Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position:
Darrin Maddox: Eastern Sierra Professional Group is an accounting practice. We do non-traditional types of accounting services such as business valuations and forensic accounting, which is the search for undisclosed assets or anything that may be directed by a judge or an attorney. Assets that may be hidden, we can go find them. They are hard to hide. Part of that practice also is performing business valuations. That is a very specific and specialized field of accounting. There’s very few of us in the area that do it. We do estate planning, for buy/sell as well as divorce situations and any situation needing a formal business valuation/appraisal. We do lifestyle analysis, where we evaluate people’s spending habits for situations like alimony cases and that sort of thing. I have a staff of two-and–half people. At times I’m the only CPA, but I will bring another CPA that works part-time that comes in when I need her.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Maddox: When my father passed away, the most helpful people were the CPAs, so whenever I had questions, I could call them and they seemed to have all the right answers, and I liked that. As I was working on my father’s projects, I went back to school at the community college. I had a professor named Jack Marcarelli who said, “You’re good at this and you like helping people; you should do this.” He was my instructor and became my employer and led me down that path to becoming a CPA as my mentor.
NNBW: You have diverse work history. Tell us about some of the other ventures you’ve partaken in?
Maddox: I have had a strong construction background since I was 19. I was thrust into my father’s company building homes and small multi-family projects. So everything that was in process when he passed away, I had to finish. Due to that construction background, I have had a lot of construction-type litigation cases. I’m also part owner/investor in a construction company. Because of this background in construction, I started doing what is known as builders’ control services for banks, contractor and owners. It is the disbursement of funds on construction projects. I ensure the project remains lien free, the project is on schedule and make sure funds aren’t disbursed more than the percentage completeness of the project — as well as ensuring that funds are there for the contractors to receive funds so as to pay their bills. In 2011, the state decided my practice needed to be under the control of the division of mortgage and I had to become an escrow agency. As a result, I own and operate a full-blown escrow agency. I perform escrow services not just for construction now, but also for any transaction requiring the escrowing of monies or goods.
NNBW: What was the best advice anybody has ever given you?
Maddox: It was my freshman year in college (and it came) from my history teacher. I asked if I could go on this history of wine tasting event in the Napa Valley. It wasn’t legal for me to drink. This history professor sat back in his chair looked at me and said “Mr. Maddox, don’t ask the questions you don’t want the answers to.” So I went on the trip and got to do some wine tasting, and tried not to ask questions I really didn’t want the answers to.
NNBW: How do you balance all your responsibilities?
Maddox: Running the two jobs, the accounting practice and the builders control/ escrow company, I have a very strong staff. The builders control staff includes a lady who has been doing this for 35 years. And my accounting staff is very intuitive. I get in at 4 a.m. and work until about 4 p.m. My brain is always going a million miles an hour ... always thinking about new stuff to do. I guess I have a lot of energy And being a serial entrepreneur probably doesn’t help.
NNBW: Is there something you’ve learned that makes yourself or your companies successful?
Maddox: I think integrity is important. I’ve got something on my computer that says: “No matter how talented, rich or cool you think you are, how you treat people, ultimately tells all.” It doesn’t matter who it is, whether it’s your staff level employee or your CFO, or the person whose $4 million house you’re building. You’ll treat everybody the same, with respect and integrity.
NNBW: Have any advice for anybody who wants to get in your profession?
Maddox: Just hard work. I was president of the Society of CPAs. For the years I was president I would go to UNR’s recruiting events to talk to students. I would tell them to “Go For It, do what’s in your heart and it will be easy and fun.” If you think you want to do something or go somewhere, go for it. I’ll steal Nike’s slogan, ‘Just Do It.’ Do it well but do it.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Maddox: Go-fer on a construction site for my dad’s company. Sweeping, construction clean up, making a wood pile neat. If a guy needed a two-by-four, I’d go get it and bring it to him.
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Maddox: I love to race fast cars. I raced go-karts for a while but not for a few years now. I used to fly airplanes but I don’t do that anymore. My wife will tell you I don’t have any time away from work. (LOL)
NNBW: What is your favorite vacation spot?
Maddox: Hawaii. It’s quick, it’s to easy to get there. It’s warm. What more could one ask?
NNBW: If you had one moment in your life that you could cherish forever, what would it be and why?
Maddox: The weekend before my father died (in a plane crash in Lake Tahoe), I was visiting at home from college on Christmas break. I had finished a year-and-a-half of college, and a day before he died, I told him I wanted to quit school and come work for him. He seemed to know a whole lot more and offer me more than anything I was learning in school at the time. He was proud of that. I discussed with him that when I got out of college, I probably would come to work for you anyway. I thought I could come to work for him then and get the degree later maybe. I was proud of my father and very glad that I did that.
NNBW: Last sporting event or concert attended?
Maddox: I don’t watch a lot of sports because frankly I don’t have the time. We do go to concert series up in Tahoe every once in a while.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you enjoy about living and working here?
Maddox: It’s home to me. Gosh, it’s got to be one of the best places to live and work. The mountains are close. The Bay Area is close. It’s easy to get anywhere from the airport. It’s still a small town, but not too small. And we have a Nordstrom Rack. Apparently we’ve arrived as a city, at least that’s what all the women I know are telling me. (smiles.)