Monday, February 24, 2014
While most people say they hate numbers, James “Jamie” Lopez, 39, of Summerville, has always been drawn to them.
He's been a certified public accountant (CPA) for 16 years and has owned and operated his own firm in Summerville for four years.
“I've always liked numbers and business, and originally I was going back and forth – finance versus accounting – but there's always going to be a need for accountants,” he said.
Lopez has found that need across Summerville, which has spurred his involvements with numerous community organizations.
He is involved on the Summerville DREAM board of directors, with Summerville Rotary Club, is a founding board member of the Summerville Miracle League, a member of the Bethany United Methodist Church finance committee, served as the treasurer of his neighborhood's home owners' association and is the treasurer of the Dorchester Two Educational Foundation.
All of his volunteering with the groups involve his experience with mathematics, money, taxes and accounting.
To Lopez, that's the best way he can contribute to the community's overall success.
“I can't build houses,” he said. “That's not my skill set, I'm not experienced in hands-on work so I figure this is something I can do. I can help a lot of these nonprofits and groups that need help [with my accounting skills].”
Of all of his involvements, he said he is “most excited about” being a part of the Dorchester Two Educational Foundation, where he serves on the board of directors.
The group was formed last summer and is set up as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization to help accept money on behalf of the Dorchester District Two schools, Lopez explained.
“The district has this 10-year long-range plan, but they don't have the funds to make the plan happen. The foundation is a means to help them.”
He mentioned the district plan to expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programming as an example.
“I'm definitely passionate about it because I'm a dad, but I'm also a product of public schools and I think they're important.
“These are tax dollars being spent well, and I feel like the district does great stuff with their money. It's money well spent.”
Lopez said his wife, Robin, is the reason he gets so involved in the community.
“My wife is the biggest reason I am as involved as I am. She is very selfless and inspires me to do more.”
An Illinois native, it was Clemson University and later a job offer in Charleston that brought Lopez to the area, but it was the family-friendly atmosphere that brought the young family – including children James, 9, Sarah, 7, and Will, 4 – to Summerville.
For fun, Lopez said he tries to spend as much time with his family as he can.
“Time is the biggest issue with kids, trying to stay involved with them because that window is short lived.”
Despite his time being stretched thin, Lopez still stays involved in the community, if for nothing else than to set a good example for his children.
“I just go with the philosophy that if everyone is contributing then everything will be taken care of.”