Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence - The First 12 Years - 1968 - 1980
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, it was 1968 and Winter, Kloman, Moter & Repp, S.C. (WKMR) was just a twinkle in the eye of the accounting industry. Who knew what was in store for the years to come and what a success the firm would become?
In the Beginning
Winter, Kloman, Moter & Repp, S.C. was founded in 1968 under the original name of Huss & Associates, S.C. Jerry S. Huss was a local CPA who graduated with both his bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater in the mid 1960s. In the beginning of his career, Jerry worked as a CPA for Fontaine-McCurdy, at the time Wisconsin’s largest local CPA firm. The firm eventually transformed into Arthur Young & Company in 1968, now Ernst & Young.
But Jerry didn’t stick around for the transition. He ventured out on his own and opened Huss & Associates, S.C. in late 1968. His practice started out in a small office located on Burleigh Street just west of 124th Street in Brookfield. Jerry ran the firm as a sole proprietor and worked in that office until 1974 when he acquired the CPA practice of Robert Harris, a prominent Wauwatosa Attorney and CPA. Later that same year, Jerry and Bob both moved their offices to adjacent facilities at 109th and Bluemound in Wauwatosa.
As the business grew, so did the staff. In 1974 Jack Winter came on board and brought along a wealth of experience. Prior to joining Huss & Associates, S.C., Jack had spent three years with a local CPA firm; five years with Arthur Young, an international CPA firm; and three years in industry.
Jim Repp and Lee Moter both joined the group in 1975. Jim had worked as a small business tax accountant and as manager of the small business department at Coopers & Lybrand before coming on board. Lee was hired as an auditor for Touche Ross & Co. in their Chicago office after graduating with his Masters in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He came back to Wisconsin to join the talented team at Huss & Associates, S.C.
Finally, there was Tom Kloman who started with the firm the following year. Tom was originally from Chicago. He had worked as a tax accountant for Haskins & Sells, as a controller for a cattle ranching operation in Colorado, and as a controller for Koehring Corporation before finding his new home with Huss & Associates, S.C. Jack, Jim, Lee & Tom all had previous experience with national accounting firms previously known as the “Big 8.”
Huss & Associates, S.C. was always a progressive firm offering quality service and employing only the best personnel. They always utilized the latest technology and were front runners in electronic word processing and in the use of computers in accounting practices. The firm was also submitting to the rigorous “Quality Third Party Peer Review” procedures by 1977, years before the profession adopted the requirement as a standard of excellence.
With ten years of success under their belts, the team at Huss & Associates, S.C. had no plans to slow down. It was full speed ahead! They were looking towards continued growth through building relationships with clients and their community, and staying abreast of new technology and training in the industry.
As the firm continued to grow, Dan Gotter joined the group in November 1978. Prior to joining the team, Dan had been working as the business manager for an auto dealership and was earning his degree from UW Milwaukee. It was by recommendation of his auditing professor at UWM that Dan decided to pursue a career with Huss & Associates, S.C.
By 1978 it was apparent that it was time to expand and a second office was added in Oconomowoc. The office was originally located at 156 East Wisconsin Avenue. When the office first opened, Huss & Associates, S.C. occupied two small rooms and there wasn’t even a copy machine. Staff members had to go next door to the law offices of Herro, Chapman & Herro to make copies at the cost of five-cents a piece. Chuck Herro owned the building and in 1979 he agreed to lease the firm four rooms in the building storefront.
With Dan leading the effort, the office began to take shape and the client list began to grow. He built the practice on the philosophy exemplified by Jack, Tom, Lee and Jim that in order to succeed you have to get to know your community and truly care about your clients.
In 1979 Huss & Associates, S.C. was purchased by Jack Winter, Tom Kloman, Lee Moter and Jim Repp. The focus of the firm was on the clients and providing them with the highest level of service possible.
Now that the four had settled in to their new roles as partners and owners, it was time to make it even more official. The formal name change from Huss & Associates, S.C. to Winter, Kloman, Moter & Repp, S.C took place on October 10, 1980.
The team was destined for success and it’s no wonder that the firm continued to grow. Stay tuned to the next issue of the WKMR Connection to see what happened over the next twelve years (1980-1992).