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Corporate Partnerships: PwC

Early in Henry Miyares’ career at PwC, he made it a priority to bring other Gators with him. Now 39 years into his career and closing in on retirement, Miyares has recruited many successful Gators to the firm. As he continues to work with fellow alumnus Mike Quackenbush to recruit from the UF Warrington College of Business, the duo has played an important role in getting Business Gators into one of the most well known firms in the world.

UF Warrington alumnus Henry Miyares works at PwC. Henry Miyares (Partner in Tax Practice)

As a Partner in Tax Practice at PwC, Henry Miyares (BSBA ’81, MAcc ’82) loves solving complex problems for clients daily. But his role as the Firm Relationship Partner at the UF Warrington College of Business is just as exciting for Miyares. This role, which Miyares has maintained since 2002, allows him to have a key role in the Warrington students that PwC hires.

“One of the things I look back on and am proud of is how many students I recruited who are now partners,” Miyares said. “I met many of them as freshmen or sophomores and had to recruit them here over other firms, so I’m always excited to follow their careers. I always joke that the firm would be even better if we could get more Gators. That’s always been my goal.”

Miyares plays an integral role in PwC’s presence on the Warrington campus. Even as he worked for the firm’s offices in Tampa, Atlanta and Washington D.C., Miyares always had one request – no location or role change would remove his responsibilities at Warrington.

“I wanted to keep that role, and the firm would always say that I loved it so much, how could they not let me keep it?” Miyares said.

Miyares is passionate about bringing Business Gators to PwC because he knows the benefits they can experience with the firm. When he retires in June and ends his 39-year run at PwC, he’ll conclude a fulfilling career that got better with time.

Miyares joined the Tampa office in 1982 and stayed there for eight years. The firm then offered a one-year tour in the Washington National Tax Services office, which gave him the opportunity to work with the firm’s top merger and acquisition specialists. After a year that helped him “learn more than any other year in the firm,” they asked him to stay in the Washington D.C. office. After two more years, he moved back to Tampa and became a partner in 1996.

With that promotion came a move to Atlanta to start a mergers and acquisitions practice from scratch.

“I was given the challenge of being a brand-new partner in a new city with no relationships, no knowledge of the market and no idea how to build a practice,” Miyares said. “It was very challenging but also rewarding. It’s still a strong practice today.”

After 12 years in Atlanta, Miyares returned to the Washington National Tax Services office, where he will retire from this summer.  

“It was the best way I could’ve ever imagined ending my career,” Miyares said. “I work on complex transactions, but simply, I help people. I help companies be successful, solve problems and find a way to meet objectives and make companies successful. I get a great amount of satisfaction out of helping companies do what they are challenged and trying to do.

“I’ve always heard the best compliment is when a client says they couldn’t have done what they did without us. I’ve heard that so many times I lost count. I’ve been so blessed.”

The years Miyares spent on the Warrington campus set him up with a strong foundation for success after graduation. He learned the building blocks of accounting and tax, so that when he stepped into a full-time role, he was able to be a quick learner and make an immediate impact in his role.

“I describe it this way,” Miyares said. “When you come out with a degree from the best accounting program, you have the foundation to be successful. What you learn is when you join a firm like ours, you’re constantly learning and adding to your knowledge base. The Fisher School adds that base and foundation, but it also teaches you how to continue adding to your knowledge base. It prepares you so well.

“The training I got at Warrington in accounting is really what helped me be successful, and it’s why I’ve always been so motivated to hire Fisher grads because I know their training and how they’ve been prepared.”

When Miyares retires this summer, he plans to participate in volunteer work and is interested in teaching in the future. There will be plenty of relaxation and time spent with his wife, also a UF grad, who Miyares says will now run the family calendar after his work schedule ran it for so long.

But even in retirement, he’ll always look back at his career and be thankful for the experiences. 

“I was talking to a retired partner last year, and he made the observation that I’ve led a charmed career,” Miyares said. “The two things I’ve enjoyed most are mergers and acquisitions tax work and attracting Gators to our firm. That’s exactly what I was able to focus on for my whole career. What’s not to like about that?”

UF Warrington alum Mike Quackenbush works at PwC

Mike Quackenbush (Office Managing Partner)

Four years after graduating from the Fisher School of Accounting, Mike Quackenbush was in an unexpected place. He found himself in a board meeting on the top floor of the offices of a local Fortune 500 company in Tampa, playing an integral role in a meeting with the company’s chairman.

“At that meeting, I thought to myself, “I’m 27 years old, how am I in this meeting with the Chairman of a Fortune 500 company who everybody in the Tampa business community knows?” Quackenbush recalls. “That was an ‘ah ha’ moment for me in terms of the power of my opportunity at PwC, but it also showed me the strength of the foundation that the Fisher School gave me.”

After graduating from Fisher, Quackenbush (BSBA ’94, MAcc ’94) took a job with then-named Price Waterhouse in Tampa. He rose to the level of senior manager during his first 10 years in Tampa, and then did a two-year rotation in the PwC national office in New Jersey. He returned to Tampa after the rotation where he made partner with the firm. In 2009, he was named Office Managing Partner and continues to serve in that role today.

He is an audit partner in this role, helping clients in the financial services – asset and wealth management sector. His clients range from mutual funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, investment advisors and others in those industries. He’s also helping to grow the business with new clients and strengthen relationships with existing clients. Quackenbush also sits on the board of a local not-for-profit and is involved with the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Quackenbush works with Miyares as Firm Relationship Partners to UF, leading PwC’s recruiting efforts on campus through student interviews, attending career fairs, and participating in campus events. Quackenbush has been involved with recruiting UF students since 1998, which has given him a new appreciation for the education he received as a student.

“I knew that the Fisher School was good, and I knew I was getting a strong foundation, but I didn’t have an appreciation for how good until years later as I learned more about the program as a firm relationship partner and a recruiting partner,” Quackenbush said.

To make sure they are recruiting from the right universities and targeting the best type of students, PwC periodically reviews employee performance based on their alma mater. According to Quackenbush, University of Florida graduates within the company are consistently coming out with high marks.

“The reviews reinforce the firm’s interest in recruiting Fisher,” Quackenbush said. “While there’s a personal interest for me in being involved, there’s also a good reason for the firm to be in it because of the quality of the students.”

Recruiting from Fisher puts Quackenbush in contact with students who go on to work with PwC at many locations around the country. Since the recruiting cycle recently came to a close, Quackenbush has been in contact with PwC hires from UF who were excited about their placements in Seattle while others are planning to work in New York City or locations throughout the southeast. 

“The Gator Nation is truly everywhere,” Quackenbush said. “We send students all over the country and that’s exciting. It’s great to get them local, but it’s also exciting to see them go on and be successful in other locations.”

UF Warrington alumnae Courtney Fee works at PwC. Courtney Fee (Senior Associate in Capital Markets)

As a political science major on a pre-law track early in her time at the University of Florida, Courtney Fee (BSBA, BA ’15) began law internships in hopes of finding exactly what she wanted her future career to look like. That didn’t happen.

Fee quickly learned that law wasn’t for her and began adding business courses to her schedule. She maintained her political science major while adding an accounting major, and as she began to look for new internships, PwC was one of the top companies in her search.

Fee interned with PwC in their Charlotte office after graduating from UF and before getting her master’s degree at Wake Forest.

“I enjoyed the people aspect and becoming part of a team of people with different experiences,” Fee said. “The people on my team all come from different backgrounds – some are hired out of school like me, others are hired from outside the company and started outside of accounting. There are a lot of diverse interests.”

The internship ended with an offer for Fee to return full time after she earned her master’s degree. She started with PwC in her full-time role in September 2016. Today, she is a Senior Associate in Capital Markets in Accounting Advisory Services (CMAAS). Her team helps companies with the accounting side of their organization, including acquisitions, divestitures and capital raising. They serve as advisors for companies in all of their accounting needs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Fee traveled weekly to assist these companies. She would travel to the company’s location from Monday-Thursday every week, returning on Friday to her home base in Charlotte or to visit family or friends around the country. But the time spent with coworkers while solving problems for their clients produced some of her favorite memories with PwC.

“It was great to build relationships and see company leadership face-to-face in those settings,” Fee said.

Fee’s undergraduate experience played an integral role in providing her with the foundation necessary for her role at PwC.

“My courses laid the groundwork for what I do in my job today,” Fee said. “I am grateful for that experience. PwC doesn’t recruit from everywhere, so I don’t know if I would’ve had the opportunity to be here if UF wasn’t on the list of schools that are recruited from.”

Jackson Budnik is graduating from UF Warrington. Jackson Budnik (Assurance Associate)

Jackson Budnik (BSBA ’21, MAcc ’21) was first introduced to PwC as a freshman during the Fisher School’s Accounting Speaker series and knew it was a place he would like to work one day. As he grew at the Fisher School, he learned more about the firm and continued to grow more comfortable through multiple Fisher School events.

That interest continued into an internship with the company during the summer of 2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the internship was forced to be virtual, but it still played an important role in Budnik’s view of the company.

“The entire process with PwC was really smooth,” Budnik said. “I had an on-campus interview and then a virtual interview for my internship. I was then able to complete the Elevate program and an advance internship in each of the following summers.”

Throughout the recruiting process, Budnik was able to connect with many Business Gators who work in the Atlanta and Florida PwC offices. But The Gator Nation also extends to Boston, where he’ll begin his career with the company this summer and has met multiple Warrington alumni who work in the PwC office. He’ll start with the company as an Assurance Associate, helping complete audits of PwC clients.

Budnik graduated in late April and will always be thankful for the strong education he received as a Warrington student.

“My time at Warrington has allowed me to gain the fundamental accounting knowledge necessary to do the basic job functions while allowing me to develop professionally and personally through the different Career and Leadership Programs as well as the Business College Council,” Budnik said.