Embodying Our Values
Meet BKD’s 2018 PRIDE Winners
By Levi Costello
BKD CEO Ted Dickman has a tradition of dropping in unexpectedly to award the firm’s highest honor—the PRIDE Awards—on two teammates every year. This year was no different. The employee recipient, St. Louis Director Brandy Shy, thought it was a last-minute addition to their morning agenda.
“When Ted walked in the door, I initially thought, ‘Oh, what a nice surprise! Ted came to our new fiscal year kickoff!’” she confesses.
The partner PRIDE Award winner—Omaha Partner Justin Roberts—was just as confused when he walked into a room full of people.
“I thought there was a training going on that we were interrupting,” Justin admits. “Then I saw Ted and the cameras, and I put it together pretty quickly.”
BKD employees submit nominations each year for who they think best embodies the firm’s PRIDE values—passion, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence. One partner and one employee are chosen from many nominations.
“It’ll be a special thing to have my name on the PRIDE Wall in the National Office with other people I’ve worked with over the years,” Justin says. “I know how good they are and how great they were for the firm. It’s tremendous company to be in.”
Brandy and Justin may have been shocked to receive this honor, but those who work with them weren’t surprised at all.
Passion & Respect
“When I think of Brandy, I think of complete dedication and passion,” says St. Louis and Decatur Managing Partner Wendy Henry. “She is so dedicated to her clients and making sure they are taken care of no matter what it takes.”
Brandy joined the firm in 2015 and is known by others in the BKD insurance services team as “the go-to insurance tax director.”
“Clearly, Brandy has a deep passion for insurance and her specialization in tax,” says St. Louis Partner Gene Morgenthaler. “She takes that expertise and does a great job of training the younger staff. She’s done a great job of developing a team around her in the insurance area.”
Her teammates consistently mention her vast expertise and unending positivity.
“She’s a reason to come to work every day,” says St. Louis Manager Matt Scheible. “She’s helpful, kind, always willing to guide you through your career and willing to take the minutes to sit down and talk with you about how things are going.”
Integrity & Discipline
Justin joined the Nebraska practice in 2013 and served in the National Office before that, specializing in audit and consulting services to governmental entities, manufacturing companies and contractors. His expertise is part of why he was asked to help our new Madison and Des Moines teammates—who joined the firm in 2017—make the transition to our audit methodology.
“Justin’s integrity is impeccable,” says Abe Cole, BKD’s managing partner for Kansas City, Des Moines and Madison. “He is really focused on doing the right things. If things weren’t held to BKD standards, that engagement wasn’t going out no matter what pressures were out there.”
Managing Partner Tim J. Wilson agrees. “I think Justin exemplifies integrity. He is going to find the right answer—if that’s a bad answer for a client, we’re going to find a way to minimize it, but he’s going to do the right thing.”
Justin’s commitment to integrity has turned him into an incredibly disciplined accountant. “Justin displays discipline through his willingness to get the job done,” says Omaha Director Andrea Mendlik. “He doesn’t want to give up.”
Excellence on a Firmwide Scale
There was one interesting similarity between this year’s winners—many of their nominations came from those outside their home office. Those who forwarded their names saw this as a true testament to their embodiment of the firm’s highest values.
Tim reflects on Justin’s dedication to his co-workers in other offices. “Justin was working so hard helping Madison and Des Moines while also carrying a day job with the Nebraska practice unit. He never once complained. Not once.”
Brandy’s professional mentor, St. Louis Partner Tom Wheeland, thinks her dedication to unmatched client service and her willingness to connect with those around her has made her “famous” firmwide and in her industry group.
“Nobody outworks Brandy Shy. At the same time, she’s very empathetic with those around her. She really has an unbelievable will and desire to keep her clients happy, her staff happy … it’s something I’ve never really seen before. She’s the finest professional I’ve ever worked with. Hands down.”
Our Guiding Values
While no one possesses all the PRIDE values in full, BKD intends for the annual award to inspire those at BKD to be the best version of themselves and perform at the highest possible level. The values the PRIDE Award stands for have brought success to BKD for the last 95 years, and that’s why so many clients choose BKD as their trusted advisor.