For accountant, Park City adds up to a perfect opportunity
June 5, 2015
Long before he ever knew it would become a passion, Blake Christian agreed to give it a shot.
At the time, he was entering college at Cal State University, Long Beach and was trying to find out what he wanted to do with his life. His parents urged him to go into accounting and follow the path of an uncle who had been successful in the field.
Christian, who had always had a knack for numbers, agreed. But there was a caveat: "If I don’t like it, I’m changing majors," he told his parents.
Looking back, he is grateful he followed their advice. He discovered quickly that he enjoyed accounting and that it presented an opportunity for a lucrative career. Decades later, it has brought him to Park City. After years working in Long Beach, Calif., as a partner in the California-based accounting firm Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt, he opened the firm’s location in Park City late last year.
"We’ve been vacationing here for the last 12 years," he said. "We’ve just always loved the community and liked the business environment. Statewide, it’s a very business-friendly state, very much unlike California. Also being close to Salt Lake City and that big metropolitan area is a big plus for the practice, as well as lifestyle."
Christian, who specializes in tax accounting, remains involved in the Long Beach office, spending about 40 percent of his time there. However, he hopes to eventually focus an increasing amount of his efforts in Park City. He is intrigued by the town’s business dynamics.
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"Park City is very much like Long Beach, surprisingly," he said. "Long Beach is about 500,000 people, but it’s a very provincial business community. There is a core group of business people that kind of, almost, run the city. I find the same thing here. When you go to different events, you run into the same core people. That’s kind of nice. And I like it scaled down to the smaller number because that’s more personal.
"And it’s interesting because someone might be a restaurateur but he or she might also have their finger in a few other ventures, too. It’s a very entrepreneurial community and I like that."
Christian said the construction of the Park City Film Studios is an added bonus for the firm, which has many clients in the entertainment industry.
"I know the whole community is not necessarily on board, but personally I think it’s going to be a huge plus," he said. "I’m hopeful that it will be very successful."
Apart from the business opportunities in Park City, Christian finds the small-town lifestyle alluring compared to Southern California. He appreciates differences such as not having to spend time in bumper-to-bumper traffic on California’s packed interstates.
"I was talking to my son earlier, and he had been on the road for a half hour and had only gone a few miles," Christian said.
For Christian, accounting is about much more than working with numbers. Crunching the data is OK, sure, but what really draws him in is the opportunity to develop friendships with his clients.
"The numbers, in and of themselves, are a little bit of the boring part," he said. "It’s really the relationships, though. I look back and all of the opportunities I’ve had to meet three-generation business owners, to help pure startups and get to know very interesting people. That has been the best part. A lot of my clients are friends that I’ve had for 30 or more years."
He has enjoyed his career so much, in fact, that he passes along the wisdom of his parents to young people, urging them to major in accounting in college.
"I spend a lot of time talking to high school and college kids about it being a great career," he said. "I mean, even if you don’t go into the public-accounting side like I have, just having that financial background can put you in a great position for almost anything."
Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt
136 Heber Ave.