Catching up with...
Chuck Carlock keeps a rattler and a cobra in his barn.
You’re thinking snakes.
Try Vietnam War-era helicopters.
Carlock’s 25 years as the Bass family accountant allows him to pursue his hobby of restoring the old choppers.
"I have the best job in the world," he said. "The Basses like to brag that they have a helicopter guy as their accountant."
Recently, the prominent Fort Worth business leaders gave $250,000 to the College of Business Administration in Carlock’s name. The gift will establish a distinguished accounting professorship.
"The Bass family owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Chuck Carlock for years of dedicated and brilliant service," said Ed Bass, perhaps the most visible Bass family member locally and a driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Fort Worth. “His achievements have been vital to our success."
Carlock, a 1972 accounting alumnus, credits UT Arlington for giving him a most marketable education, and he has remained active with the business college. In the 1970s, he taught classes and actively promoted the programs. Now the department engages him as a speaker and consultant.
"Chuck has been a friend of the Accounting Department for a long time," said Dan Himarios, College of Business Administration dean.
Carlock developed an interest in accounting after taking a class in the military. He heard that UT Arlington had the best business college in the Metroplex and enrolled after leaving the service.
"The UTA Accounting Department was well-known back then, and it still is," he said. "It is ranked highly, probably the best in the area, by large CPA firms."
After graduation, he worked for Atlantic Richfield Corp., then KPMG. He became a full partner within seven years, something few accomplish in such a short time.
"I did it by working harder than everyone else," he said, laughing. "I was raised on a farm, and I know what hard work is all about."
In 1980, Carlock was ready for a change and called Robert Cotham, a former client who worked with the Basses. "One thing led to another," and soon he had the job of a lifetime.
Although he enjoys accounting, his passion is collecting Vietnam War memorabilia, antique vehicles and antique farm implements. He started restoring antique cars and tractors as a boy and added the helicopters when his crew chief urged him to get the first one for their veterans group.
The association members use their collections to educate Americans about the war. They take the helicopters around the country to air shows. The History Channel featured the organization, the 71st Assault Helicopter Company Association, in a documentary filmed at Carlock’s home near Fort Worth. He had the largest private collection of Vietnam War memorabilia in the world until he gave a large portion of it to the Smithsonian Museum.
Carlock also enjoys spending time with his wife, three daughters and their families. He has written two books about his experiences as a helicopter pilot and one about the Civil War. He was shot down twice during his Vietnam duty.
He wants to be remembered as someone who lived a full life, someone who made a difference. The Bass family gift has strengthened his legacy.
"His professional savvy mirrors his incredible talent for life," Ed Bass said. "He sets the standard for a good citizen in every aspect of the term."
Carlock doesn’t know how much longer he’ll continue crunching numbers, but he has some advice for aspiring accountants. "Start with an education at a good school and get on with a national CPA/accounting firm," he said. "Don’t think of the short term, think about the long term—how your actions will be viewed—because perception is 75 percent of success in the business world."
— Kim Pewitt-Jones