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Convention Speaker Biographies

Lexy Kessler CPA, CGMA

Lexy Kessler is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader for Aprio, serves on the Aprio Board of Directors, and is the Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Council. She previously led the firm’s Government Contracting segment and has over 35 years of experience in the public accounting industry. She is a trusted advisor to business leaders and changemakers in the Mid-Atlantic region, helping clients balance the challenges and opportunities inherent to operating successfully and mentoring young professionals to create a positive impact in the profession. With her experience in assurance, tax and consulting, she is able to constantly seek out new ways to reinvent and improve upon the way her team serves clients.

Lexy is passionate about helping clients adapt to the quickly-changing market, transforming challenges into opportunities. She achieves this by taking a proactive role in addressing their needs and helping them rethink their approach to doing business. Lexy frequently spends time meeting with clients to discuss strategy for their long-term business needs, as well as collaborating with regional leaders in the business community to discuss new ideas for strengthening the Mid-Atlantic business ecosystem.

VJ Smith

V.J. Smith is a professional speaker and published author. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1978 and spent the decade of the 1980s working for the Allied Signal Aerospace Company in Kansas City. He returned to his alma mater in 1990, working for six years in the SDSU Athletic Department. He was appointed Executive Director of the SDSU Alumni Association in 1996. In January 2007 he left that position to pursue a career in professional speaking. Smith travels the country and makes over 100 speaking appearances a year. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Richest Man in Town. The book details Smith’s relationship with a little old man who ran a cash register at a local Walmart.

Jon Lokhorst, CSP, CPA, PCC

Jonathan Lokhorst, CSP, CPA, PCC, is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer, leadership coach, and the author of Mission-Critical Leadership: How Smart Managers Lead Well in All Directions. He works with organizations to develop leaders everyone wants to follow, build teams no one wants to leave, and deliver exceptional results. Before launching Your Best Leadership LLC, Jon enjoyed a 30-plus year career as a CPA, CFO and organizational leader.

Bruce Shpeard, CPA

Bruce Shepard, CPA Las Vegas, Nevada Bruce Shepard was most recently an assistant professor of accounting at George Fox University and an adjunct professor of accounting at the University of Oregon, prior to becoming an instructor for the AICPA in 2012. From 2006-2010, Mr. Shepard was the Chief Financial Officer of Las Vegas Gaming, Inc. in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he had full management responsibility for all financial affairs, daily business operations, administration and human resources.

From 1985-2006, Mr. Shepard was in charge of the Middle Market Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in Portland, Oregon, where he served as an Assurance Partner from 1989-2006 focusing on providing proactive business advisory services to fast-growing companies. At PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, Mr. Shepard spearheaded over 100 acquisitions and divestitures by leading in the financial structuring and negotiations. He worked with clients to develop strategic plans for short-term and long-term growth. He assisted both start-up companies and beyond start-up companies with attaining their needed growth capital.

Art Werner

Arthur Joseph Werner, JD, MS (Taxation), is the president and is a shareholder in the lecture firm of Werner-Rocca Seminars, Ltd. Mr. Werner’s lecture topic specialties include business, tax, financial and estate planning for high net worth individuals. In addition, Mr. Werner is a former adjunct professor of taxation in the Master of Science in Taxation program at the Philadelphia University. Mr. Werner received his B.S. in Accounting and his M.S. in Taxation from Widener University.  He holds a J.D. in Law from the Delaware Law School.  Mr. Werner lectures extensively in the areas of Estate Planning, Financial Planning, and Estate and Gift Taxation to Certified Public Accountants and Financial Planners, and has presented well in excess of 3000 eight-hour seminars over the past twenty-five years as well as numerous webinars and video presentations. 

Randy Hatzenbuhler

Randy Hatzenbuhler, a Mandan native, has worked for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation for over 30 years and has helped raise over $60 million in gifts to further develop Medora, the gateway community to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. He began working alongside the TR Medora Foundation’s first president, Rod Tjaden, and the organization’s founder, Harold Schafer. Hatzenbuhler has served as its President since 1997. During his time in Medora, he has been instrumental in leading the area’s growth in tourism, fundraising, and physical development.

Hatzenbuhler is Executive Director for Development for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, in addition to his role as President of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, where he will join newly appointed CEO, Ed O’Keefe. The integration of these organizations will leverage the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation’s five decades of experience in the Badlands, while connecting people to his Presidential Library, both in Medora – a place TR loved.

Brian Tankersley CPA, CITP, CGMA

Brian Tankersley is a consultant who advises US firms and companies on accounting technology issues. Mr. Tankersley is a frequent speaker at continuing education courses for K2 Enterprises, and publishes a nationally recognized blog on accounting and technology (www.cpatechblog.com). He has also served as the technology editor for a major accounting industry publication. Mr. Tankersley has over 25 years of professional experience, including accounting, auditing, technology, and education, and has been with K2 Enterprises since 2005.