After eighteen years in the tax business and over 10 years as a tax attorney, it’s no surprise that Rod has his fair share of stories about his clients. He says, “Very few people just wake up one day and decide not to pay their taxes. I had a grown man in my office crying one day because his wife had died of cancer and she took care of all their finances. On top of his grief, he literally didn’t know what to do.”
Rod describes himself as being an empathetic person and having a natural ability to communicate well with people and see things through their eyes. He says, “I can pick up on things that others can’t. During an initial consultation with a client, I understand what their problems are very quickly. I know where they’re at and how to fix their financial issues.”
Empathy is a quality that he looks for in his employees as well. In fact, Rod and his staff of ten often go above and beyond their normal services to help their clients. Over the holidays this past year, Rod’s firm provided support for a pro bono client of his who is in a devastating situation. “I work with a woman whose husband committed suicide and her daughters are drug addicts so she’s taking care of her grand kids alone. For Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, my employees and I were thrilled to be able to provide dinner, presents and pay their bills for a few months,” says Rod.
His natural communication abilities also contribute to his productive relationship with local IRS State tax agency officers. Rod explains, “Although we live on different sides of the fence so to speak, we have a mutual responsibility to the people we work with. We each have a job to do. The agency representatives know when they deal with us that they’re going to be dealt with in an honest manner and I feel we get significantly better results because of it.”
The integrity that is now found in every aspect of his firm is something that Rod credits to the values his parents taught him growing up. His father was a high school football coach and his mother an elementary school teacher. Rod describes himself as a child, “I was very competitive and big into sports, especially football. I was born and raised in Oklahoma after all. I was a good student and well-behaved. Not that I had a choice— the other teachers would tell my mom if I wasn’t.”
After graduating college, Rod worked for a tax lawyer who specialized in tax preparation and estate planning. “I was the low man on the totem pole and he gave me the cases he didn’t want, which were all of the people with tax problems. I’m so glad he did because that’s when I really started to love tax law. I love the people and love the fight. I knew this is what God created me to do and I’ve never looked back. I love it more now than I did then.”
Being raised in a football family is something that’s stuck with Rod throughout his life. “I was the captain of the high school state champion football team. I learned more on that 100-yard field about life than I ever did in a classroom. It molded who I am.”
The competitive edge he learned on the field is now applied to his professional life. “My competitive nature was instilled in me as a kid and it’s what drives me the most. I’m very goal oriented. On New Year’s Day every year, I write down my goals for the year. My staff members write down their goals as well and we share them with each other. I guess you could say my competitive nature rubs off on people here,” says Rod.
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