A little over 100 days into his role as CEO of BKD LLP, Tom Watson is considering areas for the Springfield-based public accounting firm's geographic growth.
Working with the firm's board of directors, Watson said the southeast United States is an area where he foresees the company increasing its footprint in the near term.
"If you look at the markets where there's a lot of positive business momentum, we want to be there," said Watson, speaking as Springfield Business Journal's monthly 12 People You Need to Know live interview guest. "I think you'll just continue to see us grow that footprint, because geographic relevance is critical."
Watson identified Florida and Atlanta has as territories BKD would like to enter.
However, he said the firm will would be "patient and deliberate" as it adds new offices, he said.
"Ideally, you find a firm that wants to become part of BKD, but we are not in the business of doing mergers just to do a merger," Watson said.
The firm currently operates roughly 40 offices stretching from Salt Lake City to New York, he said, and it employs over 3,000 associates.
Over the last 10 years, BKD's growth has been 75% organic, Watson said, with 25% coming from mergers and acquisitions. He sees that trajectory continuing. BKD most recently acquired Chicago-based Strategic Sourcing Results in April.
Watson and team are looking to build on a firm with $758.1 million in annual net revenue. BKD ranked No. 14 this summer on Inside Public Accounting's annual list of the top U.S. accounting firms.
Raleigh, North Carolina-based Advance Auto Parts opened its first store in Springfield; Natural Grocers made its Springfield debut; and a business owner with experience in the insurance, financial planning and digital marketing fields entered the restaurant industry.
Marc Thornsberry, a Senior Engineer at CJW, says he joined the company after working in the public sphere. He says CJW had a ton of experience working with the community, and putting their customer's and clients.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares helpful advice and cautionary tips about the importance of tracking cash flow for new or established businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Michael Smith and Chris Sawyer, COO and CEO of Next Level Solutions respectively, discuss how they keep their remote teams and offices in and out of country on the same page. Next Level Solutions was ranked #1 in the Springfield Business Journal's 2021 Dynamic Dozen.
John Oke-Thomas, architect and co-founder of minorities in business, responds to the accusation that minority businesses are only successful because of the priority they have received in lending. He says that if a business uses a loan well, it shows their worth.
Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist, shares tips for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding. Some of her tips apply broadly; some target technology industry businesses. Smart works with tech entrepreneurs and startups, and hosts training workshops through the Missouri SBDC at Missouri State University's efactory.
Hollie Elliott discusses common misconceptions about locating your business in a small town. She says that there are a lot of benefits that people may not consider.
Drawing on his own experience dynamically evolving his company and business model, Jim Meinsen discusses when and how you might need to draw on new technology. Jim and Debbie Meinsen are co-owners of TCI Graphics in Springfield.
John Oke-Thomas, longtime Springfield architect, discusses his philosophy on architecture. He says that future historians will be focused on the sustainability of our contemporary architecture.
Erin Hedlun, director of marketing and communications at Evangel University, says compassion is an important job skill. Hedlun says it is a component of what makes a leader.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, talks about the concepting that went behind the aesthetic of the business.