IBR honors outstanding professionals in finance and law

Chloe Baul//November 17, 2023//

Ronald Graves, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, speaks at Idaho Business Review's Leaders in Law and Excellence in Finance awards ceremony on Nov. 14 at Boise Centre East. (PHOTO: Pro Image Event Photography)

IBR honors outstanding professionals in finance and law

Chloe Baul//November 17, 2023//

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On Nov. 14, 325 attendees gathered at the Boise Centre to commemorate the recipients of the Idaho Business Review 2023 Excellence in Finance and Leaders in Law awards.

The annual awards event shined a spotlight on professionals who stand out in leadership, mentorship, community service and various other areas. It also provided a unique opportunity for professionals from different industries to connect during a lively reception.

As it has done for 11 years, the University of Idaho College of Law sponsored the event. Professor of Law and the Associate Dean of Faculty at the University of Idaho College of Law, Aliza Plener Cover was on-hand to speak about the awards, noting that some of her past students were receiving awards that evening.

“Our award recipients represent the best of our community and our state, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to address them and you. It feels particularly special to be a part of today’s program when I stop and realize how many of the honorees, 14 To be exact, gained their legal education at the University of Idaho College of Law,” Cover said. “A handful of the honorees have been my own students over the course of the past 10 years. What a privilege it is to have watched their journey from day one of law school when they didn’t yet know how to read a case, to seeing them walk across the stage to receive their diplomas at graduation, full of potential and on the cusp of a bright career in law.”

During the event, Steve Burns, president and CEO of the Idaho Community Foundation, shared insights into the foundation’s role in the community.

“Idaho has fewer foundations than most other states, and we have fewer foundations at a scale large enough to really tackle some of the issues that a growing state like Idaho has,” he stated during his speech. “Well, we work with professional advisors all the time—estate attorneys, CPAs, financial advisors. We help you help your clients achieve their philanthropic goals.”

Among the distinguished group of awardees, 19 individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the field of finance, 29 professionals received accolades as Leaders in Law. The individuals, representing various parts of Idaho, were selected based on their notable achievements and their role in raising standards within their companies and the state.

Last year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award, Nick Miller, a partner at Hawley Troxell, took the stage to introduce this year’s honoree. The prestigious 2023 Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Ronald Graves, retired general counsel for JR Simplot Company.

“I’ve been very lucky. I had a very successful, rewarding career at Simplot. I enjoyed the company, and I met wonderful people there — there were many people with the company that were mentors to me,” Graves said during his speech. “But the thing that has been most rewarding in my life has been the opportunity to give back to the community.”

Special publications highlighting the honorees will be included with the Nov. 24 issue of Idaho Business Review.

2023 Excellence in Finance Honorees:

  • Patricia Agenbroad, Hawley Troxell
  • John Chung, Idaho Housing & Finance Association
  • Frank Clarke, University of Idaho Foundation
  • Debbie Cleverley, Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Bryan Furlong, Idaho First Bank
  • Cory Jakobson, Umpqua Bank
  • Kevin King, Edward Jones
  • Richard Lethbridge Jr., Zions Bank
  • Hector Luna, Washington Trust Bank
  • Chris Nelson, Tovuti, LMS
  • Tyler Nyman, B.A. Harris
  • Sherwin Pestka, Ada County Highway District
  • Doug Racine, City of Nampa Finance Team
  • Bernadette Reisbeck, Horizon Credit Union
  • Robby Robinson, First Interstate Bank
  • Bill Shrum, Delta Dental
  • Casey Taylor, CapEd
  • Ryan Warwick, R|W Investment Management
  • Jodi Whittaker, KDP LLP Certified Public Accountants

2023 Leaders in Law Honorees:


  • Matthew Montgomery, Holland & Hart LLP
  • Nikki O’Toole, Hawley Troxell
  • Jenny Palmer, Stoel Rives LLP
  • Kaycee May Royer, Perkins Coie
  • Jennifer Walrath, Idaho Employment Lawyers


  • Teresa Baker, Idaho State Bar
  • Dylan Hedden-Nicely, University of Idaho
  • Jerrold Long, University of Idaho

In-House Counsel

  • Nicole Owens, Federal Defender Services of Idaho
  • Edith Pacillo, University of Idaho
  • Nicole Pantera, Boise State University


  • Michael Carr, Perkins Coie
  • Teague Donahey, Holland & Hart LLP
  • Keely Duke, Duke Evett PLLC
  • Danielle Quade, Hawley Troxell
  • Nick Taylor, Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Dennis Voorhees, Canyon River Law
  • Geoffery Wardle, Clark Wardle LLP
  • Elijah Watkins, Stoel Rives LLP

Sole Practitioner

  • Margo Anderson, Faces of Hope Foundation
  • Ashley Brittain, The Brittain Group
  • Jon Cox, Cox Law

Unsung Hero

  • Teresa Viker, Idaho Power Co.
  • Up & Coming 
  • Wen-Ying Angela Chang, Bartlett & French LLP
  • Alaina Harrington, Smith + Malek Attorneys
  • Sarah Hugues, Perkins Coie
  • Colleen Smith, Stris & Maher LLP
  • Joe Southers, Borton Lakey Law Offices

Lifetime Achievement Winner

Ronald Graves, JR Simplot Co.

To read the honoree profiles, look for the publications at the Idaho Business Review website, www.idahobusinessreview.com, or request the print publications at 877-615-9536.