Thirty years ago, we created Maxwell Locke & Ritter’s initial business plan on a napkin over breakfast at Cisco’s on 6th Street. We announced our launch in February 1991, when Central Texas’ economy was struggling. Our bankers, Roy Rushing and Bill Renfro, took a leap of faith, shook our hands, and trusted us to eventually repay their loan. That loan, combined with prepayments from a few loyal clients, allowed us to get through our first three years. We quickly learned good cash management, the definition of persistence, and the importance of strong client relationships, which are still foundational to our success today.
In addition to building a solid financial foundation in those early years, we concentrated on developing the framework for a unique and sustainable, family-friendly workplace culture that focused on our people, our clients, and our community. We wanted to turn the traditional accounting firm model upside down and implement systemic changes within our firm. We knew we could practice public accounting in a way that increased employee satisfaction and made our team look forward to coming to work each day.
Throughout our 30 years, we’ve experimented with various operational and people management strategies – some have been successful and others needed rework. Our partners and associates have taken complete ownership of creating the special professional services firm we dreamed up. We gleaned what we could from countless business books and even engaged thought leaders like Karl Krumm and Zig Ziglar, who served as guideposts in those early years. With our whole team involved in the process, we implemented practices, principles and techniques that helped our business not only survive, but flourish.
I’ve read every testimonial posted to the firm’s social media channels as team members at varying points of their journeys at ML&R share why they joined our team and what the firm’s values have come to mean to them. I am inspired by the stories as I think about the firm’s past. Tom Locke and Mark Ritter would certainly agree that the stories told by new team members reflect the firm we hoped to create at Cisco’s over 30 years ago. My wife, Anita, and I are very proud of the firm’s evolution and are thankful to those who helped us get to where we are today, including all current and former team members. We are excited to see what the future holds as Maxwell Locke & Ritter continues to be a leader in the Central Texas community.