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2023 Accounting Hall of Fame

Recognizing individuals for outstanding career accomplishments and service contributions to the Department of Accountancy, the University of North Dakota and society.

2023 Accounting Hall of Fame Inductees

Jon Friese

Jon Friese

Jon was raised in the small farming community of Glasgow, Montanan before moving to Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota.  He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1996 and joined the audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) in Minneapolis.

Jon has since been with PwC for over 26 years, including making partner in 2009.  He has spent most of his career in the firm’s Minneapolis office, however, he also worked for six years in its Los Angeles office and two years in its National Accounting Office near New York City.

Throughout his career, Jon’s Clients have included multinational and domestic companies, both public and privately held.  Much of his focus has been with businesses in the manufacturing, agribusiness, and private equity sectors.  Jon currently leads PwC’s Minneapolis practice that focuses on serving large private companies, and has advised on numerous acquisitions, divestitures, and public equity and debt offerings.

The accounting program at UND is very important to Jon, and he serves as PwC’s lead relationship partner with the university.  He has frequently visited campus to meet with the faculty and recruit students to join PwC. Jon has hired dozens of UND accounting graduates to PwC over the years.

Jon is very active in giving back to the community and has focused his efforts with entities that help families and children in need.  He spent nine years as a board member of Bridging, which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide families transitioning out of homelessness with quality furniture and household goods to help them pursue housing stability.

Jon has also been heavily involved in developing and implementing PwC’s Minneapolis office strategy for community involvement.  He has lead numerous office-wide volunteer activities, including an event attended by nearly 250 PwC employees that won an award from the Greater Twin Cities United Way for Best Caring Connection Project.

Jon has been married to Alison (Nesemeier) for over 20 years. Alison obtained an education degree from UND and was an elementary teacher prior to the birth of their three children – Henry (17), Charlie (15), and Evelyn (12).  The Friese family resides in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

Joan McCusker

Joan McCusker

Joan McCusker is the Executive Vice President of Operations and Corporate Strategy for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.  She also serves as a board member for Starion Bank, Learn to Live, and Northern Lights Council, BSA.

Joan Returned to North Dakota six years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, where she held several senior leadership positions, including Chief Financial Officer at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation and at Lawrence Merchandising Services.  Prior to that, she had a more than 20 year career with Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (previously a part of Honeywell), serving in a variety of senior management positions in Corporate Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Compliance and Ethics, and Information Technology.

Joan grew up on a farm near Crosby, ND.  She graduated with an accounting degree from Minot State and earned a Master of Accountancy from UND in 1987.  She is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and is NACD certified in Cybersecurity Oversight.  In 2016, Joan was named CFO of the Year by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Joan and her husband, Joe, currently reside in West Fargo, ND.  They have two adult sons, Nathan (Tainá) and Taran, and a grandson, Noah.

Brent Sanford

Brent Sanford

After serving as North Dakota’s Lieutenant Governor for seven years, Brent Sanford announced his resignation, effective January 2, 2023, to return to the private sector and spend more time with his family.  Brent continues his passion for progress in North Dakota through his newest adventure, Sanford Consulting LLC, assisting orgaizations with innovative workforce and energy solutions.

Doug Burgum chose Brent as his running mate in the 2016 gubernatorial election.  The ticket won the election, as well as a second term in 2020.  The pair entered office with a state budget crisis and the DAPL pipeline protests, weathered the storm of Covid19, and throughout focused on infrastructure and economic opportunities for the state.  In addition to presiding over the State Senate, Brent chaired the State Investment Board, State Water Commission, ND Trade Office, Clean Sustainable Energy Authority, the Northern Plains UAS test site board, and numerous other statutory state boards at Lt. Governor.  His accounting background and time in business and local community leadership served him well in the statewide executive office.

Brent was born and raised in Watford City, ND.  He graduated summa cum laude from UND, with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1994.  He is a Certified Public Accountant.  He worked as an Auditor and Consultant for Eide Bailly LLP from 1994 through 2002 and then became the Chief Financial Officer of Transwest Trucks in Denver.  He moved back to Watford City in 2004, taking over his third generation family-run car dealership.  He increased sales each of his first 10 years in the business, using unique approaches based on rural economic conditions.

Brent was elected to the Watford City Council in 2006 and became mayor in 2010.  Watford City became the fastest growing community in America from 2010-2020.  Most of the growth occurred during the incredible early days of the Bakken oil boom from 2010-2014.  With Brent’s leadership, the community focused on infrastructure investment and community development activity to address the rapid growth, including investing in the historic Main Street area, new retail, new housing, affordable housing, new schools, new community center, new healthcare, new daycare, and new airport investments.

Brent and his wife of 29 years, Sandi, reside in Bismarck.  They have three children, Sydney (22), Nick (15), and Erin (12).

John C. Berg Award Recipient

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson graduated from UND with a Bachelor of Accountancy, Summa Cum Laude, in December of 2015.  She began her career at Deloitte Tax LLP in Minneapolis.  While employed full time, Alison also earned a Master of Business Taxation from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management in August 2019.  Alison is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Minnesota and North Dakota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Alison is a Tax Manager at Deloitte Tax in Minneapolis, with eight years of experience serving a diverse portfolio of public and private companies.  With a particular emphasis in accounting for income taxes, Alison also provides tax compliance and tax consulting services to clients of various sizes, structures, and complexities.  Alison serves in the primary role of the trusted tax advisor, as well as in the complimentary role of audit team member.  She serves as the lead engagement manager for her clients, helping to connect them with the resources available throughout the Deloitte global network.

In addition to client service, Alison holds several designations within the Minneapolis Tax practice at Deloitte.  She currently serves as a Tax Accounting Competency Champion, helping to develop and coordinate marketplace strategy to bring opportunities to clients and targets, as well as aiding in the development of marketplace skills for newer professionals.  She regularly facilitates local, regional, and national training and serves as a career coach and on-boarding advisor to interns, new hires, and experienced hires.  Alison served for three years on the Minneapolis Inclusion Council and for two years on the Minneapolis Well-Being Committee.

Alison’s most treasured extracurricular activity is serving on the core campus recruiting team for UND, traveling to campus for various events, including career fairs and networking activities, as well as serving as a regular interviewer of student recruits.  You can always count on seeing Alison on campus in the fall and spring during campus recruiting season!

Alison was born and raised in Valley City, ND.  She took an elective accounting course at Valley City High School, where she graduated in 2011.  It was there she first learned about debits and credits and her appreciation for a balanced journal entry.  As a student at UND, Alison took full advantage of opportunities to be involved on campus.  She was an officer and member of Beta Alpha Psi and Beta Gamma Sigma, and a member of the Accounting Club.  Additionally, Alison took full advantage of the Honors Program and held leadership roles, including Peer Service Mentor and Service Project Coordinator.  She was the principal tenor saxophonist in the Wind Ensemble as a freshman.

Sells Award Recipient

Nathan Peasland

Nathan Peasland

Nathan Peasland is a Grand Forks native and life-long resident.  He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Accountancy degree in December 2021, and a Master of Accountancy degree in December 2022.

Nathan completed the CPA exam in 2022, and he was the recipient of the AICPA’s 2022 Elijah Watts Sells Award.  To qualify for this award, candidates must pass all parts of the CPA exam in the first attempt with a cumulative average score above 95.5.  In 2022, this award was made to only 50 of the nearly 67,000 individuals who sat for the exam.

Nathan is a Senior Accountant at Brady Martz and Associates, focusing on nonprofit clients.  Outside of work, Nathan enjoys spending time with his fiancée, Anne (a current UND Accountancy student) and playing the organ at church.