Robert J. Trulaske Sr., College of Business, University of Missouri

Mizzou Business News

Trulaske celebrates students, alumni, faculty at annual Honors Luncheon


Every year the Trulaske College of Business hosts Honors Luncheon to recognize students, faculty, alumni and friends for their accomplishments. This year’s event welcomed guests at the Reynolds Alumni Center. Below is a list of some of the top awardees:

  • Emerging Leaders: Christopher Rueve and Nathaniel Waters
  • Alumnus of the Year: Julie Niehaus
  • Faculty Member of the Year: Sherry Mariea
  • Staff Member of the Year: Leilani Tiefenthaler
  • Delta Sigma Pi Key: Mihail Tsvetanov
  • Student Leadership Awards: Jordyn Gier, Justin Mattingly, Abby Peoples, Elizabeth Triplett, Joy Wilbourn
  • Recent Alumni Achievement Awards: Ryan Dobratz, Ann-Marie Lanza 
  • Distinguished Research Achievement Award: Elaine Mauldin
  • Trulaske College of Business Mid-Career Faculty Service Award: N. Syam 
  • Richard G. Miller Summer Scholars Award: Detelina Marinova
  • Jeffrey E. Smith Summer Scholars Award: Matt Glendening
  • Trulaske College of Business Summer Scholar Award: Jere Francis, Inder Khurana, Murali Mantrala, Michael O’Doherty, Sterling Yan, Dezhi Yin
  • Bruce and Pam Walker Outstanding Faculty Service Award: Karen Schnatterly
  • Winemiller Excellence Awards: Matt Glendening, Pratik Kothari, Elaine Mauldin, Thibaut Morillon, Raynolde Pereira, Suchithra Rajendran, Matt Souther, Sharan Srinivas, N. Syam, Xiran Wang

Additionally, the college awards up to 10 Citations of Merit. Nominees for these prestigious awards are selected for their career accomplishments, involvement with the college through board and volunteer activities, student and graduate recruitment or other collaborative programs, and financial support of the college. The Faculty Policy Committee reviews each candidate and then the entire faculty votes on up to ten recipients. Up to two of the awards can be given to friends of the college in the form of Special Citations.

Citation of Merit recipients are recognized publicly at the Trulaske College of Business annual Honors Luncheon. Recently, the following dedicated alumni and friends were honored:

Alumni Citations of Merit


Jeffrey Echelmeier, CPA
BS AGR ’87 and MS Acc ’90, University of Missouri
Chairman, Williams-Keepers LLC

Jeff serves as Williams-Keepers LLC’s chairman, a role he assumed in 2012. In addition to working with Williams-Keepers’ leadership team to guide day-to-day operations, growth and strategic endeavors for achieving the firm’s vision, Jeff maintains a direct service role for many clients.

Jeff joined Williams-Keepers in 1990 as a tax department intern while enrolled at Mizzou where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Science in Accountancy. Jeff’s specialty areas include income tax planning and compliance, business formation, succession planning and estate tax planning. He works extensively with business owners, medical practitioners and individual taxpayers.

For Mizzou, Jeff is a dedicated member of the School of Accountancy Advisory Board. He maintains a strong connection between his alma mater and his firm. Jeff is an active member of the community, serving as chairman of the board of directors of Regional Economic Development, Inc., and as a member of the Columbia College School of Business Administration Advisory Council. He is a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Missouri United Methodist Church.


Meredith Aslin Imber
BS BA ’02, University of Missouri
Chief Operating Officer, Business Development and Investor Relationship Management
Apollo Global Management


Meredith joined Apollo, a leading global alternative investment manager with $250 billion of assets under management, in 2007 where she was responsible for investor relationship management for the firm’s flagship Private Equity funds. In 2017, she was promoted to COO of Business Development and Investor Relationship Management and is part of the management team charged with setting the strategic direction for the firm’s fundraising efforts. Prior to joining Apollo, Meredith was a Senior Associate in Ernst and Young’s Financial Services Advisory Practice specializing in project management and post transaction integration work.

Meredith was instrumental in designing the inaugural Mizzou Tigers on Wall Street, a program that takes business and accountancy students to New York. Now, 10 years later, she continues to host the group at Apollo Global Management to learn about the firm and to job shadow employees. Meredith graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, specializing in finance and banking.


Brian Sprick
BS BA ’94, Missouri State University
MAcc ’95, University of Missouri
Tax Partner
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Brian has 23 years of experience providing tax services to public companies and private equity clients. He has extensive experience working with income tax disclosures for public companies and serves as the Tax Accounting Services leader for PwC’s Missouri market. Brian is a CPA and serves on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Brian is a 1995 graduate from the University of Missouri where he earned a Master’s of Accountancy.  He continues to be proud of his affiliation with Mizzou, where he is a member of the Davenport Society and where he actively recruits on campus for PwC in the School of Accountancy.


Doug Tarwater
BS Acc ’92 and MBA ’95, University of Missouri
Tarwater Financial LLC


Doug operates Tarwater Financial LLC in Columbia, Missouri. Prior to starting his own venture, Doug served as Director of Finance and Administration and Business Officer at the Trulaske College of Business from 2002 until his retirement in 2017. Beginning in 1992, Doug worked for Mizzou in various accounting, finance and human resource capacities. He managed a variety of financial activities, including managing all office operations, development and management of annual departmental and college operating budgets, budgetary control, financial reporting, personnel policy compliance, and building technology services. For Mizzou, Doug is a member of the 1914 Society and the Jefferson Club.

Doug has served in various advisory roles for local government, civic and community organizations, including Boone County Council on Aging Board of Directors, Family Counseling Center of Missouri INC Board of Directors, and past member of the City of Columbia Finance Advisory and Audit Committee and audit representative to the mayor.


Michael Weiss
BA ’95 and MAcc ’97, University of Missouri
Executive Director for Advisory Services


Mike has 21 years of experience in financial reporting, USGAAP reporting, SEC reporting and financial and operational controls development for corporations across the utility, consumer products, grain, alternative energy and manufacturing industries. He is currently the Executive Director for Advisory Services at EY.

Before launching his successful career at EY, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mizzou before shifting his focus toward accounting and completing a master’s degree. Mike is an active recruiter for EY and continuously connects Mizzou students to opportunities at his firm. In support of Trulaske, Mike and Kristi are members of the Davenport Society. They are founders of the Weiss Family Scholarship Fund, which supports students in the School of Accountancy.

Additionally, Mike and Kristi are strong supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Mike is also a member of the Division of Biological Sciences Alumni Board, the Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors and supports the Opera Theater of St. Louis.


John Zimmerman
BS BA ’85, University of Missouri
MBA ’88, St. Louis University
Regional Managing Director
Ascent Capital Management of U.S. Bank


John is the Regional Managing Director of Ascent Private Capital Management, the ultra-high net worth wealth management practice of US Bank. In his capacity with Ascent, he leads a multi-family office serving 25 families with an average net worth of $350 million.

John’s 33-year career in asset management started with Centerre Trust Company in St. Louis, which grew to be Bank of America Capital Management. Following his tenure at Bank of America, John joined Janus Capital Group as Managing Director and Executive Vice President leading the institutional business where he grew assets under management from $15 billion to $75 billion. He then founded Northern Lights Capital Group, a private equity firm investing in boutique asset managers. Prior to Ascent Private Capital Management, John was the President of Denver Investments, a $10 billion asset management firm.

John was named by as one of the top U.S. equity analysts by Institutional Investor and was selected as one of the “40 Under 40” top achievers in business by the St. Louis Business Journal. He serves on various charitable boards, including Seeds of Hope Charitable Trust, the Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado, Boy Scouts of America Denver Area Council Executive Board, and is a member of the National Eagle Scout Association. John previously served on the college’s Finance Advisory Board and currently serves as a dedicated member of the Strategic Development Board.

Special Citations of Merit


Brant Bukowsky
BS ED ’00, University of Missouri
Veterans United Home Loans


Brant is the co-founder and co-owner of Veterans United Home Loans. Brant works with the marketing department to develop and implement high-level strategy through online marketing with a focus on educating Veterans about homebuying and their home loan benefits. Brant believes the strong company culture at VU focused on enhancing the lives of fellow employees, customers, and those in the community has allowed the company to get to where it is today. Brant founded Veterans United along with his brother, Brock, in 2002.

Brant earned a degree in elementary education from the University of Missouri in 2000. As a Mizzou alumnus and business owner, Brant has been an influential mentor to students in the Entrepreneurship Alliance and as a Professor-for-a-Day. He has built a strong connection between his company and Mizzou students, offering great opportunity for internships and full-time positions. Additionally, the Veterans United Foundation provided foundational support for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans, hosted by the Trulaske College of Business.


Pamela Oberdiek
BS BA ’86, University of St. Mary 
MBA ’91, Rockhurst University
Mass Retail Execution Leader
Hallmark Cards


Pam has over 30 years of experience in the supply chain and logistics industry and as the retail execution leader for Hallmark Cards, Inc., she supports more than 45,000 retail rooftops across the United States. Her career has included leadership positions across the Hallmark organization, including manufacturing, master planning and forecasting, business units, distribution, finance, and marketing services.

After a significant system implementation, Pam was selected to design and lead Hallmark’s master data management organization, responsible for the creation and maintenance of core product and financial data, including quality audits of those systems.

For Mizzou, Pam is an active volunteer with the Mizzou Alumni Association, having served as president of the Association in 2011-2012, and is a past-president of the KC Chapter of MAA, where she is still an active board member. She currently serves on the University of Missouri National Campaign Cabinet, and also on the college’s MBA Advisory Board. She has also been a member of the Griffith’s Leadership Society for Women, a member of the Mizzou Women’s Connection and is active with her sorority, Delta Delta Delta.


Bert Winemiller
BA ’64 and MA ’65, University of Missouri
MBA ’70, Harvard Business School
Senior Advisor
JMI Equity


Bert provides strategic operational counsel to JMI Equity portfolio companies. He joined JMI in 2011 from PROS Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PRO), a JMI portfolio company, where he served as president, CEO and chairman. He also served as president of American Business Information Inc., senior vice president at ADP, Inc. and group president at IRIC. Bert began his career at IBM as a systems engineer and software developer.

Before he began his career, Bert earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Mizzou with a focus on mathematics and statistics. Bert established the Winemiller Excellence Fund at the Trulaske College of Business and the Winemiller Excellence Fund Data Analytics Awards, jointly administered by the college and the statistics department. These funds recognize excellence among students, faculty and staff at Mizzou who have produced outstanding examples of data-based analytics in the preceding year.