Businessman gives back to the community
By Gina McGalliard
Kevin Brown, a local businessman and philanthropist, is celebrating his 25th anniversary at his Mission Valley-based company, RBTK.
“I always had a desire in the back of my mind about owning my own business,” Brown said about what he wanted to be as he was growing up in San Diego, where he attended Crawford High School. “To be honest, I thought it would be cool to own a sporting goods store.”
After being told by advisors that accounting was a good base from which to own a business, he transferred from Mesa College to San Diego State University to study public accounting.
Following his dream of starting his own business, Brown founded his own firm in 1990 after working elsewhere. In late 1993, three firms, including his own, merged to form the current-day public accounting firm RBTK. Today, Brown wears many hats in the company.
“The role I play is I’m the managing partner here — that’s kind of a somewhat glorified title,” Brown said. “I run the administration of the firm, and actually the strategic planning for our firm — so where are we going, how are we going to get there, and what’s the right way to be doing things, and what types of businesses should we be going after and all that.
“And of course I do the development of the firm, kind of the marketing and sales side. … I handle what we call the strategic planning side, so working with clients on strategic things affecting them and their business. The kind of short way [to explain it] is we’re helping them to where they want to get to. So we look at what are your goals, objectives, and what’s the best pathway to get there from a business, tax, financial standpoint, and bringing in collaborative people if necessary to help in that, because obviously that can mean a wide range of things,” he said.
You can also hear Brown’s financial expertise on his radio show, “The Wealth Building Hour,” broadcast at 9 a.m. on every fourth Tuesday of the month on wsRadio.com, an Internet talk show platform. The radio show came about when Brown did an interview on a business-related show broadcast by wsRadio.com about being the CEO of his own firm. After the interview, the owner and producer of the show was so impressed that Brown ended up taking over a vacant time slot.
“It’s been fun, a great opportunity to interview some really neat people,” Brown said. “I do an all-around kind of business [show], and the impacts of growing a business, managing your business, protecting your business, all the same things that happen in typical wealth-building practices — trying to figure out how to accumulate retirement or wealth, how do you protect it and how do you manage it. I just take that to a business perspective.”
Philanthropy is also an integral part of Brown’s life. Four years ago, Brown started a charity golf tournament to raise money for military causes, an event that came out of RBTK’s 30th anniversary in 2011. Wounded Warriors was the primary charity for the first few years and then later the Bayside Community Center philanthropic board, on which Brown sits, was added as a recipient.
“The first and foremost is really the sacrifice that those people make that allow us to do what we do,” Brown said about why military causes are close to his heart.
Brown also recently returned from a vacation in France where he visited the cemeteries at Normandy. “My dad also served in the military, fought in World War II,” he said. “[They’re] just tremendous people, so just the ability to give something back to them — again, how do you thank people like that enough?”
Brown is married to his wife Michele. And while his son Trent follows in his father’s footsteps as a CPA at RBTK, his daughter Tiffany recently defended her dissertation as a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at Florida State University and is currently doing her one-year internship at UC San Diego.
For more information, visit rbtk-cpa.com.
—Gina McGalliard is a freelance writer who blogs at ginamcgalliard.com/mcgalliard-matters. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.