On February 5, 2017, Steve Sobul, the founder of our firm, passed away after a long illness. Steve founded our firm in August of 1981, bringing with him David Primes, Rick Schenkel, Trish Axt and Chris Morris from an accounting firm that we all worked for. Steve’s decision to set up his own firm offered David, Rick and Chris a tremendous opportunity to work with Steve and they had confidence in whatever he would do and wanted to be part of it. The firm began with six accountants, and has grown steadily over the years.
Our managing partner, Rick Schenkel, sent a fitting tribute to our staff upon hearing of Steve’s passing: “Steve was a very powerful figure, he was a big personality, the kind of guy that was always taking care of business but making sure a little levity was part of the process. Steve was an excellent accountant and was the trusted advisor to all of his clients. His clients would rarely make a significant move without first checking with Steve.
He was an accountant when times were different. His clients mostly lived near him, he became friends with many of them, played softball with many of them, and was just generally involved with his clients both through business and outside of business. It was his excellent technical ability that combined with his personality to create much growth for the firm as clients and others Steve interacted with trusted Steve with their referrals.
Steve was a mentor for many of us who were lucky enough to grow up in our profession while he was running the firm. The world has changed in many ways over the last few decades, and the practice of public accounting has changed along with it. But certain things don’t change, and many of the constants in the way our firm operates today are the result of what many of us learned from Steve over the years. The way we take care of our clients, the way we strive to treat our employees and all others with respect, our effort to make sure the firm we operate is a place that employees feel good about, all are examples of guiding principles that started with Steve.
Yes, Steve was a mentor to many of us, but he was so much more than that. Based on the age difference, with Steve being 20 years or so older than most of us, and based on the warm way he dealt with us, he was more of a father figure than an employer or partner. Steve truly cared for all of his employees, but he particularly cared for his partners. He always seemed to feel an obligation to make sure all of us were ok, and if anyone ever needed a helping hand, whether with a business issue or something in their personal life, Steve would gladly step forward.
Steve was a very charitable person, he was very involved with organizations in Los Angeles and he became president of The Guardians as well as the Board of the Jewish Homes. These groups were very important to him and he was tremendously valuable to the groups. Many older individuals were able to enjoy better lives because of the accomplishments that took place while he led these organizations.
Steve is no longer with us but those of us that knew him are fortunate to have wonderful memories of the many years we knew him. Additionally, his name lives on through our firm name and his legacy, among other things, includes this very firm that continues on. So much of what our firm is today is the result of what Steve created many years ago.”
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