Gary Hahn, former BRC Partner, retires (officially)
It’s easy to retire, but harder to surrender your CPA certificate, so when Gary Hahn retired from BRC as a partner in 2017, he continued taking CPE courses. His framed certificate, which hung in his office for 40 years, was now stashed in a storage crate, but Gary wasn’t willing to return it.
Fortunately, North Carolina Board of Examiners had a change of heart recently, declaring that CPAs who wish to stop practicing can receive CPA-Retired status and keep their certificate. Gary jumped on this offer, even had a shirt made with his new title “CPA-Retired,” and attended his last CPE seminars at the 2023 BRC symposium on November 9.
Since leaving BRC, Gary’s had no trouble filling his days with leisure activities, including Bible study and church committees, a prodigious reading list (he keeps a spreadsheet of hundreds of books), an appetite for local concerts (Lauren Daigle recently at the Coliseum), and season tickets at Steven Tanger Center. Entertainment companions include wife, Jane, who retired from teaching elementary school years ago, and a son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters who live nearby.
Gary started his career at AM Pullen and left after the merger with McGladrey to work at a small construction firm. He realized his mistake right away.
“I jumped from the frying pan into the fire,” he says.
After only a few months, he was unemployed because he learned of questionable business practices. For a few years, Gary co-owned a small home improvement company before joining a large Triad construction company. He doesn’t regret any of those experiences.
“You have to follow your heart. Even if it’s a misstep, it’s still a step,” he says.
Finally, he capped his career at BRC serving 11 years as a partner in Assurance and firm COO. Public accounting suits him because “no two days are the same,” he says, and he enjoys working in teams. What he misses most in retirement is “interacting with young people” on the job and recruiting new talent.
It was a rich career for a Kentucky-born son of a Methodist minister. Gary planned to be a pharmacist until he was “chewed up” by organic chemistry in college, and an aptitude test pointed him instead toward an economics degree. After a stint in retail management, highlighted by opening Belk at Four Seasons Mall, he returned to UNCG for accounting coursework and began his internship at Pullen.
Soon, Gary found himself sitting in the coliseum in Charlotte, taking (and passing) the first of four CPA exams, with no calculators allowed. Forty-five years later and still proud of the achievement, he’s happy to keep the certificate.