Luke G. Ratke is an audit partner at Grant Thornton, LLP. A strong believer in the power of relationships, he models the strong impact community involvement can have on his colleagues, family, and our region’s youth.
Tell us about your job.
I am an audit partner at Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, a global accounting firm with 756 offices worldwide. Grant Thornton has more than 50 offices in the United States, including one in Pittsburgh. In our Pittsburgh office, I am the audit practice leader, which allows me to focus on leadership in addition to client service. The leadership aspects of my role includes recruiting, growth (market, practice & revenue), community involvement and people development.
How did you become interested in your career path?
I grew up with an interest in business and knew I wanted to pursue a career in finance/accounting. Public accounting has provided me with the chance to learn many different businesses in various industries while connecting with and assisting my clients through their changing needs. My career in public accounting has resulted in leadership opportunities and challenges that have furthered my personal development.
What do you love about your job?
It’s hard to pick just one aspect, so I will narrow it down to three: coaching and development; relationships; and client service. The coaching and development aspect of our profession is something I truly love. Witnessing team members achieve milestones along the way while growing as professionals is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy developing meaningful relationships with the people I interact with (both employees and clients), and it has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. The connections and bonds I have developed go well beyond the job deliverables. Lastly, I call out client service because we have the opportunity to assist companies throughout their lifecycles – we start with understanding the culture and complexities of their business, so we can help them tackle what they’re facing today and be prepared for what’s ahead.
What do you love about Pittsburgh?
It’s the people in Pittsburgh I love the most. Everyone is so friendly, approachable, and willing to help. It’s genuine and something you don’t experience everywhere. There’s a passion for the local community and city that I find infectious. Pittsburghers exude a sense of pride that is truly admirable. Even when they are far from home, they will be sure to tell you that Pittsburgh is where they were born and raised. I also love a good pierogi and a Steelers, Penguins, or Pirates victory.
What are some things you like to do outside of work?
I spend as much time with my family as possible doing our favorite outdoor activities. We love basketball, soccer, football and tennis. Watching my two daughters and son excel on the fields and courts makes me so proud as a father. I love being able to coach them and just toss a ball with them when I’m not working.
How did you get involved with United Way?
I was introduced to the mission of United Way through the leadership at our Pittsburgh office. I knew I wanted to get involved in supporting the education and development of the youth in our community, and United Way’s mission really resonated with me.
What do you like about United Way?
United Way does a great job of supporting the entire community through their different programs, from youth to the elderly. The organization has a great balance of focusing on the short-term needs of the community while being mindful of long-term sustainability. They support all levels of our community and the passion for their mission is evident in all that they do.
Why is United Way important to our region?
United Way is critical to Southwestern Pennsylvania in order for certain organizations to have the necessary financial support to execute their mission. United Way enables the community and local organizations to provide service to those with urgent basic life needs while also focusing on the longer-term needs of the region.
Why is community involvement important to you?
As the father of three children, community involvement is personally important to me because I want to set a good example. I want to instill in them the importance of giving back – with resources, time, or whatever way you’re able.
What are some of your favorite United Way memories?
One of my favorite memories was the Build-a-Bike event. It was special for us as a Pittsburgh office because of the team building it fostered, not to mention seeing the children’s excited reactions to receiving their bike[s]. The awards ceremony honoring different local businesses and their commitment to United Way also stands out, as it also brought our Grant Thornton Pittsburgh team together to celebrate our support for a great cause and organization.