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Press Release: Indiana CPA Society honors 28 award winners and finalists at 2023 CPA Celebration

Nov 20, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana CPA Society (INCPAS) is pleased to announce the winners and finalists for the 2023 INCPAS Awards honoring outstanding CPAs and related professionals in Indiana. All category finalists and honorees were chosen by the INCPAS Awards Committee comprised of members of the Board of Directors. The Chair's and Distinguished Service Awards were selected by INCPAS leadership.

This year’s winners were announced at the annual INCPAS CPA Celebration on November 17 at The Crane Bay Event Center. The event benefited the Indiana CPA Educational Foundation, which raised more than $7,000 in donations supporting student pipeline prograkms including INCPAS Scholars, career awareness events and college scholarships.

"The Society was honored to take time to recognize this year's award finalists and those who triumphantly passed the CPA Exam," said INCPAS President & CEO Courtney Kincaid, CAE. "The achievements of those we honored are genuinely inspiring, showcasing an incredible capacity for accomplishment. Their success lights up the future, making the entire night exceptionally rewarding and uplifting. The CPA community is grateful for the opportunity to bring their stories and successes to light."

We congratulate the following winners and finalists in each category:


This award honors an individual or organization that has advocated on behalf of the CPA profession by working with the INCPAS advocacy team, legislators and/or regulatory officials.


Thomas Bayer, CPA, CExP, Sikich LLP — Indianapolis

Tom shared his expertise to help members with Employee Retention Credit claims and issues, helped guide our work in the PTET legislation, and advocated for the profession on our behalf on WISH-TV’s Business Equity & Opportunities program. Tom is a valuable resource as we prepare for new Beneficial Ownership Information reporting requirements, sharing tools and resources of value.

Brian Myers, CPA, Crowe LLP — Indianapolis

Brian played an instrumental role on the Society’s Pass-Through Entity Taxation working group — drafting, implementing and providing clarity on Indiana’s PTET Bill this year. Working closely with the bill authors, Indiana has greatly benefited from Brian’s expertise and dedication.

Donna Niesen, CPA, KSM — Indianapolis

Donna played an instrumental role in helping with clarity on Indiana’s Pass-Through Entity Taxation Bill this year as well. Donna serves on the Indiana CPA Society’s Tax Resource Advisory Council, as a CPA Advocate and as a Technical Reviewer.

Advocacy Award - Tom Bayer, Donna Niesen & Brian Myers

This award honors an individual who has overcome significant challenges or adversity in their path to professional success.


Tonde Yorbana, CPA, MBA, Franciscan Alliance
— Roseland

Tonde was born in Chad and studied business in Cameroon after high school. No institutes in Central Africa offered the CPA Exam, so he enrolled in a French institution to complete the curriculum. He completed his master’s degree online, attended the English Program for Internationals at the University of South Carolina, then graduated from the MBA program at the University of Notre Dame. It took 15 years, but—just shy of his 40th birthday—he finally achieved his goal of obtaining his CPA license.


  • Derek Magee, CPA, Donovan CPAs — Indianapolis
  • Beth McGraw, BGBC — Indianapolis

Breakthrough Award - Tonde Yorbana


This award honors up-and-coming leaders in the profession — examples of leadership can be for their employer, clients and/or the community. Must be under age 35 on December 31, 2023.


Jose Castro, CPA, CIA, Protiviti — Indianapolis

After 18 months of preparation, Jose Castro led the charge to revitalize the Indianapolis chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), which is now 200 members strong. He currently serves as their President. He has already helped start student chapters at Marian University and IUPUI, and has a Ball State University chapter in development.

Erica Emanuel, CPA, Viewrail — Goshen

Erica is a controller and manages five team members at ViewRail manufacturing company. Her leadership within her community is prolific—she is a baseball coach for the Goshen Boys & Girls Club, track and field coach for Goshen High School, coach for Goshen Parks Department, and chair for Elkhart County Young Republicans. Most recently, she ran for a Goshen City Council At Large seat.


  • Trinity Ellis, CPA, Donovan CPAs — Brownsburg
  • Madeline Kurcz, CPA, Marian University — Indianapolis
  • Troy McAlister, CPA, Indiana University — Carmel

Emerging Leaders Award - Erica Emanuel & Jose Castro


This award honors an individual who has gone above and beyond to serve INCPAS in volunteer role(s). Must be an INCPAS member.


Cameron J. Bails, PwC LLP — Indianapolis

Cameron’s involvement with the Society began during his college years, where he regularly spoke with Indiana CPA Society Scholars during their annual trip to Indiana University. Since then, he has dedicated his time to support the Society’s pipeline initiatives. From becoming an incredible mentor in the Scholars program to helping high school students better understand opportunities in accounting through multiple CPA Week presentations, CJ’s commitment to the profession's talent pipeline has inspired countless students to consider careers in accounting.

John Lawrence, CPA, John M. Lawrence & Associates CPAs, LLC — Newburgh

John is a long-time, recognized discussion leader for the Society and is also an INCPAS member! As our members navigate unprecedented changes—like PTET and Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements—he invests a significant amount of time to bring fellow members up to speed. Reading guidance, teaching new concepts and serving as an on-demand resource, his proactive volunteerism is invaluable.

Volunteer of the Year Award - CJ Bails


This award honors an individual or organization that is building, diversifying and/or retaining talent in the profession. Presented by FORVIS.


Karen Hill, Katz Sapper & Miller — Indianapolis

Karen oversees and is expanding KSM’s recruitment team. She recently helped KSM secure its first high school accounting apprentice through EmployIndy’s Modern Apprenticeship Program. She collaborates with the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI’s Headquarters of Urban Business for their internships and entry-level roles. She also evaluates KSM’s hiring process to ensure it’s free of biases and barriers for underrepresented individuals and groups. In the past year, the success of her efforts are evidenced in a 33% increase in new hires of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.


  • Sarah Ames, CPA, DOZ — Indianapolis
  • Jose Castro, CPA, CIA, Protiviti — Indianapolis
  • Michael Jamison, CPA, CGMA, OnTarget CPA — Indianapolis

Talent Pipeline Award - Karen Hill


This award honors a transformative individual or organization implementing activities, processes or programs designed to address future issues/needs. Presented by Leaf Software Solutions.


Amy Northard, CPA, The Accountants for Creatives — Morgantown

Amy’s vision is for entrepreneurship. She founded The Accountants for Creatives, a boutique virtual CPA firm that works with creative entrepreneurs and artists. Her firm is rapidly growing and now employs 16 accountants across the country. Amy proactively equips small business owners with free tips and tools they need to get started through her free “Know Your Worth” online course; shares her expertise as a speaker for events throughout the creative industry; and provides time- and money-saving content to help these artists gain a foothold and grow their passion projects.


  • Shannon Borden, CPA, Blue & Co. — Seymour
  • Sara Jacobi, CPA, Blue & Co. — Columbus
  • Paul McCann, CPA, Red Earth CPA, LLC — Wabash

Visionary Award - Amy Northard


Honors outstanding long-time or up-and-coming women within the CPA profession. Presented by ACAChamp.


Mary Riggle, CPA, CGMA, Donovan CPA — Indianapolis

Mary was a leader at La Rosa & Company for 40 years before it was acquired by Donovan CPA, where she is now a partner. She is a past president of both the AICPA’s Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance and the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Society of Women Accountants. Mary also has been a leader for the Society, serving as chair of Indiana Firm Day and on several project teams, including Promotion of Accounting Education, Public Relations, and Management of Accounting Practice.


  • Amy Northard, CPA, The Accountants for Creatives — Morgantown
  • Nickie Redick, CPA, FORVIS — Indianapolis
  • Margene Zink, CPA, CGMA, Kruggel Lawton CPAs — Elkhart

Women to Watch Award - Mary Riggle
We congratulate the following winners selected by INCPAS leaders.


Presented by the former Board chair, this award honors an individual who has had a profound impact on their career or board service.


William Heffelfinger, CPA, CGMA, Kruggel Lawton CPA — South Bend
Presented by Barry Hall, CPA, CGMA, Kruggel Lawton CPA (2021–22 INCPAS Board Chair)

Bill joined Kruggel Lawton CPAs in 1991 and was elected partner in 1997. In his current role, he specializes in assurance, tax and consulting services for closely held business in Northern Indiana.

"As I am approaching the twilight of my professional career, there are many who have helped me along the way but none more than Bill," said Barry Hall. "Throughout the years, as I have taken on different roles in our current firm, Bill has always been the one I can go to for help or a listening ear. On numerous occasions, he has helped me see a different perspective."

Chair's Award - William Heffelfinger & Barry Hall

Sherrill Rude, CAE, Indiana CPA Society — Indianapolis
Presented by Diane Sturek, CPA, MAcc, Indiana University Kelley School of Business (2022–23 INCPAS Board Chair)

Sherrill joined INCPAS in 2007 and has been advocating on behalf of members and the CPA profession in Indiana ever since. She is the often first line of defense for issues that members are encountering with state agencies, online portals, proposed legislation and more. She leads members of the INCPAS Advocacy Council, Tax Resource Advisory Council and Government Relations Advisory Committee, as well as special Working Groups as needed. She runs point and collaborates with the Indiana Department of Revenue, IRS, Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, Indiana Board of Accountancy, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and more.

"I am honored to choose Sherrill Rude for this prestigious award, as she clearly embodies all the qualifications," said Diane Sturek. "During my time on the board of directors of INCPAS, I was able to see Sherrill in action. The many initiatives included 120 hours to sit for the CPA Exam, Employee Retention Credits, Indiana Pass-Through Entity Taxation, and Beneficial Ownership Information reporting requirements. During these tumultuous times, we all saw how Sherrill responded to member posts to the member network regarding these issues with her characteristic calm and clarity."

Chair's Award - Sherrill Rude & Diane Sturek


This award is the highest honor given by INCPAS. It recognizes a member who has made major, long-time contributions to the profession, INCPAS or the AICPA during their professional careers.


Benjamin Kimmerling, CPA, CGMA, CBIZ Somerset — South Bend

For more than 20 years, Ben has been helping the CPA profession on both a statewide and national level. With INCPAS, he served on the Board of Directors from 2003–2007 and chaired from 2006–2007. He also served on the Finance Committee, Government Relations Advisory Council, Leadership Cabinet, Officer Nominating Committee, Peer Review and Uniform Accountancy Act Exposure Draft Project Team. With the AICPA, he represented INCPAS as a member of the AICPA Council and was elected by the AICPA to serve as the Indiana delegate for its Governing Council.

Ben shared his recorded acceptance speech by video.

Ben Kimmerling

Thank you to this year’s Presenting Sponsors Leaf Software Solutions and ACAChamp, and the Exam Candidate After Party Sponsor FORVIS.

Thank you to this year’s VIP Tier 1 Table Purchasers: Donovan CPA, Katz Sapper & Miller, NABA, OnTarget CPA, and RSM US, LLP.

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