Pub. 4 2022 Issue 3


Members in the News

Two Nebraskans Receive Elijah Watt Sells Award

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has announced the winners of the 2021 Elijah Watt Sells Award. To qualify, CPA candidates must obtain a cumulative average score above 95.50 across all four sections of the Uniform CPA Examination, pass all four sections on their first attempt, and have completed testing in 2021.

More than 72,000 individuals sat for the CPA Exam in 2021, with only 57 candidates meeting the criteria to receive the Elijah Watt Sells Award! Two of the 57 award winners are Creighton University graduates:


Colin M. Fitzgerald (Nebraska), a graduate of Creighton University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Accounting, is employed with Seim Johnson LLP in Elkhorn.


Scott Haveman (Colorado), a graduate of Creighton University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Accounting and Finance and Master of Accounting, is employed with Deloitte in Dallas.

Both Fitzgerald and Haveman are graduates of the first accelerated Master of Accounting program at Creighton University—and were roommates as well.

“Passing the CPA Exam is a career milestone,” said AICPA Vice President, CPA Examination and Pipeline, Mike Decker. “Winning the Elijah Watt Sells Award is a very impressive accomplishment. We congratulate these candidates for their exceptional performance, with this honor that very few individuals achieve.”

The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Exam. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the U.S., was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education within the profession. Read more at


Michael F. Berry has become a partner of O’Donnell Ficenec Wills & Ferdig LLP in Omaha. Berry graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His accounting background is in financial and performance auditing for clients in both the corporate and government arenas in addition to tax compliance and planning. In addition, Berry ran his own small business for 12 years, a landscaping company that he sold in 2011. He is a member of both the Nebraska Society of CPAs and the AICPA and volunteers as a board member and treasurer for ACLU Nebraska and on the finance committee for Nebraska Appleseed. He has also served on the Fontenelle Forest Board of Directors.


Ronald K. “Ron” Jester is serving as treasurer of the board for the Food Bank of Lincoln. He has been a member of the board since 2015, volunteering as treasurer for most of those years. Jester’s public accounting career began in 1985; he’s currently a partner at Labenz & Associates LLC in Lincoln. He holds a Master of Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has also received the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. Jester has served as president of the Nebraska chapter and treasurer of the North Central Regional Council of the Institute of Management Accountants and on the Isco Inc. Board of Directors. He previously served on the board of the Groundwater Foundation and on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Accountancy Board of Trustees. In addition to the Food Bank of Lincoln, he presently serves on the board of the St. Paul United Methodist Church Foundation. Jester is a member of both the Nebraska Society of CPAs and the AICPA.


Anthony J. “Tony” Keller has become a partner of O’Donnell Ficenec Wills & Ferdig LLP (OFWF) in Omaha. Keller attended Wayne State College for two years before transferring to the University of Northern Iowa, where he graduated with honors. He started with OFWF in July 2000 and helps the firm’s clients plan and understand tax and financial transactions to assist them in running and growing their businesses. Keller also has expertise in auditing, specifically governmental accounting and auditing. He is a member of both the Nebraska Society of CPAs and the AICPA.


Paul H. Koehler and his wife Mary Ann provided a $1 million gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish a permanently endowed fund for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. The endowment will provide annual support to the college to make enhancements at Howard L. Hawks Hall. In recognition of their gift and longtime support of the college and its students, the College of Business named the vaulted, multistory entryway on the east side of Hawks Hall the Paul H. and Mary Ann Koehler Gallery during a dedication ceremony on May 26. (Pictured are Kathy Farrell, dean of UNL’s College of Business, and Paul and Mary Ann Koehler as they prepare to cut the ribbon during the dedication ceremony.) The Koehlers have a history of funding scholarships at UNL, including establishing the Paul H. and Mary Ann Koehler Endowed Scholarship that provides annual financial support to students in the School of Accountancy who have an interest in financial accounting or auditing within the nonprofit or government sectors. They also created the Paul H. and Mary Ann Koehler Honors Academy Accounting Scholarship to support students who are studying accounting and have been admitted to the College of Business Honors Academy program. Read the full story at


Megan M. McMurry has been appointed to the Salvation Army of Omaha Advisory Board. McMurry is senior vice president and relationship manager with Bridges Trust, where she serves on the financial planning team, investment management team, and executive committee. Prior to her role at Bridges Trust, McMurry was a financial adviser and wealth planning analyst at UBS Financial Services. She also spent nine years as a manager at Dana F. Cole & Co. McMurry earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Concordia University and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of New Orleans. In addition to being a member of the Nebraska Society of CPAs and AICPA, McMurry is involved with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, Omaha Estate Planning Council, Omaha Venture Group, and Basset and Beagle Rescue of the Heartland.


Janet L. Saar has been promoted to chief financial officer of Borsheims. Saar started at Borsheims in 1997 as the controller and most recently served as controller and treasurer. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Before joining Borsheims, she was a CPA with Coopers & Lybrand LLP and held positions in internal audit at Mutual of Omaha.


Amy K. Shreck has been promoted to partner and is among the first class of newly promoted leaders within FORVIS, which has been created from the merger of BKD and DHG on June 1. Shreck is a member of the BKD National Public Sector Group and BKD National Nonprofit Group and has more than 16 years of experience working with governmental entities, public power entities, nonprofits, and higher education institutions. She also leads the BKD Public Sector Center of Excellence. Shreck graduated with highest distinction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a Master of Professional Accountancy.


Leonard M. Sommer of Hancock & Dana, PC in Omaha is one of 14 new members of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Board of Counselors. The board—a group of 84 community and business leaders from Nebraska and beyond—advises UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD in health care issues. Sommer has been assisting family-owned and closely held businesses and their owners for more than 40 years. He presently serves as a managing partner and shareholder of Hancock & Dana, where his expertise includes tax, business, and exit planning services. Sommer received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a member of both the Nebraska Society of CPAs and AICPA. Active in his community, Sommer has served on the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Board, Roncalli Catholic High School Development Board, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advisory Board, A Time to Heal Board, and Omaha Police Foundation Board. He has received numerous honors, including the UNO Distinguished Alumnus Award and the UNO Beta Alpha Psi Chapter Accounting Alumni Award.


State Senator John P. Stinner of Gering has received the 2022 Award for Public Service in Advocacy from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in Washington, D.C. Each year, the National Council hosts the Advocacy Leadership Awards program to recognize select individuals who advocate for mental health and substance use treatment initiatives. Sen. Stinner received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He got his start in accounting at Peat Marwick (now KPMG) and is a retired banker. The senator has a long list of community and statewide involvement and has received numerous awards and honors for his dedicated service. You’ll find his bio at


Stefanie M. Wientjes has become a partner of O’Donnell Ficenec Wills & Ferdig LLP (OFWF) in Omaha. Wientjes graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and the University of New Orleans with a Master of Accounting, Taxation Option. She joined OFWF in 2008 when she moved to Nebraska. Prior to joining OFWF, Wientjes pursued a career in both public accounting and the oil and gas industry. She specializes in tax planning and preparation of small to mid-sized business income tax returns and income tax reporting for related shareholders. In addition to her membership in the Nebraska Society of CPAs, she is a member of the AICPA and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).