Dean Dorton’s annual IGNITE Summer Leadership Conference, held on July 12-14, 2023, took on a new look this year as we welcomed one of our biggest IGNITE classes to date and incorporated even more hands-on experiences. This year, Dean Dorton had the pleasure of hosting 23 students from more than 15 schools across the southeast. Students had opportunities to interact with team members, gain hands-on experience in the accounting and business consulting profession, and explore the great city of Louisville, Kentucky.

Day 1

Attendees arrived at our Louisville office bright and early Wednesday morning where they were greeted by Dean Dorton’s HR team. Students received swag bags and a tour of the office space during the Dean Dorton Services Fair. Dean Dorton associates guided the students through the office, making stops at six stations and resulting in a full loop around the office. During the combined tour and services fair, students had the opportunity to hear from a multitude of team members about all the services that Dean Dorton has to offer.

After the service fair, it was time for the IGNITE attendees to make their way downtown for a trolley tour of downtown Louisville. Once students had a chance to see the city, they had dinner at the popular barbecue joint, Doc Crow’s and networked with our welcoming associates, specialists, and supervisors.

Day 2

The second day of IGNITE was jam-packed with client visits and more meet-and-greets with team members. Attendees started their day on a bus at the Louisville office that took them downtown to the first client visit at the Galt House, the largest hotel in Kentucky.

The first Galt House hotel opened in 1835 and changed owners and buildings several times. In 1970, the Louisville Waterfront had all but been abandoned until a local developer decided to build the Galt House we know today. The first tower opened in 1972 followed by the second tower in 1984.

Today, the Galt House is an expansive convention hotel featuring four world-class restaurants, more than 1,300 rooms for guests to stay in, 53 meeting rooms, two ballrooms and exhibit halls, and more. In a tour led by chief financial officer, Josh Zik and Joshua McDaniel, accompanied by Dean Dorton’s Lance Mann, students got an inside look at how tax and audit professionals can support such a large client.

After getting their steps in at the Galt House, students made their way to Malone’s for lunch where they had the opportunity to hear from Dean Dorton’s team members who shared their expertise on the firm’s various industries.

From lunch, students headed to their second client visit of the day at Ashbourne Farms in LaGrange, Kentucky. While leading the tour, chief operating officer, Rodney Wedge shared the history of the farm and its owners, as well as the multitude of ways that Dean Dorton supports the company’s goals.

Ashbourne Farms is the agricultural legacy of W.L. Lyons Brown and Sally [Shallenberger] Brown. From meager beginnings, the couple built the farm from the ground up. Their love for agriculture, nature, and conservation is evident throughout the property.

These values passed through generations to the property’s current owners, Austin Musselman and his wife, Janie. The duo renovated the show barn, added equestrian and event facilities, and have plans to bring back Ashbourne Inn. Austin and his wife are visionaries, continually seeking to honor Austin’s family’s legacy, and are always looking toward the next thing. Dean Dorton plays a crucial role in supporting that mission.

Following the tour, students sat down for a roundtable discussion led by Karen Davis and Amy Gartner, two Dean Dorton team members who work closely with Ashbourne Farms. They shared the importance of building close working relationships with clients to better understand their vision and to help them reach their goals.

The group ended their day with a pizza party featuring a local favorite, Parlour Pizza, and a photo booth at the hotel.

Day 3

Students spent their final day at IGNITE at the Dean Dorton office where they attended the Own Your Future fair. Here, students rotated around the office to attend different sessions which included:

  • Resume-Building Workshop
  • Personal Improvement
  • CPA Exam Tips & Tricks
  • Time Management Hacks
  • Dean Dorton Opportunities

After the Own Your Future Fair, attendees had another chance to network with Dean Dorton’s team members at Lunch With Managers.

Before the closing remarks, Dean Dorton’s CEO, David Bundy announced the highly anticipated results of the LinkedIn contest. Students were challenged to post about their IGNITE experience and what they learned about Dean Dorton on LinkedIn. To qualify, they had to tag the firm and use the three IGNITE hashtags. The most creative post would win a crisp $100 bill. The human resource team had the difficult task of choosing a winner, but after careful selection, they agreed that Emmanuel Tabugbo’s post had gone above and beyond.

The IGNITE experience wrapped up with a question-and-answer session led by David Bundy. He answered questions about the CPA exam, Dean Dorton’s culture, his career path, and how he became a CEO. Finally, in the closing ceremony, attendees received custom trophies to commemorate the experience.

This year’s IGNITE Summer Leadership Conference was one for the books. Dean Dorton hosted one of its biggest IGNITE classes and found ways to give students a hands-on, interactive experience at every turn.

If you’re interested in a career in the business consulting space, contact us today to learn more about upcoming opportunities for students.