Charles V. Cusimano
Hall of Distinction Class of 1998-1999
Charles Vincent Cusimano, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in petroleum engineering in 1951. He attended LSU on a football scholarship, lettered for four years, and played in the Cotton Bowl in 1946 and the Sugar Bowl in 1950. Cusimano also studied law at Loyola University in New Orleans and did postgraduate work in geology at the University of Oklahoma.
Cusimano began his career in the oil industry while studying at LSU, spending his summers roustabouting and roughnecking. He was hired as a junior engineer with William G. Helis, the largest independent oil operator in New Orleans at that time. Later, with Richardson & Bass, Cusimano worked as a junior engineer and as an engineer, constructing tank batteries, flow lines, production facilities, and rig sat which included the drilling and completion of producing wells.
Following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, Cusimano was recruited by New Orleans Public Service as Development Gas Engineer to implement the City’s transition from wet gas to dry (natural) gas. This complex process entailed designing new lines for the entire city and overseeing the change of the distribution pressure.
Cusimano served as a consultant for various companies in the oil industry from 1957-62. His responsibilities included all facets of exploration and production including purchasing of leases, defining rig locations, handling rig contracts, and installing production facilities. It was during this time that Cusimano innovated the setting of tank batteries on barges for loading and unloading production.
In 1962, Cusimano formed the Energy Corporation of America, which merged with Equitable Petroleum Company in 1973. His company was one of the first to specialize in buying distressed properties, reworking old wells, drilling new wells on said leases, and thereupon improving production. By the time Cusimano sold his corporation to Wichita River Oil Company and retired in 1992, he had drilled nearly 600 wells in Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New York.
Cusimano was a member of the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors since 1974, and served as chairman in 1995-1996. During his tenure, Cusimano was instrumental in the West Side Expansion of Tiger Stadium as well as the proposed construction of Tiger Stadium East Side boxes. He actively supported the consolidation of the associated departments and divisions into the Center for Coastal, Energy, and Environmental Resources Building to be constructed in 2000. Cusimano also endorsed and aggressively pursued privatized student housing at the University of New Orleans and helped establish religious centers on all of the LSU campuses.
Cusimano is a member of the American Society of Petroleum Engineers, Independent Producers Association of America, American Institute of Petroleum Engineers, New Orleans Geological Society, Optimist Club, Sierra Club, and Petroleum Club. He also serves on the NOKIA Sugar Bowl Committee and is a former Southeastern Conference football official. Cusimano is presently Finance Chairman for Governor M. J. “Mike” Foster’s reelection committee, and has raised in excess of $3 million for the Governor’s financial coffers.
Charles Cusimano is married to the former Violet Taranto. They have one son, Judge Charles “Chuck” Cusimano, three daughters, Lisa Brewer, Jan Simon, and Cathy Daigle, and 17 grandchildren.