Posted: Apr. 19, 2012 | 2:07 a.m.
Theresa Fette helped expand Provident Trust Group's assets from $400 million to $3 billion in the last four years, earning the young tax accountant and lawyer the Entrepreneur of the Year award to be presented tonight by the Las Vegas chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization.
It just happened to be the "right timing," said Fette, chief executive officer of the firm that specializes in asset custody, tax and trust services.
Provident Trust had "issues" and needed leadership when Fette and her business partner, Jason Helquist, acquired the company in 2008.
"Everybody thinks we grew the company through crazy advertising and marketing," she said. "We never had the money for that. All of our growth came from relationships. We built a reputation for being honest and creative. Tax law is very hard to understand, and that approach worked for us."
Fette expanded the staff from four to 20 and invested in technology infrastructure and operations.
With the shift to self-directed account management, she wanted to ensure Provident's clients had the maximum flexibility and opportunity to select their personal wealth-building strategy.
"In the financial world, everybody likes to say, 'no.' You have to invest in stocks and bonds. You can't do real estate. We feel sometimes there is a 'yes.' We're out-of-the-box thinkers," Fette said.
Only 2 percent of the population knows they can self-direct their Individual Retirement Account without going to a brokerage firm, she said.
Fette came to Las Vegas in 2006 and was a partner in Fette, Helquist and Park tax law firm. She holds a law degree and master's degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas.
She's nationally recognized as an expert in domestic and international income and estate tax planning for high net-worth individuals, including tax planning for the sale of an appreciated asset.
Jason Griffth, principal of the De Joya Griffith and Co. accounting firm and president of the local Entrepreneurs Organization, said Fette received several nominations from the 31-member organization.
She was described as being everything from a "role model" and "mentor" to "compassionate about the community," Griffith said.
The Entrepreneurs Organization is also presenting Minority Entrepreneur of the Year to Juan Mora, founder of JS Products; Woman Entrepreneur of the Year to Candace Bailey, founder of Luxury Suites International; and Start Up Entrepreneur of the Year to Aaron Fessler, founder of World Class Driving. The awards presentation is being held at Vdara.
Mora was born in Cuba and came to the United States in 1960, working to support his family while attending the University of Miami. He spent 26 years with Sears Roebuck & Co., then started Pan American Industries, a retail product company. He sold that company and founded JS Products to further serve his customer base, and moved to Las Vegas in 1994.
Bailey came to Las Vegas in 2001 as public relations manager for The Venetian. She started investing in real estate and eventually sold a rental home for $75,000 to start ReMax Properties. In 2007, she founded Luxury Suites International, a company that manages 2,500 condo-hotel units in Las Vegas, San Diego, Hawaii and Virgin Islands.
Fessler is founder and chief executive officer of World Class Driving, a company that provides exotic car driving experiences in 45 cities. In 2011, his company was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America. He previously founded Allegro Group, which grew to become the largest provider of electronic messaging services and was acquired by Mail.com in 1999.
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at [email protected] journal.com or 702-383-0491.