The BDO USA LLP Managing Partner of the Southwest Region, Ron Martin, has been a Cristo Rey Jesuit (CRJ) supporter since our unique college preparatory school was established in 2009. In 2005, Martin first learned about CRJ after the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province approached a group of individuals with ties to Catholic education and asked them to watch a 2004 video from the news program 60 Minutes that highlighted a unique Cristo Rey educational model operating in Chicago. After watching the video, the Jesuits posed a question to the group: What do you think about starting a Jesuit college prep high school in Texas? With enthusiasm, Martin and the group quickly responded, “Let’s do this. It’s got to be here in Houston.”
Martin, who has been involved with CRJ since 2006, was once a member of the CRJ Feasibility Committee, and a CRJ Founding Board Member and Treasurer. He continues to support CRJ’s Corporate Work-Study Program (CWSP) by employing students at BDO. BDO, formerly known as UHY Advisors TX, L.L.C., is one of the 10 founding companies that have proudly partnered with CRJ for 10 years!
After a Feasibility Study Committee was formed and the study was done, “it was like solving a puzzle,” Martin said. “We put the pieces together. The Province already had a leader in mind, Fr. TJ Martinez, SJ. We set an ambitious goal to open the school in 12 months.” Martin’s wife, Susan, who became CRJ’s first Communications Director, went door-to-door in the neighborhoods surrounding the refurbished school and advertised at grocery stores and churches, looking for ninth graders to start the school.
“There’s tremendous need for education and a need to create a path for students who are struggling economically, so that we can provide an environment where they grow and prepare for college,” Martin said. “It’s extremely rewarding to watch the students come in as freshmen and completely change into professional, confident, hard-working adults. Everything seems so new to the students. They come in here wide-eyed and eager to learn.”
“He’s very proactive and a hard worker,” said BDO Office Administrator Lernette Patterson, about the sophomore student she supervises, who, after working at BDO for two years, has decided to pursue an accounting degree in college.
“There’s always something for me to do here,” the CRJ sophomore said. “I’m most proud of how I can look co-workers in the eye and handle myself professionally.”
“It’s up to us to produce workers of the future,” Martin concluded. “We take great pride in mentoring these students and we see the value in our efforts. This provides a great way for our company and employees to give back. This has been one of the most incredibly rewarding experiences I’ve been involved in. The CWSP presents a great opportunity to invest in the future; to make a difference in the lives of these students.”