Alp A. Atabek, AIF®, CPA*
I consider myself a local product. Although I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I moved to Maryland when I was two-years-old and have been a proud Marylander ever since. I grew up in Silver Spring, attended Springbrook High School, and graduated from Catholic University where my father was a bio-medical engineering professor.
After graduating from Catholic, I passed the CPA exam and opened a firm that focused on tax preparation and small business accounting in 1984. As luck would have it, I sublet office space from a prominent Bethesda financial planning firm; in hindsight, a decision that dramatically impacted my career. I enjoyed the financial planning environment so much that in 1988, I began offering my clients financial planning and investment management services to complement my tax and accounting practice.
In 2000, I decided to sell my CPA practice to focus 100% of my efforts on helping clients with their financial planning and investment management needs. With my tax practice, I felt I was always working on my clients’ pasts, whereas through my financial and investment planning services, I was able to help plan people’s futures and really make an impact in their lives. Over the course of 30+ years, I have developed lasting partnerships with my clients centered on a shared focus of helping them achieve their life goals. I enjoy reflecting back with clients on how I helped them open their first IRAs in the 1980s to now helping them put the final touches on their retirement plans.
I often hear clients say how much they look forward to retirement and I think I must be blessed because I love coming to work every day and can’t wait to get my day started each morning after my “lengthy” four-minute walk to the office. Outside of the office, my favorite pastime is spending time with my wife, Karen, our two daughters, Natalie and Casey, our yorkie, Gema, and Casey’s yorkies, Fern and Willow. Karen, who is my high school sweetheart, is a reading specialist with Montgomery County Public Schools. Natalie completed her graduate studies at the University of Maryland after completing her undergraduate years at Davidson College where she ran cross country and track. Casey graduated from my alma mater, Catholic University, where she enjoyed playing on the school’s rugby team, and she now works as a middle school math teacher at an ESOL school in PG County through Teach for America, while completing her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University.
After work and on the weekends, I am an avid cyclist. I enjoy riding the Capital Crescent Trail to Georgetown during the week and on to Old Town Alexandria or Mount Vernon on the weekends. I also look forward to cycling on the Eastern Shore near our home in St. Michaels, MD where my family and I love to spend time together. The four of us travel together often; so far, we have covered 36 states, parts of Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean and look forward to many more future explorations together.
Each year, Commonwealth, the broker/dealer–RIA that helps us process investment transactions on your behalf, recognizes Chairman’s Level advisors by inviting them to an exclusive gathering of their peers, leading industry experts, and Commonwealth home office staff. Chairman’s Level advisors benefit from an intensive learning and networking experience designed to help them hone their expertise, share best practices, and provide ever-higher levels of service, education, and leadership to their clients.