Remembering Rainer “Ray” Westphal

Ray Westphal Memorial

In life, there are many defining moments – occasions where a person's life has been undeniably changed – a birth, death, a marriage or divorce, purchasing a home, or even a first kiss. For Ranier “Ray” Westphal, founder of Vertex, his defining moment began in, of all places, the dole queue after being abruptly laid off from his consulting job in 1969.  
Following that pivotal day, the then 34-year-old husband and father of three began  working at a new company, helping develop a lease accounting system with a corporate tax rate table feature. However, the unit was struggling, and with another layoff looming, he and his wife, Antoinette took a risk – that the tax rate table was a niche opportunity to meet an unmet corporate need. It paid off: Ray started Vertex Inc. in 1978, with one employee, a second mortgage and an admirable amount of determination. As a startup in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, conducting business from a dining room table to the trusted global brand it is today, Ray and Antoinette’s vision for this company has truly blossomed into something spectacular.  
He was a visionary who, in the late 1980s, pioneered corporate tax software and had the foresight to develop a recurring SaaS-like revenue model that still drives the business today.  For twenty years, Ray led Vertex, creating one of the first true outsourcing companies in the United States. His approach to our work and our culture continues to have a profound impact on our success. Today, we are the leading public corporate tax compliance technology company in the world, serving over half of the Fortune 500, employing thousands and serving countless others, all for the betterment of global commerce.  
His retirement was spent taking great joy in the simple pleasures life has to offer, surrounded by family and loved ones. All of these precious moments taking place long past that pivotal day when he was standing in the dole queue.  
Ray Westphal’s resilience in the face of adversity led to building a lasting legacy, having an impact not only on those who knew and loved him but also on the way companies around the world do business. We will be forever grateful for his impact on our values and culture at Vertex, never forgetting the importance of fun, curiosity and kindness in all aspects of our work.  

Blog Author

David DeStefano: President, CEO and Chairperson of the Board at Vertex Inc. Vertex delivers the world’s most valued tax solutions for companies to connect, transact, and comply while growing their business.

David DeStefano

President, CEO and Chairperson of the Board

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David DeStefano has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2016, joined our board of directors in 2019, and was appointed Chairperson of our board of directors in 2020.

David previously served as Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Vice President. Prior to joining the Company, he was Principal and Vice President at The Mid Atlantic Companies, Ltd.

David is also on the Advisory Board for Corporate Social Responsibility at the Satell Institute and the Board of Trustees of the Joseph Fund in Camden, New Jersey. He received a B.S. in Finance from Lehigh University.