Accounting | Advertising | Consulting | Security
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, DIGITAL INTELLIGENCE SYSTEMS LLC (DISYS), MCLEAN
After earning his bachelor’s degree in engineering from George Mason University, Ahmed worked with Northrop Grumman Corp. and Mobil Oil Corp. before founding information technology staffing and consulting services company DISYS in 1998. Today, as CEO and chairman of the board of directors, Ahmed oversees strategic planning, financial management and the DISYS services portfolio.
In the past few years, DISYS has acquired several IT staffing agencies, including Princeton Information and Xtreme Consulting Group. In 2019, the firm reported nearly $500 million in revenues, making it one of the largest staffing firms in the country, with more than 30 offices nationwide. The company has provided staffing services for more than 250 Fortune 500 companies and has an annual growth rate of 30%.
Aside from leading DISYS, Ahmed has served on the board of visitors at George Mason, where he also received a distinguished alumni award from the Volgenau School of Engineering. He has regularly been recognized as a top entrepreneur and staffing industry leader.
PRESIDENT, APEX SYSTEMS LLC, ALEXANDRIA
An Army veteran, Blazer has been with Apex Systems for more than 15 years. The IT staffing and services firm employs 4,000 people in Northern Virginia, Roanoke and the Richmond area (where it was founded in 1995).
After graduating from McDaniel College in Maryland, Blazer earned his MBA from the University of Kentucky and headed for the U.S. Army, serving four years. He began his executive career of 27-plus years at KPMG US, landing at Apex in 2005. He became COO in 2007 and was named president in 2012. In a recognition of Blazer’s industry influence, Staffing Industry Analysts named him to its Staffing 100 North America List last year.
Apex and its parent company, ASGN Inc., combined to form the second-largest IT staffing and services firm in the country. Soon the companies will be in close proximity. In June, ASGN announced it was moving its headquarters and operations from California to Virginia, investing $12.4 million in its new Henrico County HQ and expanding operations to Virginia Beach. The move will add about 700 employees to ASGN’s Virginia workforce.
CEO, THE MARTIN AGENCY, RICHMOND
Cavallo left The Martin Agency after 13 years in 2011 to become president and chief strategy and growth officer of MullenLowe Boston. She returned to Martin in December 2017 as the advertising agency’s first female CEO.
Overseeing a high-profile national agency with accounts such as GEICO, Oreo, CarMax and Buffalo Wild Wings, Cavallo has worked to create a more inclusive work environment, promoting Karen Costello to chief creative officer. She came into leadership after Martin’s former chief creative officer resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. Despite this, Cavallo retained all of Martin’s clients at the time and the firm increased its revenue by 20%. In November 2019, Martin joined Virginia Competes, a program from Equality Virginia aimed at fostering welcoming workplaces for LGBTQ employees.
After graduating from James Madison University, Cavallo earned her MBA from George Mason University before heading into pharmaceutical sales. In 1994, she took a job in strategic planning at Mullen Advertising, which sent her down a different kind of sales track. She also worked at Arnold Worldwide before her first stint at Martin.
Martin confirmed in February that it had become the creative agency partner for Old Navy, with a new ad campaign launched in May.
SENIOR PARTNER, MID-SOUTH MARKET, MERCER LLC; CHAIR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS, VIRGINIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, RICHMOND
Clay has been with Mercer, a $17 billion human resources and operations services advisory firm, for more than nine years. Last year she was promoted to managing partner, with responsibilities for the Mid-South market, including Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas. She was named senior partner in April.
Elected in January as chair of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Clay represents more than 26,000 member businesses statewide. She has served as a board member for the business advocacy organization since 2016.
Clay earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from Virginia Tech. Early in her 11-year career in customer relations and human resources at Capital One, Clay received her MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.
In the announcement about her election to lead the Virginia Chamber board, she said, “I look forward to working with Barry DuVal and the chamber team to ensure we continue to lead the charge in promoting policy initiatives that foster a competitive pro-business climate that is good not only for Virginia business but for all Virginians.”
FOUNDER AND CO-CHAIRMAN, RETAILDATA LLC, GLEN ALLEN
Years before the heady dot-com days and decades before the current tech boom, Cottrell saw the opportunities in data — specifically, pricing data from grocery-store aisles.
Cottrell graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in 1978. She started her career with regional grocery wholesaler Richfood, gaining industry insight and serving as director of pricing.
She left in 1988 to start Retail Data Services from her garage with a Compaq 386, providing strategic retail intelligence on pricing by grocery stores and other retail sectors. It was a groundbreaking idea, and a decade later Ernst & Young named her Virginia Entrepreneur of the Year in the services industry. In December 2010, Markel Ventures pulled RetailData into its fold, announcing that it had acquired a majority stake in RetailData’s holding company. However, Cottrell continues to run RetailData, now one of Markel’s non-insurance companies.
Cottrell and her husband, David, share chairmanship duties at RetailData. As parents of a High Point University graduate, they’ve become multimillion-dollar donors to the North Carolina university. They also invested in Ted and Katie Ukrop’s Quirk Charlottesville, a boutique hotel that opened in March.
ATLANTIC ASSURANCE REGIONAL MANAGING PARTNER, BDO USA LLP, McLEAN
With its 65-plus offices across the United States, BDO USA handles private clients and more than 300 publicly traded companies — pulling in $1.64 billion in revenue in 2019. Ellenbogen serves as the assurance regional managing partner for the company’s Atlantic region.
Ellenbogen, a 1993 graduate of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, is coming up on 24 years with BDO USA. He joined the firm’s board of directors last year.
BDO USA expanded its reach in the Greater Washington area this summer with the acquisition of MorganFranklin Consulting’s public sector practice, which brought with it a portfolio of government clients including the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Labor.
Government contracting is one of the firm’s practice groups that fall under Ellenbogen’s responsibilities in the local audit practice. Others include software and technology and private equity. Ellenbogen also serves on the board of the Northern Virginia Technology Council.
TIMOTHY H. GILLIS
WASHINGTON METRO AREA MANAGING PARTNER AND CHESAPEAKE MARKET HUB LEADER, KPMG LLP, McLEAN
Gillis is a published poet with a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where he has served as adjunct professor for a decade. He also leads more than 2,700 employees of KPMG as managing partner of its Chesapeake market hub, which includes Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
KPMG is one of the largest accounting firms in the Greater Washington area, with 2,220 of its employees in Virginia. Gillis has been a partner
Gillis also serves on a number of volunteer boards, including Nationals Philanthropies, the charitable arm of the Washington Nationals.
FIRST JOB: Pumping gas at a full-service gas station in the 1970s
HOBBY/PASSION: I published my first book of poetry in 2017. Second book to follow in 2020.
PERSON I ADMIRE: Hank Aaron. When I was a kid, I wrote him letters, even asking him to be my dad. With others in sports, Hank overcame great adversity in a deeply divided South. And he went on to become the home run king in baseball. He did so with grace and elegance, and he still exudes those character traits today.
JASON A. HARTMAN
CEO, BROWN EDWARDS & CO. LLP, ROANOKE
Hartman oversees the fast-growing Brown Edwards regional accounting firm, which has been on a mergers and acquisitions tear for several years.
Hartman, who came to the firm 34 years ago, helped make the firm part of the BDO Alliance USA in 2016. He’s also helped oversee the acquisition of the Roanoke and Newport News practices of Dixon Hughes Goodman, and the Roanoke and Lynchburg practices of Cherry Bekaert. In January, the firm merged with Richmond-based Gregg & Bailey PC and acquired Covenant Real Estate Services.
Hartman is a graduate of Glenville State College in West Virginia, and received his master’s degree in accounting from James Madison University. He also serves on the board of Feeding America Southwest Virginia.
With more than 350 staff, Brown Edwards is the largest non-national, independent accounting firm in Virginia, with additional locations in West Virginia and Tennessee. Inside Public Accounting named it one of the country’s Top 100 CPA Firms.
CENTRAL VIRGINIA MANAGING PARTNER, DELOITTE, RICHMOND
Deloitte is one of the largest accounting firms in Virginia, and a global powerhouse. In May, global research firm Gartner Inc. ranked Deloitte as the No. 1 consulting service provider worldwide by revenue.
Deloitte’s Central Virginia practice, which includes more than 200 professionals, is run by Hudgens, who’s spent his career in the accounting industry.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Hudgens worked 15 years at Arthur Andersen, where he served as partner. He left for Deloitte in June 2002. After seven years as partner, he was named managing partner for the Central Virginia region.
In June, Hudgens became a board member of the Virginia Society of CPAs and also serves on the board of the American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate. Additionally, he’s been been a member of the board of directors at the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg for five years, including a stint as its campaign chair.
MARKET MANAGING PARTNER, MID-ATLANTIC, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLC, McLEAN
The territory overseen by McClements stretches from Virginia into Maryland, D.C., Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. She leads more than 4,000 employees in her accounting practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has one of the biggest accounting footprints in Virginia, with more than 1,670 employees in the commonwealth.
McClements, a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, had a stint with a McLean-based real estate developer before starting what is now a 33-year career with PwC. She’s served throughout the firm, including roles in talent recruitment and retention as its U.S. human capital leader and global talent leader.
She was named market managing partner, mid-Atlantic, in April 2017.
Named one of the 50 most influential Virginians by Virginia Business for the past three years, McClements also has been recognized as one of the most powerful women in Washington by Washingtonian magazine. She serves on the boards of The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., the American Cancer Society and the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.
SUSAN J. MOSER
REGIONAL MARKET LEADER, WASHINGTON D.C. AND VIRGINIA, CHERRY BEKAERT LLP, RICHMOND
For more than 23 years, Moser has led the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region for Richmond-based Cherry Bekaert, one of the 30 largest accounting firms in the nation, founded in 1947.
Moser, who became a partner in 2000, leads the government contractor services group and also specializes in the technology and health care and life sciences sectors.
Moser arrived at Cherry Bekaert with almost seven years of experience as controller and chief financial officer for a government contractor in Hampton Roads. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, she also worked for CSX Realty.
Moser’s philanthropic efforts include being active in Habitat for Humanity. She also serves on the board of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s National Capital Area chapter.
FIRST JOB: Scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins
PERSON I ADMIRE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a leading voice in gender equality, women’s interests and civil rights and her amazing energy and fight at 87!
BEST ADVICE: If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know.
MANAGING PARTNER, YOUNT, HYDE & BARBOUR PC (YHB), WINCHESTER
After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1988, Moulden joined Yount, Hyde & Barbour PC and never left. Today he serves as managing partner of a growing firm with offices in Culpeper, Glen Allen, Leesburg, Middleburg, Richmond and Roanoke.
Last year, YHB merged with Murray, Jonson, White & Associates Ltd. PC in Falls Church. In January it acquired Woodcock & Associates PC in Fredericksburg. Moulden said the Woodcock addition would help geographically, with its proximity to the Washington, D.C., area, as well as with practice expertise.
“Woodcock & Associates has been an invaluable resource to clients in the construction industry since its founding,” Moulden said when announcing the acquisition. “We expect the Woodcock team’s capabilities to enhance our already rapidly expanding construction industry niche.”
Accounting Today ranked YHB, with $27.9 million in annual revenue, No. 13 on its list of regional leaders for the top firms in the D.C. area.
Moulden, who grew up on a farm, volunteers with the Frederick County Fair Association.
DOUGLAS A. PERTZ
PRESIDENT AND CEO, THE BRINK’S CO., RICHMOND
Armored truck company Brink’s, whose fleet includes 13,600 vehicles, employs approximately 64,600 people internationally. It’s also one of Virginia’s biggest businesses. Brink’s was one of 35 companies based here to land on this year’s Fortune 1000 list, which ranks the thousand largest U.S. companies by total revenue. Brink’s came in at No. 669.
Pertz has served as president and CEO for Brink’s since June 2016, arriving from Recall Holdings Limited, where he also served as president and CEO — overseeing its evolution from initial public offering to company sale. He also has served on Advance Auto Parts’ board since May 2018.
A graduate of Purdue University, he also worked with Bolder Capital LLC and was CEO at IMC Global, Culligan Water Technologies and Clipper Windpower.
Brink’s announced in the spring that it was working on its 14th acquisition since March 2017 — the $860 million purchase of G4s plc, a security and cash management company based in the United Kingdom. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
STEPHANIE R. PETERS
PRESIDENT AND CEO, VIRGINIA SOCIETY OF CPAs, RICHMOND
Peters leads the key professional association for Virginia accountants, the Virginia Society of CPAs, which was founded in 1909.
With approximately 13,000 members, the organization works to support the industry, upholds ethical guidelines and advocates for the profession at the General Assembly.
Peters is a graduate of the University of Virginia who earned her master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. After working in social services in Richmond and Henrico County, she joined the society in 1997.
The group launched the VSCPA Center for Innovation in 2008, with the aim of helping the industry navigate changes in technology and improve recruitment and talent development.
FIRST JOB: Renting out rowboats and canoes at Pocahontas State Park. Great summer job.
PEOPLE I ADMIRE: I admire people who step out of their comfort zones and blaze trails for the rest of us. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama come to mind. As a woman and an African American man, despite public criticism, moments of self-doubt and multitudes of challenges no one ever encountered before, they chose to pursue the presidency of the United States. I admire that.
HORACIO D. ROZANSKI
CEO, BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, MCLEAN
Rozanski has led the $7.46 million management and information technology consulting firm in various roles — chief personnel officer, talent officer, president and chief operating officer — and through many major company events. This includes the 2008 separation of its government and commercial divisions into two distinct companies, its 2010 initial public offering and subsequent expansion into international markets. BAH currently has 27,173 employees, 10,245 in Virginia.
Born and raised in Argentina under a military dictatorship, Rozanski earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and his MBA from the University of Chicago. A 1992 summer internship at Booz Allen led to a lifelong career.
“As an immigrant, I wake up every morning realizing how blessed I am to be here, make a life and work on a mission that enhances the country,” he told The Washington Post in 2013.
He serves on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience and the Kennedy Center Corporate Fund Board. In April, Rozanski was awarded the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, recognizing Americans who have succeeded despite adversity.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Booz Allen launched a $100 million pandemic resilience program for employees to guarantee employment security and additional benefits.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, CIBT GLOBAL INC., McLEAN
CIBT Global Inc. has a network of more than 1,600 lawyers, consultants and other experts that it uses to provide immigration and visa services for people and companies. Spirer serves as president and CEO, overseeing more than 60 offices in 27 countries.
Spirer is relatively new to the position, named in March to succeed John Donoghue. But he has a long track record in business since graduating from Brandeis University and earning his MBA from the The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.
He spent more than eight years as principal at Booz Allen Hamilton (then Booz & Co.), then held roles at Mainspring Inc., IBM, Dun & Bradstreet and Kroll Risk & Compliance Solutions. He came to CIBT after seven years at Navigant, where he served as executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief growth and transformation officer. Spirer also has lectured at Brandeis’ International Business School on corporate strategy and business transformation.
In his new role, he will be working between New York and Virginia.
VICE PRESIDENT, TOP GUARD SECURITY, NORFOLK
Stuart has been the vice president of Top Guard Security since founding it with his wife, Nicole — who serves as president — in 1996.
The company is in the business of keeping people, events and spaces safe, with specialties in commercial and residential towers, government contracting and private security management for maritime and industrial sectors.
Top Guard employs more than 1,000 security professionals and staff around Virginia. Its clients include the Hampton Roads Chamber.
In July, Top Guard lost a bid to renew its $10 million, five-year city contract to guard 36 Norfolk properties, including City Hall. A June investigative report by The Virginian-Pilot (also a Top Guard client) revealed that Top Guard employees were accused of misconduct, including stealing, watching porn on duty and leaving a loaded gun in a restroom. Norfolk paid Top Guard $16.6 million for the past five years.
A former Hampton City Council member, Stuart won the Hampton Roads Chamber’s 2018 Small Business of the Year Leadership Award. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Old Dominion University and has held several leadership positions, including serving on the board of the Virginia Maritime Association for 10 years.
MANAGING PARTNER, VIRGINIA AND WEST VIRGINIA, DIXON HUGHES GOODMAN LLP, RICHMOND
When Thompson was tapped to lead the Central Virginia market of Dixon Hughes Goodman in June 2014, the company cited his leadership and 18 years of experience, 15 of which were with McGladrey LLP.
After four and a half years at DHG, he was promoted to managing partner of the accounting firm’s Virginia and West Virginia offices — including Richmond, Norfolk, Chesterfield County and Charleston, West Virginia.
A graduate of Frostburg State University in Maryland, Thompson advises middle-market companies in a variety of industries for DHG, which is a top 20 accounting firm with more than 2,000 employees. In Central Virginia, it’s been recognized for its philanthropic support to local causes.
DHG recently expanded its nearby footprint with the December acquisition of Vienna-based RyanSharkey LLP. Adding the firm brought with it 50 employees. DHG noted that it would grow the firm’s presence in the D.C. area and bring expertise in its areas of service.
TAMIKA L. TREMAGLIO
GREATER WASHINGTON MANAGING PRINCIPAL, DELOITTE, McLEAN
With $21.9 billion in U.S. revenue last year, Deloitte is one of the Big Four accounting firms. “Big” also describes its presence in Northern Virginia, where Tremaglio, Deloitte’s managing partner for the Greater Washington region, oversees 12,000 employees.
A frequent public speaker on issues ranging from leadership and corporate governance to talent development and social responsibility, Tremaglio has been on Washingtonian magazine’s lists of the D.C. area’s most powerful women and most fashionable people.
She has served on boards for many nonprofits, including The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., and United Way of the National Capital Area. She has also supported Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
The National Bar Association Commercial Law Section named Tremaglio the 2018 winner of its Cora T. Walker Award for “supporting the Commercial Law Section and promoting diversity.”
BEST ADVICE: Be an authentic leader — one who is empathetic and kind. This not only helps you on a daily basis but becomes essential during times of crisis or extreme change.
FAVORITE APP: My Oura app!
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “The Friends We Keep,” by Jane Green
WHAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: For our state and cities to do even more to leverage technology and inclusion in building communities that are smart, sustainable and equitable!
GREATER WASHINGTON MANAGING PARTNER, ERNST & YOUNG LTD., McLEAN
Ernst & Young already commands a big presence in Northern Virginia, but it made bigger headlines with its announcement five years ago that it would relocate its offices as the first tenant announced for The Corporate Office Centre at Tysons II. The expansion included a $12 million investment and a $1.3 million state grant, with plans to create 462 jobs over three years.
Virostek, who’s been with the accounting and advisory firm more than 33 years, told WorkDesign Magazine that the company took its time making the decision to move, shifting to open workspaces and eliminating assigned offices.
EY is a $36.4 billion company, with 284,000 employees; 3,400 in Virginia. Virostek, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, oversees the Washington region while keeping his hand in a number of community projects. He’s board chairman of Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C. Other philanthropic work includes serving on the boards of The Economic Club of Washington, Goodwill of Greater Washington and the United Way of the National Capital Area.
GARY G. WALLACE
MANAGING PARTNER, KEITER, GLEN ALLEN
After graduating from the University of Virginia with his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Wallace began a nearly 21-year career at KPMG, leaving as partner in 2008. His next stop included serving as CFO for Richmond-based The Riverstone Group LLC and CCA Industries Inc., both of which are owned by prominent philanthropist and businessman Bill Goodwin. (See Page 25.)
Wallace started with the Richmond-based accounting firm Keiter in January 2010, tapped to head its tax department in 2016. Two years later, he was named its managing partner, where he oversees the firm’s growth and strategic direction.
Wallace works in a variety of industry sectors. He serves on the firm’s international tax, state and local tax, and manufacturing, distribution and retail teams. He leads Keiter’s mergers and acquisitions team and specializes in business restructuring and turnarounds.
Wallace, who grew up in Richmond, serves on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Central Virginia Chapter, and the board of managers for the Downtown Richmond YMCA.
PRINCIPAL, PUBLIC SECTOR, GRANT THORNTON LLP, ARLINGTON
A $1.9 billion-plus company based in Chicago, Grant Thornton operates 50-plus offices across the nation. And with 1,200 employees in the Washington, D.C., region, Wallig oversees one of Grant Thornton’s biggest markets as managing principal of its metro D.C.-Arlington office.
In December, Wallig opened the firm’s first zero-waste office in Arlington, consolidating staff into what is the firm’s largest U.S. office. The space has energy-efficient features, gender-neutral restrooms and sustainable design to encourage collaboration.
A William & Mary graduate, Wallig has served as a principal at what is now CGI and as a manager at Accenture. For three years, he ran his own business in the San Francisco Bay area, focused on supporting litigation in the health care sector surrounding the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Wallig started with Grant Thornton in 2005, became a partner in 2008, and 10 years later was tapped to lead the metro D.C.-Arlington office. He is also on the Greater Washington Board of Trade’s board of directors and is vice chair of the W&M business school’s Business Analytics Advisory Board.
Hobby/Passion: Triathlon. I typically compete in two Olympic distance triathlons per year, including one race I completed while on a layover in Abu Dhabi. My favorite local race is in historic Jamestown.
PRESIDENT AND CEO, ICF INTERNATIONAL INC., FAIRFAX
Wasson moved from chief operating officer at ICF to president and CEO in October, bringing more than 20 years of experience at the consulting and digital services provider.
During that time, the company has doubled in size every five years, Wasson says. More than 1,800 of its 7,000 employees worldwide are in Virginia.
Wasson, who earned his master’s degree from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, has been a member of the Northern Virginia Technology Council board since November 2018.
ICF announced a $255 million acquisition of Incentive Technology Group LLC in January and in April landed a deal with the Federal Communications Commission worth $70 million. It’s also in the process of moving its global headquarters to Reston.
PERSON I ADMIRE: My predecessor, Sudhakar Kesavan, held the CEO role at ICF for over 20 years. He has taught me a lot about the importance of optimism. I’ve come to understand that the best leaders always exhibit optimism and resilience. And that can be infectious throughout an organization.
BEVERAGE OF CHOICE: Sudhakar introduced me to a gin and tonic. It’s straightforward, refreshing and gets the job done.
ALAN S. WITT
CEO, PBMARES LLP, NEWPORT NEWS
Three years after graduating from Christopher Newport University, Witt founded what eventually grew into a top 100 accounting and business advisory firm: PBMares.
Aside from an early stint at Eggleston Smith, PBMares has been Witt’s home for more than 40 years. He serves as CEO and specializes in business advisory services, succession planning and services for contractors, the health care industry and not-for-profit organizations.
He’s active in the community and serves as first vice chair of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.
Witt dipped into politics along the way, serving as a Newport News City Council member in the late ’90s. Three governors appointed him to various leadership roles, including rector of his alma mater, and service on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
Witt also serves as chairman of the Riverside Health System board of directors, where he’s been a board member for nearly a decade. For his contributions to the health care field, he received the Outstanding Service Award for “Excellence in Governance” from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.