TXCPA Houston Recognizes Outstanding Members of 2019-2020

The Houston CPA Society is a membership association, founded in 1928, by eight forward-thinking professionals.  It exists for the members and the accounting industry within our membership area. 

The founders of TXCPA Houston had a vision that local CPAs would benefit from meetings and discussions about the local economy, business challenges, and changes in the accounting profession while networking in a social setting.

Fast-forward to June 2020.  What has changed?  TXCPA Houston is 7,300 members strong, and your discussions include increasingly difficult business challenges, economic upheaval, and best practices for firms and industry including maintaining social distancing.  The unprecedented coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on many aspects of your lives.

Members are the lifeblood of any group. As we enter a new fiscal year of anticipated challenges and expected successes, it is important that we pause to recognize our members who have given their time and articulated their visions to TXCPA Houston in 2019-2020.  We are pleased to announce the list of recipients. Everyone receiving an award was nominated by his or her peer.  Chapter leaders reviewed the activities and accomplishments cited in the nominations, then selected those who they believed were most deserving of recognition.

Kristie Ondracek and the TXCPA Houston Awards Committee would also like to recognize Carol Spencer as the recipient of the Exceeding Everest award in 2019-2020.

TXCPA Houston must regrettably postpone recognizing these outstanding members in person until the time we can safely gather.  Watch for an announcement in the near future about the rescheduling of the 2019-2020 Recognition Awards Dinner.



On behalf of the Awards Committee, TXCPA Houston is pleased to announce
the recipients of these distinguished awards.

Significant Contribution by a Member in Public Practice - Kelly J. Hunter

Significant Contribution by a Member in Industry - J. Ramsey Womack, III

Significant Contribution by a Member in Education - Felicia Farrar

Significant Contribution by Student Members - Vincent Gonzales and Fengying Dong

Distinguished Service to the Profession - Charlotte Jungen

Distinguished Public Service - Swapan Dhairyawan

Exceeding Everest Award - Carol Spencer

Outstanding Committee Chair -  Darrell W. Groves, TXCPA Houston PAC Steering Committee

Outstanding Committee Member - Christopher Dodd, CPAs Helping Schools Committee

Outstanding Young CPAs of the Year - Kelly Higginbotham and Jessica Banitt

Outstanding CPA of the Year - Mark D. Lee

Outstanding CPE Event – 2020 CPE Tax Expo - Cason Peters

Outstanding CPE Award  - Chuck Cummings

Outstanding Speaker - Steven J. Tillinger

John B. Harrison Award for Community Service - Justin Jevric

Stan and Margaret Voelkel Contribution to Education - Rubik Yeriazarian

Rookie of the Year  - Mirza Shayan Baig

Special Recognition -  Michael Kraten and Kristie Ondracek

Presidential Citation - Tracy Tyler


TXCPA is proud of the innovation, professional dedication and community commitment of its CPA members 40 years old or younger. Those who have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and active involvement in TXCPA, the accounting profession and/or their communities are recognized as Rising Stars. Read the names of honorees, along with TXCPA award recipients. 

Let’s congratulate our Houston Chapter members who have been selected as Rising Stars Award recipients for 2019-2020!


Jessica Banitt

Shehan Chandrasekera

Kelly Higginbotham

Kelley Lau

Manu Sadiev

Joe Ziadan Receives the
2019 Elijah Watt Sells Award


Congratulations to TXCPA Houston member, Yousef “Joe” Ziadan, for receiving the Elijah Watts Sells Award. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) announced the 137 winners of the 2019 Elijah Watt Sells Award on April 17. To qualify for the award, 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 2019. Nearly 75,000 individuals sat for the CPA Exam in 2019 and Joe Ziadan, a graduate of The University of Houston Main Campus with a Masters in Accounting was one of the 137 to achieve this great honor. We are so proud of Joe Ziadan on his stellar accomplishment.

Read the AICPA - Elijah Watt Sells Award press release here

TXCPA Accounting Excellence Awards, TXCPA Houston Accounting Scholarship recipients, and the Relations with Taxing Authorities Excellent Service Award recipients will be announced at a later date.  Be sure to follow our social media pages this summer for detailed mentions of all award recipients.

If you have any questions concerning the recognition awards or general membership, please contact membership manager, Carol Spencer, at cspencer@houstoncpa.org or 832-831-9232.