Kansas Chamber honors historic Wichita business with 2022 Ad Astra Award

FILE - 2021 Ad Astra Award is given during the 2020 Annual dinner.
FILE - 2021 Ad Astra Award is given during the 2020 Annual dinner.(Jovarie Downing)
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 12:27 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Historic Wichita business BKD CPAs & Advisors has been named the Kansas Chamber’s 2022 Ad Astra Award honoree.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce says on Monday, April 4, it announced its 2022 Ad Astra Award honoree - BKD CPAs & Advisors. Each year, during its annual dinner, it said a Kansas company is recognized with the award for unique contributions to the economic health and welfare of the state.

The Chamber noted the honor is presented to a company that shows both business and civic excellence in Kansas.

“For nearly 100 years, BKD CPAs & Advisors and its employees have had a tremendous impact on our state,” said Chamber President and CEO Alan Cobb. “Its continued focus on being a trusted advisor built on a strong character, respect for all, and no-hold-barred standard of excellence are why the organization is among the country’s best tax, accounting, and advisory firms.”

“Additionally, the BKD team demonstrated its commitment to its customers and communities during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It provided hundreds of hours of valuable information at no cost to companies and organizations while supporting community organizations that focused on feeding and providing health care and shelter to those who had been furloughed or lost their jobs. The Kansas Chamber and its members are thrilled to recognize BKD and its employees for their contributions to Kansas with the 2022 Ad Astra Award,” Cobb continued.

The Chamber said BKD sprang from its roots in Wichita in 1914 when a CPA - Clinton H. Montgomery - arrived from Philadelphia. He chose to stay and establish the first public accounting firm in the Sunflower State with an office at the corner of Douglas and Market in downtown Wichita.

After branches opened in Kansas City and Joplin, Mo., the Chamber said Montgomery sold the firm in 1923 and it became Baird, Kurtz & Dobson. It said the CPA firm grew steadily before a merger in 2001 which created BKD, LLP, and doubled its size. It said BKD is now a national firm with 42 offices in 19 states and over 3,000 employees.

“BKD is humbled to be recognized by the Kansas Chamber as the 2022 Ad Astra Honoree. Since our inception, BKD has served the industries and the people who have built Kansas into a top 20 state for doing business,” said Bill Pickert, BKD Managing Partner-Wichita. “As BKD begins our second century with our planned merger with peer firm DHG, we look to continue our legacy of hiring top-tier talent from local universities and serving our clients with outstanding service and innovative ideas. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Kansas Chamber to influence local and state public policies which are positive for Kansas businesses.

The Chamber noted that BKD’s culture of giving allows it and its employees to make a difference in local communities through financial donations and volunteerism. It said the BKD Foundation made its first donation in 2000 and has contributed over $19 million to date.

The Chamber indicated BKD Foundation is unique in that each office has its own Foundation with money raised by contributions from local partners and employees. It said this allows money to stay locally and to support efforts that fill local needs.

According to the Chamber, Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Envision and Junior Achievement of Kansas are a few examples of organizations supported by BKD and its Kansas employees.

The Chamber said the 2021 Kansas Chamber Annual Dinner will be held on Wednesday, April 27, at the Stormont Vail Events Center, 1 Expocentre Dr., in Topeka. It said the dinner is one of the largest annual statewide gathering of businesses and political leaders in Kansas.

The Chamber noted this year’s keynote speaker is national pollster, author and commentator Kristen Soltis Anderson.

For more information about the Chamber’s Annual Dinner, click HERE.

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