Feb 7 • 3 min read
Joe Vanderpool and Ryan Eckrote

Along with learning to measure, analyze and report on financial and non-financial information, Joe Vanderpool and Ryan Eckrote, BBA ‘19, found love in their Cost Accounting course during their time at the Fox School. 

“We sat next to each other in Cost Accounting and had talked a bit in class, but a friend of ours who is also a Fox accounting alumnus had been trying to set us up because she knew we liked each other,” says Vanderpool. “She and Ryan lived together, so she would invite me over to study for Cost Accounting and we just started talking organically. But she was doing a bit of scheming in the background.” 

The two accounting majors started dating two months later.  

After graduation, Vanderpool landed a role at RSM, an audit, tax and consulting firm as an international tax associate, specializing in global tax clients working on specialty reporting and transfer pricing issues. Eckrote was exploring the accounting field, unsure which industry he wanted to launch his career in.  

“We both work at RSM now, which was not the goal originally,” says Eckrote. “I didn’t want to be that person who follows their significant other to a job, but in the process of looking for something that I liked, I really connected with the recruiter for RSM. She introduced me to the partner of the risk consulting practice and when I started learning about what they do, and how the team looks for people with both an accounting and management information systems background, it really pulled me to RSM.” 

Now, Eckrote is a technology risk consulting associate, working in system and organizational control reporting. 

The pair also recently got engaged—but like many couples in 2020 and 2021, their plans were complicated by the pandemic. 

“When I started thinking about proposing, I ordered a ring and its delivery was extremely delayed,” says Eckrote. “And one of our friends had moved to Hawaii—I had all of these plans to have another friend hide in the bushes with her camera, we’ll go for a walk on the beach, and it will be romantic like a movie.”

But with travel restrictions and delays in the delivery of the ring, Eckrote went back to the drawing board and hid his plan from Vanderpool. Their friends and families knew Eckrote had the ring and that he was going to propose, but he needed to find the right time to surprise his future fiancé. 

Finally, Eckrote’s birthday rolled around in August. A party was organized. Eckrote took the opportunity to get down on one knee and popped the question with all of their family and friends with them. 

“I recall asking, ‘Are you serious?” says Vanderpool. 

“Yeah, he thought it was, like, a joke or something,” replies Eckrote.

“I really didn’t suspect anything. I thought I would have some suspicion,” says Vanderpool. 

When Vanderpool asked the group how many of them knew the proposal was coming, everyone in attendance raised their hand. 

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