Written by: Kent Hileman, MAI, ASA, CMI
In 1997, Dave Dlugopolski was the Property Tax Manager at HCA, the largest hospital chain in the United States. Prior to this, he was the Assistant Vice President of a branch office of a national property tax consulting firm. Bob Hileman was a partner in a small property tax firm out of Overland Park, Kans. and was an entrepreneur that had come from the healthcare industry, having owned or managed imaging companies in his past. They both knew property tax, they both knew healthcare and they both saw the need for a more specialized consulting service for this industry.
What better way to launch a company that specializes in both property tax and healthcare? That is where PVS began 25 years ago. We started with the two founders, a few healthcare clients — and we grew from there. Our main focus in the beginning, as it remains today, is the delivery of high-quality, ethical consultation services throughout the tax industry. We were extremely blessed in the beginning of our formation to have a network of business associations that allowed our initial clients to trust in our consulting services. This trust continues to this day and has expanded exponentially. We are extremely appreciative of these first clients — and all our clients — for trusting in our services.
For the first ten years, the main form of growth for PVS was from existing client growth. Primarily as our clients experienced our services, we were allowed to grow with them. As many of our clients grew, we grew as well. We did not establish a formal sales group until many years later.
By 2000, we had around ten employees. By 2010 we had grown to roughly 50 employees. As we start our 25th anniversary year, we have approximately 70 employees.
Along the way, many people have joined PVS who have made a large difference to our growth, and we appreciate all of them. Shortly after the launch of our company Pam Carley, our longest-tenured employee, joined PVS just after graduating from K-State. She has grown with our company and is now the Director of the Personal Property department. We are so appreciative of Pam’s leadership within this department and thank her for her continued commitment to our success.
In February 1999, Monte Welch was welcomed into our company. He and Bob Hileman had worked together in years past within the healthcare industry. His availability provided PVS the opportunity to add to our healthcare experience and knowledge as we value and file many healthcare-related equipment personal property tax returns. Monte’s prior career experience has provided PVS with the needed real-world knowledge to value medical equipment. He has worked closely with much of this equipment and can describe its function in detail. Monte is currently the VP of Operations at PVS.
In early 2000, Kent Hileman joined the team and was the first employee in the real estate department. Building upon Dave Dlugopolski’s prior knowledge and experience in the real estate tax industry, Kent and Dave teamed up to grow the Real Estate Department of PVS, while saving clients money through appeal work. Kent has gone on to get his MAI (Member of the Appraisal Institute – the gold standard in commercial real estate appraisal), two ASAs (one in real estate and one in appraisal management and review), and a CMI (property tax designation), and then became a partner with PVS in 2011 after receiving those designations.
To add to our depth and expertise, Chip Saam was invited in 2000 to join PVS. Chip’s experience in both property tax and healthcare added greatly to the company. While employed at PVS, Chip has achieved his ASA (in equipment valuation) and is also a CMI with roughly 30 years of experience.
Gerhart VanNote, who has also been in the industry for 30 years now, was recruited to join PVS in 2006. Gerhart and Dave both started their tax consulting careers together at a national property tax consulting firm. Gerhart started at PVS as a senior consultant but is now the Senior Director of Real Estate.
Jenna Reyes joined PVS in 2007 directly upon graduating from K-State and has risen through the ranks quickly. She has also been instrumental in the growth and maintenance of clientele and the management of staff. Jenna is now the Director of the Real Estate department with 15 years of experience.
There are many more who have been at PVS anywhere from 5 to 15+ years and range from senior consultant to the director level. The length of time our employee base has been at PVS is a testament to how much we care about our employees, but also the management team in place. To name a few that are at the manager or director level and who have been important to our growth (in no particular order): Catherine Murray, Tyler Rognlie, Bryan Hileman, Jennifer English, Tyler Tackett, James Lee, Daryl Smith, Vanessa White, Mark Kinch. We significantly appreciate all of them.
PVS has grown steadily and consistently over the years, as a result of the people all mentioned above, because of the quality of work those people put forward, and the relationships they build with our clientele. We are extremely proud of the people we have and the work we do. Our mission has been to provide quality consulting in an ethical and trustworthy manner. Property tax consultants can have a negative image by many in the assessing world, but PVS has separated itself by doing things the right way and being transparent in everything we do.
Another factor that separated PVS from its competition early on was the development of its own proprietary in-house property tax software system. The company has invested significantly in developing and growing this system through the years. It manages everything we do, from filing personal property tax returns, to tracking assessments, tracking tax bills, providing tax bill approvals, etc. Essentially it is our life from soup to nuts. We also invested early on in other technology, making sure we not only have quality servers, quality security protocols, but also backups so that we can be back up and running should any disaster happen.
Not everything has been easy, PVS has faced adversity as well over the years, as all companies do that have been around for 25 years. It’s never a cakewalk getting to a quarter-century. In our industry, as our clients have faced cost reduction measures and we have faced increased competition, contingency fees have compressed. We have also had large clients that have had to reduce their sizes and readjust their business models, as the government is continuously changing reimbursement and other factors. These changes were inevitable, and luckily PVS predicted/saw them coming. To get through this, instead of pulling back on employee counts, PVS bulked up their sales department and started branching outside of healthcare. Ten to fifteen years ago, PVS was 95% healthcare, but had the consultants and experience to work outside of those constraints. As a result, we started selling heavily in other property types and industries, including hotels, industrial, retail, office, and more. Healthcare consists of the most complex property types out there (think hospitals, surgery centers, senior living, etc.), so valuing other property types was already in our wheelhouse. In the last ten years, we have doubled our number of clients, working over 900 clients around the country in our 25th anniversary year.
As we hit 25 years of business, our goals remain the same with those of the past. We strive to provide high-quality, ethical, transparent property tax consulting service to our clients, helping them to stay compliant and reduce costs, which in turn, helps their businesses to thrive.
We thank everyone who has been a part of our company’s past and will be a part of our future as well, to include our staff, clients, and other partners we have across the country, such as attorneys and appraisers. Thank you! We look forward to the next 25 years.