PYA, P.C., a national professional services firm headquartered in Knoxville, TN, has announced that Edward V. Pershing, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), will retire from the firm at the end of 2019.
Pershing’s departure will end a 36-year journey that started in December 1983, when he and Doug Yoakley, a colleague at Ernst & Ernst—a then “Big 8” accounting firm—struck out on their own to launch what was known as Pershing & Yoakley CPAs. From its humble beginnings, PYA has grown to be ranked the 13thlargest healthcare management consulting firm in the U.S. as reported by Modern Healthcare and a top 100 accounting firm by INSIDE Public Accounting.
“PYA is well-prepared for this transition,” Pershing said. “We have emphasized succession planning for years, and we have a great ownership group. The firm has never been stronger or better positioned in the marketplace.”
That succession process was initiated more than four years ago when Pershing relinquished the title of President, and PYA’s owners elected Marty Brown to the role. The firm’s owners elected Brown to assume Pershing’s CEO title as well, effective January 1, 2020.
“Ed is the person whose vision, passion, imagination, persistence, and legendary great reluctance to back away from an opportunity have led to the nationally ranked and respected firm we are today,” Brown said. “Achieving the national rankings we have earned did not happen by accident. It started with Ed’s vision and the belief that anything could be achieved with the right dedication and the best talent.”
Today, PYA has 225 employees in the core consulting, tax, and accounting practices, and 370 employees across the entire PYA Enterprise that includes several affiliated companies, all founded with Pershing’s active involvement. They include Realty Trust Group, PYA Waltman Capital, Healthcare Horizons Consulting Group, and PYA Analytics.
From its inaugural location in Knoxville, PYA has grown to offices in four other cities—Atlanta, Kansas City, Tampa, and Nashville. It also employs professionals working remotely from cities across the country. PYA serves clients in all 50 states.
While Pershing will officially retire from PYA, he will continue to assist in certain ways, particularly as an advisor to the PYA affiliates. His retirement from PYA will also allow him to fully embrace other opportunities to advance healthcare, while continuing to support the broader PYA Enterprise on special projects as needed.
“This transition will allow me more time to pursue my fundamental goals of improving public health through increasing accessibility to healthcare resources and education by improving affordability with innovation. However, as long as I’m breathing, I will strive to polish the PYA brand and the brand of each affiliate company,” Pershing said.
The Blount County native who grew up in Alcoa has been honored with many awards and was asked to serve on numerous boards during his career. Pershing was a founding member of the board of directors and served as treasurer of Tennessee’s first Ronald McDonald House, which was launched in Knoxville; a graduate of Leadership Knoxville; a past board member and finance committee chairman of the Knoxville Chamber; a board member and past chair of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont; and a former member of the Chancellor’s Associates at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and current member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, and the UTK Haslam College of Business’s Anderson Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
A UTK alumnus, Pershing was named the Haslam College “2018 Entrepreneur of the Year” and was awarded the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 2014 by the UTK Department of Accounting and Information Management. He was also awarded the Knoxville Business Journal’s“Healthcare Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2012 and inducted into the Junior Achievement of East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame in 2015.
Along with his older brothers, Pershing established Mr. P’s Foundationin 2007 to honor his late brother Dennis (aka Mr. P), an Alcoa public school educator of nearly 25 years. The foundation provides financial and educational assistance for children, young adults, and struggling families in Blount County.