TEI Bestows President’s Award on Makaris and Wireman, Honorary Membership on Silbiger

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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 75th Anniversary Celebration at TEI’s Annual Conference, the Institute gave the President’s Award to Rita Makaris and Richard Wireman II and honorary membership to Mark Silbiger.

Here’s a brief summary of the amazing careers of these three recipients, as described by TEI’s international president, Sandhya Edupuganty, in nominating them for these awards. Longtime member Evan Ernest was also involved in nominating Makaris.

Rita Makaris

Rita Makaris has always been an inspirational TEI leader. She truly “bleeds blue,” always supporting TEI at every turn. In these times of change for TEI, Rita has adapted and contributed to TEI no matter what the challenge. Rita recently retired from McDermott Will & Emery, where she was director of tax and treasury. Rita became a member of TEI in 2002 and began her illustrious TEI career in the Chicago Chapter. She held virtually every chapter leadership position (chapter treasurer, 2009–2010; chapter first vice president, 2010–2011; and chapter president, 2011–2012).

TEI’s international president, Sandhya Edupuganty (right), presents Rita Makaris with the TEI President’s Award.

She was involved with the joint Region 6/Region 7 IRS/TEI liaison meetings over the years and chaired several chapter committees, including Communications & Technology (2004–2005, 2007–2008), Corporate Tax Management (2021–2023), and Employment (2012–2018 and 2021–2022). She was an advocate of the Chicago Chapter’s Ladder Up Program and is regarded by her chapter peers as highly motivational, level-headed, and the go-to person for TEI procedural issues. Rita was the Chicago Chapter representative in 2015–2019 and regional vice president for Region 5 in 2013–2014, representing the chapter and region on TEI’s Board of Directors (2013–2014 and 2015–2019) and participating on TEI’s Executive Committee (2016–2018). She also served on TEI’s Nominating Committee as an alternate (2019–2020) and member (2014–2015). Most recently, she served as a vice chair (2018–2019) and then chair (2020–2022) of the Corporate Tax Management Committee. During her tenure, the committee worked on many initiatives, including tax technology, mentoring, and other training and general soft skills initiatives.

Rita has been steadily involved in various other initiatives and task forces. She was a key member of TEI’s Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan Task Force. She was a passionate advocate for expanding TEI’s education footprint to pass-through entities. She played an instrumental role in the amendments to TEI’s membership bylaws, changes to TEI’s nomination procedures and process, and many other important initiatives. The most important ingredient in Rita’s leadership style is passion for TEI. An expert at planning and managing events and initiatives, no request for her time and leadership went unanswered. She knows TEI intimately, asks insightful questions, offers practical solutions, and is effective at building consensus. She answers all questions posed readily and, more times than not, provides just the help needed.

TEI’s international president, Sandhya Edupuganty (right), presents Richard Wireman with TEI’s President’s Award.

Richard Wireman

Richard H. Wireman II has had a long and storied career, spending time in public accounting at Price Waterhouse (1980–1991) and KPMG (1999–2004). His in-house roles include assistant vice president for Kansas City Southern Industries Inc. from 1991 to 1996, senior manager for GE Capital Corporation from 1997 to 1999, director of corporate taxation for Meredith Corporation from 2004 to 2008, and vice president—tax for Principal from 2008 to present.

Rich is retiring from Principal in February 2024. Rich joined TEI as a member of the Kansas City Chapter in 1992, transitioning to the White Plains/Westchester Chapter in 1997. He joined the Iowa Chapter in 2004 and assumed various chapter leadership roles, including chapter treasurer (2005–2006), chapter secretary (2006–2007), chapter senior vice president (2007–2008), and chapter president (2008–2009). He chaired numerous Iowa Chapter committees, including the Chapter Membership Committee (2014–2017), the Communications & Technology Committee (2007–2008), the IRS Administrative Affairs Committee (2006–2008), and the Awards Committee (2008–2009). Rich has also undertaken numerous Institute-level positions. He served as regional vice president for Region 5 (2012–2013), a chapter representative (2014–2018 and 2020–2022), and regional vice president for Region 6 (2019–2020). In these positions, he served on the Institute’s Board of Directors for the 2012–2013, 2014–2018, and 2020–2022 terms.

He also served on the Executive Committee of TEI’s international presidents C. N. (Sandy) Macfarlane (2015–2016), Katrina Welch (2019–2020), and Jim Kennedy (2020–2021). This role enabled him to participate in several annual liaison meetings with TEI leadership, the IRS, and Treasury in Washington, D.C. Rich has been an active member of several Institute standing committees, including the Financial Reporting Committee (2010 to present), for which he served as vice chair from 2013 to 2021 and attended several committee meetings with the FASB. He was also chair of the IFRS Subcommittee from 2020 to 2021.

Rich served as a member of the Tax Reform Task Force (2017–present), through which he was prominently engaged with TEI’s comments on the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act legislation, including the new corporate alternative minimum tax. Rich was also a member of the Corporate Tax Management Committee (2008–2013), the Nominating Committee (2013–2014), and the Federal Tax Committee (2020–present). Over the years, Rich has moderated numerous Midyear and Annual Conference sessions on various technical tax topics. He has been a staunch advocate for bringing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) content to TEI’s members. In addition to these offices, Rich has been involved in several critical task forces and working groups. During Sandy Macfarlane’s term, Rich led an in-depth survey to make recommendations regarding TEI’s conference patterns and education focus; he continues to serve as a generous resource to TEI’s staff on this topic. I [Edupuganty] had the pleasure of working with Rich directly during International President Jim Kennedy’s year, where we completed a comprehensive analysis of TEI’s finance and operations for TEI’s long-term strategic plan, Choosing a Path Forward. Under International President Mitch Trager, Rich led the CTO engagement initiative, which led to TEI’s monthly CTO Discussion Series.

This series provides pertinent content to TEI’s heads of tax and offers them a unique opportunity to connect and engage in a CTO-only forum. The contributions from Rich during his tenure exhibit a high standard of commitment and service to TEI and its mission. Rich is someone who is highly accomplished professionally but has always given of his time and wisdom, whether to TEI or to any of his TEI friends. His passion for engagement with TEI and its members and willingness to assist, no matter how large or small the effort, speaks to his dependability and loyalty to this organization. Rich also displays enormous respect toward others and modesty as an individual and, most important, is a friend one can always count on and call for whatever the issue and whenever needed.

Longtime TEI member and former international president, Teri Wielenga (right), presents Mark Silbiger with an Institute

Mark Silbiger

Mark Silbiger of the Cleveland Chapter [received] honorary membership in Tax Executives Institute. Mark has been a member since 1990 and held several positions over the past three decades, including as tax manager at the Sherwin-Williams Company from 1981 to 1997 and, thereafter, director of tax for the Lubrizol Corporation, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Mark retired from the Lubrizol Corporation in November 2022. Mark’s service to TEI began with several chapter committees and corresponding Institute committee roles. He became the chapter committee chair of the IRS Administrative Affairs Committee in 1993. He also chaired the Cleveland Chapter’s Federal Tax (1994–1995) and IRS Administrative Affairs Committees (1993–1994 and 2010–2011).

He also took on several chapter officer roles, becoming the Cleveland Chapter president (1999–2000) and Cleveland Chapter representative (2001–2003 and 2007–2009). He served as the regional vice president for Region 4 from 2004 to 2005. In addition, Mark was active on several Institute-level committees. Most notably, he was a member of the IRS Administrative Affairs Committee from 1993 to 2005, serving as the committee’s vice chair from 2003 to 2007 and chair from 2009 to 2011. He was a member of the Awards Committee (2005–2007), Federal Tax Committee (2007–2009), Continuing Education Committee (2009–2011), Investment Committee (2013), Internal Affairs Committee (2013–2016), Advisory Committee to the President (2015–2016), and the IRS Compliance Assurance Process Subcommittee (2017–2018). Additionally, he chaired the Continuing Education Committee (2013–2014), Internal Affairs Committee (2015–2016), and Nominating Committee (2015–2016). Mark was elected to the Institute’s officers’ queue in 2011, taking the roles of Institute treasurer (2011–2012), secretary (2012–2013), senior vice president (2013–2014), and international president (2014–2015) and serving on the Institute’s Executive Committee throughout this period.

He participated in and completed several critical initiatives during his term as international president. First, he completed the work of his predecessors, international presidents Carita Twinem and Teri Wielenga, to start a TEI chapter in Latin America. Second, Mark created the Emerging Tax Professionals (ETP) Subcommittee of the Corporate Tax Management Committee. The ETP Subcommittee focused on creating value and offering content specifically designed for this newer generation of in-house tax professionals. Third, Mark strengthened the connections between TEI’s chapters and the Institute by promoting the Chapter + 1 program, which encourages Institute leaders to visit their chapter plus one other TEI chapter, and increased communications and coordination between the chapters and the Institute. Mark made it his personal goal to visit TEI’s chapters located outside of the United States to ensure our members there feel fully connected, traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, Geneva, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Ottawa, and numerous locations throughout the United States during his leadership years. This effort culminated in TEI’s first formal liaison meeting with China’s State Administration of Taxation.

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