Consolidation and growth ahead for Blackburn, Childers & Steagall CPAs

Blackburn, Childers & Steagall employees gather at their new building earlier this summer. From left to right are Andy Clark (BCS Partner), Nick Clay (BCS Wealth Management Managing Partner), Wade Farmer (BCS Partner), Kevin Peters (BCS Partner), Chad Kisner (BCS Partner), Andy Hatfield (BCS Managing Partner) and Sarah Presnell (BCS Partner). Photos by Bill Derby and Kristen Bare

By A.J. Kaufman, Managing Editor

In a recent announcement, Blackburn, Childers & Steagall PLC plan to consolidate its Johnson City and Kingsport offices under one roof. The longtime accounting firm purchased 55,000 square feet of the former Citi Solutions Center building in Gray earlier this year and is referring to the move as “Project Gray.”

The relocation, which will take place over several months, allows BCS to “serve our region better by being in one central location in the Tri-Cities, and will also give us room and space to grow into for the future,” according to the company’s website.

“We like the location of Gray as a long-term location to serve our region for years to come. We are very bullish on what our region here in East Tennessee has to offer, and it’s becoming more and more apparent with people and business relocating to our area,” Managing Partner Andy Hatfield told the Business Journal. “The efficiencies gained by having our Johnson City and Kingsport locations combined and with the use of continued enhancements in technology will enable us to grow our client base while providing premier service.”

The firm’s two alliance partners — BCS Wealth Management and First Covenant Trust and Advisors — will also be moving. The aforementioned companies will be on the first floor with BCS on the second floor. There will also be some common areas on the first floor. BCS chose to relocate as facility needs — through either expansion or renovation of existing office space — had reportedly been a topic in strategic planning meetings for a couple years, especially for their Johnson City location.

“When the Citi building came available, we felt like it was a great opportunity,” Hatfield explained. “We believe that consolidating our Johnson City and Kingsport offices will help us better serve the region and also provide efficiencies that will enable us to continue to deliver a quality product and service to our clients. The Gray location will set BCS up for years to come to be able to serve what we feel is a very attractive part of the country for continued growth and development. The new location will also provide plenty of space for us to grow into from a headcount standpoint as well.”

BCS has chosen Thomas Weems Architects and Burleson Construction Company, both from Johnson City, for the renovation project. The company’s plans are to relocate in 2025.

The Boone, N.C., and Greeneville, Tenn. offices will remain in their same locations.

From the left, are: Nick Clay, BCS Wealth Mgt.; Clay Hixson, CEO of First Covenant Trust & Advisors and Andy Hatfield, Partner BCS. Photo by Kristen Bare, BCS

In addition, the Washington County Library, Northeast State Community College’s culinary program and First Tennessee Development District all have expressed interest in moving into the remaining portions of the 81,000 square-foot building.

BCS values community service, with Hatfield claiming, “Stewardship is one of our Core Values.”

“Every employee is allotted community service hours that allow them to passionately share their time, talents, and resources for the good of the communities we serve,” he added. “We take pride in the emphasis we place on giving back and encourage all our employees to take on projects with a servant’s heart.”

Their largest projects are United Way’s Week of Caring, Salvation Army Match Day and sponsoring local children for Christmas.

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