Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Theodore Fitzer

18/60 It's a good line, so Theodore R. Fitzer, a laid-off finance director, uses it to launch his "elevator speech." That's the 30-second sound bite unemployed people learn to make when asked, "So, what do you do?"

Theodore Fitzer

Theodore R. Fitzer
Theodore R. Fitzer Jane M. Von Bergen / Staff photographer

18/60 It's a good line, so Theodore R. Fitzer, a laid-off finance director, uses it to launch his "elevator speech." That's the 30-second sound bite unemployed people learn to make when asked, "So, what do you do?"

"I'm the only accountant I know with thermodynamics, atomic physics and three levels of calculus in my background," said Fitzer, 60, of Chalfont, who has been out of work since June 2009 when his company's corporate headquarters shifted to Denver.

Fitzer started as a civil engineer, but later discovered that finance interested him more. Both require precision and attention to detail.

"A lot of engineers call people like me 'bean counters,'" he said, "but I can relate how the engineering and manufacturing process gets to the profit-and-loss statement."

More coverage
Looking for Work: The 60-day series so far
A walk on the nonprofit side
A man of varied interests
Two generations out of work

He can handle finance anywhere, but manufacturing is where his heart lies.

"That's where I thrive the most, but manufacturing factories are a little gun-shy [about the economy] at this point," he said.

What he really enjoys is the task of developing "standard costs," for manufactured products. That's an analysis of how much a product costs to make, and also how those costs are distributed over time.

"It's very creative, because you have to develop everything from scratch," Fitzer said.

"You have to monitor the jobs to make sure you are staying on budget," he said. "If you commit to the client that you are going to spend $10,000 overall, you can't spend $5,000 in the first month. "

Unemployment has been rough on Fitzer.

He blames it, in part, for the dissolution of his marriage. "I apologize if I get a little emotional about it," he said, his voice growing husky.

Update: As of December, 2011, Fitzer is still looking for work.

  • TheodoreFitzer
  • Hometown: Chalfont, Bucks County.
  • Profession: Financial controller.
  • Experience: Enhanced cash flow in
    several financially restricted companies
  • Education: La Salle University -
    30 credits toward an MBA.
  • E-mail address:
  • Theodore Fitzer's LinkedIn page

He has two children, 26 and 21, who live with him. His wife moved out.

Since Fitzer lost his job, he has continued to volunteer as controller for his church, while he handles a couple of short-term financial contracts.

"The one positive thing is that I expanded the people that I know" through the job-hunt networking," Fitzer said. "I have met a lot of good, honest, hardworking people who want to help each other out."


The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should conduct their own background checks.


Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or

Inquirer Staff Writer
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy: comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
Also on
letter icon Newsletter