DFK USA Executive Committee Welcomes Three New Members


December 2021: DFK/USA is pleased to announce the addition of three new members, Wayne Eski of Swalling & Associates, John Prescott of Johnson Lambert, and Mike Rompa of Geffen Mesher, to join the Executive Committee. Comprised of nine officers, the DFK/USA Executive Committee, is authorized to act on behalf of the Board and meets monthly, primarily by conference call. The DFK/USA Executive Office, located in Denver, CO, is managed by Maureen Dillmore, DFK/USA Executive Director and Rachel Green, Membership Coordinator. The Denver office conducts and facilitates the day-to-day affairs of the association, including all administrative, communication and financial functions, as well as maintaining member relations as well as maintaining member relations and member services.

“We are pleased to welcome to the DFK USA Executive Committee for the first time, Wayne Eski of Swalling & Associates and John Prescott of Johnson Lambert. Returning as a tenured member of the committee is Mike Rompa of Geffen Mesher. Wayne will do an excellent job representing the voice of the smaller firms in DFK. John will bring a fresh perspective as newer member of the association, and Mike will bring his past experience of serving the the Executive Committee, making for a very well-rounded group of new Executive Committee members. We look forward to all their contributions in the coming years”, said DFK International/USA Executive Director, Maureen Dillmore. Prescott says “I’m really excited about joining the DFK board to help us continue to build the DFK brand and association—it’s a great group of people and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Wayne Eski, Managing Director of Alaska based Swalling & Associates, has 30 years of experience providing integrated tax and accounting services to closely held entities. He is primarily responsible for overseeing comprehensive financial statement and tax engagements. He earned master’s degrees in Accountancy (Taxation) and Real Estate & Urban Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1991 Swalling & Associates, a full-service public accounting firm, has served closely held Alaskan businesses and their executives, owners, and families. They are proudly recognized as one of the premier accounting firms in Alaska.

For 30 years, John Prescott, Managing Partner of Johnson Lambert, has worked toward implementing strategic direction and oversight of firm operations, vigorously pursuing the vision, mission, and core values of the firm. Johnson & Lambert, established in Washington, DC in 1986, focuses on distinct industries that showcase their knowledge, experience and strong network. Services include Audit and Assurance, Tax, Advisory & Consulting, and Regulatory.

Returning to the Executive committee is Mike Rompa, CEO of Geffen Mesher. Mike’s core responsibilities involve managing the people, personalities and perspectives that exist among the firm’s shareholders, seeking consensus regarding matters related to growth, and the direction the firm takes toward its future. Geffen Mesher, based in Portland, OR, was founded in 1933 and proactively provides financial statement audit, tax compliance and consulting servicers to privately held businesses, families, and investors primarily in the Northwest region.

Eski, Prescott, and Rompa join established Executive Committee members: President, Streett Baldwin of Ellin & Tucker – Baltimore, MD; President Elect/Treasurer, Will Eckerson of Bennett Thrasher – Atlanta, GA;; VP of Education, Scott Crane of Reynolds & Rowella – CT; VP of International Relations, Manuel Ramirez of RJI International – Irvine, CA; VP of Committees, Kimberly Ripberger of Bernard Robinson & Co; Vice President of Practice Management, Fred Berk of Friedmann, LLP – New York, NY

DFK International/USA is an association of independent, full-service public accounting and consulting firms with offices serving major markets throughout the United States. The association is affiliated with DFK International, with over 300 offices in over 80 countries. DFK provides independent member firms with a forum to exchange practice management information and technical expertise, opportunities for continuing education and leadership development, and the resources to serve their clients on a national and international level.



Press Contact:

Maureen Dillmore, CMP

DFK North American Annual Conference a Success After Two-Year Hiatus


A successful DFK North American Annual Conference has resulted in an influx of referral requests as delegates enjoyed meeting face-to-face once again.

The three-day event held at Charleston Place hotel, in Charleston, South Carolina, welcomed 93 delegates and 36 accompanying guests.

Presentations covered topics including the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, managing and engaging a workforce and using robotics to transform how firms do business.

There was also a focus on staffing and workforce retention, exploring how to both attract and retain talent within member firms.

This was complemented by a program of social events, giving delegates the opportunity to explore the city and catch-up with friends, culminating in a roaring 20s farewell gala featuring a 14-piece big band.

Maureen Dillmore, Executive Director of DFK USA, said: “It was fantastic to welcome people to our annual conference once again following a two year hiatus due to COVID-19.

“We had an excellent number of delegates in attendance who were all extremely pleased that we were able to make this year’s event happen. This included our two newest member firms who joined the association last year.

“We had a number of precautions in place for the safety of delegates and to also ensure that our Canadian guests were able to return home which was appreciated by all of those in attendance.

“It was clear that people were happy to be back together and pleased to see each other in person again.

“We had some fantastic external speakers covering a number of interesting topics, as well as internal DFK speakers including DFK International President Harriet Greenberg, of Friedman LLP, and Jana Cinnamon, of Abdo Eick and Meyers, speaking about their rebrand.

“The social calendar was thoroughly enjoyed by all, particularly our roaring 20s gala.

“We have received some fantastic feedback on the event, and the enthusiasm of meeting face-to-face has clearly put DFK back at the forefront of people’s minds.

“As a result, we have seen an recent influx of referral requests which speaks volumes about the importance of in-person meetings.”


All Event Photos:
Welcome Reception & General Sessions

Farewell Gala & Social Events

Raelyn Davis Named DFK/USA’s First Rising Star


October 2021: DFK International/USA is pleased to announce Raelyn Davis, Audit Principal, at Friedman LLP as our first ever Rising Star Award Recipient. The DFK/USA Rising Star Award seeks to recognize an emerging leader within the association that exemplifies the following qualities: a record that reflects ongoing and exceptional growth in contribution to the profession, increased levels of leadership, responsibility, and sphere of impact. Additionally, the recipient shows leadership at their firm and is making an impact on the DFK community.

Davis has more than a decade of experience in audit, accounting, and other attest and advisory work. Her primary clients consist of middle market privately held companies in industries such as consumer products (including apparel, footwear, and licensed children’s wear), manufacturing, distribution and retail, diamond and jewelry, construction, and professional services. She also has experience auditing nonprofit organizations and employee benefit plans.

“Raelyn is passionate about women’s development. She is an extremely capable and competent leader,” stated Harriet Greenberg, Co-Managing Partner of Friedman LLP.

Davis approaches engagements aiming to understand her clients’ businesses to provide tailored advice on industry-related topics, including inventory, accounts receivable and factoring, cost accounting, adoption of new accounting standards, internal controls and streamlining operations. She authors content for Friedman’s Fashion Sense newsletter and has been featured by The CPA Journal.

Maureen Dillmore, Executive Director of DFK/USA shared, “I’m very excited be able to reward and acknowledge the efforts of Raelyn Davis by announcing her as the very first recipient of the DFK/USA Rising Star Award. Raelyn came on the DFK scene for the first time this year and jumped right into with both feet. Her contributions to the DFK International Women in Leadership mentoring program embodies the spirit of the DFK community. She played an integral part of the initiative which we hope will become a part of the DFK fabric for years to come. Raelyn is exemplifying the kind of member that makes DFK so special.”

Davis was presented with the award at the DFK North American Annual Conference, which was held the third week of October 2021 in Charleston, SC. The event was attended by over 90 delegates and their guests from the United States and Canada.


Headquartered in Manhattan, Friedman LLP is an industry-focused practice featuring concentrated areas of expertise and understanding of the economic environment, consistently ranked among the Top Accounting Firms and Best Places to Work.

DFK International/USA is an association of independent, full-service public accounting and consulting firms with offices serving major markets throughout the United States. The association is affiliated with DFK International, with over 300 offices in over 80 countries.

DFK provides independent member firms with a forum to exchange practice management information and technical expertise, opportunities for continuing education and leadership development, and the resources to serve their clients on a national and international level.




Press Contact:


Maureen Dillmore, CMP




DFK USA Members Reunite at Multiple Events in June


DFK USA Members Reunite at Multiple Events in June

Members of DFK USA have reunited in-person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began at a leadership development program for new managers.

It was a busy June for DFK USA with five different programs taking place, and members meeting in-person for the first time in nearly 18 months.

The first two of these took place in Denver, Colorado, with 30 delegates taking part in a new managers session which was run both virtually and in person, and 13 people joining a separate in-person session. The programs had been postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic.

The sessions covered leadership skills, managing people, building a book of business and how accounting firms are run.

The program received a large amount of positive feedback from delegates, with one attendee stating: “The course organically encouraged a lot of conversation and participation, which I think is the best way to learn.”

Another attendee added: “It gave a valuable insight on the information a partner needs to run their business and how we measure against others.

“It was an excellent course that covered a broad range of useful information.”

DFK USA’s second leadership development event for new managers was then held in Nashville from June 14 to 16 and proved one of the most popular program after it sold out to 32 attendees.

A Rainmaker program was also held for members in Nashville, with a focus on revenue and selling.

The final event saw a managers’ conference take place in Dallas, Texas, with 38 in-person attendees and other delegates joining virtually from Canada, the UK and elsewhere in the USA.

The conference included discussions on business development, firm culture and succession planning.

Those attending heard from a range of speakers, including DFK members Matt Blank of Friedman LLP, Jeff Jacob, of Wilkins Miller and Bill Wright of Shea Labagh Dobberstein.

Sessions on leadership – including best practices – were also held, and attendees shared information on their latest developments.

Maureen Dillmore, DFK USA Executive Director, said: “The main benefit of any DFK program is a chance to build those trusted advisor relationships with one another and being able to share feedback.

“There was also so much value in getting together and the sessions showed the benefits of meeting in person and making those connections.

“It was fantastic to meet in-person again and the feedback from those who took part has been very positive.”

DFK USA member firms are now looking forward to the North American annual conference in October which is planned to be held fully in person with no virtual attendance option.

The conference will include discussions on managing a hybrid workforce, the new face of the workforce post coronavirus, and diversity and inclusion.


Friedman: NEW Miami Office; Expanded Resources



New Location, Same People-First Approach

Expanding Our Footprint to Meet Clients’ Growing Needs


We are excited to announce that Miami-based Bohlmann Accounting Group will integrate with Friedman, effective July 1, 2021.

Adding boots on the ground in South Florida will strengthen Friedman’s core capabilities in serving the complex needs of closely held and international businesses as well as high-net-worth individuals. Explore how our expanded team brings a shared entrepreneurial and people-first approach to delivering key specializations.

Learn More

This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor are not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters, and accordingly assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use.

© 2021 Friedman LLP. All rights reserved.

Friedman LLP, One Liberty Plaza, New York, New York 10006


IPA MP Profile: Don Mellott, Jr. Mellott & Mellott PLL


Leading Partner, Mellott & Mellott PLL (a 2020 IPA Best of the Best firm)

Years in Business: 65

Main Office: Cincinnati

Staff Size: 40

What is the single biggest challenge facing your firm right now? Succession is probably number one, because we want to find the right people to lead this organization and we want to have them in place ten years from now. Although we’re doing a much better job in this area since we split ourselves between audit, accounting and tax – with the idea that people can become experts much more quickly when they’re specialists than they can when they’re generalists – I still think we need to stay focused on this going forward.

Where do you expect to be focusing most of your attention in the next two to three years? Retaining business as it drops down from one generation to the next is something that we’ll certainly be focusing on. We also need to continue to make sure we’re finding good people. We’re fully staffed right now – which is unusual for firms in this profession – but as we bring in more business, we’re going to continue to have a need here.

I also think shifting away from compliance and toward management advisory services to a larger extent will be a focus area. We’ve already done a pretty good job with this, but it’s definitely where the profession is going, so we need to make sure we keep up.

For decades, the profession has encouraged a move toward partners delivering advisory services beyond compliance. What has been your biggest success in this endeavor? I think the partners here are just committed to meeting with clients and passing the compliance work down to free themselves up to do more consulting. Compliance is still a need for our clients, but it’s no longer what they value as much from us compared to consulting and helping them move forward.

What’s the best advice you have ever received from another leader? The first idea is that you can’t leave until you replace yourself. Another is to make sure you spend enough time on your business and not in your business. A firm of our size can’t afford to pay a managing partner just to manage – you still have to maintain a book of business, and that’s a balancing act.

What one piece of advice do you wish someone told you before you stepped into your current leadership role? There are many more things than I had envisioned that take place in the day of a managing partner beyond billable hours. There are so many more responsibilities that are hard to enumerate. We don’t have a separate HR department, so I do a lot of that. We don’t have people who just take care of our insurance needs and applications, so those go through me. Sales and promotion stuff usually goes through me. There’s an awful lot of work besides my book of business that runs through this office.

How has the MP role changed over the past five years? Technology is such a big piece of what we’re doing now, so we have to make sure we have the technical expertise either on staff or from the outside. It’s just such a major part of everything we do now, and things continue to change so rapidly. And as we go forward possibly working with some clients remotely, the technology piece is going to continue to be a challenge.

What advice would you offer to someone entering the accounting profession today? This profession is all about communication – that’s where relationships start and that’s where they can fail. I think a lot of the younger folks coming in are really good at writing emails and texting, but sometimes they’re hesitant to reach out and call or meet with clients in person or online. Those relationships start with face-to-face meetings, and even though that’s harder right now, the next level down is talking – either over the phone or through a Zoom meeting – and I think people need to be better prepared for that. I wish the colleges would spend more time making that part of the curriculum. We’ll teach you the rest. But the people who come in with solid communication skills and good technical abilities are going to be the ones who really rise in this profession.

How do you stay on top of the profession?  We’re part of DFK International, so I try to attend the managing partner conferences that they offer. Best practice sharing is something that you don’t get unless you’re communicating with other firms. We think we do things awfully well, but we also need to hear what other people are doing – whether it’s the five-man shop or the 350-partner firm. If we want to be nimbler, how do we do it? If we want to get bigger, how do we do that?

We’re also very tied into our state CPA society and the AICPA. I just rolled off as president of the Ohio Society of CPAs, and that keeps us very well-connected with the political environment and the regulatory environment.

Where do you see the accounting profession in five years? How do you see it changing/developing and/or how would you like it to change? I’d like to see the profession become more diverse – I think we look a lot like we did thirty years ago. We’re making efforts, but we have to accelerate everything. We need to spend more time introducing accounting to students at a young age who might not be exposed to the profession otherwise.

And diversity can be across ethnic groups, but it also encompasses the gender gap as well. We’ve been working on it, but it just doesn’t seem to change much. We’re very even when it comes to graduating from school and entering the profession, but when we get to 35-year-olds in the business it becomes much more male-oriented. We have to find ways to bring women back into the profession after they’ve had children – it has to become more user-friendly.

What is your proudest achievement? It’s always hardest to start a firm, so I give credit to my father and grandfather who put the structure in place for this firm and built it up over the years. But I do think myself, my brother and some of the other longer-term partners have really worked hard to take it to the next level by focusing on what we’re really good at. There are a lot of different directions that a CPA firm can go in terms of getting into other revenue streams, but we do best with fairly traditional accounting and consulting. Sticking with those values and strengths has worked well for us, and I’m glad we’ve been able to stay focused on continuing to build on them.



Twelve DFK/USA Firms Named to Forbes America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms List





January 2021: DFK/USA is proud to recognize twelve DFK/USA firms named to America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms in 2020. For the second year, Forbes has partnered with market research company Statista to create a list of the most recommended firms for tax and accounting services in the U.S. based on surveys of tax and accounting professionals and their clients.


“At DFK/USA we are immensely proud of our firm’s recognition on Forbes America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms List.  In a world that is consistently changing, there has never been a better time to be a part of an association, especially one such as DFK that attracts and retains high quality firms. I offer my congratulations not only to all the DFK firms on the list, but to all DFK members that can rely on such reputable firms as resources in the association,” said DFK International/USA Executive Director, Maureen Dillmore.


DFK/USA firms include:

Certified public accountants, auditors, and consultants, Abdo, Eick & Meyers is one of the fastest growing CPA firms in the Mankato and Minneapolis areas.

One of the Northwest’s leading full-service accounting and advisory firms, Bader Martin, in Seattle, WA, combines world-class technical expertise with a reputation for responsiveness and year-round personal attention.

The eighth largest accounting firm in Atlanta, Bennett Thrasher, a premier provider of professional tax, assurance, consulting and wealth management services to businesses and high net worth individuals.

Bernard Robinson & Company LLP (“BRC”), of North Carolina, is a leading CPA and Advisory firm with top business and industry advisors supporting today’s middle market and private companies, not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, government entities, families, and individuals.

Ellin & Tucker, one of the mid-Atlantic’s leading public accounting and business consulting firms, is committed to being “In The Room” delivering expert perspectives for their clients’ biggest decisions, not just the answers they want to hear.

Headquartered in Manhattan, Friedman LLP is an industry-focused practice featuring concentrated areas of expertise and understanding of the economic environment, consistently ranked among the Top Accounting Firms and Best Places to Work.

As one of the Northwest’s leading CPA firms, Geffen Mesher, located in Portland, OR proactively provides financial statement audit, tax compliance and consulting services to privately held businesses, families, and investors.

Headquartered in Michigan, Iannuzzi Manetta brings depth and expertise to its clients as one of the leading certified public accounting firms offering a comprehensive suite of services including accounting, audit, tax, and consulting services.

Ranked the 5th largest Property and Casualty Auditor, Johnson Lambert CPA’s + Consultants, of Virginia, offers a robust audit and tax practice, a dynamic consulting practice that serves their insurance and nonprofit clients, as well as a practice dedicated to serving the needs of insurance regulators.

R&A CPA’s, named in the top 400 Firm’s Nationwide by INSIDE Public Accounting, is one of the Southwest’s largest firms committed to helping clients achieve their financial goals with comprehensive public accounting and consulting services for nearly 80 years.

RJI CPAs, located in Irvine, CA provides tax, accounting and consulting services to thousands of U.S. and international companies in a variety of industries.

Established in 1944, Shea Labagh Dobberstein with three Bay Area locations, provides a comprehensive portfolio of audit, tax, accounting and advisory services to meet the unique needs of their clients.



DFK International/USA is an association of independent, full-service public accounting and consulting firms with offices serving major markets throughout the United States. The association is affiliated with DFK International, with over 300 offices in over 80 countries.

DFK provides independent member firms with a forum to exchange practice management information and technical expertise, opportunities for continuing education and leadership development, and the resources to serve their clients on a national and international level.




Press Contact:


Maureen Dillmore, CMP




DFK/USA Announces the Promotion of Rachel Green


January, 2021: DFK/USA is pleased to announce the promotion of Rachel Green from Membership Coordinator to Membership and Meeting Manager.

Rachel has been in the industry for two years and in her tenure, she’s established excellent working relationships with each committee chair to build a more robust committee schedule with more active participation. She quickly learned new technologies to help facilitate the first fully hybrid managing partners conference and is a trusted resource in connecting individual members to both the DFK/USA and DFK International community. Last winter, she stepped in to help kick off a conference when scheduling conflicts arose.

She’s also built positive and lasting relationships with attendees at DFK/USA conferences, many of whom it’s their first interaction with the DFK community and has helped facilitate the launch of the DFK Rainmaker Series, an opportunity to grow leaders within the association.

On top of her many accomplishments, Maureen Dillmore, Executive Director said, “Rachel joined DFK/USA in 2018 as Membership Coordinator and has been instrumental in the increased momentum and success of our committees over the past couple years. As she takes on the additional responsibilities of her new role she will implement and manage our new members only website as well as play an increased role in the planning of our conferences and events. We look forward to Rachel’s further contributions to DFK/USA!”

DFK International/USA is an association of independent, full-service public accounting and consulting firms with offices serving major markets throughout the United States. The association is affiliated with DFK International, with over 300 offices in over 80 countries.




Press Contact:


Maureen Dillmore, CMP





Jim Dobberstein Appointed DFK/USA President


San Francisco, CA – James R. (Jim) Dobberstein, CPA, Managing Principal of Shea Labagh Dobberstein, a leading Northern California CPA firm, has been appointed as President of DFK International/USA. He and the other members of the Executive Committee will meet regularly to support the organization’s mission of facilitating the exchange of ideas, knowledge and information among DFK Member Firms.

Dobberstein takes over from Steve McDonald of Abdo, Eick, & Meyers. A results-driven and people-centric leader, Dobberstein has over forty years of experience with Shea Labagh Dobberstein. The firm became an independent member of DFK International/USA in January 2012 and was named DFK International Firm of the Year in 2017.

Dobberstein remarked, “Over the years, DFK has been a great resource, enabling our firm’s clients to access accounting resources on a global scale, and providing our staff with educational opportunities. I look forward to continuing my involvement with this leading accounting association, and drawing upon the collective experiences of the Board and the Executive Committee to further DFK International/USA’s mission.”

About Shea Labagh Dobberstein
For over 75 years, SHEA LABAGH DOBBERSTEIN has provided a full spectrum of professional accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services exclusively to privately-held businesses, individuals, and non-profit organizations. The business community recognizes us for having the deep expertise and specialized resources of a national firm, coupled with the personalized attention of a San Francisco-based advisor. www.sldcpa.com

 About DFK International/USA
DFK International/USA is an association of independent, full-service public accounting and consulting firms with offices serving major markets throughout the United States. The organization is affiliated with DFK International, a top ten global association with over 400 offices in over 90 countries. www.dfkusa.com


Source: James Dobberstein, CPA, Appointed President of DFK International/USA – Shea Labagh Dobberstein Certified Public Accountants, Inc (sldcpa.com)