Editor’s note: The Netherlands-American Chamber of Commerce Southeast conducts monthly interviews with select members and sends out the resulting Member Spotlight to its email list. The below Q&A with Ric Hubler, client relationship executive for International Services, is reprinted with permission.
Mr. Hubler, formerly senior director of global business development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, is a fixture in Atlanta’s international community, boasting a long history of working with exporters and companies looking to expand their footprints overseas. He brought that expertise to Aprio upon his departure from the chamber in late 2016. He’s also the outgoing president of the National Association of Chinese-Americans.
NACCSE: What is your business industry category or specialty?
Mr. Hubler: Aprio (the new name for HA+W) is a premier CPA-led business advisory firm where thriving associates serve thriving clients. Our purpose is clear: we advise clients so that they can achieve what’s next, whatever that may be.
NACCSE: How do you describe your job to people outside the industry?
Mr. Hubler: I work to build our brand internationally and to recruit new clients — located both in the U.S. and abroad — that can benefit from our international expertise and tax, assurance, and advisory services as they look to expand internationally.
NACCSE: Who are your main competitors and what differentiates you from the competition? What makes you unique?
Mr. Hubler: Over the last 65 years, Aprio has grown to be the largest independent, full-service CPA-led business advisory firm based in Georgia. We compete with firms of all sizes, but what sets us apart is our people and our corporate culture.
We can, and do, work with companies at all stages, from entrepreneurs/startups to the Fortune 500. We leverage our expertise, our network, and our connections to help them to grow their business.
With respect to International Services, we have one of the largest practices in the Southeast. Our team at Aprio speaks more than 25 languages, and we serve clients in over 40 countries. In addition, Aprio is a proud member of Morison KSi, a global association of 158 leading professional services firms spanning 80 countries, giving us unmatched international capabilities to serve our clients.
NACCSE: How was the business started?
Aprio traces its roots back to 1952 when Isaac Habif and James Arogeti launched an Atlanta accounting firm to address the needs of local real estate and manufacturing companies. Merrill Wynne joined as a partner in the 1970’s, leading to the firm’s longstanding name of Habif Arogeti & Wynne, or “HA&W” for short. HA&W rebranded to become Aprio in January 2017.
NACCSE: How many employees does the business have?
Mr. Hubler: Aprio has about 400 associates.
NACCSE: How did you end up in Atlanta?
Mr. Hubler: I attended university in New Orleans. After graduating in 1996, I moved to Atlanta, crashed on my brother’s couch and began job hunting. It was shortly before the Olympics, and I found a job within two weeks of arriving. I’ve always loved Atlanta, and I’ve lived here for 22 years now.
NACCSE: What is your No. 1 business goal over the next year?
Personally, I joined Aprio in 2017, and one of my favorite goals for 2018 is to recruit my first Dutch client.
NACCSE: What is the best advice you have received regarding doing business with the Dutch/Americans?
Mr. Hubler: One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was that the Dutch are direct and honest. “Honest” being the key word. What I, as an American, could consider to be rude or blunt, may actually be meant as honesty and truth from the Dutch perspective. Knowing this has helped me to avoid or defuse awkward situations and to fully appreciate the beautifully honest and accepting Dutch culture.
NACCSE: Any other personal information you would like to share, e.g. hobbies, special interests, family etc…
Mr. Hubler: I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest of three boys. My father is from Cleveland, and my mother is from the Philippines. They met while he was serving in the U.S. Air Force. I live in Dunwoody with my partner, Jeff, and our two cats, Sophie and Addison. We enjoy exploring Atlanta’s growing food and wine scene. I particularly love the ever expanding diversity of cuisines available in Atlanta. Weather permitting, I enjoy biking, hiking, kayaking and especially tennis. I’m always on the lookout for a hitting partner. I also enjoy all things automotive related, having grown up just outside of Detroit. I also love to travel the world, take on new adventures, and experience different cultures. I speak fluent Spanish and basic Portuguese. Feel free to say “Qué tal?” or “Tudo bem?” the next time you see me. Unfortunately, all of my visits to the Netherlands have been limited to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, but I hope to change that soon.