Dave Reznick (1937-2014).
“Good, wise and generous.” That was the understatement to which many hundreds of heads nodded yesterday morning at a Temple Beth Ami memorial service in Rockville as speakers recalled the spectacularly smart and saintly man whose name adorns the 10th-largest accounting firm in America, CohnReznick.
You would never think Dave Reznick was an accountant, at least if you think accountants are dour number-crunchers. But we saw from long experience he was one of the funniest, most ebullient and perennially cheerful people we’ve ever known—even up to New Year’s Eve, when he lost a two-year bout with cancer. And yet he was also one of the most successful entrepreneurs this region has ever produced. We took this picture in 2007, days before he was inducted into the Washington Business Hall of Fame with Carlyle founder David Rubenstein and political impresario Vernon Jordan.
He was a big fan of jazz, fine wine, Nascar and above all of his wife Sandy and their four kids, who recounted yesterday that he regularly reminded them to look only forward and be “winners, not whiners.” He was also devoted to doing good—something he managed to weave integrally into his professional life. This was a picture we took of Dave and Sandy on the dance floor at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2009 where Catholic Charities honored him for his work on affordable housing, an industry he helped create.
Here’s Dave and his high school pal Ivan Silverman (second from left, with a couple other old buddies of theirs we snapped in March of last year). Together with Dave’s second grade pal Stu Fedder, they created the beginnings of the Reznick Group that merged with JH Cohn in 2012. Years ago, Dave delighted in telling us the details: He and Stu went to the University of Maryland, after which Dave joined Stu’s accounting firm, even though he got only $70 a week to Stu’s $75. By 1967 the firm was renamed Ziger Reznick & Fedder. Dave got his name better placed, he laughed, because he ordered the sign, and even when Stu found out, it stayed there because a change would cost $100. In 1973 the firm merged into Alexander Grant, which later became Grant Thornton. He and Stu left in 1977 and started Reznick Fedder & Silverman, which in 2002 was renamed Reznick Group.
This was a picture we took in 2011 with MoCo economic development chief Steve Silverman presenting a County thank you to Dave and top colleagues David Kessler, Jim Martinko and Ken Baggett at their Bethesda office. How did he get into affordable housing? It grew out of his first job, when he met Sam Gorlitz and Dan Lyons (later a co-founder of Federal Realty Investment Trust), who had a parcel in Landover they were finding difficult to develop and asked him to research HUD interest-rate subsidies. He became the world’s expert.
Here’s Dave in 2012 holding a check we were proud to present to a local nonprofit that repairs homes and storefronts for low income residents of the region and that honored him as Community Builder of the Year for his personal work with them—Dave actually knew how to drywall. We feel privileged to be making another donation to Yachad in his memory today, as the family has suggested in lieu of flowers. They also suggest consideration for the David Reznick Memorial Foundation for Housing and Community Services. As always, Dave’s biggest joy was helping others.