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Profile: Henry ''Buddy'' Culbreth and Wayne ''Skipp'' Fraser

By FRED W. WRIGHT Jr.

St. Petersburg Times, published February 19, 2001

Henry "Buddy" Culbreth

NEW POSITION: Partner, Fraser, Culbreth & Co., St. Petersburg

PREVIOUS POSITION: Owner, Culbreth & Co., St. Petersburg

Wayne "Skipp’ Fraser

NEW POSITION: Partner, Fraser, Culbreth & Co., St. Petersburg

PREVIOUS POSITION: Owner, Fraser & Co., St. Petersburg

* * *

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 shared name.

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 people."

"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."

From: http://www.sptimes.com/News/021901/Business/Profile__Henry___Budd.shtml

 

Small Business Insights

From the February 16, 2001 print edition
By Keisha Rutledge

Marketplace

Two of many mergers leave mark on tech, CPA firms. Henry "Buddy" Culbreth recently merged his accounting firm with the practice of Fraser & Co. in St. Petersburg. The new firm, Fraser Culbreth & Company CPAs, has 15 people on staff, and 12 are certified public accountants.

Partners Wayne "Skipp" Fraser and Culbreth worked together earlier in their careers. "It's great to be able to renew this friendship and professional relationship after all these years," Fraser said. "We should have gotten back together long before this."

The combined firm provides assurance and audit services, tax compliance and planning, accounting services, business consulting, and technology and information management consulting.

Fraser Culbreth & Co. serves businesses, nonprofits and individuals. Its offices are located at 111 Second Ave. NE, Suite 800 in St. Petersburg. The phone number is (727) 821-3133. The firm's Web site is http://www.frasercompany.com.

Copyright 2001 American City Business Journals Inc.

 

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