SpillersPaul D. Spillers said his decision to attend Louisiana State University was based on the simple fact that he knew how to get to the university from the sustenance farm he grew up on in Calhoun.

He bought a map and began his route to Baton Rouge when the Horticulture Club expressed their desire to purchase the peaches he helped conduct research on at the LSU AgCenter's Experiment Station.

Spillers spoke to students and faculty on Sept. 8 as part of the college's Alumni Speaker Series. 

As an agricultural business undergraduate, Spillers became the president of the Agricultural Student Association and a member of LSU Student Government. While president of ASA, Spillers created a brochure of upcoming events called, “Where’s It At?” The publication cause controversy because of the grammar.

His biggest takeaway he said was that clear communication is vital and that, “words do matter.”

It was not long after that Spillers would attend graduate school at Purdue University and receive an award for his master’s thesis titled, “A Simulation Analysis of the Effects of a Product Tax on the Packaging Waste Output of Selected Food Product.”

The thesis helped introduce Spillers to his interest in taxation, he said. He went on to attend law school at Indiana University and later received his Master of Laws in taxation from Southern Methodist University. 

“Most farmers do not have tax lawyers or a CPA, so they miss out on tax rules that help them,” Spillers said. “There is not a month that goes by that I don’t talk to farmers and timberland owners about this.”

The law favors farmers and people who produce food, but many tax lawyers, CPAs and farmers do not know there is a structural difference between general taxes and taxes that pertain to agriculture, he said.

For forty years, Spiller has worked at Theus, Grisham, Davis and Leigh, L.L.C. in Monroe and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Forestry Association. 

The next alumni speaker is scheduled for Oct. 13.