New Jersey Society of CPAs Honors 40 Ovation Award Winners in Seven Categories

New Jersey Society of CPAs Honors 40 Ovation Award Winners in Seven Categories

ROSELAND, N.J. – The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) is pleased to announce that 40 individuals are the recipients of its 2020 Ovation Awards. The annual awards honor exemplary efforts and outstanding achievements in the accounting profession. The seven award categories are Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Exceptional Educators; Emerging Leaders; Impact; Innovation; Lifetime Leader; and Women to Watch.

The individuals selected were recognized by their peers, colleagues, members of the community and/or the NJCPA for significant contributions in advancing the accounting profession. Recipients have been unsung heroes in their local communities, displayed innovative ideas to move the profession forward, shown leadership in NJCPA interest groups or at work and assisted the next generation of CPAs and young professionals. They have made their mark in classrooms, boardrooms and in their offices — all while ensuring the accounting profession is open, diverse and welcoming to new entrants.

“We are thankful for the gracious efforts of these individuals, who routinely give their time to help others. Their commitment to the profession is truly something worth celebrating,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA (DC), CEO and executive director at the NJCPA. “The awards are a great way to show our appreciation for them.”

The winners in each category are:

Lifetime Leader

  • Walter J. Brasch, CPA, CGMA — Chief Success Officer, Prager Metis, CPAs LLC, Basking Ridge

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

  • Irina G. Balashova, CPA, CIA, CFE — Senior Associate, Forensic Resolutions, Inc., Westmont
  • Maria Mauricio, CPA — Senior Accountant, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Kyle M. Sell, CPA, MBA — Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Parsippany

Emerging Leaders

  • Zachary B. Cohen, CPA — Audit Manager, Prudential Financial Inc., Newark
  • Michael J. Dionisio, CPA — Audit & Assurance Manager, Deloitte, Parsippany
  • Amy E. Jennings, CPA — Supervisor, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Matthew R. Kmetz, CPA, MBA — Partner, Lizza, Kmetz & Associates LLP, Lyndhurst
  • Robert N. Kusant, CPA, CISA, CFE, CAMS — Vice President, Senior Internal Auditor, Kearny Bank, Fairfield
  • Peter E. Motsch, CPA, MBA — Audit Manager, Friedman LLP, East Hanover
  • Philip Sookram, CPA, MAcc — Assistant Professor of Accountancy, Saint Peter’s University, Jersey City

Exceptional Educators

  • Dr. James J. Carroll, CPA, CMA, CFE, CFM, CFF, CGMA — Professor, Georgian Court University, Lakewood
  • Dr. Leonard Goodman, CPA, MBA — Professor, Department of Accounting, Rutgers University, New Brunswick
  • Robert F. Scarpa, CPA, MBA — Assistant Chair and Instructor, Rowan University, Glassboro


  • Kathleen Alexander, CPA, CFE, MST — Principal, Sax LLP, Clifton
  • Chris Cowan, CPA, CCIFP — Senior Manager, CohnReznick, LLP, Eatontown
  • Craig Dalinsky, CPA, CGMA — Vice President, SS&C Hedge Fund Services, Jersey City
  • Rich Fuchs, CPA — Managing Partner, Prager Metis CPAs LLC, Basking Ridge
  • Jesse M. Herschbein, CPA, CGMA — Manager-Assurance, Prager Metis CPAs LLC, Hackensack
  • John D. Kelly, Jr., CPA, MBA, MAFM — Owner, John D. Kelly, CPA LLC, Hamilton
  • Joseph McGrath, Jr., CPA — Audit & Assurance Senior Manager, Deloitte, Parsippany
  • Brian G. Nafash, CPA — Manager, Massood & Company, P.A. CPAs, Totowa
  • Steven V. Oroho, CFP® — New Jersey Senator and Investment Advisor, Stonebridge Capital Management, Paramus
  • Marc M. Radin, CPA — Owner, Mark M. Radin, P.C., Glen Rock
  • Alan D. Sobel, CPA, CGMA — Managing Member of the Firm, SobelCo LLC, Livingston
  • Janine Zirrith, PAFM — Firm Administrator, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Edward K. Zollars, CPA — Tax and Technology Partner, Thomas Zollars & Lynch, Ltd., Phoenix, AZ


  • Michael Levy, CIA, CRMA, MBA, CISA, CISSP — Director of Finance and Internal Audit, Student Transportation of America, Inc., Wall Township
  • Karolis Matulis, CPA, CVA — Supervisor, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Sherryll Penney — Manager of Technology and Client Services, MSPC CPAs, Cranford

Women to Watch

  • Amy Y. Both, CPA — Manager, Withum, East Brunswick
  • Melissa A. Dardani, CPA — Manager, Global Forensic Consulting Services, Baker Tilly, Philadelphia
  • Cathy Davis, CPA — Partner, MSPC CPAs, Cranford
  • Rachel F. Efthemes, CPA, MST — Senior Tax Manager, Mazars USA LLP, Edison
  • Jessica Hoffman, CPA — Audit Senior, Deloitte, Parsippany
  • Jessica R. Kizmann, CPA — Manager, WilkinGuttenplan, East Brunswick
  • Elena C. Klarberg, CPA — Senior Associate, Sax LLP, Clifton
  • Sviatlana Lipuma, CPA — Partner, Friedman LLP, Marlton
  • Megan A. Sartor, CPA, ABV, CFF — Partner, Sax LLP, Clifton
  • Katherine E. Zech, CPA — Senior Manager, PKF O’Connor Davies LLP, Cranford

The winners were announced during the NJCPA Annual Business Meeting on June 18 and  will also be featured in the September/October issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. To learn more about the award recipients, visit

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The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, with more than 14,000 members, represents the interests of the accounting profession and advances the financial well-being of the people of New Jersey. The NJCPA plays a leadership role in supporting the profession by providing members with educational resources, access to shared knowledge and a continuing effort to create and expand professional opportunities. Visit

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