Being a former native of Shelbyville, Tenn., Robert Davidson had always heard the name Ray Bell. Davidson was an up and coming accountant and had moved to Nashville to pursue his career in 1977. At that time, Ray Bell Construction had been around for nearly 10 years, and the firm had built quite a name and reputation. Davidson quickly knew that he wanted to someday work with the iconic contractor.
“Ray was very well known in Shelbyville, as well as in the Nashville area, and being from the same hometown as him, paired with my admiration of the construction business he was building, I had a great deal of respect for the man before I even met him,” said Robert Davidson, partner, Davidson, Golden & Lundy.
Fast-forward to 1993, Davidson had built quite a reputation for himself in the industry as a part of Davidson, Golden & Lundy CPA, and a well known company owner in the construction industry, Frank E. Neal, got word that Ray was looking for a new CPA firm to work with, and he quickly gave Ray a suggestion as to who to talk to.
“Frank Neal gave my name to Ray and I will forever be in debt to him,” said Davidson. “There is a team atmosphere that goes unmatched at Bell. Not many employees or industry partners have ever parted ways with the company. Once you start working with them, a loyalty is formed.”
DG&L quickly grew into the firm of choice for Bell. The two have developed a long-standing relationship that goes beyond yearly taxes and consulting, it is a friendship and a working relationship between numerous employees between the two companies.
“For more than 15 years I have had the opportunity to create a relationship with Ray and many others at Bell,” said Jim Lundy, partner, Davidson, Golden and Lundy. “Through annual picnics, Christmas parties and Tennessee Football games, I have gotten the chance to know the company through the people who work there, and not just through the numbers.”
Lundy says his time away from the office with Ray has given him a greater chance to understand why the firm is so successful.
“Ray has an intense desire for people to better themselves,” said Lundy. “Part of the reason that Ray has been so successful is because of this. He wants to teach and guide others. It has been so much fun to watch the natural evolution of this business and to be a part of the team as they have created Bell & Associates.”
The two say Ray Bell has created a team of professionals who will lead his company into the next generation.
“Each of the partners play a special role in the next phase of Bell Construction,” said Lundy. “Our primary contacts are Ray, Keith Pyle and Jody Evans, but we feel we have been given the chance to know everyone on some level.”
Jody Evans serves as Bell’s Chief Financial Officer and most certainly has the most contact with DG&L.
“I have worked with DG&L since their first day on our account and I can say that they are head and shoulders above any other firm in the construction accounting industry,” said Evans. “Their ability to deliver an exceptional and thorough product, as well as amazing customer service on a daily basis sets them apart from all others.”
“Integrity and trust is very important in business relationships, and Bell has one of the move revered individuals in the construction and financial industry on their side in Jody Evans,” said Davidson. “Jody has a great financial mind and extreme patience. I can honestly say that I have never seen him rattled.”
Evans has been with Bell for 26 years, and has created a relationship with everyone from the audit team to the partners and says if you have a question, they respond quickly and with the information that you need.
“We trust DG&L with the livelihood of our business and having the opportunity to work with a firm that specializes in your industry as they do, is quite comforting and reassuring,” said Evans.
Both Davidson and Lundy say that no matter what industry your client is in, you get to learn a lot about a company by seeing how it spends the money it makes.
“Ray truly shares his successes, and the partners of Bell & Associates Construction have continued that mindset as they give back to the employees through exceptional benefits and compensation, as well as going a step beyond that and giving back to the community as well,” said Davidson.
Through the years, DG&L has witnessed many successes for their clients, and say that with the completion of each Bell project, they feel a sense pride and connection.
“When driving across the Southeast, I can point out and have pointed out many Bell projects to my children,” said Lundy. “And with a smile, I always say, my client built that.”