Member Spotlights

Julie Ayers
LBA Haynes Strand

Current job:  Principal of LBA Haynes Strand, PLLC

Summary of your role in the company: I am one of 13 Principals of the Firm.  I am the head of our tax department and am also on our executive board, where I play an integral role in both the day to day strategy and the long term vision of the Firm.  I am also the head of our Charter School Accounting Division.

How I chose my occupation: I was working in Washington, D.C. for a prominent property management company after college.  I was tasked with helping condominium associations find ways to reduce their financial burdens in a downturn market.  This ability to help my clients lit a passion in me, and I decided to become a CPA.

Years in the business: 11 years

My specialization is:  I specialize in construction accounting and tax, where I am a “Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional” or a CCIFP.

A good lead for me is:  A business owner, with a business in the $3 million - $50 million range.  I am able to provide tax and accounting services to both the owner and the company, creating a one-stop shop for the client.

The most satisfying part of my job is: Knowing that I am able to make a difference in the lives of my clients.  I take their success personally and do everything I can to make sure their financial burdens are minimized and their financial dreams are maximized.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  Be accountable to everyone including yourself.  If you say you’re going to do something, get it done.

Greatest professional achievement:  In addition to becoming a CPA, my most significant professional accomplishment has been helping lead LBA Haynes Strand through three mergers and 10 acquisitions since 2006.  I did this by recognizing that Baby Boomers were retiring and most CPA Firms didn’t have a strategic exit plan in place. This realization set the course for our mergers and acquisitions strategy that over the past decade took us from working from our homes to a firm with 75 employees, three regional offices and close to $10 million in revenue.

Number of years with CREW: 5

Most significant CREW connection: Marie McLucas.  I am constantly impressed with not only Marie’s knowledge and experience, but also her ability to solve problems and get tasks done.  She is an inspiration to everyone in our industry.

Place of birth/hometown: Washington, D.C. / Northern Virginia

Number of years in Charlotte: 17

Family: My husband Treven and I have a 17 year old son, Ryan.  Ryan plays soccer at Ardrey Kell and keeps us plenty busy!

My ideal vacation spot: Anywhere!  My family and I love to travel and learn about new places and cultures.

Hobbies/Interests: Watching my son play soccer, Traveling, Spending time with my family!

Other professional organizations I belong to: Women Presidents’ Organization, National Association of Women Business Owners, Construction Financial Management Association, Charlotte Mecklenburg Business Advisory Committee, AICPA, NCACPA

I wish I could: Have more time to help my clients and others, travel, learn, and sample amazing foods and wines!

Feel free to include any additional information about yourself that you would like: In 2016, I was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women by The Mecklenburg Times, as well as the Woman Business Owner of the Year by NAWBO Charlotte!

Ashley Cooper
TB Harris Jr & Associates

Current job:  Commercial Real Estate Appraiser with TB Harris Jr & Associates

Summary of your role in the company: As a commercial appraiser, I provide real estate valuations for a wide variety of commercial property types including retail, office, industrial, land, multifamily and subdivisions. In addition to appraisal services, I provide real estate consulting services, financial analyses, market studies, feasibility studies and highest and best use studies to commercial real estate owners, developers, local government officials and financial clients.

How I chose my occupation: After eight years in property management and an undergraduate degree in real estate finance, I went back to school to obtain my Masters of Science in Real Estate from UNCC. A profession in the real estate industry that pulled together all facets of my knowledge from my studies and work experience appealed to me. As a commercial appraiser, I work on a wide spectrum of property types with a variety of different key players in the real estate industry. I am learning something new every day and every project is unique.

Years in the business: 3 years in commercial appraising, 8 years in property management

My specialization is:   My specialty is complex income producing properties and eminent domain work.

A good lead for me is:  Those seeking commercial appraising services, consultation on highest and best use, market studies and feasibility studies. Typical clients are developers, property owners, real property and estate lawyers, lenders/financial institutions, local government officials and CPA firms.

The most satisfying part of my job is: I enjoy the wide range of real estate projects I am able to work on across many property types in the region. Every project is different. I also enjoy the flexibility my job gives me; as an independent contractor, I set my own pace and work load.

Best leadership advice I have been given:  A funny piece of leadership advice I received from a former female boss of mine: Don’t make baked goods and bring them to the office or contribute to a potluck work event; men in charge never do these things! Funny but true; this always stuck with me as a young woman trying to be taken seriously in a male dominated profession. Basically, act like a man!

Greatest professional achievement:  Obtaining my Masters of Science in Real Estate degree from UNCC as well as my North Carolina Certified General commercial appraising license I received this year after three years of required apprenticeship in the industry.

Number of years with CREW: Three

Most significant CREW connection: I would say the brokers I’ve met have provided me the most beneficial industry information that I have been able to source in my appraisals.

Place of birth/hometown: Charlotte, NC born and raised (I’m a unicorn)

Number of years in Charlotte: 33

Family: Married five years to my husband Daniel. We have a three-year-old son named Ford and a 2-month-old daughter named Lula Cate.

My ideal vacation spot: Anywhere sunny and sandy with my family in tow.

Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, working out at the Dowd and Harris YMCA, Panther’s Football, Beer

Other professional organizations I belong to: I serve on the UNCC Real Estate Alumni Association Board and the Dowd YMCA Facilities Committee

I wish I could: Be both a working mom and stay at home mom at the same time!

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