NEW POSITION: Partner, Fraser, Culbreth & Co., St. Petersburg
PREVIOUS POSITION: Owner, Fraser & Co., St. Petersburg
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After working together at a downtown St. Petersburg accounting firm nearly 30 years
ago, two CPAs are back together in the same office building, having merged their firms to
create Fraser, Culbreth & Co.
Henry "Buddy" Culbreth and Wayne "Skipp" Fraser worked for the
former Tornwall, Lang & Lee in the 1970s. After five years, they took separate career
paths and worked for different companies. Eventually, each formed his own public
accounting firm. Now, they have re-established themselves in the same building -- the
Republic Bank Building, which used to be the Plaza Building -- with shared offices and a
The merger "was sort of serendipitous," Culbreth said. A merger offer from
another firm spurred Culbreth to call Fraser and suggest they team up. The two firms
merged Jan. 1, with Culbreth moving his two-person office into Fraser's 15-person offices.
"Skipp brings a great deal of experience in the audit area whereas my area of
expertise is income taxation and working with family-owned business," Culbreth said.
Culbreth grew up in Ocala and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration
from the University of Florida in 1967. He became a CPA a year later. Since leaving
Tornwall, Lang & Lee, Culbreth worked with Tornwall, Kearney & Wintz, which merged
with Cherry, Bekaert & Holland in 1978. Culbreth left that firm in 1988 to form his
own public accounting firm.
Culbreth is a member of the board of the St. Petersburg Downtown Rotary Club and has
been a board member and officer with the Family Service Centers in Pinellas County.
He is married and has three grown children. At 60, he says he is "very excited
about (the merger). It certainly is an opportunity to grow our practices. We both bring
complementary skills to the table."
When Fraser left Tornwall, Lang & Lee, he joined other partners from that firm to
form Fraser, Hall & Miller. This firm later merged with the national firm of Main
Hurdman in 1980. Fraser was managing partner of the Tampa Bay area offices. He became a
managing partner of the St. Petersburg offices when Main Hurdman merged with KMPG Peat
Marwick in 1987. After nearly three years, he left to form his own public accounting firm.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fraser attended Boca Ciega High School and St. Petersburg
Junior College. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the
University of Florida, then a post-graduate bachelor's in advanced accounting.
He has been active in the Florida Institute of CPAs, serving as president of the
19,000-member organization from 1996 to 1997. For the past eight years, he has been on the
governing body of the American Institute of CPAs, which has about 350,000 members.
He was co-chairman of the Community Alliance in the mid-1970s and received a
distinguished leadership award from the National Association of Community Leadership in
1990. Fraser was named a Small Business Person of the Year finalist in 1994 and is vice
commodore of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
Fraser says his firm brings a good resource base to the merger with Culbreth "in
that we had a lot broader resources to work with by virtue of our size, more technology,
more experience in different fields."
Fraser's son, Chris, joined his firm 21/2 years ago, bringing skills in technology
consulting, "something there's a real need for but not a lot of around with small,
local and midsize firms."
Fraser said he and Culbreth "have witnessed a lot of changes in the accounting
profession over the time we've been involved. CPAs mean different things to different
"Right now, CPAs are defined by what they do for you -- taxes, auditing, providing
value-added services -- whereas in the past, things were done very rote."