Eric is a CPA for accounting firm Woltman Group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has been in public accounting for 13 years with comprehensive tax experience from start-ups to larger companies. Eric is an earnest family man and a dedicated employee in the workplace, both to his coworkers and to his clients.
Name: Eric DeHaan
How can people connect with you?
Where do you live now? Where do you call home?
My family and I live in Sioux Falls. Ten years ago, we moved here from southern California. We’ve called Sioux Falls home for a while now.
Give us a behind-the-scenes look at your average day:
My wife, Cara, and I will either enjoy an early Crossfit session or devotions while the kiddos are still sleeping (although sometimes we hit snooze a few too many times). After that, it’s off to work to try and cross more off my to-do list than gets added. I’m a CPA, so much of my day is spent making/returning calls and emails. There are also plenty of client meetings as well as meetings with my coworkers. It all sounds status quo, but it is anything but. Each client is different and most are an absolute joy to get to know and work with. We also have a fantastic staff that is fun to be around. After work, it’s family time. Cara is a wonderful cook and my children are full of a fun, creative and mischievous energy. Every evening is different, but they are filled with lots of laughs and usually a minor conflict. Cara and I both enjoy reading, but at the end of a long day, Netflix often sounds more inviting.
What projects are you currently working on, both in your career as well as hobbies or passions?
Career-wise, our firm has enjoyed a steady growth over the past couple years. We want to make sure our clients receive the same valuable yet enjoyable service even as we grow. We also want to make sure our firm is a place talented people desire to be to further their careers. These have been fun challenges to tackle.
As for hobbies, I’ve had fun helping my sons learn the art of baseball card collecting. Although I still don’t know if they understand the importance of “mint condition.” My passion is my family. I don’t consider myself a great dad, but I keep trying to improve. My wife is an excellent partner in this endeavor. She, of course, would be my other passion. I treasure any dinner she and I can have alone.
What challenge in your life or work are you most interested in overcoming?
One of my greatest challenges is my time management. It certainly seems as if I am inefficient and often wasteful with my time. Whether at home or work, I’m working on wasting less time.
If you could do any job, what would you do and why?
This may be the strangest answer you’ve received to this question, but I think I would like to be a funeral director. I remember when my grandfather passed away. I had such an appreciation for the staff that walked us through this difficult time of properly remembering our loved one. I thought I would maybe like to be that person for other families. I did give this idea some consideration, but alas, the numbers called my name.
What’s your desert island album/book/TV show/movie?
Albums: I’m moody so I need three:
Gin Blossoms: “New Miserable Experience”
Matt Maher: “All the People Said Amen”
Mumford & Sons: “Babel”
TV Show: Again, I’m moody I need two:
“Friends” and “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown”
Book: “Valley of Vision”
Since you live in one of the OTA states:
- Why do you choose to live here? Sioux Falls is such a great place to raise a family and start your career. Aside from the great school systems, healthy business climate and family-friendly community, I believe Sioux Falls’ greatest asset is its people. It’s a blessing to interact with friendly, thoughtful OTAns every day.
- What is the most beneficial aspect of living in the region when it comes to your career? Again, I would have to say the people. We have such creative, hard-working people in the Sioux Empire. Whether my friends or clients are in healthcare, construction, creatives, entrepreneurs, volunteers, you name it, I’ve grown as a professional and as a person from my relationships with all of these.
- What’s one thing you could change about the OTA region? I would love to see a continued growth in the diversity of people and cultures.
- What’s one thing most people don’t know about the OTA region? The OTA region is filled with innovators.
Where do you think good ideas come from?
My good ideas often come from thinking out loud and brainstorming with others. The “good idea” usually comes from someone else!
What’s one current trend you think will change the world?
Transparency. I believe the drive for transparency in government, law enforcement, business and the church will be a uniting factor for our country and hopefully beyond. With true transparency comes trust. Society has become cynical of the fore-mentioned institutions, and with good reason. Our country would be stronger if we had more trust in those systems. But trust isn’t given, it’s earned.
What advice would you give to your 18 year-old self?
Forget about sports, dude. It’s not that big a deal.
Who is the most creative person in your life, and why?
Tim Murray. Creative, clever, talented and wise are all words I would use to describe Tim. His work is appropriately bold or subtle. I always feel like I understand the world and myself a little better after a conversation with Tim. Tim won the creative Christmas card award this year. It was a card that folded into a handy tool that made your smart phone disappear when you are at home. He’s also one of the most humble men I know.
Who is the most connected person in your life, and what personal characteristics make him or her so well-connected?
Matt Jensen is a good friend of mine, and I consider him to be well-connected. Two things make him well-connected. First, there are no strangers to Matt, only friends he hasn’t met yet. Second, he creates opportunities to meet these future friends. He’s intentional.
Who is the most community-focused person in your life, and how do they impact their communities?
Theresa Kashale is an educator and a lover of people. Coming to Sioux Falls as a refugee from the Rwandan genocide with her husband and children, she lived at the crossroads of trauma and change for years, and now walks a vast number of immigrant families through similar crises. Theresa’s communities live on 2 different continents. In Sioux Falls, Theresa is an educator for the Sioux Falls School District. She also works as a liaison between the immigrant community and the Sioux Falls school district helping to mediate cultural differences. Additionally, she is a point person for many African immigrants, helping connect them to the many resources Sioux Falls has to offer. I think it safe to say most, if not all African immigrants, know Theresa Kashale.
Theresa also impacts the community of Kinshasa, Congo (DRC) where she operates an orphanage, Theresa’s House, for about 18 children. The orphanage’s mission is to provide protection for children and to promote their integration into the social mainstream by providing shelter, food and education. For more information, check out www.Theresashouse.org.
At what intersection do you live life?
Family and work – all under the umbrella of faith.
Who are the three people you need to have coffee with when you visit Sioux Falls?
James Swanson – James has a gift of making small talk incredibly important, soul-nourishing, heart of the matter talk. He is a great encourager in my walk with Christ. I consider him a mentor.
Matt Jensen – Matt and I share similar work-family balance challenges, albeit at different degrees of intensity. He’s a loyal friend and constant encourager.
Bobby George – Bobby has great passion for what he does as an educator and innovator. This CPA likes to live vicariously through Bobby.
What’s the best way to put inspiration into action?
I’m guessing there are books that answer this question. My best answer would be to memorialize the inspiration concretely so you are constantly reminded of it. This would be the first “action” step. If you were intentional, you would have to memorialize the “goal” of “action.” Constant exposure to the inspiration and the goal should bring about action. Action may come sooner for some of us than others.
Who do you hope to leave a legacy for?
I have four children. I’m aiming big. My goal is that I leave an eternal legacy for my four children and hopefully for their children and their children’s children. I claim Jesus Christ as my Savior. I pray my children see the joy Christ brings to my life and that they would want that same joy. No other legacy needed.
Who is one regional writer/artist/leader/entrepreneur we should pay attention to?
Josh Sapienza and Nathan Maas. Josh and Nathan hope to change the way we give as well as how nonprofits fundraise. In doing so, they will also create a new online community for anyone who is looking to connect directly on a more meaningful level with the people and organizations that matter most to them. They are in the process of developing a free fundraising app, Hawser. I believe Hawser can revolutionize how we give, not just in Sioux Falls, but across the nation, and potentially the world. Hawser is social media reimagined. It is a free donation platform and social messaging service in one. I’m excited to see where their ideas take them. I believe it won’t be long before we are all familiar with Hawser.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve taken?
Two years ago, we brought our daughter home from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She’s a smart, funny, beautiful 6-year-old who has brought our home much joy. No risk, no reward!
What’s your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
Life is full of failures. As a dad, I fail every day. Professionally, I have failed. If you are my friend, chances are I’ve failed you, too. So what have l learned? Failure is inevitable for all of us. It is going to happen. I can let it ruin me or I can let it increase my humility, learn from those willing to teach me, and re-cast the vision for the man I want to be. At some point, we need to be at peace knowing we are doing the best we can.