Ascend Expands with New Partnerships and Texas Growth

Arlington, Va.-based Ascend, backed by Alpine Investors, has welcomed the advisory practices of Youngstown, Ohio-based HD Davis and San Jose, Calif.-based  PP&Co (FY22 of $20.6 million) into its innovative growth platform. Additionally, Ascend has expanded its presence in Texas through partnerships in San Antonio.

These partnerships reflect Ascend’s rapid growth since its January 2023 inception.

David Wurtzbacher

Under the arrangement, HD Davis and PP&Co adopt an alternative practice structure, enabling them to offer a broader range of services. David Wurtzbacher, Ascend’s CEO, commented, “Many will know Tim Petrey at HD Davis from his frequent recognition as a leading young entrepreneur in this industry, and others will recognize Ed Davis, Dave Doolin and John Kawamoto, the three MPs at PP&Co, an esteemed firm that has served clients for over 70 years. These leaders have realized that partnering with Ascend not only ensures their firms reach their full potential, it amplifies their potential. These firms have already embraced the community, technology and talent resources we deliver to our independent partners.”

Tim Petrey

Tim Petrey, CEO of both HD Growth Partners and White Glove Payroll added, “Ascend’s mission and our mission are perfectly aligned, and the timing could not be better. We’ve been very progressive in reinvesting in our firm for years, but ultimately our growth would have continued to be limited by our own resources. The partnership with Ascend allows us to maintain our identity and our amazing culture while giving us the resources to build the firm of our dreams and empower our team to build the careers of their dreams. This is a game-changer for us.” HD Growth Partners adds 70 professionals, including five partners, to Ascend.

Phuong Mayer

Phuong Mayer, CEO of PPCo Advisors said, “Ascend is bringing a lot of ideas into the accounting industry that target the pain points firms have lived with for a very long time. I’m energized by how Ascend understands the changing needs of our clients and employees and aims to help us revitalize our industry by addressing those needs. As CEO at PPCo, I will be able to ensure we continue focusing on the two things I’m most passionate about – building strong professional development programs and being at the forefront of digital transformation. I strongly believe that if we take care of our people, they will take care of our clients. There is no better way to grow.”

Additionally, ATKG Advisors, Ascend’s San Antonio-based partner firm, completed transactions with two south Texas firms in January. Michalak CPAs & Advisors in Spring Branch bolsters ATKG’s leadership with the addition of two new partners, Dustin Michalak and Will Holisky. Kowalsky Rose & Company gives ATKG a presence in Laredo. They are ATKG’s first corporate transactions since joining the Ascend growth platform in May 2023.

“Both of these firms add great new talent to our exceptional professional team and further enrich our depth of knowledge,” said ATKG CEO Eric Abati.

Since 1982, ATKG has specialized in tax, accounting and advisory services for a select client base of closely held businesses and family groups, with expertise in many industries such as real estate and construction, oil and gas, restaurants and professional services.

“Our partners are tapping into the growth capital and transaction support that Ascend provides so they can bring those scale advantages into their firms,” said Wurtzbacher. “I tip my hat to Eric Abati and the entire ATKG team for ushering in 70% growth in less than one year with Ascend.”


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