Title: Co-founder, Whitley Penn LLP CPAs and Professional Consultants

Why You Need to Know him: Because Penn, 54, has a reputation as “the best business-valuation guy” in Texas among the state’s highest-profile executives and celebrities.

Currently the partner-in-charge of the litigation and business-valuation practice at Fort Worth-based Whitley Penn, firm co-founder Penn is a specialist in both business valuation and explaining complex financial matters in court. Litigation, which accounts for about 75 percent of the practice, can involve issues ranging from divorce and economic damages to insurance law and patent infringement.

Penn is so good testifying about valuations, it’s said, because he’s taught the subject to groups including a regional chapter of the Texas State Society of CPAs. Under his direction the 12 professionals in the practice focus on “teaching skills and the presentation of numbers,” Penn says. “We try to bring [valuation] alive by making it understandable.”

Consulting for entrepreneurs accounts for the rest of the practice, which overall has been growing by 10 percent to 15 percent annually. Among the businessperson’s typical concerns: valuing gifts and plotting exit strategies.

“We love what we do,” Penn says. “Every day, I may be meeting a new entrepreneur who loves to think about their business. … It makes it a joy to get up and go to work.”