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Category Archives: Meet Padgett

Making an impact in memory of Hammerin’ Hank

Last summer, Padgett had the opportunity to hear from the President and CEO of the World Champion Atlanta Braves about what it takes to build a championship organization. As a thank you, Padgett made a donation in honor of legendary Braves player, executive and entrepreneur Hank Aaron, to the fund established in his name. The Henry Louis Aaron Fund was created support to the baseball legend’s lifelong passion to increase minority participation in baseball on the field, in baseball’s business operations, in careers at minor and major league level, and in the front offices of Clubs across Major League Baseball.

As we near Opening Day, we wanted to check back in with the organization and see how they are putting those funds to work in the community. Under the guidance of Eugene Brooks, the Braves Director of Diversity Marketing, the organization is following Hank’s lead and making a positive impact on the lives of so many in Braves Country, which comprises six states.

“We want people to know that this is not an exclusive group,” he says. “All are welcome here. Our goal is to invite everyone into the ballpark. I think what’s important about trying to make a diverse audience is appreciating where the sport came from.”

From Bill Lucas, the first Black general manager in major league baseball, to stars like Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker, Terry Pendleton, David Justice, and newly elected member of the baseball Hall of Fame Fred McGriff, it’s clear that Black history is the Braves’ history. “They had an impact on the city as well as the organization,” Eugene says. “They generated a lot of excitement for the sport. It was important for more kids to see African-Americans playing the game. Now, we have to create a new generation for our fanbase, teaching them this sport known as the ‘American Pastime,’ and the teamwork and respect that goes into it.”

As part of this initiative, the Braves recently produced a YouTube short film about NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II. “It’s called the Dream and the Journey,” Eugene says. “And that’s what it’s about, showcasing what hard work can do and how you can dream. We’re trying to show more cases like his, more stories of perseverance.”

“I’ve seen a lot of the kids around the Atlanta area loving the Braves, and some of the players that had an impact on the city,” Michael says in the video. “I feel like I wanted to be the same type of person and leave an impact on the city.”

A headshot of legendary Atlanta Braves baseball player Hank Aaron, taken in 1974, wearing his Braves uniform

Like so many, Michael is following in the enormous footsteps of Hank Aaron, who broke barriers on and off the field. After his record-breaking career, he became one of the first people of color in MLB upper-level management when he became the Braves’ vice president and director of player development. He also owned a number of businesses around Atlanta and across the country. Long after his playing career was over, he was still looking for ways to make an impact.

“Giving back to the community, restoring fields, granting scholarships, creating opportunities for people to learn the game… that’s what Hank was about,” Eugene says. “It’s an expensive sport. You lose participation in the sport as kids grow up because it gets expensive. You need organizations like this to help schools and kids and rec centers, buying baseballs, cleats and uniforms. That’s where the fund becomes really important to the community.”

“I was introduced to baseball at age 7 when my dad took me to see the Braves at Atlanta Stadium,” he says. “There was a time when my grandmother didn’t have the funds to get me a baseball, so she’d make me one from scraps of fabric. [Being part of the Braves] is very important to me and it’s an opportunity to come full circle and honor my grandmother for doing what she could to give me a baseball. I care about bringing the game of baseball to more African Americans because I know what that’s like.”

Today, the Braves have poured almost $8 million to the community and showcase minority participation in the sport through hosting games like the Native American showcase, the ACLU showcase, and the Hank Aaron invitational.

“We have to do our part to provide opportunities and showcase people of color.” Eugene says, “We can’t help everybody every year, but we help where we can.”

“We all know Hank was great a baseball player, but everyone who has ever come into contact with him knows that he was an even better person,” Padgett president Roger Harris said. “We wanted to continue to honor Hank’s legacy with our gift to the fund and hope that many in our organization will do the same.”

So, on the eve of a new baseball season, let’s remember Hank and the many who have followed him who are using their time and resources to make their communities a little brighter.

If you would like to learn more about the Henry Louis Aaron fund or make a contribution, please visit 

How Padgett helped Jessica Riedell’s business grow

When Jessica Riedell was laid off from her former company, she didn’t see it as a closing door, but an opening one: her opportunity to start a business of her own.  

With a background in horticulture and public gardens management, Jessica quickly found her interest in residential maintenance. “Chicagoland, if you’ve never been here, is just kind of a whole ‘nother animal compared to landscaping in the rest of the world,” she said. “They have very specific kinds of planting and maintenance styles. So I took on a job with a small family-owned company that was up-and-coming in the Chicagoland area.” 

She began her career in the company’s residential maintenance branch, working in the field alongside the other landscaping crews. She soon progressed through the company, gaining valuable experience along the way. “I was eventually essentially managing my own little business of 30 to 40 clients per year,” she said. 

But a few years ago, the small company she started with was bought out. Jessica’s residential maintenance branch then closed. “The branch I was working for was not their ideal, because they do mostly commercial landscaping or large construction install jobs,” she said. “My manager at the time was saying, ‘If I was younger, I’d start my own business. There really is an opportunity here.’ And I finally picked up the hints that he was putting down and said okay, I’m going to start my own business.” 

So Jessica started The Riedell Group. But starting a business during COVID-19 wasn’t easy: “It was a lot of Zoom meetings and online communications to try and pull everything together, get everything up and running.” Thankfully, because the company she had been with was closing her branch, her non-compete contract was no longer an issue. “So I was able to call all of my customers and say, ‘Hey, this is the deal.  They’re closing their doors, but I’m going to start my own company. I want to try to keep everything the same as you’ve been doing in the past so we can keep rolling forward. Are you interested in coming on board?’” 

Almost unanimously, Jessica’s customers agreed and supported her new initiative. And because she was starting her business in the winter, she had some time to get things organized. “I needed some help in the accounting side of things. I asked a few friends and ended up hiring one accountant for the first couple of months,” Jessica said. “But it was tax season, so they were too busy. I was in the middle of trying to get my company started and nobody seemed to be able to spend the time answering what seemed to me like simple questions.” 

So she asked around some more, and was directed to Dave Gribben at Padgett Barrington. “I reached out to him and he was more than happy to spend an hour with me and consult and direct and guide me. I just felt really comfortable talking to him. That then progressed into monthly consulting and tax preparation. As we came around to the second year, it grew into a bit more reliance on Padgett to help guide us.” 

The support of Padgett and Jessica’s previous customers was key to her success. “The tough part was getting financing to just start a business,” she said. “I ended up working with my customers and setting up pre-pay programs where they would pay for their maintenance for the whole season. My clients understand business; a lot of them are running their own companies. They understand cash flow and were able to provide that money for me to get through those first few months. And Padgett helped guide me through how to set that up and account for it all correctly.” 

Now, in only her third year of business, Jessica is now set up to surpass $3 million in sales. “I didn’t have a bunch of debt and a bunch of loans, which I think was helpful,” she said. Jessica also recommends seeking advice from trusted friends and advisors. “I must’ve called like 10 or 15 other people I know in the business and asked their advice. How do you do this pricing? What’s your model based on? What payroll program do you use? What bookkeeping program do you use? Who is your accountant?” 

“I think that tenacity is the way to go,” she adds. “If you’re starting a business, take the time to do a business plan and really understand how you want your business to run and give yourself direction of where your company is going to go. There’s definitely days when it’s tough and difficult and challenging and you wish you didn’t even get up that day. But it’s all worth it when you have happy customers and beautiful landscapes and happy employees that come to work every day excited to be there.” 

Jessica views the loss of her previous job as a blessing in disguise. “I know getting let go or having a company shut down your branch can be devastating, but it was honestly the right timing and a blessing for us to be able to proceed into me owning my own business, getting to do what I wanted to do.” 


If you need a trusted advisor to help your business grow, Padgett can help! We have a nationwide network of EAs and CPAs who are ready to work with you. Find a location today!

Together, Gail Emrick and Padgett Tucson are making a difference

When Gail Emrick became the Executive Director of the Southeast Arizona Health Education Center in 2008, she knew she had a tough act to follow. After the prior director passed away, Gail said, “Her life’s work passed to me. I felt the pressure to take over since she had done so well.”  

But after serving more than a decade in the position, and partnering with Padgett Tucson, Gail’s leadership has allowed SEAHEC to celebrate over 35 years of success as an award-winning nonprofit organization serving some of Arizona’s most vulnerable populations. “We work to improve the health of border and migrant communities, both long-time residents and citizens, as well as new arrivals,” she said. “I love what I do.” 

SEAHEC focuses its work in three major areas: advocacy, research and action. A key component of their work is service learning, by offering week-long courses for students from universities like Columbia and Mount Sinai. “We get to train our future health workforce through the services they come provide in our communities,” Gail said.  

From federal and state grants to frequent audits in the public record, being a non-profit organization means that SEAHEC has somewhat complicated finances to manage. It was crucial for Gail to have a trusted accounting partner.  

Gail Emrick stands with her arm around Linda Parent

She explains, “I was looking for an accountant who was knowledgeable in nonprofits and could handle the growth and flexibility of nonprofit accounting.” When they met over eight years ago, Linda Parent was the accountant Gail was looking for. “We have a really trusting relationship, and we’ve been together ever since.” 

SEAHEC operates in 6 rural counties in Arizona, and last year, the organization had over a million dollars in grants to manage. “Linda treats my finances like they were hers,” Gail said. “She knows my staff by name. She knows my budget. I have an audit every other year, and every audit I have, I passed with flying colors. I provide quarterly financials to a board of directors as well, and Linda will virtually join our board meetings to answer any questions they have. She’s so accessible. It’s just really impressive.” 

As part of the health industry, SEAHEC was financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing in extra funding and many new grants. “About a year and a half ago, I essentially doubled the size of my organization,” Gail said. “Padgett was able to take that on with no difficulty. They treated me the same both before and after I was bringing in a million dollars in grants.”

But for Gail, the perfect accounting partner is about more than accurate financials—it’s about trust and respect. When Gail made a short documentary about the people she works with and why they migrate, Linda, Michale, and the Padgett Tucson office hosted a lunch for them to all gather and watch her documentary together. “I feel like their office really respects the work that we do, and that’s really important to me,” she said. 

For other business owners, especially nonprofits, Gail emphasizes the importance of understanding your financials. “For a new business owner or a new director, that relationship with your finance person is just critical,” she said. “I don’t view this as a business; it’s a passion. But the business side of a nonprofit is so important. In the nonprofit world, it’s your responsibility and duty to treat donated funds very respectfully. The best way to get continued funding is to do a good job the first time and treat every community member with the dignity they deserve. It’s really important to choose the right accounting firm, with a solid relationship and someone you can trust.” 

Gail’s job is often chaotic with no typical days. But between staying offline when not at work, recharging through fitness, and her relationship with Padgett, she isn’t worried. “I would never leave [Padgett] as long as I’m doing business because I’ve been treated with the utmost respect and as a friend. I sleep well at night knowing they’re managing our money.” 

How to be a visionary: Interview with Atlanta Braves CEO

Recently, Padgett CEO Jeff Phillips and President Roger Harris had the opportunity to visit Truist Park to sit down and chat with Atlanta Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller. We’re so excited for this chance to discuss sports and business with the leader of the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in America. 

“When you think about the Braves, obviously you think about a baseball team, and people don’t really look at it this way, but we’re really a live event business,” Schiller said when asked about seeing the big picture and serving as a visionary for the organization. “My goal when I think about my day is to try to cede the operational business and the operational skill sets to somebody with that expertise, so that I can focus on strategy.” 

“This entire business of professional sports has really revolutionized over the past 10 to 20 years,” he added. “Now, we’re very deliberate and intentional about finding the skillsets that can help drive our business and set the course for strategic growth.” 

In honor of legendary Braves player and entrepreneur Hank Aaron, Padgett also made a donation to the Henry Louis Aaron fund. “As great a baseball player as he was, he’s a better person,” Harris said. “[The fund] speaks to him as a person and a ball player, but also speaks to the kind of customers we’ve had for our company.” 


If you would like to learn more about the Henry Louis Aaron fund or make a contribution, please visit 

Chef Maria Mazon is thankful for her Padgett partners: “They’re the heroes behind the taco”

As a head chef and former Top Chef contestant, Maria Mazon is familiar with challenging situations. But when she opened BOCA Tacos y Tequila, Maria faced challenges she’d never experienced before. “I have been a chef for quite a while now, 20-something years, but I got woken up, really quickly, to how hard it is to own a restaurant,” she said. “I became the sole owner of BOCA within a year, and I had no clue what I was doing. I really didn’t. But it’s one of those things that, I was determined to make it work.” 

With 12 years of restaurant ownership now under her belt, Maria has established herself and BOCA Tacos as leaders in the industry. She was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Southwest Region, and BOCA has been featured by the Food Network, New York Times, USA Today, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. But Maria is especially thankful to have had Padgett Business Services of Tuscon by her side: “I always joke that I’m in business thanks to Linda Parent and Michale Haubert.” 

“They literally taught me how to run a business,” she said. “A milestone for me was when I didn’t owe any back taxes, thanks to Linda, and when I was finally making a profit, like five years after starting. I have stressful days with the restaurant, and I’m opening two more. I believe in the project, as a chef and an owner, but they believe in me as a client. I think I trust them more than I trust myself. Thanks to the show, I’m getting more opportunities to get out there and showcase Mexican cuisine. But they’re the heroes, you know, behind the taco.”  

Born in Tucson, where she now lives and works, but raised in Sonora, Mexico, Maria faced an additional challenge when starting her business. With English as her second language, understanding her business’s taxes and accounting was difficult.  

“Sometimes, I do believe I got lost in translation,” Maria said. It was incredibly important to Maria that her Padgett office has a Spanish speaking employee on staff. “That gave me a sense of security. It’s very important to me to have somebody who will have the patience and the desire to help another human being. Regardless that that is their job, they’re doing it because they want you to succeed at the same time. When I look at the paperwork, written in another language, they actually put it in a way that I can read. They actually try to educate you and help you succeed. It’s like having another me—like a smart me. They were my business school, and honestly, I owe them a lot.” 

“Running a business is no joke,” she said. “When you go to open a business, you have to surround yourself with a good team. If it’s, in my case, a restaurant, you have to surround yourself with good management, good employees, good vendors, and so on, but nobody thinks about that for accounting. I cook for a living. Having somebody in your corner who says, ‘You know what, I got you. You do what you do best, let me do what I do best,’ that’s a match made in heaven.” 

With early mornings and chaotic days in the kitchen, Maria has found the right recipe for her success—including time for herself and her family. “I try to take care of myself, too, as a human being,” she said. “We’re not robots, we forget that part. My wife and son are my everything, and my dogs. I like to go for a walk in the morning with them. I’ve learned the hard way that you need to take care of yourself, and not to worry. It goes back to the fact that because I have a great team behind me, I know that I’m going to be able to do it.” 

When COVID-19 hit the restaurant business hard, Maria leaned on the support of her Padgett team. “They were ready,” she said. “Padgett got as much information as they could and were prepared to help their clients. They go the extra mile.” 

“I want to let people know that when they come to BOCA they don’t just come to support me, as the restaurant owner,” she added. “They’re providing 40-something jobs in the restaurant, plus my accountant, my linens, my purveyors… it’s a good domino effect. And the beauty of it is, in any relationship you have with a company, the relationship has to be cultivated.” 

“Now I know that it’s just not me, I’m not going to succeed just because I’m a great cook. No, I’m going to succeed because I have the right formula, and the right formula involves the right people. We don’t have to agree in life because we’re different people. But what we do have to agree on is that we, both companies, want to succeed. That’s the bottom line. We both go to bed knowing we’re helping each other grow, even though one is an accounting firm and the other a restaurant.” 

If you need a partner to help your business grow, Padgett is here to help. Find an office near you today!

Tommy and Adam Waller find their “why” with support from Padgett

For Adam and Tommy Waller, starting a business was not part of the plan. Both brothers work other jobs: Adam is a physical therapist, and Tommy works in national security and in the Marine Corps. But when their mother presented a challenge at dinner one night, The Oyster Bed was born.

“In a family tradition that we have, every time I would ship off overseas in the Marines, we get together as a family with a whole bunch of different seafood and just spend time together before I would ship out,” Tommy said. “And we’ve got a huge family, there’s seven siblings, and we would struggle to keep up trying to shuck oysters. And when you try to grill oysters, it’s not ideal to do on the half-shell. It makes a huge mess and it’s a lot of work. During the last time that we got together for one of these family events, again struggling to keep up, my mom challenged us. She said, ‘you know, there’s seven of you guys, nobody has ever invented anything.’ And so, we figured that we could invent a better system to do it.”

Not long after, the company was created. “My brother called me, I was on my way to head overseas,” Tommy continued. “I was driving to a base in North Carolina, and he called and said ‘Hey, I know what we’re going to call that thing that we talked about inventing. We’ll call it The Oyster Bed.’ So, I pulled over and bought the web domain and created an LLC right there on the side of the interstate, and called him back and said, ‘Hey man, we got a company, we got a website. While I’m gone for a year, start figuring out how to make the product.’ So that’s what he did.”

Three years of research and development later, and Tommy and Adam had created and patented The Oyster Bed: a specially designed metal dish with cooking wells for oysters and a reservoir to collect the liquid, cook larger pieces of meat, or hold garnishes and sauces. They were ready to take their product to the market, but needed investment to launch, so they turned to Kickstarter. “The Kickstarter campaign, really, a lot of it was raising awareness, about the product, and having people understand why—not just what we sell, but why,” Tommy said.

The “why” has always been key to the business for Tommy and Adam after reading about Simon Sinek and the “golden circle” during their years of research. Together, they determined three parts of “why” their business mattered: first, the Waller brothers aimed to bring families around the table and closer to God; second, they wanted to support the environment and reduce coastal erosion; and third, to make good food and “cultivate creative cooking.”

“The second part we derived from our research on the industry and the environment, where we learned that there is significant coastal erosion,” Tommy said. “We’re losing like a football field of land per hour in south Louisiana. What we learned is that oyster reefs can actually help prevent some of that, just because of the nature of these reefs. They break down high energy waves. Oysters are a keystone species, so there’s a lot of other species that depend on them. They’re just really good for the environment.”

“We also learned that the oyster fisherman themselves, when it came time to build new reefs, they didn’t have enough oyster shell to put down at the bottom of the water to create a foundation for new reefs,” he continued. “So that’s the second part of the why; it’s to help restore our coastal estuaries by incentivizing as much oyster shell recycling as we can.”

Tommy and Adam are thankful to have Padgett by their side, not just for practical reasons, but because their Padgett partner, Amanda Aguillard of Padgett Business Services of Louisiana, also believes in their “why.”

“We’ve been really pleased with her as an accounting partner, not just because she and her team are really good at accounting but because they also are just fans of our company and why we do what we do,” Tommy said. “She introduced us to Xero, which is one of the really helpful tools that we use as an e-commerce business for financials and accounting. E-commerce payments for state taxes is a significant challenge, for business owners. We never had to hire full time employees to do our bookkeeping—this company only has three employees, and so it’s me, my brother, and then our incredible social media manager and VP for outreach, Beth. What [Amanda’s] brought to us has been just priceless in terms of being able to maintain a business when it’s not any of our full-time gig and do it successfully.”

“She’s also been a fan of the ‘why’ of the business and has promoted the conservation aspect of what we do even in her own social media channels and those sorts of things,” Tommy added. “It’s not something that’s maybe common among accountants or other business service providers. Usually, you end up hiring somebody to be an accountant or whatever and they just kind of do whatever they do. You don’t usually have a whole lot of overlap with other aspects of the business. Not the case with Amanda, and now with Padgett. It’s a blessing having them looking out for more than just our accounting!”

If you need a financial partner who understands your business and your “why,” Padgett’s nationwide network of CPAs and EAs are here to help. Find an office near you today!

Dr. Tina Lepage Finds Confidence Partnering With Padgett

After 12 years living in Washington, D.C., a move to North Carolina led Dr. Tina Lepage to open her psychology and psychiatry practice, Lepage Associates. Though she now has three offices in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, starting a new business in a new city wasn’t easy at first. 

“It seemed like a curse to be starting a practice from a place where you knew nobody, versus a place where you had 12 years of contacts,” Dr. Lepage said. “I was interested in creating a multi-specialty practice because there aren’t many businesses around that are multi-specialty. They either tend to be generalist or specialized in one area. Being new to the area turned into a positive in that it really forced me to go out and meet people quickly. I met lots of people in the psychological and psychiatric community here, and in the end, it was such a blessing.” 

Some of the people Dr. Lepage got to meet in North Carolina were Scott Scarano and the team of Padgett Business Services of Raleigh-Durham. “They found me, which was fantastic,” she said. “At that time, I was handwriting checks and doing all of those things, but always in the back of my mind I was thinking I really need to have a professional doing this. So, I just luckily had them walk in my door.” 

Padgett initially began as Dr. Lepage’s payroll partner. “It was starting to take up a lot of my time, and if any little thing came up or if any mistake was made, it was sort of a big deal for me to have to go back and fix it,” she said. “They came in first with payroll and then I quickly saw that there were other things like bookkeeping and taxes—just the whole realm of financial things that a small business needs—that they could be really helpful with. Looping in people who understood the financial side of my business took a lot of pressure off me, and it just made me feel confident that my bookkeeping was in place, my taxes were good.” 

For Dr. Lepage, partnering with Padgett has been key. “I value them, they’re one of the most important things I think, success-wise, for my business,” she said. “Scott, I’ve known him for over a decade now and he’s been fantastic to work with. In the midst of trying to muddle through numbers and such, he can have a sense of humor, which is really fun as we’re trying to take care of the financial side of the business.” 

The advice Dr. Lepage would give other business owners? “Very quickly roll in professionals,” she said. “I didn’t do that myself as quickly as I should have, but once you do that, it makes everything easier.” 

If you’re looking for a professional to help you feel confident in your business finances, find a Padgett office near you today!

Erin Wiley’s Business Takes Root and Grows with Padgett

Erin Wiley was a professional musical theatre actress for years, but finally decided it was time to find a new role: as a counselor and business owner. “After I raised my kids, I was looking for a meaningful second career,” Erin says. “I always had an interest in psychology, so I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in counseling and open a private practice.”

When she first started her practice, known as The Willow Center, Erin was working alone in a 150 square foot office. “I had never had a solo business before, so I was really scared and didn’t know if I could make it work,” she says. But Erin knew the importance of playing to her strengths and asking for help, so she turned to Tom and Amy Friedel and Padgett Business Services of Toledo.

“I knew I needed to pay people to help me do the things I am not skilled at. I am a people person, not a paperwork or details or numbers person,” she says. “Working with Tom freed me up to never think about financials. I never have to worry about it. Tom makes sure that it all gets taken care of.”

With Padgett by her side, business began to take root. Within three months of starting her business, Erin had to hire more staff, and only three months after that, she and her team moved into a space ten times the size of her original office. Her team continued to grow rapidly, and only six months into her two-year lease, they had again outgrown the new space. “I felt like we were stuck and couldn’t grow,” Erin says.

After being advised by a colleague to move into a bigger space anyway, Erin decided to go out on a limb and take the jump. “I was terrified to pay two leases for 14 months, but it was a huge shift in my thinking,” she says. “Sometimes you make the short-term sacrifice to move forward. Tom was always so encouraging about my business growth. It was really encouraging to have him tell me how impressed he was with us and our numbers and our growth.”

That growth didn’t come without some cost—and some lessons learned. “Until March of 2020, I never took breaks, ever,” Erin says. “I worked nights and weekends all the time. That was the biggest lesson I learned from COVID, that slowing down will not ruin your business as long as you keep working. Having breaks helps set the pace for a balanced life, which makes you more peaceful, less reactive and happier, which makes you a better leader.”

Now, Erin puts that leadership into practice, with her team of 33 therapists between her two locations. She shares her knowledge through public speaking engagements and news interviews. She is also part of a mentoring group of 7-figure practice owners from across the U.S. “We meet to sharpen each other and help each other as we all pursue our common ultimate goal, which is to bring quality mental health services to as many people in our communities as possible,” Erin says. “I think having meaningful relationships is one of the most important things, and very few of us have the knowledge and skills to really make those happen.”

One relationship that’s meaningful to Erin is her partnership with Padgett. “I really appreciate the relationship I have with Tom, and my husband has with Tom, as he does our personal taxes as well,” she says. “He was the only person I went to. Tom is a significant member of our community, and I really wanted to support a local smaller business rather than going with some random person who wasn’t really in my town. I knew he was an entrepreneur, and it was significant to me that he had hands-on business experience.”

“One thing I really appreciate about Padgett is how my local office works as a team,” she adds. “There’s a different person for everything, and they’re always prompt and responsive. I trust them as a team. They’ve never failed me.”

Erin’s advice to other business owners? “You just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep making the next best decisions for your business, and that’ll add up,” she says. “I never—even though I wanted a large practice—I never envisioned saying ‘millions.’ That was a word that never crossed my mind, and here we are. I think the best investment is to put time (which is money) into good, like-minded people who will add to the growth and success of your business.”

If you need a like-minded partner to help you with your business’s finances, Padgett has a nationwide network of accountants and tax professionals. Padgett office owners have the same small business worries and experiences their clients do. You can find a business advisor who is also a business owner, so they understand you, your business, and your community. Find an office near you today!

Kevin Garibaldi found the recipe for success with Padgett

Throughout his varied career, making good food has been a constant for Kevin Garibaldi, owner of Garibaldi’s Catering and its companion restaurant, Garibaldi’s New Orleans Cuisine.  

Kevin began his career with a restaurant apprenticeship in Monterey, California. He was trained by chefs of the Monterey Bay Chefs’ Association in the 1980s at the Sardine Factory and The Rogue. At the time, he didn’t plan on becoming a business owner. In fact, after working his way up from pantry man, prep cook and finally to chef, Kevin decided to pursue a degree in political science, planning for a career change to law. 

“I was so tired of cooking, and I felt like I wanted to go back to school,” Kevin says. “So, I then quit my job and went full-time in college, thinking I wanted to be a lawyer.” But after working as a paralegal, Kevin felt unsatisfied, and changed careers again.  

“One of my professors told me I would be an outstanding teacher,” he says, “so I went back to get my credential in social science. I taught world history, geography and economics in high school for eight years.” When teaching history, Kevin liked to use food as a tool to help his students learn about other places and cultures. “It was like, we’re talking about Saudi Arabia today, and this is what they eat. Or if we’re talking about Russia, here’s what the Russian people eat. It’s the hook. That’s what gets the kids interested.” 

By the time he retired from teaching, Kevin was already catering 10 weddings a year, just based on word-of-mouth advertising. At that point, he decided to seek funding for his business and opened Garibaldi’s Catering.  

Through word-of-mouth, TV commercials, and biannual visits to a local bridal show, Kevin’s business was catering 25 weddings a year — until COVID-19 hit. “I looked around at our community, and we had Thai restaurants and Mexican and Italian and so on,” he says. “So, I opened up Garibaldi’s New Orleans Cuisine with my mom’s recipes.” 

After adding restaurant ownership to his plate, Kevin’s Padgett partnership became even more important. “I was a small business and having trouble handling payroll employees,” he says. “It was a pain to try and keep track of everybody’s hours and benefits. When we opened the restaurant, it became even more work to handle payroll, so that’s when I turned to Piper and John. They’ve been doing my payroll and deposits, and they take care of it for me.”  

As well as assisting with Kevin’s payroll and taxes, Piper and John of Padgett Business Services Chico helped him take advantage of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and other benefits.  

“They give me a lot of business advice,” Kevin says, “and during COVID, they helped me find support when I didn’t have a lot of business. John has been amazing at helping me find things that I didn’t even know were offered. I got a lot of money in 2020 because of John. He’s my man. He helped me through the business while I was teaching and my wife was a nurse, so he helped me learn how to grow as my business grew.” 

Now, business has picked back up, and Kevin’s reputation has grown as a local favorite. He’s found support from community members, the North Valley Community Foundation, and even Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “We’re hanging in there because of local community help, and I love what I’m doing and cooking for people with my mama’s cooking,” Kevin says. 

Giving back to the community that supported him is important to Kevin, so he often supports local high schools and college scholarship funds. When he’s not helping out at the restaurant, catering lunches three times a week, or working as a “celebrity chef” with the local Salvation Army, he likes to teach jiu jitsu, work in his garden and travel with his family. 

“One of the lessons I learned is that you’ve got to try and take some time and sit down and meditate and recharge,” he says. “Some people think they’ll start a business and just get to kick back but really you’ve got to work. You get what you put into it. But you’re not here to work yourself to death. You work hard, but you’ve got to take time to enjoy it once in a while too. It’s okay to ask for help from someone who knows what they’re talking about, and it’s okay to take a break sometimes.” 

Having a partner who can help take care of his payroll and taxes helps Kevin find the time to take his well-earned breaks.  

“I think that you’ve got to find someone you trust, like I trust Piper and John and Padgett Business Services. They’re not just people who help me out with my business, but they’re friends. I’m a chef and I want to cook, and I hated all the paperwork. If you can afford it — and I think it’s pretty affordable — I think it’s good to get someone else to handle your paperwork and you just enjoy what you’re doing.” 

Whether you own a restaurant like Kevin, or you run another kind of business, Padgett has the experience to help you succeed. Find your local office today!

How to make marriage work in the workplace: advice from Padgett firm owners

For some people, working with a significant other sounds like a nightmare, and it’s certainly true that it doesn’t come without its obstacles. But many couples find that the best business partner is also their life partner—as is the case for many Padgett owners across the country. Here’s their advice for making business co-ownership work as a married couple. 

Dan & Carmen Hoefs

Dan and Carmen have been married for 35 years and have worked together for 15 at Padgett Business Services of Fargo. “I started the practice in 2006,” Dan says, “and Carmen came on board in 2007.”  

It hasn’t always been easy, but Dan is thankful to have his wife by his side and to get to spend time together. “The biggest challenge is establishing and honoring boundaries between work and a personal life,” he says. “But the biggest blessing is working closely with someone you can completely trust and rely on.” 

Their biggest piece of advice? “Do your best not to be consumed by the business,” Dan says. “The stressful times are stressful for both of you at the same time and that makes having an outlet difficult.  You can’t complain about how hard it is at work when your spouse is experiencing the same thing.” 

Craig & Ronya Simmons

Craig and Ronya, owners of Padgett Business Services of Panama City Beach, have worked together for more than half of their married life. “Craig & I have been married for almost 42 years and have been working together for 27 years at Padgett,” Ronya says. “It has been a blessing to be able to spend time together building something good.”  

Keeping work and home life from being too mingled is always a challenge. But despite the difficulties, working together has opened new opportunities for Craig and Ronya. “[Working together] made it so we could travel and spend time with our children.” 

For Ronya, the key to their success is communication. “The number one piece of advice I would give to other couples about making it work is to define job duties and responsibilities, and to communicate well.” 

John & Piper Livernois

As the owners of Padgett Business Services of Chico, John and Piper have been married for 26 years. “We’ve been working together since 2006,” Piper says. 

For John and Piper, the challenges and benefits of working together often overlap. “We work at home now, so I’d say being around each other 24/7 is the biggest challenge,” Piper says. “But being around each other 24/7 is also the biggest blessing.” 

Recognizing their different skills and focusing on what they each do best has been instrumental to their success together. “We have different roles within our practice and believe in each other’s ability to get the job done and make decisions,” Piper says. “So, I would say trust your partner, respect their abilities, and empower them to do a good job for your firm and for your clients. And of course, make time for yourself.” 

Phil & Beth Patterson

Phil and Beth Patterson have worked together as the owners of Padgett Business Services of Nashville for 34 years out of their 48 years of marriage.  

Their time working in partnership hasn’t been without its difficulties. According to Phil, it can be a challenge for them when they have different opinions on how things should be done—such as with pricing. “It’s a challenge convincing Phil we need to charge more for our services and making sure it is collected,” Beth says. 

But both are thankful for the flexibility and time working together has given them with their children—and now grandchildren. “It was a blessing that I was able to work from home when the kids were growing up,” Beth says. “Marketing conventions could turn into family vacations.”  

Their challenges have helped them learn how to succeed. “Beth does the pricing because I have the best relationship with the client, and I would give it away because I have too generous of a heart,” Phil says. “So separate responsibilities based upon strengths and weakness.” 

 “Know who is the one making decisions with the client at the beginning, and do not have same responsibilities,” Beth says. “This works well for us.” 

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