VonLehman Announces New Vice President of M&A Advisory Services

Ely Friedman

Ely Friedman

Fort Wright, Ky.-based VonLehman & Company Inc. (FY17 net revenue of $21.9 million) announced Ely Friedman as vice president of the firm’s mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory services group. Friedman joins VonLehman with nearly a decade of experience dealing with the sale and acquisition of private businesses. As Vice President of the firm’s M&A advisory group, he will be directly responsible for consultation and advisory services relating to founder-owned private businesses.

“Ely’s experience working exclusively with founder-owned private businesses is a perfect complement to our team’s dynamic,” says Keith Carlson, director of VonLehman’s M&A advisory services group. “There is a tremendous need for this type of advisory service in the Tri-State area. Our region is a hotbed for founder-owned and operated private businesses who need professional assistance in handling critical sales and acquisitions. Needless to say, we are very excited about the expertise Ely brings to our group.”

With the continued growth of the mergers and acquisitions market, VonLehman launched the M&A Advisory Services group over one year ago. Success in the group’s first year resulted in the need for additional resources. With the addition of Friedman, the group is now comprised of five individuals. VonLehman’s M&A Group offers expertise in mergers and acquisitions (buying or selling), succession planning, financial restructuring, valuation, due diligence, and strategic consulting.

“There are so many things that can go wrong when a business owner attempts to handle sales and acquisition transactions on their own,” says Friedman. “I have a passion for working with business owners to guide them through this process so they are able to make well-informed decisions. I am thrilled to be working with Keith Carlson, one of the best in our industry, and I’m excited to be part of the growth of our M&A Group at VonLehman.”

BKD Wealth Advisors Expands to Denver

Jack Thurman, president of BKD Wealth Advisors, a subsidiary of Springfield, Mo.-based BKD (FY17 net revenue of $564.4 million) announced the expansion of Wealth Advisors into Colorado. Justin Wheeler, a senior managing advisor, will relocate to serve clients from BKD’s new Denver location.

Justin Wheeler

Justin Wheeler

“We are excited for Justin to transition and expand our presence to Denver,” says Thurman. “He has been an important asset to our team and we believe he will continue to be one as we expand.”

Wheeler provides wealth management services to affluent families, foundations and small businesses and helps clients develop their goals into solutions. He is a Certified Financial Planner and a member of the Financial Planning Association®.

“We’re happy to have BKD Wealth Advisors expanding to our Denver office to better serve our clients and grow the firm,” says BKD Denver MP Jeff Ronsse. “This is certainly a win-win situation for all involved.”

RubinBrown Admits New Partners

St. Louis-based RubinBrown (FY17 net revenue of $91 million) has admitted Jeff Albach, Renita Duncan, Tim Kendrick, Ethan Kent, Becky Knezevich, Mark Ommen, Andrew Schmitt and Jason Stalberger as partners within the firm.

Albach will be partner in the assurance services group in the Las Vegas office. His public accounting experience includes serving clients in a range of industries including construction, not-for-profit organizations, employee benefit plans and other small businesses.

Duncan, partner in the assurance services group, has more than 10 years of accounting experience. She works with clients in various industries including, but not limited to, public sector, not-for-profit and professional services. She has experience in performing Uniform Guidance single audits, GAAP financial statements and audits for government entities.

Kendrick, a partner in the tax consulting services group, provides an array of services including tax return, tax planning, IRS examination matters and tax consulting. He works with clients in the architecture and engineering, contractor, manufacturing and distribution, and real estate industries.

Kent, a partner in the assurance services group, has more than 17 years of public accounting experience includes serving clients in a range of industries including not-for-profit, government, employee benefit plans and other small businesses.

Knezevich is a partner in RubinBrown’s assurance services group and not-for-profit group, where she serves as the leader of the team member development committee. In addition, she has experience working in the real estate, and manufacturing and distribution industries. She specializes in audit, attest services and internal controls/operations.

Ommen provides audit and other assurance-related services to public and privately held clients primarily in the manufacturing and distribution, biopharmaceutical and retail industries. He also works with clients and private equity groups to provide both buy and sell side due diligence as well as merger and acquisition support.

Schmitt has more than six years of experience providing audit services for clients in the real estate industry. He specializes in low-income housing and historic tax credits, real estate investment funds, HUD and employee benefit plans.

Stallberger, a partner in the tax consulting services group, has more than 10 years of experience working with clients in various industries including cable and telecommunications.

Behymer Named Director at Brady Ware

Melessa Behymer

Melessa Behymer

Dayton, Ohio-based Brady Ware & Company (FY16 net revenue of $17.4 million) announced that Melessa Behymer has been promoted to director within the firm.

Behymer works on a variety of accounting, auditing and consulting engagements. She works closely with nonprofit organizations, health care providers, franchisees, startup companies and a variety of other types of businesses. She has an extensive background in governmental auditing and oversees several audits of nonprofit organizations that are recipients of federal funding. In addition to auditing, Behymer specializes in nonprofit taxes and is an active member of Brady Ware’s learning culture committee.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that Missy Behymer has transitioned into the role as Director,” says Brian Carr, co-CEO and director of Brady Ware. “She joined our team as a Staff Accountant, and, through hard work and perseverance, now embraces a leadership role in our firm’s health care niche. Her passion and industry knowledge in both the health care and nonprofit sectors make her essential in providing excellent client service and increasing market presence in these important segments.”

“I look forward to my new role as Director for Brady Ware. The firm has empowered me from day one as a Staff Accountant and continues to support me as I advance into this role. I will be providing growth focus for the firm in the Healthcare niche and I am eager to expand the practice,” says Behymer.

Behymer joined the firm in 2005. Prior to embarking on her career in accounting, she spent 12 years in consumer finance.

RSM Names Banse National Franchise Leader

Chris Banse

Chris Banse

Chicago-based RSM US LLP (FY18 net revenue of $2.1 billion) announced that Chris Banse has been named as the firm’s national franchise leader.

In his new role, Banse will provide insights to the marketplace about issues and trends affecting franchisors and franchisees. He will also enable retail and restaurant client service teams to provide franchise-specific insights. Banse, an audit partner in Dallas, has more than 15 years of experience serving retail and restaurant companies.

“The franchise industry is set up for another year of growth,” says John Nicolopoulos, national retail and restaurant sector leader with RSM US LLP. “Chris’ background and expertise will serve as a tremendous asset as we continue to serve middle market franchise clients and deliver ‘the power of being understood’ to help them navigate this exciting time in the marketplace.”

“I am excited for this opportunity to lead the franchise team for the firm,” says Banse. “I look forward to working closely with our retail and restaurant industry teams as we continue to successfully serve a growing number of middle market franchises.”

AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor Announce 2018 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Awards

The AICPA and CPA Practice Advisor recognized 25 leaders in the accounting profession with the 2018 Most Powerful Women in Accounting Award.

Award recipients come from a wide cross-section of the profession, and perform a broad range of roles, from executives with Big 4 firms and Fortune 500 companies to small firm owners and consultants. The awards, now in their seventh year, were created by CPA Practice Advisor and – starting this year – are jointly administered by the AICPA.

“This year’s group of award winners exemplifies the aspects of leadership, skill, and mentorship that make them stand-outs in their roles,” says Gail Perry, editor-in-chief of CPA Practice Advisor. “Our profession is better because of their active participation in making this a better place for everyone.”

The AICPA became involved with the awards as part of the institute’s efforts to promote and support the success of women for the broader purpose of sustaining the profession.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this group of award winners and their contributions to the profession,” says Jacquelyn Tracy, chair of the AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee (WIEC). “Collectively, they show there are many paths women can take to make an impact and wield influence.”

The WIEC sponsors research, the Women to Watch awards, mentorships, networking opportunitie, and oversees the annual AICPA Women’s Global Leadership Summit.

A group of 13 judges selected the award recipients, using the following criteria for candidates:

  • Demonstrates she is a driving force in creating a culture of innovation or excellence within her organization or helped, as a vendor, to develop technologies that empower firms to be more productive and profitable
  • Has reached a level of management and ownership within her company, with demonstrable impact on its success
  • Actively mentors those following in her footsteps

The 2018 winners are:

  • Karen Abramson, CEO, Wolters Kluwer Tax and Accounting
  • Danielle Supkis Cheek, director of entrepreneurial advisory services, PKF Texas
  • Susan Coffey, executive VP of public practice, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
  • Lynne Doughtie, U.S. chairman and CEO, KPMG
  • Abby Dupree, MP, Carroll & Company CPAs
  • Jennifer Elder, owner, The Sustainable CFO
  • Sarah Elliott, principal and co-founder, Intend2Lead LLC
  • Kimberly Ellison-Taylor, global strategy leader for the financial services industry, Oracle America, and immediate past chairman of the AICPA
  • Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte U.S.
  • Julie Gustavsson, partner and COO, Keiter
  • DeAnn Hill, owner, DeAnn Auman Hill CPA
  • Jenni Huotari, partner and director of business outsourcing and strategy, Eide Bailly
  • Kacee Johnson, strategic advisor, CPA.com, and founder, Blue Ocean Principles
  • Elizabeth Pittelkow Kittner, controller, Litera Microsystems
  • Tamera Loerzel, partner, ConvergenceCoaching LLC
  • Samantha Mansfield, director of professional development and community, CPA.com
  • Gail Perry, editor-in-chief, CPA Practice Advisor
  • Amy Pitter, president and CEO, Massachusetts Society of CPAs
  • Natasha Schamberger, president and CEO, Kansas Society of CPAs
  • Lindsay Stevenson, vice president of finance and tax, 1st Financial Bank USA
  • Amy Vetter, president and CEO, QuickStart Training Inc.
  • Jennifer Warawa, executive VP of partners, accountants and alliances, Sage
  • Katherine Watts, PIC, Horne LLP
  • Sandra Wiley, president, Boomer Consulting Inc.
  • Jennifer Wilson, co-founder and partner, ConvergenceCoaching LLC

Grant Thornton Names Baril National Managing Principal of Innovation

Kevin Baril

Kevin Baril

Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY17 net revenue of $1.8 billion) has named Kevin Baril as the firm’s national managing principal of innovation.

In this newly created role, Baril will ensure that innovation is central to Grant Thornton’s services model. This will include launching new internal and client platforms and leading innovation investment and commercialization, as well as co-innovation with Grant Thornton’s clients.

“Our clients’ needs are changing fast: Technology and automation are upending the status quo, and they’re creating new ways for Grant Thornton to generate value for our clients,” says Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Kevin will help our clients take what we call a ‘Status Go’ approach — to play the same course as everyone else but with a unique game.”

“All companies struggle with transformation,” says Baril. “That’s why Grant Thornton approaches innovation differently – putting the business strategy before the technology, and innovating alongside our clients, not off in some distant center. The result is the best solution, instead of something miniaturized from the largest corporations.”

Baril has more than 27 years of consulting experience focused on strategy, technology transformation and systems implementation. He has consulted clients across industries on a broad range of business technology issues. These include cloud solutions, service offering strategy and formulation, application management, go-to market execution, and sales and business development management.

Previously, Baril was a principal on Grant Thornton’s Business Consulting & Technology team in Advisory Services. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, he served as vice president of Global Business Services at IBM.

Falendysz Joins UHY Advisors as Director of Corporate Finance

Jeremy Falendysz

Jeremy Falendysz

Chicago-based UHY Advisors (FY16 net revenue of $126.8 million) welcomes Jeremy Falendysz as director in Detroit. Falendysz is an experienced investment banker with more than 15 years in the industry representing a total deal value of over $60 billion. He worked on Wall Street for 10 years, including as vice president in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division, in addition to positions with UBS and Deutsche Bank. Prior to joining UHY, he spent five years with a Birmingham-based boutique investment banking firm serving middle-market clients.

“Adding Jeremy is a critical resource for our practice on a national level,” says Steve McCarty, managing director at UHY Advisors. “His years of experience in investment banking, particularly in the energy space will allow us to expand our portfolio and will present new opportunities for our team.”

Falendysz has advised middle-market and large cap private and public clients on sell-side and buy-side M&A transactions, as well as corporate separations, equity/equity related capital raises and debt capital raises. Falendysz has completed transactions in multiple industries, including automotive/transportation, consumer products, distribution, energy, health care and industrial products. While working across various industries, he developed a particular expertise within the energy sector, including assignments in sub-sectors spanning pipelines and terminals, exploration and production, refining, renewables and oilfield services.

Grassi & Co. Welcomes Sawhney as Principal

Sareena Malik Sawhney

Sareena Malik Sawhney

New York-based Grassi & Co. (FY17 net revenue of $59.6 million) welcomed Sareena Malik Sawhney as a principal in Grassi’s fraud, forensic and litigation support group based in their Manhattan offices. Sawhney will focus on providing services in the areas of complex fraud investigations, forensic accounting examinations, and services related to commercial litigation and damage analyses.

Prior to joining Grassi & Co., Sawhney worked at Marks Paneth and a Big 4 consulting firm with a focus on fraud and forensic investigations, breach of contract damage issues and various bankruptcy fraud matters. Examples of cases she has worked on include assisting attorneys representing a Fortune 500 company in a case involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentation of financial statements and criminal activity of certain individual employees. She has also assisted attorneys in reviewing certain alleged fraudulent transactions in which she had to report her findings to the Audit Committee. Sawhney has also been involved in a number of arbitration proceedings involving shareholder disputes and breach of contract matters.

“Sareena’s areas of expertise make her a true asset to Grassi & Co.,” says MP and CEO Louis Grassi. “We have an extremely strong New York City presence and I am more confident than ever that by expanding our talent pool with great additions like Sareena, we will be better able to serve our clients and be more impactful in this space.”

Caleca, MP of Brown Smith Wallace, Named MSNA Board Vice Chair

Tony Caleca

Tony Caleca

Tony Caleca, MP of St. Louis-based Brown Smith Wallace (FY16 net revenue of $43.2 million) has been named vice chair of the Moore Stephens North America executive board. MSNA is one of eight regional members of Moore Stephens International Limited (MSIL).

As vice chair, Caleca will serve on the MSIL international policy board alongside leaders of other top performing CPA and business advisory firms throughout the world. This will provide Brown Smith Wallace clients expanded depth of the Moore Stephens worldwide organization, while still maintaining the highest level of local accounting firm attention on a regular basis. Caleca is the first Brown Smith Wallace MP to serve on the MSNA executive board.

Brown Smith Wallace has been an independent member firm of MSNA since its inception. This affiliation allows Brown Smith Wallace to extend its reach to serve middle-market companies across the U.S. and the world.