From Tommy Greer:
It was 1961, gas was 31 cents per gallon, John F Kennedy was president and near ETSU in a small building shared with a machine shop, BCS was born. Joe Blackburn, already a practicing CPA, and Carl Childers, a former IRS revenue agent, came together as individual practitioners in 1961.
A short time later in 1966, Charles Steagall came to work with them part time while he attended graduate school at ETSU and taught at Steed College. Combined, he was probably putting in 60+ hours per week, a work ethic unparalleled that he still models to this day. Charles became a partner in 1970, and the firm name then officially became Blackburn, Childers and Steagall.
BCS had humble beginnings in the 60’s. As stated above, we started at the current Poor Richard’s Deli location by ETSU that was shared with a machine shop. Charles Steagall remembers it as a smoke-filled, 3-office area that was very small. The common area shared by the two businesses were two bathrooms shared by all, that many times had more motor oil than water in the sink.
Proof that good people, technical ability and hard work can lead to success, even in less than an ideal professional office environment; the firm developed strong roots and a solid reputation in the community and headed down the road of growth.
Rumor has it Jeff Blackburn started as a janitor with the firm in 1972. For sure, he started doing accounting in 1977 and became a partner in 1979. Karen McMurray joined the firm in 1980 and became a partner in 1992. Tommy Greer joined the firm as a partner in 1994 and was named managing partner of the firm in 1995. Our most recent partners include Melissa Steagall-Jones (2002), Wade Farmer (2003), Travis McMurray (2004), Chuck Huffman (2007), Chad Kisner (2009) and Kevin Peters (2009).
Since 1961, our firm has grown both in employees and location geographically. Now located in Johnson City, Kingsport and Greeneville, we have a staff of over 90 with experts in accounting, taxes and consulting to cover areas such as auditing; personal financial planning; medical practice consulting; litigation support; business valuations; entrepreneurial ventures; estate services; employee benefits; and other specialized services.
The original three partners formed BCS under the principal that the sum is greater than its parts and as we continue to grow today that is proven to be exponentially true as all of us together as one firm far exceeds any of us individually.
Over the last 50 years we have been truly blessed by God and by the region we have had the opportunity to serve, from Knoxville to Mountain City to Grundy, Virginia.
In January 2010 at our annual partner/manager retreat, one of our topics of discussion was how best to celebrate our 50 year anniversary in 2011. As we brainstormed by table and then shared ideas as a group one idea very quickly rose to the top. As we had discussed how blessed we had been to serve this region, Chad Kisner came up with the idea of celebrating our “50 years of service” by taking each week in 2011 and giving back to something different each week in the communities that have made our firm what it is today. Thus, “50 years of service / 50 weeks of giving” was adopted. At the next partners’ meeting an additional dollar amount over and above our normal giving was approved and budgeted for 2011 and the plan was announced to the whole company at a spring breakfast to solicit ideas from all staff for organizations and causes to support each week with the goal to have a 2011 calendar filled out with something for each week by the end of 2010. So for the rest of the year in 2010 committees were formed, meetings held, ideas solicited and finally December 2, a Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner was held at the Meadowview in Kingsport to kick off our year of giving.
As a firm we are very excited about what is in store for us the rest of 2011 and the weekly challenge to which we have committed. As you read more, if you would like to come along side us on any of our projects we would love to have your support and the fellowship that comes with it. In the end you too will be blessed.