Investor Spotlight: Cherry Bekaert

December 8, 2015

As a nationally recognized, growth-oriented CPA firm, Cherry Bekaert LLP provides guidance and support to help clients move forward to reach their organizational goals. For more than 65 years, global corporations, private businesses, government entities, nonprofits, emerging firms, and successful individuals have relied on Cherry Bekaert to guide them forward to their growth destination. In addition to assurance and tax services, their value-add offerings include international tax, cherry-bekaerttransaction advisory, litigation support, risk advisory, and benefits consulting, among many others. With a resource network stretching from Washington, D.C. to Miami, their service reach also extends internationally through their alliance with Baker Tilly International.
As an Audit Partner in Cherry Bekaert’s Tampa Bay practice, Chris Rux has extensive experience serving a broad range of industries, including technology, life sciences, manufacturing, distribution, government contracting, and hospitality and entertainment sectors. Clients look to Rux for assistance with diverse accounting and compliance matters, including revenue recognition, reporting requirements, audits, and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. He is the leader of the Florida Technology and Life Sciences Industry Group. In addition to working with the EDC, Rux is also involved with the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, the Florida Venture Forum, Leadership Tampa, Tampa Connection, Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA), and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
What business expansion or relocation project has had the biggest impact on Tampa and Hillsborough County?
Amazon turned the national spotlight on Hillsborough County. They announced their fulfillment center in Ruskin in October 2013, and less than two years later, they were adding another 1,000 jobs, doubling their workforce. Since then, we’ve been in the national, and even international, spotlight, earning top rankings from Chris Ruxpublications like Money magazine.
What makes Tampa and Hillsborough County an ideal place for a corporate headquarters?
Tampa International Airport is a key asset for corporate headquarters here. With clients all over the United States, we at Cherry Bekaert regularly fly in and out of TPA. There’s a reason why it’s been so highly rated: it’s efficient, easy to navigate, and there’s hardly ever lines or waiting around. The physical expansion of the airport, as well as with air travel, will only improve the airport.
Our professional sports teams also play an important role in making our community an ideal place for a headquarters, specifically the Tampa Bay Lightning. With their Stanley Cup run last season, their success was broadcast on a national level, attracting the attention of companies from all over the U.S., especially the northeast.
How has Tampa been an asset for you in recruiting top talent to your organization?
The University of South Florida (USF) has played an integral role in recruiting top talent to Cherry Bekaert. One third of our workforce comes directly from USF, and that percentage increases every year. USF graduates want to stay in Tampa Bay because they’re invested in the community. As part of the Accounting Advisory Council at USF, our firm sees firsthand the kind of talent coming from there, and this will continue to play a huge role in attracting companies to Tampa and Hillsborough County.
What is Tampa and Hillsborough County’s best kept secret?
Our restaurants are one of our best kept secrets. Travel + Leisure magazine has said we have one of the most creative food scenes right now. In Seminole Heights and South Tampa, you’ll find great choices like Datz, Roux, and Ulele. Over the next few years, I think there will be an influx of culinary creativity, thanks to restaurants like them.
Where do you derive the most benefit for yourself and your organization as an Investor of the EDC?
We want to help Tampa and Hillsborough County become the community we know it can be. By being involved in this effort, we get to work alongside community and business leaders who are making this happen. We are also involved in a variety of projects that we may not have had access to before getting involved with the EDC.