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Public Service Award Recipients

The Public Service Award is the highest honor bestowed upon one member each year. Candidates are nominated by members, outside organizations, colleagues, family, and friends. This award recognizes the good work done by CPAs outside of the accounting profession. Volunteer accomplishments include public service to community, charitable work, or involvement with civic organizations.

Chris Wilcox

Eide Bailly

2023 Public Service Award Recipient


Chris Wilcox, CPA, CGMA, CEPA is the NVCPA 2023 Public Service Award Recipient. Chris is a Partner and Las Vegas Market Leader with Eide Bailly. He graduated from Southern Utah University, Cedar City with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He entered accounting in the height of the 1980’s recession and nobody was recruiting on campus. He had a friend whose father was a partner at a firm in Las Vegas and asked to meet with him. The partner agreed to meet with him but assured Chris they were not hiring. He received the same comments from three other firms who also agreed to meet with him. As a result, he received multiple offers and chose to begin his career with Laventhal and Ernst (now EY) in Las Vegas.  This same drive and tenacity compelled him to ask for the names of top tax firms in Las Vegas a few years later which led him to being hired at Bradshaw Smith where he worked for 8 years and became partner. His entrepreneurial spirit had come alive by this point and he and a partner opened their own firm which eventually merged with Eide Bailly in 2017.

This pattern of self-sufficiency and gumption is the same thing that propelled him into volunteering in Las Vegas. When he moved to Vegas he knew one person, his wife. He wanted to meet people and establish his place in the community, so he joined the West Charleston Lions Club. A couple years later he decided to start coaching Little League despite not knowing a thing about baseball. His children were in Little League and he was not happy with the attitudes of some of the coaches so he stepped in.

He spent 10 years coaching while his kids played baseball. He surrounded himself with people who knew the game which led to winning championships and all-star teams. Chris also coached basketball for the Boys and Girls Club after witnessing the impact the game had on the children. He joined their board and served on the Executive Committee and as Treasurer during his tenure. He noted that he regularly runs in to adults he coached as kids and said it feels great when they remember him and can share memories.
Chris served on the UNLV Professional Advisory Board which advised doners how to structure their university contributions. He served on a similar board at BYU. He volunteered with the NVCPA through multiple classroom visits over the years to talk about accounting and personal finance. He participated in the Feed the Pig campaign which promoted financial literacy.

Another passion of Chris’ is the business community. He serves on the Board and Executive Committee of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and previously served on the Boards of the Better Business Bureau and the Nevada Community Foundation, which he helped establish. Chris says that these organizations do so much to help and protect business, employees, and the community in Las Vegas and they don’t get enough accolades for what they do. He states that he feels fortunate to be in a position to help organizations that help others.

Chris learned about giving back from his family and has passed that along to his own children. He grew up in a small town of about 150 people. His family had a garden that grew enough food to feed about half the town. Chris helped in the garden, begrudgingly, but said it was wonderful to see that they were able to help so many people by giving away their produce which made the work rewarding. They grew everything possible, and his mother happily shared their bounty. For 10 years Chris served on his alma mater’s Business School Advisory Board and his son, Aaron, now serves in his place. Aaron states, “One of my favorite memories is participating with my dad in an event at the Boys and Girls Club called Boys Night Out. This event allows the boys at the club a chance to spend one-on-one time with good male role models. I always knew I was blessed to have my dad, but that night solidified to me how blessed I am. The way my dad interacted with the boy he was paired with made it seem like he had known him for years. He truly cared about him and he showed it. That is just one example of the type of caring and dedication he has to those he serves.”

Chris reflects that he feels privileged to be in such a great profession which allows him to marry business and service to others. When his staff passes the CPA exam, he speaks with  them on the responsibility of being a CPA but also that it’s not all about the work. He says that when you volunteer you see how fortunate you are and should find ways to help others. He notes it also rounds out who you are. Chris’ advice to new professionals is to find something you are passionate about and give back to an organization or group that aligns with that passion. And, just as important, “it’s the right thing to do.”