TEI Bestows President’s Award on Evan Ernest and Honorary Membership on James Silvestri

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Two of the highest honors a TEI member can receive are the Institute’s President’s Award and honorary membership. At the 2024 Midyear Conference in Washington, D.C., in March, TEI gave the President’s Award to Evan Ernest and honorary membership to Jim Silvestri.

Here’s a brief summary of the impressive careers and TEI service of these recipients, as described by TEI’s international president, Sandhya Edupuganty, in nominating them for these awards.

Evan Ernest, President’s Award

In accordance with Tax Executives Institute’s award guidelines, I would like to nominate Evan G. Ernest of the Philadelphia Chapter to receive the President’s Award.

Evan has been a member of TEI since 1986. He began his career as a corporate tax accountant for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Company and the director, corporate taxation, for the Golden Nugget. Most of Evan’s tenure is the impressive thirty-plus years he has worked with Toll Brothers. Evan held the position of corporate tax director with Toll Brothers from 1988 to 1993, then moved into the role of vice president, taxes, and now is a consultant. Evan’s duties include providing corporate tax planning at the state and federal levels as well as assisting with corporate tax compliance.

Evan has been an active member of the Philadelphia Chapter since joining TEI. He serves as current chair of the chapter’s Membership Committee, having led that committee from 2010 to 2012 and from 2015 to 2018. He also served as the chair of the chapter’s Corporate Tax Management Committee from 2011 to 2014 and from 2015 to 2018. In addition, he was the Philadelphia Chapter’s treasurer (2009–2010), secretary (2010–2011), and president (2011–2012 and 2019–2022).

In 2015, Evan began volunteer service at the Institute level, serving as a member of the Emerging Tax Professionals Subcommittee for one year. He also served as a member of the Nominating Committee (2015–2016) and the Tax Technology Committee (2016–2020). Evan is a member of the Tax Reform Task Force, a position he has held since 2019. He chaired the Corporate Tax Management Committee from 2017 to 2018. Additionally, he served on the TEI board of directors as the regional vice president for Region 4 from 2017 to 2019 and on its Executive Committee from 2018 to 2019.

Perhaps most significantly, Evan has been an active member of TEI’s Membership Committee since 2020. In this role, Evan has performed an essential role in reviewing and approving applications for TEI’s prospective members and working with TEI’s staff on the execution of TEI’s membership guidelines. Evan also played a lead role on several presidential goals relating to membership, including serving on International President Jim Silvestri’s Expand Our Membership Base Task Force in 2018–2019 and serving on the Membership Workstream of International President James Kennedy’s Choosing a Path Forward strategic plan efforts.

Evan prepared a detailed analysis for International President Mitch Trager in 2021–2022 that evaluated changes to TEI’s membership structure and created chapter toolkits for recruiting and retaining chapter members and promoting student membership at the chapter level. Evan also prepared a comprehensive report analyzing potential changes to TEI’s membership processes and procedures, which has provided an important foundation for the Membership Committee and staff.

Evan has been a constant supporter of TEI at both the Philadelphia Chapter and the Institute levels, serving tirelessly and selflessly. He led the CTM Committee for many years supporting the ETP initiative. He has been an active contributor to the Membership Committee by not only being on top of approving membership applications but also championing initiatives that support the growth and inclusivity of TEI.

He has been a thoughtful and positive influencer in whatever he participates. He has been a good friend to many and has repeatedly undertaken meaningful projects for the Institute to make TEI a more welcoming, inclusive, and effective organization.

I ask that you forward this nomination to the Awards Committee, requesting that it be submitted to the board for approval so that Evan may be honored at the 74th Midyear Conference in March.

James Silvestri, Honorary Membership

In accordance with Tax Executives Institute’s award guidelines, it is my privilege to nominate James (Jim) Silvestri, a member of the New Jersey Chapter and former international president, to become an honorary member of the Institute.

Jim’s career spans over forty years and began in the state and local tax space, eventually moving into global tax matters. His tax department leadership roles included serving as director of taxes and treasury for Hoke Inc., assistant tax director for AT&T, tax manager for Bush Boake Allen, director of taxes for PSEG, vice president global tax for Cognizant Technology Solutions, chief tax officer for Eisai US and Capsugel, managing director for PCS Wireless UK, and head of global tax for PCS Wireless. Most recently, he served as director of global taxes for Impact, from which he recently retired.

These various positions helped Jim appreciate what tax professionals experience and what resources are needed at all levels within the tax organization at the corporate level. He brought this knowledge and experience to TEI and helped shape educational opportunities and leadership goals of the organization.

Jim has been a member of TEI since 1990 and has contributed a great deal through volunteer service both at the chapter and Institute levels. Jim’s contributions at the chapter level include serving
as the Federal Tax Chapter Committee chair (1994–1995), chapter president (2000–2001), and chapter representative (2009–2015) for the New Jersey Chapter.

Jim has had a remarkable level of involvement at the Institute that includes service as a committee member of the State and Local Tax Committee (1996–1999), the US International Tax Committee (2001–2004), the Membership Committee (2004–2006), the Investment Committee (2015–2017), the Internal Affairs Committee (2017–2019), and the Tax Reform Task Force (2014–2017).

In addition, Jim’s commitment at the Institute level included service as the regional vice president for Region 2 from 2001 to 2002, Executive Committee member from 2009 to 2011, and Nominating Committee member from 2008 to 2009. He was elected to serve as the Institute’s treasurer in 2015, secretary from 2016 to 2017, senior vice president from 2017 to 2018, and international president from 2018 to 2019.

Jim’s presidential year was themed Elevate Our Profile and Communicate Our Value. Jim maintained that by elevating TEI’s profile in the tax marketplace, sharing our knowledge with policymakers, and communicating the value of TEI to the C suite. TEI’s ranks would grow, its prominence would be enhanced, and its future would be secured. Jim created a task force to explore the feasibility of a new junior membership category, which ultimately resulted in the creation of the student and associate membership categories. A comprehensive toolkit supporting TEI’s members in transition was created and enhancements were made to TEI’s career center during Jim’s presidency. Other accomplishments included providing educational programs responsive to the challenges presented by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and holding TEI’s first congressional liaison meetings since the late 1990s. Jim also sought to embed diversity and inclusion elements at the Institute, region, and chapter levels and assessed and developed recommendations for enhancing TEI’s financial strength by exploring ways to further expand and solidify our resource base.

I ask that you forward this nomination to the Awards Committee, requesting that it is submitted to the board for approval so that Jim is honored at the 74th Midyear Conference in March.

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