Dan Chenoweth identifies as a talker, a people person.
You wouldn’t expect that from someone who crunches numbers for a living, but then again, he never pictured himself as an accountant.
“I’m not your typical accountant whatsoever,” he says. “I’m less of a process-oriented person, more of a people person.”
Chenoweth adds that his role as a partner at PBMares—one of the leading accounting and business-consulting firms in the region, with nine offices in Virginia and Maryland—is more consultant than accountant. He focuses on the areas of construction and real estate.
Chenoweth has been in Newport News for more than six years, but it feels like home to this West Virginia native. His West Virginia roots come out when he spends time camping, hiking, hunting and fishing, he says.
Chenoweth says he sort of fell into accounting; he majored in industrial organizational psychology, where he learned about managing and reading people, developed leadership skills and learned how to motivate employees. He was en route to complete his Ph.D. in the same subject but changed his mind and was hired at a temp agency, where he was put to work filing papers in an accounting office.
After a week, he started to get to know the other employees, and gradually was given more responsibilities. After a year, he became an accounts payable clerk, which eventually led him to return to school to get his master’s degree in accounting.
He says the Newport News branch, which he was hired to grow, is young and full of excitement.
“[We] want to take our firm and continue to move to the next level,”
he says, adding he wants PBMares to become the accounting firm in Newport News.
But Chenoweth is known in the community for more than just his accounting and people skills.
He’s also the founder of Lionsbridge FC, an amateur soccer league he and two others—Mike Vest and Kevin Joyce—are getting off the ground in Hampton Roads.
A huge English premier league fan, Chenoweth says starting his own soccer team was a crazy idea, but one he was excited to explore.
He, Vest and Joyce began looking into what it took to start a soccer team, borrowing strategies from Dennis Crowley, the man who helped start Foursquare and started a semi-professional soccer team in Kingston, NY.
The three men found that the Hampton Roads area was ripe with opportunity: there is a large millennial crowd, a proximity to universities with athletic programs and a general community interest in the sport.
“There is kind of a soccer vibe here, but it hasn’t been exploited,” Chenoweth says. “This is really an untapped market when it comes to sports in general.”
The city of Norfolk has the Admirals hockey team and the Rail Yard Dawgs, as well as the Norfolk Tides Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Virginia Peninsula Pilots is another amateur baseball team. One must go to Washington, D.C., or North Carolina to get a major sports fix.
Chenoweth, Joyce and Vest are working to get everything ready by May—the start of the season—by recruiting players, holding tryouts, hiring coaches and securing practice fields. Through an arrangement with Christopher Newport University, Lionsbridge FC will play all home games at Pomoco Stadium.
“It’s honestly been one of the coolest things I’ve ever been involved in,” Chenoweth says.
As if being a partner at an accounting firm and helping start an amateur soccer league isn’t enough, Chenoweth is also the chairman of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, a role he took on in 2017.
He has been a member of the chamber since he moved to the area in 2011, serving first as treasurer.
In 2018, Chenoweth, along with the other board members, will be tasked with picking a new CEO and executive director after Mike Kuhns retires in April. Chenoweth says he is also trying to make the chamber more relevant and influential as the area and the chamber’s membership grows.
“We’re advocates for the business community,” he says.
TO THE POINT:
Contact: Dan Chenoweth
Address: 701 Town Center Dr., Ste. 900, Newport News, VA 23606
Websites: www.pbmares.com, www.lionsbridgefc.com