A DePaul degree can be a powerful tool in the real world, even more so when two alumni come together to form a company.
Julio Rodriguez (MBA ’88) and Enrique Lopez (MST ’00) use their alumni connection as the backbone for managing LRC CPA Management, a successful CPA consulting firm startup, which they founded together in 2015. LRC CPA Management provides business leadership and financial service consultation to clients of all sizes to encourage financial stability and long-term profitable growth.
The idea for the company evolved from the friendship between Rodriguez and Lopez that has spanned over fifteen years. Rodriguez and Lopez crossed paths at alumni networking events and through professional social circles. Before forming their firm, they had casually talked about starting their own business venture. They remained in contact and waited for the perfect timing.
Rodriguez spent over 30 years in various accounting roles for major retailers, such as Walmart, Sears and McDonald’s Corp. He earned his MBA from DePaul in order to advance in his career. While earning his degree, he realized that he was interested in international business and took classes in the subject as part of his degree. Upon receiving his MBA, he was able work internationally for Walmart and spent more than twelve years traveling internationally. When he decided to return to the United States, he reconnected with Lopez.
“After 30 years on the corporate side of business, I realized I wanted to put my skill set into consulting,” says Rodriguez. “I called Enrique and we put together a plan on how we can compete in Chicago.”
Lopez worked for a large CPA firm before forming Lopez & Co Certified Public Accountants in 2004. He has always been interested in the public accounting and taxation environment and providing services to various enterprises, including non-profits. But he wanted to expand his services. That came in the form of consulting through the creation of LRC CPA Management with Rodriguez.
“One thing that motivated me was going back to the client service environment and helping people, businesses and organizations make decisions and do well in running their business,” says Lopez.
Rodriguez and Lopez both say having a degree from DePaul provides a lot of recognition and credibility.
“DePaul was in the center everything when it came to forming our company,” says Rodriguez. “With my MBA and Enrique’s master’s degree in taxation, our skill sets cover accounting from different areas of specialization.”
“Being alumni from well-known programs at DePaul makes a strong statement about our background and abilities,” says Lopez. “Our degrees serve as a representation of professionalism and having a desire to provide the best services possible.”
Both Rodriguez and Lopez remain close to their alma mater through alumni associations at DePaul, including Ledger & Quill, the alumni and friends organization at the School of Accountancy and MIS.
Rodriguez, a first generation student from Puerto Rico, also provides financial support through scholarships to help first-generation and international students pay for school. “I have a lot of empathy for students starting from the bottom as first generation students,” says Rodriguez. “It is important to support future graduates from DePaul, so they can carry on the tradition of excellence.”