May 8, 2014

New office managing partner at Grant Thornton to focus on new talent, clients

Dan Powers started this week as Grant Thornton’s new office managing partner.

Dan Powers started this week as Grant Thornton’s new office managing partner.

Powers, 53, replaces Lori Davis, who was promoted in August to office managing partner of the firm’s Denver office.

Powers is a 30-year veteran in the public accounting business, spending 18 years at Arthur Andersen and two years at Deloitte – both assignments were in Atlanta – before joining Grant Thornton in 2004.

Powers’ most recent assignment for the global accounting firm was in Bangalore, India, where he established the firm’s Shared Services Center in 2012. This is the first office managing partner job in Powers’ career. He served as tax practice leader for Grant Thornton in India and, before that, in its Kansas City office.

“His extensive knowledge of tax issues coupled with his proven leadership and vast experience will be integral in building upon the momentum that Lori and the Wichita leadership established for the office,” Ed O’Brien, Grant Thornton’s central region managing partner, said in a statement.

Powers said Wednesday that the India job “was a great training ground” for his new job in Wichita because he was involved in the establishment of a Grant Thornton office that consisted of just him when he arrived there nearly two years ago.

“The role (in India) was so much more than a typical tax practice leader,” Powers said. “There were a lot of different tentacles of things I was involved with.”

The India facility now employs 270 people, he said.

In Wichita, Powers will be in charge of an office that employs 60 people. He is its fifth managing partner since Grant Thornton entered Wichita through its 1985 acquisition of Elmer Fox & Co.

“They called me up and asked me if I wanted to do this,” he said. “After living in Overland Park, we really grew to love this part of the country. The people are so genuine, so straight-forward, very embracing, very open.”

And, Powers added, Wichita is “not quite the transient town like an Atlanta is.”

The “we” includes his wife, Carla, a native of Atlanta. They have two daughters, both of whom are attending Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Powers’ first official day in his new post was Monday. He also was in Wichita briefly in November to look for a house and to meet some of the firm’s local clients.

“Our intent is to stay here for the long term,” he said.

Powers said he has a number of priorities, not the least of which is ensuring that “we have the best talent we can to help clients meet their objectives.” He also said he will work to attract new clients to the firm.

Equally important, he said, is getting involved with local charities. During his eight years with the Kansas City office, Powers served as president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City and vice president of Jackson County Court Appointed Special Advocates.

“Children (charities) are very near and dear to our heart,” he said, adding that his wife was also involved in charities that served children in India.

Powers is the son of an IBM executive and moved around growing up. He was born in New York state and graduated from high school in Florida. In between, he lived in North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Powers thinks all that moving around in his childhood has given him the ability to adapt quickly to new places and cultures. “Having an easy disposition and good sense of humor really facilitates that acclimation process,” he said.

Powers attended the University of Florida, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in accounting with a tax emphasis.

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