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Legal Services Receives Bayer Fund Grant To Help Families with Children with Special Education Needs

ST. LOUIS (Feb. 22, 2021) – Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has received a $25,000 grant from Bayer Fund to support free legal support services for low-income families with children who need special education services to succeed in school. The services underwritten by the Bayer Fund grant will be used to support at-risk families and children living in North St. Louis County and will concentrate efforts on children attending schools in the Ferguson-Florissant, Hazelwood, Jennings, Normandy, Pattonville, Ritenour, and Riverview Gardens districts.

“This Children’s Legal Alliance Educational Advocacy Project funded by Bayer Fund helps both parents and children get the education needed to succeed.  This includes homeless families and children who, by federal law, are entitled to a quality education,” stated Daniel Underwood, Managing Attorney of the Children’s Legal Alliance Project. “This is particularly important during COVID when children may not be in the classroom,” said Underwood. “We are very grateful for Bayer Fund’s partnership to help children and families in under-served communities,” said Underwood.

For more information about the Children’s Legal Alliance Education Advocacy Project, or any of Legal Services’ programs, call 800-444-0514 or visit www.lsem.org.

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About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has provided free civil legal help for low-income families for 65 years. In 2020, more than 30,000 people in 21 counties of eastern Missouri received services from four regional offices. For more information, please visit www.lsem.org.

Purk & Associates, P.C., Expands Business Services Division

Chris Wittich and Ashley Lieberman join Business Services team as Associates.

St. Louis (February 18, 2021) – Purk & Associates, P.C., the leading, woman-owned St. Louis-based accounting, and management advisory firm, announced today that Ashley Lieberman and Chris Wittich joined the firm as Associates in the Business Services Division.

In her new role, Lieberman will ensure that audit standards are met for client matters and will work with individual and business clients on reviews, compilations, and audits.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Business in Accounting, and a Master of Accountancy from Maryville University located in St. Louis.

Wittich will conduct audits, compilations, and reviews for clients in industries that include Department of Labor ERISA, manufacturing, not-for-profits, low-income housing, construction, employee benefit plans and labor unions.  He earned a Bachelor of Accounting from Mississippi State University located in Starkville, MS.

Earlier this month, Purk & Associates, P.C. announced that it merged with two local accounting firms with two principals from the mergers joining – Terry Knox, CPA, formerly of Dwyer Costello and Knox P.C.; and Dough Pleus, CPA, formerly of Pleus & Company, LLC.

At the same time when the merger was announced, Purk & Associates, P.C. hired Holly Breuer, CPA, who joined as Principal and Chief Operating Officer, and Candice Carter who joined as a Director.

Because of the mergers and addition of talent, Purk & Associates, P.C. estimates that 2021 revenue is on track to be $5 million, nearly $2 million more than 2020 revenues.

“The talent of our entire team is second to none. We are well positioned to help clients with all their personal and business tax, audit and accounting matters,” said Jennah Purk, CPA, President and CEO, Purk & Associates, P.C.

About Purk & Associates, P.C.

Founded in 2009, Purk & Associates, P.C., headquartered in St. Louis, is the leading, woman-owned, independent accounting and management advisory firm that delivers a full range of tax, accounting, audit, wealth management and consulting services, by providing high-touch attention to clients’ needs. The firm’s mission – Achieve More—allows Purk & Associates to focus on helping their clients achieve their personal and professional financial goals. To learn more, please visit www.purkpc.com.

Two St. Louis Accounting Firms Merge with Purk & Associates, P.C.

Purk expands senior management team with Doug Pleus, CPA, Pleus & Company, LLC; Terry Knox, CPA, Dwyer Costello and Knox P.C.; Holly Breuer, CPA, and Candice Carter

St. Louis (February 16, 2021) – Purk & Associates, P.C., the leading, woman-owned St. Louis-based accounting, and management advisory firm, announced today that Pleus & Company, LLC; and Dwyer Costello and Knox P.C. have merged with them.

Doug Pleus, CPA, former owner of Pleus & Company, and Terry Knox, CPA, former partner at Dwyer Costello and Knox, join the firm’s senior management team.

“I’ve known Doug and Terry for years, and I have great admiration for their talents and the accounting firms they founded. When we started talking separately about merging firms, it was because each firm had unique strengths, similar core values, and strong client relationships. It all came together at the end of 2020 to merge their firms with Purk” said Jennah Purk, CPA, President and Co-Founding Shareholder, Purk & Associates.

Also, Purk hired Holly Breuer, CPA, as a Principal and Chief Operating Officer, and Candice Carter as a Director.

“I have known and worked with Holly and Candice for more than two decades. We are fortunate to have such talented, dedicated and energetic professionals join our team,” added Purk.

Because of the mergers and addition of talent, Purk & Associates estimates that 2021 revenue is on track to be $5 million, nearly $2 million more than 2020 revenues.

The firm has enhanced and expanded its tax, audit, accounting, and wealth management expertise for the following service lines:

  • Department of Labor specific to Labor Unions
  • ERISA Audits
  • Healthcare
  • Not-for-Profit
  • Tax-Centric Investment Management
  • Valuation and Calculation Services

The new senior management members include:

  • Holly Breuer: Breuer works with privately held businesses and their owners consulting on topics ranging from day-to-day operations to complex business structures and regulatory issues. She is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which allows her to work directly with clients to value their businesses.
  • Candice Carter: Carter specializes in bookkeeping, controllership, payroll, IRS and Department of Revenue representation, tax return preparation and planning for businesses and individuals. In her role, Carter is responsible for new business development and client engagement for the controllership and tax division.  Candice brings more than 20 years of accounting and tax experience.
  • Terry Knox, CPA: Knox will work with the firm’s Audit department, performing audits, reviews and comps for a variety of clients including local unions, employee benefit plans, not-for-profits, and partnerships.  Prior to joining Purk & Associates, Knox was a partner at Dwyer Costello and Knox where he was a majority owner since 1985.
  • Doug Pleus, CPA: Pleus will focus on taxation for small business services, and individual tax and consulting services.  He works with small and medium-sized businesses in a variety of industries, including healthcare, manufacturing and distribution, real estate, technology, and service businesses.


About Purk & Associates, P.C.

Founded in 2009, Purk & Associates, P.C., headquartered in St. Louis, is the leading, woman-owned, independent accounting and management advisory firm that delivers a full range of tax, accounting, audit, wealth management and consulting services, by providing high-touch attention to clients’ needs. The firm’s mission – Achieve More—allows Purk & Associates to focus on helping their clients achieve their personal and professional financial goals. To learn more, please visit www.purkpc.com.

Dave Lamb Joins Lakenan Insurance Group as National Property Director

St. Louis (Feb. 15, 2021) – Lakenan Insurance Group, a leading multi-faceted independent insurance broker that is part of the Sunstar Insurance nationwide network, recently announced that Dave Lamb joined as the National Property Director.

Prior to joining Lakenan, Lamb owned DL Insurance Group. He merged his firm with Lakenan when he accepted his current position.

In his role, Lamb leads Lakenan’s property insurance division working with property owners and managers throughout the United States to create customizable risk management solutions.  Bringing more than 15 years of experience, Lamb specializes in working with multi-state portfolios and has done extensive work with large frame portfolios, coastal properties, aluminum wiring, LITEC and subsidized housing, as well as shock loss properties.

“Dave is a well-known and highly regarded leader in the property insurance industry. He has extensive experience working with multiple types of properties throughout the country, and he possess the business acumen to help his clients succeed,” said Jason Spore, Lakenan Insurance Group Executive Vice President.

Lamb’s portfolio includes insuring more than 60,000 apartment and condominium units. He has worked on multi-billion-dollar property programs with domestic and international carriers. For his involvement with creating these programs, Lamb was named in the 2016 “Top 40 People Under 40” by Insurance Business America.

Lamb graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Economics from Truman State University located in Kirksville, MO. 

About Lakenan

Founded in 1939, Lakenan is a multi-faceted independent insurance broker dedicated to providing the resources, products, and expertise serving clients throughout the country with reducing risk, securing assets, and protecting their futures. Lakenan maintains its headquarters in St. Louis, and with four offices throughout Missouri. The firm is part of the Sunstar Insurance Group nationwide network. To learn more about Lakenan, please visit, http://lakenan.com.

Education Justice Goes Digital

Legal Services Creates New App to Help Students & Parents

ST. LOUIS – The pandemic has drastically changed how students “attend” school, whether they are in-person, remote, or in a hybrid combination. Unfortunately, for some students and families, it is now even harder to access the education they are legally entitled to.

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, through its Education Justice Program, has introduced the EdRights App to provide students and parents with easy-to-use information about their legal rights for school and education services.

In 2016, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri formed the Education Justice Program to assist families and students who were denied equal access to quality education as outlined by the law. This program helps families deal with school enrollments, special education assistance, suspensions, expulsions, and other issues that limit access to learning.

Nationwide, students of color are suspended and expelled at inordinately higher rates than white students. A 2017 ProPublica report found that Black Missouri public school students were 4.4 times more likely to be suspended than white students even though Black students comprise only 16 percent of all students enrolled in Missouri public schools.

“We found that parents and students need basic information about student rights,” stated Amanda Schneider, Managing Attorney of the Education Justice Program. “The easiest and quickest way to get information to people is through their smart phones and tablets,” she noted.  “Thanks to support from the Deaconess Foundation, we created the EdRights Appthat parents and students can access for free from our website,” said Schneider. The App can be used on a web browser or downloaded to a phone or tablet home screen for easy reference.

The EdRights App is free and can be found at lsem.org/edrights-app. For more information about the Education Justice Program, contact Amanda Schneider at ajschneider@lsem.org.

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About Legal Services of Eastern Missouri: Celebrating 65 years of providing equal access to justice for individuals and families. Since 1956, more than 1 million people in 21 eastern Missouri counties have been helped. For more information or to get help, please visit www.lsem.org. Offices in St. Louis, Clayton, Union and Hannibal, Missouri.

Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter Elects 2021 Board of Directors

Jan. 25, 2021 (St. Louis)  – The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, recently elected its 2021 officers and board of directors.

The 2021 ACC STL officers include:

  • President: Sven Fickeler, Bunzl Distribution USA
  • Vice President / President-Elect: Kate Krebel, Leonardo DRS, Inc.
  • Treasurer: Jennifer Herner, MiTek, Inc.
  • Secretary: Beverly Garner, Bunge North America Inc.
  • Immediate Past President: Brian Parsons, Centene Corp.

Sven Fickeler 2020Sven Fickeler, ACC STL 2021 president, said, “One of the priorities this year is to continue to provide value to our membership with frequent access to quality topics and events in partnership with our sponsors despite the ongoing constraints and challenges caused by the pandemic. We have strong relationships with our sponsors who have been supportive in switching to all virtual events until circumstances allow us to resume in person events.”

“I am excited to continue the Chapter’s award-winning diversity program and am proud that we will again be offering corporate internships to students with a diverse background even if it has to be in a remote setting. Despite the pandemic, we will be expanding our internship program this year, which is a testament to our host companies’ commitment to the program,” added Fickeler.

The 2021 board of directors include:

  • Advocacy: Jennifer Feldhaus, Centene Corp.
  • Corporate Counsel Institute (CCI): Tyrus R. Ulmer, The Boeing Company
  • Communications: Danielle Langeneckert, Ascension Group
  • Diversity: Tamee Reese, AT&T Services Inc.
  • General Counsel Forum: Kate Molamphy, ICL Americas; and Erika Schenk, World Wide Technology, Inc.
  • Annual Golf / Spa Event: Anthony “Jay” Repaso, Mastercard
  • Law School Relations: Pam Howlett, Bayer; and Margy Weisman
  • Membership: Vikas Sunkari, SSM Health
  • Practice Area Networking (PAN) – Labor & Employment: Toni Douaihy, Macy’s Inc.
  • Past President Council Chair: Brian Parsons, Centene Corp.
  • Pro Bono: Patricia Duft, Medtronics, Inc.
  • Professional Development: Geoffrey Grammar, Ameren Services
  • Programs: John Farmer, Charter Communications, Inc.
  • Social: Chrissy Teske, Commerce Bancshares, inc.
  • Sponsorship: Denise Whitener, Wells Fargo Law Department
  • Director: Christopher Goddard, Washington University

In 2020, the ACC STL received the Gold Chapter of Distinction by the national Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC). The award recognizes the Chapter’s accomplishments in areas including programming, membership recruitment, and governance / operations. Also, the ACC STL received the 2020 Innovation Award from the national Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) for its 2019 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Summer Internship Program.

Contact:

Ann Marie Mayuga, AMM Communications

314.485.9499

annmarie@ammcommunications.com

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 550 members who represent more than 100 organizations.  The ACC STL has been recognized as one of the leading chapters in the country by the national Association of Corporate Counsel with having received the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Gold Level Award, and selected for the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit, https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.

Affinity Law Group Promotes Tabitha Atwell and Andrew Rushing to Members

St. Louis (Jan. 20, 2021) – Affinity Law Group, a leading St. Louis-based boutique business, estate planning and employment law firm, recently announced that Tabitha Atwell and Andrew Rushing have each been promoted to Member.

“Tabitha and Andrew have been instrumental in the growth of Affinity with their energy, leadership and dedication. We are excited to have them as part of the management team, and we look forward to seeing the impact they will make on the firm,” said Kathleen Bilderback, JD, LLM, Affinity Co-Founding Member.

Atwell joined the firm in 2008, and her practice is focused on estate planning, asset protection, wealth preservation planning, probate, elder law, and estate and trust administration. She received her Juris Doctor (J.D) from Saint Louis University School of Law, and is a member of the Missouri Bar Probate and Trust Committee, the Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee, the Missouri Bar Taxation Committee, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. Atwell is also a member of WealthCounsel and ElderCounsel, both of which provide a nationwide network collaboration for trusts and estate attorneys and other legal, tax and business professionals.

Rushing, who joined Affinity in 2014, has served as counsel to closely held businesses and their owners since 2007, and specializes in mergers and acquisitions, commercial financing, private equity and other business transactions.  He also provides ongoing advice on day-to-day operational issues, and has extensive experience in commercial real estate transactions. Rushing received his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and his B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Affinity Law Group’s mission is to partner with its clients to provide strategic counsel and tailored legal services integral to their business and personal success. To learn more, please contact 314.872.3333or visit, www.affinitylawgrp.com.

Tom Dunn CPA Firm Launches YouTube Channel

St. Louis (Jan. 12, 2021) – Tom Dunn CPA Firm, a St. Louis-based accounting, business advisory and tax preparation firm for small business owners and entrepreneurs, recently launched a new YouTube channel.

Videos posted on the YouTube channel feature Tom Dunn, founder and CEO, of Tom Dunn CPA Firm, where he discusses steps entrepreneurs need to take to succeed in business, shares his experiences from being in entrepreneur for more than 20 years, and why it is important for business owners to have the right professional team to help them succeed.

To subscribe to the Tom Dunn CPA Firm YouTube channel, please visit, https://www.youtube.com/user/TomDunnCPA

Tom Dunn CPA Firm has a unique process with the way it manages client relationships. Dunn explained that he asks clients to come in each week for a weekly 20-minute meeting where clients need to sign their personal and business checks prepared by his team of accountants, discuss business strategies, and understand the general financial direction of their businesses.  A benefit is that clients meet with Dunn, who is an entrepreneur having owned more than 10+ businesses throughout his career, and he shares his experience with each client to help guide his clients to make better informed decisions.

Dunn has been selected by Small Business Monthly readers for past multiple awards including Best Accounting Firm, Best in Reliability, Best in Customer Service, and voted One of the Most Innovative Companies in St. Louis. He has also been voted one of the “Top 100 People to Know in Business in St. Louis.”

Last month, Tom Dunn CPA Firm launched a new website, http://tomdunncpafirm.com.

About Tom Dunn CPA Firm

Tom Dunn CPA Firm, founded by Tom Dunn, CPA, is a St. Louis-based accounting, business advisory and tax preparation firm that serves small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits, families, and trusts.  Nearly 20 years ago, Tom decided to focus on his passions of accounting and helping entrepreneurs find solutions. Tom and his team can manage the business and personal financial, accounting and tax needs of their clients by partnering with them so they have a better chance at success, life-changing-results and peace of mind. To learn more, please visit, http://tomdunncpa.com.

Tom Dunn CPA Firm Launches New Website

Dec. 8, 2020 (St. Louis) – Tom Dunn CPA Firm, a St. Louis-based accounting, business advisory and tax preparation firm for small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits, families, and trusts, recently launched a new website.

“As our business has grown, our website needed to grow to become more responsive for the growing use of mobile devices, stay competitive, and attract prospective clients,” said Tom Dunn, CPA, founding-partner of Tom Dunn CPA Firm.

To view the new Tom Dunn CPA Firm website, please visit, http://tomdunncpa.com.

The new website speaks more directly to the different client types served with better descriptions of the different services offered and value/benefits provided by the firm.  It is also very user friendly for prospective clients to set up a meeting directly with a firm partner for a free consultation.

Dunn said that he asks clients to come in on a regular basis for meetings where clients sign their checks prepared by his team of accountants, discuss business strategies, and understand the general financial direction of their businesses.  The other benefit of the Tom Dunn CPA Firm is that Dunn is an entrepreneur himself having owned more than 10+ businesses throughout his career, and he has the experience to help guide his clients to making informed decisions.

Dunn has been selected by Small Business Monthly readers for past multiple awards including one of the most innovative companies in St. Louis, and best customer service and best in reliability. He has also been voted one of the “Top 100 People to Know in Business in St. Louis.”

 

About Tom Dunn CPA Firm

 

Tom Dunn CPA Firm, founded by Tom Dunn, CPA, is a St. Louis-based accounting, business advisory and tax preparation firm that serves small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits, families, and trusts.  Nearly 20 years ago, Tom decided to focus on his passions of accounting and helping entrepreneurs find solutions. Tom and his team can manage the business and personal financial, accounting and tax needs of their clients by partnering with them so they have a better chance at success, life-changing-results and peace of mind. To learn more, please visit, http://tomdunncpa.com.

The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter Receives 2020 Innovation Award

ACC STL Recognized for 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Summer Internship Program

Dec. 3, 2020 (St. Louis) – The Association of Corporate Counsel – St. Louis Chapter (ACC STL) received the 2020 Innovation Award from the national Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) for its 2019 Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Summer Internship Program.

Started in 2012, the D&I Committee began work to launch the Summer Internship Program as part of the Chapter’s commitment to develop diversity programs and initiatives throughout the St. Louis region. The program places a diverse student who has successfully completed his or her first year of law school in the legal department of a corporation, and in 2019 there were 6 student interns.

The Summer Internship Program is designed to provide students with exposure to and experience in in-house practice. It is also designed to be a “diversity pipeline,” opening up opportunities to populations within law schools that may lack access to and/or knowledge of in-house legal practice, such as students from demographic groups who are under-represented in the legal profession and students whose family backgrounds lack in professional careers, college degrees or exposure to the law, explained Vikas Sunkari, 2020 ACC STL D&I Summer Internship Program Chairperson, and Senior Legal Counsel, System Legal Affairs, SSMHealth.

Members of the D&I committee work with local companies to provide an in-house counsel internship for students to gain hands-on experience and receive valuable career advice from seasoned veterans. Each internship is a 40-hour work week over a 10-week period. The interns are exposed to issues in-house counsel of the host company experience each day.

“We are thrilled to receive the Innovation Award. The ACC STL has made a commitment to expand the programming, education, and events of the D&I Committee. This year, we’ve introduced and co-hosted with the ACC Kansas City Chapter a book club that has been extremely successful among our members and generated meaningful conversations,” said, Tamee Reese, 2020 ACC STL D&I Chairperson, and Assistant Vice President, Senior Legal Counsel, AT&T Mobility & Entertainment.

Introduced this year, the D&I Committee book club brings members together to learn from one another to discuss topics individuals may experience in their corporate environments and personal lives on matters regarding race, cultural, and interpersonal relationships. The programs involve Diversity & Inclusion experts who serve as moderators to guide the book discussions among the members.

About the ACC STL:

The Association for Corporate Counsel of St. Louis (ACC STL), the pre-eminent professional development organization serving in-house counsel, was founded in 1987. The St. Louis chapter has more than 620 members who represent more than 169 organizations.  The ACC STL has been recognized as one of the leading chapters in the country by the national Association of Corporate Counsel, having received the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 Gold Level Award of Distinction, and selected for the 2018 Best Membership / Recruitment Award. To learn more, please visit  https://www.acc.com/chapters/stlouis/.