Kevin Stocks: The Artisan Accountant
What do fabric scraps and rocks have in common? For Marriott School accounting Professor Kevin Stocks, both have the potential to become works of art. Stocks spends his free time away from his BYU School of Accountancy (SOA) duties honing two very different skills: making quilts and polishing semi-precious stones.
“We teach our students to have balance in life,” Stocks says. “This is the balance in my life. I don’t golf or go to sporting events too often. I’m home a lot, and this is something I can do with my family.”
Stocks and his wife work on quilts together throughout the year and then give them to family members, friends, and neighbors. Stocks doesn’t do the sewing himself—the blankets are machine quilted once his wife has done the basic sewing. It’s his job to create the design and cut out the individual fabric pieces.
“When my mom got into quilting she convinced me that it’s the same concept as a jigsaw puzzle, but you can keep it and use it,” Stocks says. “So I did one and became hooked.”
The quilts have even become a service opportunity for Stocks to touch many lives. He and his wife employ local young women to help put the scraps together. The quilts are then donated to police departments and given to children who are displaced from their homes or in similar unfortunate situations.
Stocks’ other hobby is just as unique. Polishing rocks to create jewelry or other trinkets is a favorite pastime for Stocks and his grandchildren.
“My grandkids will spend forever in the rock shop, and they’ve even started running their own tumblers,” Stocks says.
Rock tumbling is not a quick undertaking, though. The four-stage process requires a month or more depending on how quickly you change out the polishing material. But Stocks doesn’t hesitate to share his hard work with those around him.
“We give them away to friends,” Stocks says. “The jewelry isn’t fancy, but people are surprised and seem pleased with it.”
This spirit of service carries over into Stocks’ career as well. For the past thirty-one years he has taught at every level of the Marriott School’s accounting program and served as the SOA chair from 2003 to 2012. He also has experience as the president of the American Accounting Association and is currently president of Beta Alpha Psi, an international honor society.
Often busy with his academic duties, Stocks appreciates that his hobbies don’t require a sense of urgency. Creating quilts and polished rocks requires an artist’s touch and the patience to produce something beautiful over a period of time.
“The reason I like quilting and rocks is that if you get busy on something else, you can set them down and nothing happens,” Stocks says. “I may get started on a project and then it may be a year before I get back to it.”
However, the time he spends on these projects is precious. Stocks and his wife turn rock hunting trips to southern Utah into relaxing getaways. Even better is the feeling that the couple is passing something on to their family.
“Every one of the grandkids has a quilt, and they still come and ask, ‘Grandpa, can we make a quilt?’ So we go and cut one up.”