HGBA Member Meet & Greet: Patricia and Bert Van Gils

Patricia and Bert Van Gils
The Van Gils Law Firm, PLLC
70 Main Street, Suite 23, Warrenton

When and why did you decide to start your own company?
Having worked in other law firms, Bert always wanted the opportunity to impart his own values into his own work.  He did not feel he could fully do that working for anyone else. This firm carries his family name which is immensely important to him.

How does your business serve the local community?
The primary “constituency” of our firm are families and small businesses.  We believe that small businesses are the life blood of the nation. Additionally, we have worked with many non-profit organizations.  Counseling not for profit organizations is one of our specialties. Rates for non-profits are dramatically slashed.

Please share one of the greatest moments you’ve experienced in your current profession.
This is a challenge to answer because we cannot pick just one and we must be mindful of not violating our oath to maintain confidentiality.  Let us just say that it brings us great joy to see a concept which was once in someone’s heart and mind manifest into reality. We smile inside when we see a truck with a client’s logo on the street, a client’s business full of customers or a client in the community living his or her dream.  

Tell us about your experience with the HGBA. How has it supported you in your local business?
We are relatively new to HGBA but not new to many of its members.  We have referred many of them to clients who can use their services.  Before referring a client to another business, we need to be assured of their professionalism and integrity.  

What are the top three business tips and tricks you can offer other professionals?
There are no “tricks,” but in terms of advice we would say the following:

  1. Be fully present.  When you are with a client or working on that client’s project, that client is the only client you have.  
  2. Take care of yourself.  Keep the tool sharp. That means be mindful of your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.  You are the most important asset for your business.
  3. Always be honest.  With others and with yourself.  

Are you from this area? If not, what brought you here and what do you like about our town?
Pat grew up in McLean.  Bert grew up in Ohio after being born in Indonesia and immigrating to the U.S. from the Netherlands when he was a child.  We have lived in Fauquier County for 12 years and we love the beauty of the environment, the charm of the small towns and the authenticity of the people in the Virginia Piedmont.    

What is your favorite season in this area, and why?
For Bert, it’s spring, when the earth springs back to life and promises fun summer days ahead.  For Pat, it’s summer. Time to hit the water.

What are some hobbies you enjoy?
We like being by the water, on the water and in the water.  We have a tandem touring kayak which we take about anywhere there’s water.  We like to swim, snorkel and dive, take pictures and hike. We’re also movie buffs, avid readers, and we’re always looking for good live music.

What is your favorite restaurant?
We will plead “the fifth” here.  We have clients who have restaurants and we support them all. For personal choice, it depends on what mood we’re in.  It’s also no secret that Pat is a big seafood lover.

What is your favorite local high school sports team?
Another tough question.  Our niece was a cheerleader at Kettle Run and our nephew was a football and baseball player at Fauquier High.  Hmmm….

Are you involved with any nonprofits? If so, which one(s) and why?
Bert is on the board of the Gloria Faye Dingus Music Alliance which is developing a music and arts center on Main Street in Old Town Warrenton.  The organization raises money to help people buy instruments and take music lessons. Pat is active in the Piedmont Community Resource Group and volunteers as a driver for Voltran which provides transportation to folks in need.

What was your first job, or your most interesting job prior to your current profession?
Pat had her own resume business in Fairfax and was also once a bridal consultant (with many stories to tell). Bert has a sociology degree and previously worked with young substance abusers helping to steer them to better lives.  

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