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2021 Top 5 Under 35 Award Recipients

Congratulations to these five rising CPA stars in Virginia.
June 22, 2021

The VSCPA Top 5 Under 35 Award recognizes emerging CPA leaders under the age of 35 who have notable professional achievements, VSCPA accomplishments on the state or chapter level, community contributions and/or dedication to the CPA profession.  

Amanda DiStasio, CPA

Owner, Optimal Accounting, LLC, Suffolk 

Hometown: Suffolk, Virginia 

Colleges: Virginia Tech and Old Dominion University 

VSCPA volunteer experience: VSCPA Young Professionals Advisory Committee, Educational Foundation Scholarship Committee, Disclosures magazine writer. 

I'm passionate about… “Educating others on the CPA profession and sharing study tricks and tips. I enjoy helping students navigate the different career paths of what being a CPA can offer. There are so many benefits to becoming a CPA and I love sharing different ideas on what you can do with the license.”   

“I became a CPA to be able to speak the language of business. I wanted to be able to make informed decisions about investing. Being able to dissect a company's balance sheet and profit and loss statements gives me insight into the company's financial health.” 

Victor Geagla, CPA 

Senior manager, Baker Tilly, Tysons 

Hometown: Fairfax (via Romania) 

College: James Madison University 

Notable experience: Baker Tilly’s Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee and National NextGen Committee, Greater Washington Board of Trade’s Emerging Leaders Network, Economic Club Emerging Leaders Network and Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. 

I’m passionate about… “Professionally, I have always been passionate about connecting with new clients and guiding our internal team members as they grow throughout their careers. Personally, I’m a big fan of fitness, traveling and anything outdoors.” 

“One of the reasons I have remained in the profession is the rewarding nature of continuously advising and providing value to clients on a variety of cutting-edge topics, as well as the ability to work with a diverse group of individuals.” 

Iris Laws, CPA 

Senior tax associate, DHG, Winston-Salem, N.C. 

Hometown: San Antonio 

College: Wake Forest University — Go Deacs! 

Notable experience: Several DHG leadership positions, including founding and chairing the Richmond Emerging Leaders Network. Currently serves as vice chair of the Political Action Committee Board of Directors and received the inaugural VSCPA 2020 Women to Watch — Emerging Leader Award. 

Why I became a CPA… “I wanted to find a challenging career that would allow for continual learning, while simultaneously helping those in my community. With the ever-changing landscape of this profession — I’ve found the right fit!” 

“I’m a firm believer in the power of friendship. Ultimately it’s the relationships with my coworkers, clients, family and friends that keep me going!” 

Brad Lester, CPA 

Senior accountant, Brown Edwards, Roanoke 

Hometown: Conyers, Ga. 

College: Emory & Henry College 

VSCPA volunteer experience: Served as president and vice president of the VSCPA Roanoke Chapter, where he has worked to improve the chapter’s infrastructure, and passionate about promoting the accounting profession in Roanoke as well as educating students about the profession. 

Why I became a CPA… “I was inspired by one of my business/accounting professors while in college, who helped me to realize that I excelled in accounting. I have always been interested in finances so the opportunity to combine this passion in my career led me to become a CPA.” 

“Since moving to Roanoke, our family has been welcomed to the area by everyone and I hope to continue to build relationships throughout the community and make our city an even better place to live.” 

Evan Wrinkle, CPA 

Senior staff accountant, WellsColeman, Richmond 

Hometown: West Point 

College: Virginia Commonwealth University 

VSCPA volunteer experience: Started on the board of the VSCPA Richmond Chapter in May 2017 and now serving as president; also a member of the Young Professionals Advisory Council. 

I’m passionate about… “Improving the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries. One of the benefits of being a CPA is the ability to use my expertise to benefit organizations like the United Spinal Association of Virginia. For the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve on their board as treasurer.” 

“Since my early teens I found the idea of quantifying the activities of an organization and telling its story through numbers very interesting. After obtaining a degree in accounting, getting my license was a natural next step to prove that I was serious about the profession.”