The American Institute of CPAs named Mark Rich, director of investments at the Kimbell Art Foundation, winner of the Maximo Mukelabai Award, bestowed to a young CPA who has demonstrated successful practices, involvement and contributions for the interest of the accounting profession.

Presented by last year’s award winner Jeremy Dillard, partner at Rivera, Jamjian & Dillard, at the AICPA’s E.D.G.E. Conference for leadership development in New Orleans, the honor was given for Rich’s work with the Fort Worth chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs and service to his local community.

“One of the hallmarks of a CPA is their willingness to volunteer their time to give back to their profession,” stated Cheryl Reynolds, AICPA vice president of communications, advertising and brand management. “Mark’s impressive success spearheading programs to promote accounting careers to students in the Fort Worth area serves as an inspiration to others and made him a fitting selection for the Maximo Mukelabai award.”

In 2011, Rich utilized AICPA data on the number of students who began their accounting careers at community colleges to design a program called “Pathway to CPA,” created to raise awareness of the benefits of a career in accounting at a local community college. Rich then began working with the Accounting Career Education (ACE) committee of the Fort Worth Chapter of the TSCPA, training volunteers and expanding the network of CPA volunteers in the Fort Worth area. The “Pathway to CPA” program has reached approximately 470 community college students.

“My grandfather is a CPA, my father and his two brothers are also CPAs,” stated Rich. “Growing up, I had the ability to see first-hand the positive impact earning a CPA license had on the careers and the lives of the people who were closest to me. Having this early exposure to the profession instilled a desire to share information with students in my community about the great possibilities a career as a CPA offers.”

Rich served as chair of the ACE committee from  2012-13. He was also honored by the Fort Worth Chapter of TSCPA as Young CPA of the Year 2012-13 and was named a TSCPA Rising Star in 2014, an award given to a select group of CPAs under 40 who have demonstrated exemplary leadership skills and active involvement in their community.

“Being honored with the Maximo Mukelabai award validates the work we are doing in Fort Worth as we reach out to students and encourage them to earn the CPA license,” stated Rich. “It has been a team effort and I’m excited for us to continue to look for new ways to attract students of all backgrounds, educate them about the great opportunities available in the accounting profession, and facilitate their path in becoming CPAs.”

Mukelabai was a member of the inaugural class of the AICPA Leadership Academy and the youngest chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs board of directors. After his life ended abruptly at the age of 36, the AICPA established the award in 2011 as a tribute to Maximo’s legacy.