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Ryan:

Hello, welcome to the B&V Podcast. My name is Ryan Gore and today we have a very special discussion planned. Two individuals with undeniable impacts to our firm. The first, his name is on the building, one of our founders, Johnny Veselka. Welcome, Johnny.

Johnny:

Thank you.

Ryan:

And the second, with his own legacy already stamped on the company's history, one of our former managing shareholders, John Flatowicz. Thank you for joining us, John.

John:

Glad to be here.

Ryan:

Yes, sir. So Johnny, starting with you, I figured we'd start chronologically, can you tell us about starting the company and how you met Melton Briggs.

Johnny:

Okay. Basically, I started out after I graduated from the University of Houston in accounting, went to work for the Internal Revenue Service and my goal was to eventually go into tax practice probably in my hometown of El Campo, Texas or somewhere else in that area. And after meeting Mr. Briggs who was a partner in an accounting firm, I was auditing one of their largest clients, which was a group of corporations and individuals.

Johnny:

And at that time, I actually assessed a considerable amount of tax for the group, but after we settled the case and maybe a month or two after that, I got a call from Mr. Briggs, he said he was getting ready to basically go on his own and split from the partnership, but the clients that he was taking with him was this large group of clients that I had audited and they had asked him to actually ask me to join the firm because they felt like I didn't know apparently what I was doing a little bit, when I worked for him. And so we negotiated.

Johnny:

And I was at Internal Revenue Service for about six years and we'd negotiated my salary, I said I was going to work for you without any increase in pay for... But let's just see how it works. If it doesn't work out, I can go look for a job in El Campo and try to start a firm there. So that's kind of how it started as far as getting introduced to Mr. Briggs. I actually joined him in 1972 in May and a year later, we formed Briggs & Veselka Company. I was fairly young at the time, but he made me a small shareholder in the firm where we decided to start Briggs & Veselka which we did in October of 1973 and that was our beginning.

Johnny:

From a modest beginning of I guess our fees in the first year was maybe $70,000. We grew every year from the start and after Mr. Briggs retired in the 80s, and I took over and managed for 25 years and during all these years, we never had a down year. We always had increases averaging from 10 to 14% and then after John took over, that continued and probably continues to this day and with some of the larger mergers even greater percentages. So it's been a nice adventure and a nice long run and it continues today.

Ryan:

It's amazing. And starting a company with someone, going to business with them, I think it takes quite a lot of trust. What really drew you to Mr. Briggs there?

Johnny:

Well, I came from a small town and where ethics and commonality as far as never being one to really be boastful, but work hard, do your job, get things done and Mr. Briggs seemed like... He came actually from a small town of Lampasas and I think some of the same, work ethic. It has to do with culture and work ethic more than anything, I think. At that time, it was a matter of trust and we did agree on the onset if it didn't work out, both of us would be fine, but it worked out very well in our case. But I think some of it was the culture and my upbringing and his upbringing probably in the small town we grew up in.

Ryan:

Great. And prior to John joining the firm, what would you say maybe that year before was the state of B&V? What service lines were you really focusing on and trying to improve?

Johnny:

Okay. When we started with Mr. Briggs, my background was tax, his background was tax and so we were a tax firm and we did a lot of estate and trust work along with income tax, but we were very weak in the financial area because we didn't do any audits and things of that nature. So that's how we ended up looking in the nature of having to grow and build a full practice, we needed obviously some financial expertise and that's how we ended up looking and finding the greatest guy we could have ever found, John Flatowicz.

Ryan:

There you go. Perfect segue. Where did you pick him up? And John about what time did you join the firm?

John:

I joined the firm in-

Johnny:

We picked him up-

John:

Go ahead, Johnny.

Johnny:

I said, I think John at the time was with Arthur Young, but I'll let him tell you how it happened.

John:

Yeah, I graduated from UT Austin and went to work for Arthur Young in Houston. I think a little under four years. I came from Omaha, Nebraska originally, my native town, and wasn't really used to big firms. And Arthur Young at the time we had 300-plus people in the auditing department, never really got comfortable with the fact that I never had really a home office because you were in the field all the time.

John:

And people came and go and it wasn't that comfortable. I was kind of looking for something a little bit smaller where I could make more of an immediate impact and started interviewing and something Johnny mentioned earlier about integrity and culture. When I interviewed with, I believe, Johnny and Steve, that was quite apparent and immediately I felt like, "Gosh, I'd love to work with these kind of folks." Fortunately, they hired me and that was probably, I think it was in November of 1982. So that's how I came to Briggs & Veselka.

Ryan:

And John you mentioned kind of identifying that gap in your services. And so John, what did you come in to do there?

John:

Well, like Johnny said, the firm was pretty much a tax firm. They had financial clients, but not that many and maybe not their expertise. And so they pretty much hired me to start an auto practice, which was kind of interesting because as we all know that guys that are in their early 20s and mid 20s, it took me a while to kind of settle down and understand how important I was to the firm and I had only done audits at Arthur Young. Had not done any compilations or reviews and some other things.

John:

The things that I knew immediately I had to do was set up a quality control system for audit practice, work paper references, systems in place to make sure quality of our audits were good. Had to learn compilations reviews. The other thing that I was kind of tasked to do, I think it was in the mid 80s was to pass peer review at the time. So it took a lot. I started slowly and slowly but surely put a good quality control system in place, started hiring various people to help me.

John:

I think it was in 1986 where I actually passed peer review and it was strictly voluntary. Which made me feel good because I felt like, well, they won't fire me now because at least I passed peer review. But slowly but surely kind of built up the quality, the type of clients. A lot of challenges at the time. We had several financial institutions in the very beginning that I had to kind of get up to snuff on and it went real well.

John:

Especially in 1984 when Johnny took over from Mr. Briggs, he said, "Just build up a practice." There were no constraints, could hire who we wanted and slowly but surely we just grew. We were successful like Johnny mentioned. Year after year, the audit practice in the whole firm just kept growing. And some of those years were lean years with the savings and loan, oil, bus back in the 80s, but our firm just kept growing.

John:

And I believe like Johnny believes and I think our current managing shareholder, Sheila, believes when you have integrity and a great culture and you care about your people and your clients and that's what motivates your firm, we all believe that's why we're very successful. It's the people that make us successful. And it was very difficult I might add. Johnny was like, I don't know, sort of an icon. Had integrity, was well-known in the community. I always felt like, gosh, how am I supposed to succeed someone like that?

John:

And almost felt like it was succeeding whoever succeeded Bear Bryant and all the great coaches. It's difficult because their reputations and their integrity, it's just difficult to match. And almost always one of these type of people who loves to grow things. Even when I used to play sports and everything and I was determined to grow and maybe some of the qualities that Johnny had, I did not possess. Like Johnny is very patient, very understanding at times and I just wanted to grow. So I was on a fast pace to grow the firm.

John:

I actually took over, I think it was in 2009. Johnny help me if I'm off on that, but became the managing partner in 2009 and suddenly the whole world changed for me because I was so focused on growth and quality control before, now suddenly I had to kind of get into the administrative stuff of the firm which I knew little of at the time. And fortunately, we had another partner, Steve Awall who was one of our original partners too who was very helpful for me.

Ryan:

That's great. Yeah. And John, fast forward there, once you took over as managing shareholder, was there something maybe outside of the administrative, something about leading a company that you did not expect or something that took you by surprise there?

John:

Well, you hit that one on the nail on the head, Ryan. Yeah, there was. Like I said, my whole life was growth. I focused on growing things, I focused on mainly the quality controls would continue to pass peer review, which I think we've passed peer review... I don't know. Let's see now. 12 times in a row every three years with no comments. And so those are the things that I wanted to focus on, those are the things I really enjoyed. Getting big new clients for the firm.

John:

So when I took over as managing partner, one of the hardest things for me was our partner group and just making sure that we're all moving to the same direction, we all believe in the firm, we believe in quality and that was the most difficult because as everyone knows, each partner has a different philosophy, has a different way of looking at things and so it took me a long time to kind of get them all on the same wavelength of not looking at auditor or tax department, not looking at what's good for the individual, but trying to get us all thinking about what's good for the firm. Doesn't matter what department, doesn't matter which department is growing faster as long as the whole firm is growing and I'd say that was the biggest challenge that I had.

Ryan:

This might be a difficult question but what was maybe a tactic that you used there or something that you felt finally clicked with the partner group?

John:

Well, it was actually based upon some advice Johnny had given me. And Johnny just said, "Work hard, lead, be honest and be transparent with everyone and they'll follow." So instead of worrying about what may be going on behind the scenes or anything, I just worked very hard, tried to be as transparent as I could with everyone and I don't know how it happened or why it happened but based on that advice, it seemed to work.

Ryan:

Finally bought in, huh?

John:

Yeah. I mean, it's just you're never perfect, as Johnny used to tell me, but it did work and people knew that their salaries and their bonuses were going up. The firm was becoming more successful. I think it was about that time that we became one of the best places to work by the Houston Chronicle and HBJ and a lot of things started turning our way. Our peer reviews were unqualified, no comment, which is very rare. Everything just seemed to click.

John:

We hired the right people that had the same integrity culture, some different, some technical, some good at marketing. And speaking of marketing, that was probably one of the other challenges I had besides getting our partner group in sync was when we started off, it was all about production, making sure that everybody is productive and we were efficient and everything.

John:

But realize when I took over that maybe I had that marketing mindset, that the rest of the firm may not have and so spent a lot of time at some of the annual staff meetings we had trying to get people to focus on marketing, business development, getting out in the community, doing speeches, joining organizations and basically learning how to develop business for the firm. And it took a while, but with our quality of work and the firm's culture, and adding that business development piece, we just started skyrocketing.

John:

I think Johnny mentioned, I can't remember if there were any down years but I can't remember any down years when Johnny was in charge and I am and now Sheila, we just usually have double-digit growth and most of it organic and we've had some acquisitions over the years, but very small. And I think just leading by example, just having integrity, treating your clients right, treating your employees right, it's just worked. We have fantastic staff, we have a partner group right now, I know I'm biased, but I say I can't imagine any other firm having as good a group of partners or staff that we have now.

John:

So I think the formula that Johnny started, I tried to continue and I believe Sheila has been very successful at, it's just made us what I consider a powerhouse in Houston and we're known as the largest middle-market clients servers. We have a very strong SCC practice now, we have so many strong niches. We have... I don't know. I think the last time I heard we had 17 niches. We're well positioned in the new technology world that we face, the rapidly changing environment. We've bought a technology company, we've invested heavily in IT folks.

John:

So I think with things like big data, artificial intelligence, all the things that's out there, including you Ryan with the help of our CRM system. But anyways, various things that we do now, I think we're well poised to be the very successful.

Ryan:

That's great. Thank you for that, John. And kind of next group of topics. As high level leaders of the firm and Johnny we can start with you, developing talent from within becomes a major priority. Can you give insight into your process for developing team members in the firm and what was sort of your philosophy?

Johnny:

Okay. I'm going to start taking back to a place where the firm started doing strategic planning, which I think was kind of one of the mile stones that really helped me and I think it helped the firm continue. We started out with strategic planning fairly early on for a firm our size I thought, but we decided on what we wanted to do and every year we developed a strategic plan, and every year we would revise it and update it.

Johnny:

And one of the main points of that strategic plan was developing niches. And we've always had a good general firm, but we didn't have a lot of specialty areas and we decided we need to get more into some of these specialty areas whether these niche creation such as a qualified plan audits, bank audits, different areas, and we decided to do this by developing niches and what we would do, once we identified a possible niche, we would try to throw resources to it and then after two or three years, see if it develops.

Johnny:

And we did have some items early on that did not really work correctly or properly and I think it was due to the fact that it took us a while to realize that we were trying to put people in charge of those niches that were already 100% working with clients. And so we did I think realize we have to go out and hire competent people to service those niches.

Johnny:

And as we grew, I think the plan was by every other year we'd like to develop a niche or so and this probably accelerated after I left because when I left, we probably have three or four or five inches, or maybe now John says they have 17. And so I think by storing it in those niche practices, we learned to hire quality people to service those areas. And in my term, we were just storing under there, so we were kind of learning as we grew but we did go out and we tried to grow some of our own but we definitely did go out and try to hire people that would fit our culture.

Johnny:

And that was one of the main things, I think people that we felt like we had a good culture. We wanted people with the same mindset to join us to service these new areas that we were developing. So I would say the main thing from my perspective was to hire people that they might not be the smartest in the world, but they got the right culture and they're hard workers and they ethically do the right thing and not get you in trouble. So from my perspective that was where all the good hiring started and I think John and Sheila built on that.

Ryan:

Yeah. And John, thinking about talent development in the same vein, what advice would you give to managers on their journey to developing talent on their teams?

John:

Maybe I can answer that by giving a little bit of background and everything Johnny said is exactly right. When I took over, we were relatively small still. And I think about when we hired some folks, thinking about our current leadership group and our management committee, our managing shareholder, Sheila, our tax department chair, Jason Sanders, our audit department chair, Adam Dimmick, all three of those, fortunately, I spent a lot of time with when they joined the firm. What I mean by that is I actually took them out all to our major clients and eventually, they were learning from me and then eventually took over all those major clients.

John:

So I look back on it now and it's the one thing I kind of feel proud of is the fact that just like Johnny took me under his wings and a lot of the success I've had was due to him, the same thing for those three, I worked with them, I took them out to prospects, they learned the integrity, they learned the business development, they learned the quality control and now they're leaders in our firm. But after a while, I realized that I couldn't do everything by myself even though I thought I could but just so many hours in the day.

John:

We end up developing what I call a mentorship system where we have actually coaches and mentors for all of our people including from the first intern that we have and each of those coaches and mentors have specific duties. They're responsible for making sure those people get ahead, they learn what they need to do and very proud of that. Those people get to choose their mentors and coaches so there's already a bond between those folks and they respect them and the coaches and mentors are responsible for teaching all the various things at the various levels of those folks need to do.

John:

And there's one thing I've learned over the years, just by the hard knocks I guess, is when you're working real hard and you're having time away from your family at work, the people that are working hard, they need to know that someone acknowledges, that someone understands, that someone's looking out for that. And with the coaches and mentors system, it really helps. And right now if can I remember I have two or three as a coach and one or two or three as a mentor and each of the individuals that you're coaching and mentoring have different skill sets.

John:

There is one that's pretty high up in the organization but their business development skills maybe need the most help. So I end up introducing them to bankers, lawyers, taking them out to Prospects so we can help them with that skill set. So I would say that for managers and partners, how they develop the people underneath them, number one, you got to show that you care, that you're looking out after their careers. I think the coaching and mentorship system is critical at our firm and especially as we get bigger and bigger.

John:

I'm sure Johnny would tell you and I would tell you, and Sheila would tell you, you want to be able to talk to every staff person, motivate them, find out how you can help them but as we get bigger there's just too many people which is why we move to do this mentorship and coach system. And I would say that's probably the primary driver why have so little turn over compared to most firms, why we start with interns and some of them reach partner eventually and they stick around with us. But that would be my answer.

Ryan:

Yeah, perfect. And John, you touched on referral sources there for a second. You're kind of known as the master of referrals. What do you think contributes to you being so good at making those connections and finding those opportunities in the market?

John:

It's interesting because I've always considered myself an introvert. And people laugh when I say that but it's true. I can always remember in graduate school, your whole grade at the end of a semester was on a presentation. And I remember asking my parents and I'm like, "Can you get a doctor to prescribe some Valium for me?" I need to get some sleep and I'm too nervous.

John:

And so in the beginning, it was very difficult. In fact, I remember Johnny, I was complaining to him early on, I said, "No matter how hard I try and I get out of the community, I can't get clients." And I remember Johnny saying, "Well, all of your friends are not in a position to give you them as a client. They're all young like you, you got to wait a little bit." But in my case, I'm not a natural business developer. Never have been. And so what I've always done and for example, for many years before I got older, I went to see 20 or 30 people a week. I'd either go to their shops, bankers, lawyers, insurance people.

John:

I joined a bunch of organizations, business type organizations, got in a bunch of boards, got out in the community and actually had to speak in front of a lot of them, which I didn't like at first. But I think it's persistence, it's meeting as many good business people as you can. I realized halfway through some of the conversations, they could never help me but it was a numbers game for me. The more I got out in the community the more I...

John:

And then the second thing I've tried to teach a lot of our people through the years is that you go to a mixer with a big bank or big law firm, and you meet some folks. And if you don't follow up, you just wasted your time. You got to follow up with the persons, go to lunch. And then after a while, once you establish the relationship, I've heard so many of our folks tell me, "Well, they don't send me any work." And I ask, "Well, have you sent them any?" So it's always a two-way street.

John:

So I would say the answer to me has always been meet as many people as you can, try to establish relationships, whether if you like play golf with them or whatever their interests are that you can get outside of the work environment so you develop a personal relationship and then actually refer work to them. And I can assure you once you do that, you're kind of set for life because they keep referring work. And it's not an easy thing to do because at least as partners and managers in our firm, we're extremely busy with our client work. But I always felt like the business development part was at least 50% of my responsibility, so I would really spend the time.

John:

And a lot of things that I did to be honest with you, it may not have been what I enjoyed the most to do, but I knew it was necessary to grow the firm. And fortunately, in the last few years I've had the opportunity, we have a lot of programs in place where we teach managers how to do business development with cases that we develop and we interview them like we're a client. And so it's a lot of hard work. It's a lot of persistence, meeting as many professionals as you can, joining organizations, getting on boards.

John:

But even joining organizations and getting on board, if you just join and you don't become an officer on a committee, you won't get any referrals. You got to really work hard. But again, over the years, I've become very passionate, and those are the things that I really like doing.

Ryan:

Great. As it became time to identify a new managing shareholder, John we can start with you and Johnny, I'd love to hear your take as well, what was the spark that you saw in Sheila and how did you know she'd be the right choice?

John:

That's a great question. As I started thinking about it because my, I think it was the eighth year out of ten years of my term, and I gave it a lot of thought and I said, what are the qualities that Johnny had? What are the qualities that I wanted for this firm that made us all so successful? And I hope I can remember all, but I came up with four criteria. And actually, it was an executive committee meeting with our top leaders.

John:

And I went around the room and I actually told everyone, I told them as a group, here are my four criteria that I want my successor to have. One was integrity, I'm going to say that Johnny had so well, two was they got to do quality work, three, they got to take care of their clients, but then the fourth one was the most important to me, it's the one I got the most questions about because it has lots of different definitions, but I said it has to be someone that has no biases, who doesn't play favorites because we all like some people better than others and is looked up to and respected and transparent.

John:

And in my mind as they were asking me questions, I was looking around that room and there were a couple of folks that met three of the criteria but Sheila was the only one that in my mind and that doesn't mean I'm right or wrong, but in my mind meant the most important to me, the culture one. Not bias, no ego, integrity, all those qualities that a leader has to have. If you're going to lead a firm and you expect people to work lots of hours, come up with innovative ideas, join organizations and do all the things that we asked our partners to do and they don't see it in the managing partner themselves and they see the managing partner maybe bias or likes certain people more... Those were the qualities.

John:

And it's interesting because up until that time, I had worked with Sheila on some of our major audits for several years. I had gone out to proposals and done a lot of things with her but we never sat down or had any personal discussions whatsoever but she just exemplified all of that. And I always tell her, she knows it, everybody knows it, she did that a lot better than I did. Probably more like Johnny.

John:

Sometimes I'm not as patient as either one of those, sometimes I get a little frustrated because I want to keep growing and I can't understand why people don't want to grow with me sometimes, but she exemplified everything. And extremely bright. The things I noticed about both her and Johnny is that when you get them in front of a group and you ask them tough questions or in a client meeting with attorneys, their minds are so sharp that they immediately can answer whereas I have to easy process things a little bit.

John:

So Sheila just was so far above everyone else and it was going to be hard for me to approach her because I don't think she was expecting it, number one. The way she originally reacted when I told her was kind of, let me think about it, which is never good when someone tells you that but eventually we had our elections and things worked out. And I remember and Johnny had mentioned that to me two years before, I was actually scared. I just didn't think I was up to the task at the time. But I'll let Johnny kind of put in his comments.

Johnny:

Okay. From my standpoint, I think I had an easy job in selecting a managing shareholder to succeed me because all of our partners that we had were very good technical partners, they had outstanding abilities in their own rights. But as a lot of accountants are, they're not as good with getting business and going out in the public and really trying to create business because back when I started a lot of the good referrals just came to you. I mean if you were good, your name was out there, you got a lot of referrals, but you didn't have to work as hard for them and they were smaller clients at the time too.

Johnny:

But I knew John had both sides of the coin. He was a very good technical person, but he also had the ability to go out and sell. And I learned that by me and John going out on many clients together, we worked as a team a lot of times. And I can't recall too many prospects that we went out to that we didn't actually get as clients because I think when we went out we told our story, we also listened and for some reason, I think we came through as being honest, not trying to say we're the greatest in the world that we knew what we were doing. And I think we came across as a good team.

Johnny:

And by seeing the way John worked with me when we were going out together on clients, and some of these clients we still have today that turned out to be huge clients, it just impressed me. And therefore, I knew that John had to be the one. And I don't know if he expected it, he probably did, but he definitely was the person of first choice and did a great job in succeeding me.

John:

Hey Johnny, just on that last part, I actually thought you were going to pick Steve. I mean, I think Steve had been kind of a right-hand man of yours and did a great job and I knew he knew a lot more about the administrative. I didn't really know a whole lot. So in some respects, I kind of thought it would be him.

Johnny:

And either one would have been a good choice, I will say that. But I think you just had the ability and I felt like you liked going out and you like to win. You're a bulldog and that was a good characteristic for those concerned.

Ryan:

That's awesome. Fantastic insight. And Johnny, I don't know how much I guess you were involved with the discussions when John was planning for Sheila to come on board. Do you have any stories there or insight there on your thoughts on Sheila?

Johnny:

Well, John did confide in me when he was thinking about and we talked together who was going to be the person that would take over after we did. And Sheila's name came up fairly early in the conversation. And I didn't know her near as well as John early but as I got to know her a little bit better, I could see the quality she had and so I definitely had well agreed with John and we were also trying to make the firm a little younger so to speak from the managing position. And to me, it ended up being a logical choice.

Ryan:

That's great. And last question here, Johnny, I'll start with you and John, I would love to hear your take as well. With both of your experiences in growing the company during your own stages of life, what is one piece of advice you'd give to Sheila? She looks to the firm's future here.

Johnny:

I would say, always look at the culture that you develop and if you can maintain that culture at some level, I think that's very important. Always understand that you're only as good as your people are and continue to develop those people. And as you grow, that does give you ability for your people to see that they have continuing ability to move forward with the firm and I think those kind of things will help the firm continue to have success.

Ryan:

Fantastic. John, what about you?

John:

One of the things that I should have mentioned earlier was vision. The CPA world is changing so fast right now, faster than I've ever seen it. It's moving in technology directions. It's moving where CPA firms have a lot of non CPAs that are specialists in their technical areas. And the one thing that I've told Sheila is, you have a vision, Sheila. You're on the tens of top 100 CPA firm meetings. You know what's going on. You make sure that all the partners know what that vision is and get their buy-in and acceptance in it. And I think she's done a great job.

John:

The other thing that kind of haunted me through the years is we're all a little bit emotional and as the managing partner sometimes, and Johnny knows this about me, I would get upset when two or three outlying partners would question everything that they didn't like the stuff that we were doing. And one of my first advice to Sheila was when she took over is don't let that affect you. If you have a good vision and you know you're doing it right for the firm, keeping the firm in mind, don't let those one or two folks drag you down. Just deal with them professionally and keep moving on. And interesting that me and Sheila have had some conversations about that in the last three weeks or so too.

John:

So those were the things that I really wanted her to focus on. She's got great vision, she knows where the CPA firm industry is going to be in the five or 10 years and she's moving us in that direction. And like I said, we bought a non CPA firm, technology firm. We also have a wholly-owned subsidiary that buys and sells companies and raises capital. So we've got into a lot of the higher margin where it helps the clients more services and niches and CPA by their nature, a little bit conservative, don't like a whole lot of fast change.

John:

But the world is changing fast now and she has the right Vision and I told her, don't let two or three or even four partner groups, no matter what you hear in the background, all that noise, you better keep moving it forward because you will have the support of the majority of the partners who understand that to be successful, we can't be the same. We've got to change constantly. And Ryan I think you've even seen how the firm has grown in their administrative capabilities. I feel like we have one of the strongest IT staff ever.

Ryan:

Absolutely.

John:

And then not only that, but Sheila's followed the vision. I don't know. It was two or three years ago, she filled up that whole staff, her and Elsa, the whole IT staff. And I heard all the noise like she did in the background that well, we don't need all these people, it's just overhand and stuff. But her vision was first to get the firm right because we've never had that strong of an IT department which sometimes hold us down significantly.

John:

So, now we have state-of-the-art and I've seen it firsthand the second part that she had in her mind that I didn't even think of was she wanted the IT department to be a revenue producing part of the firm. And I saw it because I had a new client that me and Adam were talking too and they needed it. They wanted someone to come in and redo all their IT from scratch, put in the controls and everything. And they got a big engagement. So not only do they strengthen our firm internally, but they're starting to become a revenue producing. And I'm sure I could bring up many more examples about our administrative staff but Elsa is doing a great job as a chief operating officer, and they're all doing a great job in business development, CRM.

John:

But that's the vision that Sheila has. Now everybody accepts it like it was always there. But two or three years ago, there was a lot of battles to get there, but she kept on like I told her to, she had the vision where we would be in a few years. So those are the two things that I hope I helped her somewhat in and I believe she's been more successful because of that.

Ryan:

Awesome. Well, there you have it. Gentlemen, John, Johnny, thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate all of the insight that you've given us on the company. I've really felt is a strong conversation, so thank you both so much.

John:

Thank you.

Johnny:

Thank you, Ryan.

In this episode of the Briggs & Veselka podcast, we're joined by Johnny Veselka and John Flatowicz, leaders of the firm and both once managing shareholders of Briggs & Veselka.

Starting the firm with Melton Briggs nearly 50 years ago, Johnny Veselka has seen extraordinary growth of the company in his time.

John Flatowicz has worked with Johnny for many years and became managing shareholder of B&V during what is described as the firm's "teenage" years. 

During this session, both leaders share their visions of past, present, and future - offering guidance and advice to future leaders. Enjoy.

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