NEBRASKA SOCIETY OF
Certified Public Accountants
SERVING NEBRASKA AND ITS CPAS SINCE 1928
HISTORY

General Information
Established: 1928 Membership: 2,632 (as of February 1, 2016) Office Staff: 4 full-time staff.
Governance: An eleven person Board of Directors elected by the membership plus chapter presidents.
Past Presidents & Chairmen of the Board
1936 - Henry Moeller
1937 - Henry Moeller
1938 - O.R. Martin
1939 - O.R. Martin
1940 - Harry E. Judd
1941 - Harry E. Judd
1942 - J.H. Imig
1943 - Phil Johnson
1944 - Aloysious Congdon
1945 - Donald W. Lambie
1946 - Morris M. Shapiro
1947 - J. Edmunds Miller
1948 - R.W. Johnson
1949 - Orin Contryman
1950 - Phil Johnson
1951 - Merle L. Gotfredson
1952 - Walter Witthoff
1953 - Corwin D. Moore
1954 - Albert J. Keiser
1955 - Joseph T. Sullivan
1956 - Villiers R. Gerd
1957 - E. Ross Martin
1958 - John M. Waters
1959 - J.B. Dresselhaus
1960 - Donald S. Erion
1961 - Lawrence F. Chandler
1962 - Marvin E. Jewell
1963 - Sheldon Bernstein
1964 - Bernard Urich
1965 - Dean L. Busching
1966 - Verne R. Moseman
1967 - Robert E. Henderson
1968 - Robert E. Henderson
1969 - Ernest H. Kenyon
1970 - Donald L. Darst
1971 - Bernard E. Greenberg
1972 - Boyd R. Hammond
1973 - Herman D. Weist
1974 - Robert G. Hinrichs
1975 - Duane L. Thelen
1976 - James A. Herbert
1977 - Larry R. Larson
1978 - Dale E. Gruntorad
1979 - Paul L. Dutton
1980 - John T. Connor
1981 - Gary D. Wieck
1982 - Harold E. Hoff
1983 - Ronald F. Ueberrhein
1984 - Donavon A. Heimes
1985 - J. Thomas Knight
1986 - Robert A. Helm
1987 - James F. Rouch
1988 - John W. Hancock
1989 - William V. Strain
1990 - David A. Emry
1991 - Patrick J. Jung
1992 - Keith D. Snyder
1993 - Jerry D. Sestak
1994 - Keith C. Mitchell
1995 - William L. Gaines, Jr.
1996 - Janice M. Mumm
1997 - James R. Greisch
1998 - Thomas J. Purcell, III
1999 - Robert K. Muehling
2000 - Elaine E. Booth
2001 - Donald D. Kluthe
2002 - Edward W. Fitzgerald
2003 - G. Randall Hansen
2004 - Thomas Von Riesen
2005 - David E. Lechner
2006 - Bryan P. Robertson
2007 - Robert C. McChesney
2008 - Leo J. Panzer
2009 - Tracy S. Black
2010 - John B. Fruhwirth
2011 - Julie D. Bauman
2012 - Patrick J. Lavelle
2013 - Daniel L. Wells
2014 – Anthony J. Pruss, III
2015 – Patrick G. Kirlin
Society History

On March 10, 1908, at the Millard Hotel in Omaha, an association of public accountants organized and over the next few years adopted the name “Nebraska State Association of Public Accountants.” The group adopted a constitution and bylaws, formed committees but decided not to incorporate. The Association elected its first Chairman J. M. Gilchrist, who held the first CPA certificate in Nebraska and whose descendants are still active in the Society. Along with Gilchrist, other founders of the Association were J. W. Tulleys (Cert. No. 3), R. F. Svoboda (Cert. No. 4), R. B. Merriam (Cert. No. 5), E. A. Dworak (Cert. No. 6), Emil Ganz (Cert. No. 8), E. J. Robinson (Cert. No. 9), A. L. Searle (Cert. No. 11) and George W. Holbrook (Cert. No. 14).

However, on a July day in 1928, the Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants was formed and became one of Nebraska’s premier professional associations. The Society was established when six public accountants met on July 23, 1928, to approve the Articles of Incorporation of the Nebraska Society of CPAs. Signing as incorporators of the Society were Henry C. Moeller of Lincoln who held Nebraska CPA certificate #18 and would eventually become the Society’s first President, G. Lawrence Greenfield of Omaha (Cert. No. 28), Raymond H. Walker of Lincoln (Cert. No. 35), Calvin B. Remmington of Lincoln (Cert. No. 36), Wayne McPherren of Omaha (Cert. No. 47) and Harry E. Judd of Lincoln (Cert. No. 48).

The Society grew slowly at first. In 1938, Society records reflect that there were only 23 members; that number grew to 52 in 1948, and then to 207 in 1958. In 1968, the membership grew to 320; 510 in 1970 and then took a major jump in the 1970’s to reach 1,390 by 1980. Part of the reason for the 1970’s growth was the passage in 1971 by the Legislature of mandatory continuing education for licensed practitioners. Nebraska was the first state in the Union to pass such legislation and it led to the Society sponsoring increasing numbers of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses for its members.

The late 1950’s proved to be the turning point for the Society. In 1957, the Nebraska Public Accountancy Act passed the Nebraska Legislature, and in 1958, Arnold Magnuson was hired as a part-time staff person. Magnuson would, over the next 32 years, guide the growth and expansion of the Society and eventually become its full-time Executive Vice President. Magnuson was the only employee until October 1972. At that time, the Society opened its first executive office and employed an executive director (Magnuson) and one secretary. Currently, there are 4 employees. The executive offices were first located in the Stuart Building in Lincoln, but in 1985, the office was moved to the Roman L. Hruska Law Center across the street from the State Capitol. When Magnuson fully retired in 1992, the membership had grown to approximately 2,400. In 1990, Dan Vodvarka was named the Society’s second Executive Vice President. In 1995, his title was changed to President, and the highest elected Society office was changed to Chairman of the Board.

In 1971, the Society offered only two or three educational programs each year. However, that number grew to 5 in 1972, 40 in 1975 and 54 in 1980. Currently, the Society schedules nearly 100 CPE courses each year.

In 1928, there were three committees on which members could serve: Committee on Legislation & Education, Committee on Finance and Committee on Ethics. Today, the Society has 9 committees and occasional ad hoc committees and task forces which are established to accomplish specific goals.

The Society has always been active in monitoring the actions of the Nebraska Legislature and U.S. Congress. The first lobbyist for the Society was hired in 1956, and today Walt Radcliffe of Radcliffe and Associates lobbies for the Society along with Vodvarka. Tied to the lobbying is the Society’s Political Education Committee (PEC) which was established in 1982 and makes contributions to the campaigns of Nebraska’s State Senators. Annually the Society holds a reception for all Nebraska State Senators on the evening before the first day of each legislative session. This tradition began in the mid-1970s and remains a highly attended event by usually 30 of Nebraska’s 49 State Senators.

Historically, the Nebraska Society has led the nation in supporting “cutting edge” legislation for accountants. As previously mentioned, Nebraska was the first state to pass mandatory CPE legislation. In 1991, Nebraska became the 14th state in the Union to pass the 150-hour education requirement for new CPAs, and in 1994, the Society helped draft and supported a successful effort in the Nebraska Legislature to pass the first bill in the nation allowing for the partial ownership of CPA firms by non-CPAs. In 2009, the Society helped draft and supported the quick passage of “CPA Mobility” legislation. The new law allows licensed CPAs from other states to practice public accountancy in Nebraska without the need to obtain licensure by reciprocity, register or pay a fee to the Board of Public Accountancy. In 2013, the Society helped draft and supported passage of “Expanded CPA Experience” legislation and in 2017 the Society continues its long opposition to efforts to extend Nebraska’s sales tax to professional services.

In an effort to directly help accounting students and Nebraska colleges and universities, the Foundation of the Nebraska Society of CPAs was established in 1976. In 2016, The Foundation provided nearly 70 annual accounting scholarships to select accounting students at 14 Nebraska colleges and universities. The first President of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation was J. B. Dresselhaus of Lincoln. Over the years the Foundation has experienced constant growth through generous donations from CPAs and members.

During 2016, the Society celebrated its 88th Anniversary at its Annual Meeting and Fall CPE Conference at LaVista. Today, with almost 2,635 members and under the leadership of Chairman of the Board Michelle Thornburg of Omaha, Society members can reflect on a history of growth and accomplishments with pride and look forward to a future in which the Nebraska Society will search for new and innovative ways to serve its membership and the CPA profession.




635 S. 14TH ST. SUITE 330
LINCOLN, NE 68508
(402) 476-8482
(800) 642-6178
(402) 476-8731