Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
Getting to Know: Ben Wafle
Where you grew up: I was born and raised in downtown Fredericksburg
Education/training: I have a B.S. in Commerce from U.Va and an M.S. in Finance from VCU. I have also completed the course work and passed the exam for the certified financial planner designation.
Current job: I am a relationship manager at Heritage Wealth Advisors.
Jobs you’ve held prior: I was lucky to work for 39 years at Quarles Petroleum, Inc. Doug Quarles, Jr., my father-in-law, has been a wonderful role model starting when I worked for him in the summers during high school and college
How and why you joined Heritage Wealth?: I have always had an interest in finance as you can see from my education. I also served as treasurer at Quarles before becoming president. It was natural with this background to consider opportunities in the finance world as a next step after Quarles.
It was also natural for me to reach out to Dee Ann Remo for advice on my next step. Dee Ann and I have worked together on Quarles’ tax and financial issues since the early ’90s when she was working for KPMG in Richmond.
When she started her own business, I became a client and continued to work closely with her on several fronts. Fortunately for me, she was willing to take the chance that she could teach an old dog some new tricks, and she hired me to help continue the growth and development of Heritage.
Your goals for the Fredericksburg office: I hope to make Fredericksburg into a significant part of Heritage. More importantly, I hope to make a positive difference in the financial lives of clients in the Fredericksburg area just as Heritage has made a difference in mine.
What has it been like starting a second career: Obviously, in some ways, this is a huge change for me. In just a few months, I have gone from being in charge to being the “new guy.” However, it is a change that has been fun, challenging and liberating.
I am enjoying the new associations with people on the team. They have been very supportive and tolerant of my many questions. I would recommend “starting over” to anyone looking for the next thing in life after “retirement.”
What lessons from your time at Quarles are useful in your new position?: Doug Quarles provided so many lessons about life and work that it is hard to pick one or two as most important. However, his guiding principles were fair, honest dealing with all and community service. Those two apply to any business and especially in my new role where earning the trust of clients is key.
Why is Heritage Wealth an important service to have in the area?: Dee Ann Remo started Heritage Wealth Advisors in 2005 on the premise that clients needed an independent financial adviser with services in multiple areas including tax preparation and planning, financial planning and investment advice.
At the time, this was a fairly revolutionary concept. Today, many competitors are adopting this model. Heritage brings nine years of experience with this broad-based approach and the team of people it takes to really deliver on the promise of one-stop financial advice.
How Fredericksburg has changed during your time here: The explosive growth has been incredible to watch. I think it has been really good for our area and helped us transform from a pretty sleepy Southern town into a much more vibrant, interesting place to live and work.
Your thoughts on why Fredericksburg is a great place to live and grow a business: Fredericksburg is nearly unique among the communities in the Northern Virginia area in that there really is a sense of community. The fact that there is such a rich history as an authentic place provides so much to build on as the population grows.
As an elementary school student at Lafayette school I had a chance to walk (imagine that) to all the historic sites in the downtown area. For example, I remember walking to see the Sentry Box and Rocky Lane on a day when we all thought we could see Sputnik flying over our heads.
Looking back, this was an experience that gave me a great appreciation for my connection to the past and the future. In Fredericksburg, those experiences are still available for my grandchildren!
What is a piece of financial advice that you think everyone can use: We all need to regularly take the time to review all aspects of our financial life. We live in a complicated world and by necessity we make many decisions about saving, investing, insurance and estate planning.
All too often, we make a quick decision and never review it as our lives and circumstances change. Taking the time to look back is the best way to ensure that the decisions you made are still valid and will accomplish your current goals. If you have a trusted financial advisor they can help. If not, use the Internet and your own resources.
Hobbies: Kitty and I love to travel. We are also big movie fans.
What would you name the autobiography of your life?: Find the right life-partner and everything else is gravy!
Something people don’t know about you: With a mother who grew up in Katonah, N.Y., even though my father was born in Fredericksburg, I learned about some of the area’s key foods fairly late in life.
For example, I never picked a crab until Kitty showed me how at Wilkerson’s restaurant when I was 16 years old. What a misspent youth!
—As told to Lindley Estes