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Awards & Acknowledgements

 ACBC honors and acknowledges outstanding contributions to our organization and to the consumer bankruptcy practice in Arizona (by both members and non-members).

2016 Recipients: Member of the Year, Forum Contributor and Non-Member of the Year:

Member of the Year: Krystal Ahart

Non-Member of the Year: Cynthia McElroy

Larry Karandreas – 2016 Forum Contributor

 
Krystal Ahart
Krystal Ahart
 
Krystal Ahart was selected as the ACBC Member of the Year.  Her award reads: Thanks for your extraordinary dedication to ACBC and the legal profession.  You are an exemplary role model for all lawyers, especially young lawyers. 
 
See below for more about Krystal's contributions to the entire bankruptcy practice, her clients and her commitment to ACBC and its members.
 
Larry Karandreas
 Larry's award reads "Our entire community is enriched by Larry’s commitment to quality education.  Everyone, including our clients, benefit by Larry’s willingness to share his vast knowledge."
 
To quote from Larry's bio: "The clients that come to me do so during a difficult time in their lives and need help. Creditor and collection agency harassment can be disturbing and can lead you to make decisions that are not in your best interests. Dealing with financial problems is stressful, so true bankruptcy help can only come from someone who genuinely cares about their client and can guide them through the process painlessly. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Arizona, I have helped many clients find the peace of mind they deserve and I have done so with compassion and the one-on-one bankruptcy help and advice required."

Cynthia McElroy
 Cynthia's award reads: "ACBC’s thanks for your tireless commitment to helping those lost in the tangle of procedures called “bankruptcy”.    Your devotion to the Self-Help Center is core to its success."

Cynthia McElroy currently works at the Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center in Phoenix Arizona.  She has an Associates Degree and Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in MIS, and has 18 credits hours toward her  Masters.  She started her career at the Bankruptcy Court in Chicago Illinois, and has also worked at the courts in Dallas Texas, San Jose California, Fresno California, Baltimore Maryland,  and Tucson Arizona. She has been with the federal courts for 24 yrs in various positions.  She enjoys helping people and gets great reward when she is able to help someone and they come back to thank her for the help.  She believes in being a good listener even if there is nothing I she can do for the pro se debtor because what she has learned is that most of the time people just want someone to listen and to care.  She enjoys working at the Self Help Center and has gained many a friendship from our volunteer attorneys. She is a wife and mother of 3 girls and also enjoys volunteering at her church on the weekends.

2016 Recipients: Special Appreciation: Krystal Ahart and Andrea Wimmer
State Bar Convention Chair for Bankruptcy Section and Chair of Consumer Breakout

Krystal Ahart
Krystal Ahart
Krystal Ahart, is an attorney at the Bankruptcy Legal Center, Law Office James F. Kahn, P.C.  Krystal is also on the Board of Directors for ACBC.  Krystal agreed to oversee the entire Bankruptcy Section program for the 2016 State Bar Convention.  This obligation is extremely daunting and time consuming, but Krystal successfully produced a wonderful day-long  series of bankruptcy programs.  She will tell you that there are many unsung heroes who helped with the program.  But what she will not mention is the challenge of juggling her own clients, the demands of developing a great convention program and her other numerous obligations.  Few know that the week of the Convention Jim Kahn, the founder of the Bankruptcy Legal Center, suffered a serious fall and was hospitalized for a week.  This left Krystal to care for her own clients, Jim's clients and the Convention programs.  Throughout all she never stopped smiling.  ACBC wants to thank Krystal for her commitment to our profession and her clients.

 Andrea Wimmer, Mesa Bankruptcy LawyerAndrea Wimmer
Andrea Wimmer, of Marco | Wimmer, is the co-Executive Director of ACBC, was responsible for coordinating the consumer breakout for the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona .  Her commitment to quality education was evident in the outcome of this all day program.  ACBC wants to congratulate Andrea on this great job.  Again, our membership wants to thank Andrea for all that you have done for the consumer practitioner, for the bankruptcy practice in general and for the members of ACBC. 
 

2014 Recipients: Andrea Wimmer, Dan Furlong and Ellen Sue Katz
Member of the Year, Forum Contributor and Non-Me
mber of the Year


  Andrea Wimmer

  2014 Member of the Year
Andrea is the co-Executive Director of ACBC.  Throughout the last several years Andrea has been very committed to the growth and prosperity of ACBC. She spent a considerable number of hours in coordinating and presenting numerous CLE programs, plus many other projects. Andrea’s engaging personality acts as a lighthouse for all those around her. You cannot help but smile when she walks into the room.  Nor can you say no if she asks you to help out. Thank you Andrea for all that you have done for the consumer practitioner, for the bankruptcy practice in general and for the members of ACBC.

  Dan Furlong

  Listserv “Forum” Contributor 2014
Dan Furlong is a gentleman and a bottomless well of knowledge. If any ACBC member needs case law, language for a brief or just a simple explanation of a complicated bankruptcy concept – there is Dan. His analysis is practical and on point. His library of cases equals the National Library. What stand out the most about Dan is that he is always willing to help anyone. His clients have wonderful things to say about Dan, his staff and his services. Dan – thank you for being our expert librarian and mentor. 


  Ellen Sue Katz

  Non-Member of the Year
Ellen Sue Katz, of the William E. Morris Institute for Justice. Ellen is a diligent workhorse, constantly laboring behind the legislative scene in an attempt to protect the legal rights of those without a voice in the Arizona State Legislature. Ellen is a very important contributor to the ACBC Legislative committee. For example, Ellen worked in tandem with ACBC to fight an attempt by the bankruptcy trustees to eliminate the supplementary vehicle exemption for a person with a handicap. It was thanks to Ellen that this bill was defeated. This is just one of many examples of Ellen’s diligent commitment to protecting the citizens of Arizona. Our thanks to Ellen and the William E. Morris Institute for Justice; keep up the great work.

2013 Recipients: Dwayne Farnsworth and Tami Johnson
Member of the Year and Non-Member of the Year


  Dwayne Farnsworth

  Member of the Year
Dwayne Farnsworth is the 2013 Member of the Year. For many years Dwayne has worked behind the scenes to change the Arizona exemptions with the goal of protecting certain essential assets for all Arizona citizens. In 2013 Dwayne successfully advanced a bill which brought Arizona exemptions into the twenty-first century. Most of the basic exemptions (household furniture, tools of the trade and other necessities) had not been updated since 1982. Without Dwayne’s guidance and doggedness the young ACBC would not have successfully changed the exemption laws. Members of ACBC understand the magnitude of these changes, but Dwayne’s hard work will never be known by those who actually receive the benefit – Arizona citizens. Our thanks to Dwayne for caring about others

  Tami Johnson

  Non-Members of the Year
Tami Johnson is the force behind the Arizona Bankruptcy Court’s Self-Help Center. She works in tandem with ACBC on several projects, such as finding volunteer attorneys for those debtors who have been abandoned by their own attorneys. In addition, she coordinates several programs: such as the attorney volunteers for the Self-Help Clinic (both telephonic and in-person), the Adversary Clinic and the Chapter 13 SWAT Team. In her free time she works with the Reaffirmation Clinic. Tami is constantly on the lookout for document preparers who are in run afoul of the Bankruptcy Code. She coordinates between the Bankruptcy Court, Arizona Supreme Court, the State Bar of Arizona and the United States Trustees Office in order to eliminate illegal or unethical practices. It is thanks to Tami that the general public has a safe place to obtain legal counsel regarding their rights in bankruptcy.

2012 Recipients: Scott Hyder, Cindy Greene, Ileen Lashinsky and Teri Yeates
Member of the Year and Non-Member of the Year


  Scott Hyder

  Member of the Year
Scott Hyder chaired the Consumer Bankruptcy 201 and is one of the chairs of our CLE committee.  Scott enrolls teams regularly to put on our CLE programs.  Among Scott’s great value to our organization is that when someone says “we should do,”  Scott turns around and makes sure that we do it.

  Cindy Greene

  Member of the Year
Cindy Greene is the Membership Chair and our Treasurer.  Cindy takes on the projects that must get done and does them.  When we decided to hold a get-to-together CLE with the Trustees, she organized the program which was attended by three chapter 7 Trustees, Judge Nielsen, and Chief Judge Marlar.  Cindy has been our membership chair through the rough and tumble transition from a free organization to a dues paying organization.  When the handling of dues collection became to cumbersome for the past Treasurer, Cindy agreed to step in and be our treasurer as well.

  Ilene Lashinsky

  Non-members of the Year
Ilene Lashinsky is our U.S. Trustee.  Ilene is a valued bridge within our Consumer Bankruptcy Community.  Ilene speaks at our lunches and our CLE programs.  She partnered the U.S. Trustee’s Office with us to put on the Consumer Bankruptcy 101 program providing her time and invaluable resources to that joint effort.



  Teri Yeates

  Non-members of the Year
Teri Yeates is the State Bar staff member assigned to the Bankruptcy Section.  From our earliest involvement with representing the consumer bar, Teri has been our aid and our ally.  Teri has administered countless CLE and Brown Bag programs that we have initiated.  “Administered” includes sending out invitations, compiling the list of attendees and collecting fees, making sure there are enough copies of written materials, taking attendance, ordering lunch, and then cleaning up afterwards.


2011 Recipients: Gary Stickell, Diane L. Drain, Michael Zimmerman and Michelle Sojak
Member of the Year and Non-Member of the Year


  Gary Stickell

  Members of the Year
Gary Stickell and Diane Drain, co-founders of ACBC.  Since 2005, Gary and Diane have partnered in presenting meaningful CLE’s to our consumer debtor attorneys and (with Mark Lischwe) monthly lunches.  Out of the email list for the monthly lunches grew to be the Lunch at Pugzies listserv (a thanks to Allan Butler and his staff for putting that google group together).  Out of their commitment to the consumer bankruptcy attorney community and the integration of the newest members of that community, the group grew from ten to one hundred and fifty.  Their efforts included: Diane’s start-up and guidance of the Bankruptcy Court’s Self-Help Center.  Gary’s initiation of the Consumer Mentor sessions.  The free Consumer Bankruptcy 101 program held at Arizona State University in May 2010.  The history of their partnership is the history of our organization and it is right that they receive the initial members of the year awards.



  Diane Drain

  Members of the Year

  Michael Zimmerman

  Non-Members of the Year
Michael was the first pro se law clerk of the Arizona Bankruptcy Court.  Michael Zimmerman coordinated the grants and underwriting that allowed us to put on the Consumer Bankruptcy 101 program.  Michael created the environment to grow the self-help center from Diane Drain and a few of her friends to a regular group of dedicated volunteers.

  Michelle Sojak

Non-Members of the Year 
Michelle is Gary Stickell’s assistant.  Among her services to ACBC has been fielding the phone calls of all of you that wanted to join the Pugzies’ listserv and compiling the materials for the Consumer Bankruptcy 101 program.  Without Michelle’s support, ACBC would not be what it is today.