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CAS Honors Five Outstanding Volunteers
By Matt Caruso, CAS Membership and Volunteer Manager 

In celebration of the spirit of volunteerism, five exceptional CAS volunteers were honored during the 2011 Annual Meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL. During the opening Business Session, Gareth Kennedy, and Rhonda Walker were acknowledged with the Above and Beyond Achievement Award, Vijay Manghnani was awarded the New Members Award, and Amy Bouska and Stephen Philbrick were presented with the Matthew Rodermund Service Award.

Each year, more than a third of CAS members participate as volunteers, among whom are individuals who contribute far more than is expected of a typical CAS volunteer. The Above and Beyond Achievement Award (ABAA) was created to publicize and to reward these efforts.

Gareth Kennedy’s work on the CAS Accounting Changes Task Force was an effort that truly went “Above and Beyond.” Independent of the task force, he developed a theoretical model to examine the differences between IASB and FASB proposals and current GAAP/Statutory accounting principles. This independent work became the task force’s central focus and provided the basis for its conclusions. For Mr. Kennedy, volunteering is a way to give back to the actuarial profession. He remarked, “In doing so, I hope to play a small part in helping our profession to continue to grow and meet our Society’s strategic goals.”

Rhonda Walker also received the ABAA for her exemplary efforts. Ms. Walker is the Exam Committee officer responsible for recruiting and placing volunteers on the exams that best fit their schedules and talents. During the 2011 education restructure, her work more than doubled. Throughout the transition, she tracked and remapped the committee structure while keeping all committee positions filled. Ms. Walker has been involved in various facets of the Exam Committee since 1988. She said, “My first employer encouraged all new Fellows to give back to the CAS by volunteering for the Exam Committee. In my current role, placing Exam Committee volunteers, I am happy to be able to assist the part chairs in staffing their committees.”

While the Above and Beyond Achievement Award recognizes short-term contributions during a volunteer’s years of service, the New Members Award recognizes volunteer contributions during an individual’s first five years as a member. The year 2011 is the inaugural year of this award.

The first winner of the New Members Award is Vijay Manghnani. After receiving his FCAS in 2010, Mr. Manghnani joined the Climate Change Committee. He holds a Ph.D. in climatology, so his dual expertise in both actuarial science and climatology brought a unique perspective to the committee. He soon became its vice-chair, and is now chairing the committee.

Mr. Manghnani’s immediate contribution illustrates how new members can positively influence the Society through volunteering. “As part of a research team on Climate Change, I get to be involved [in] cutting edge work on the industry impact of this emerging risk,” he said.

The Matthew Rodermund Service Award is intended to annually recognize two CAS members who have made significant volunteer contributions to the actuarial profession over the course of a career. The award was established in 1990 in honor of Mr. Rodermund’s history of volunteer service to the CAS.

Like many members, Amy Bouska began her volunteer service for the CAS as a member of the Exam Committee. Thus began a history of volunteer work that has now spanned more than 20 years. During this time, Ms. Bouska has volunteered her service on various international committees, research publications, ICA organizing committees, and on the CAS Board of Directors. She has also contributed articles on topics such as environmental issues and exposure bases.

Stephen Philbrick also began his CAS service on the Exam Committee, at the start of over 30 years of volunteer service. His primary focus in volunteering has been on publications, with nine years’ tenure on the Committee on Review of Papers. He likely is best known for his popular “Brainstorms” column in the Actuarial Review, which he authored from 1982 to 2006. Among his many contributions, Mr. Philbrick also had a long tenure on the Committee on Theory of Risk and served a term on the CAS Board of Directors.

Each of this year’s Matthew Rodermund Service Award winners exemplifies a lifetime of service helping to accomplish a variety of CAS initiatives.   

Please help the CAS recognize outstanding volunteers by nominating worthy members for the 2012 Above & Beyond Achievement Award, New Members Award, or Matthew Rodermund Service Award when invited to do so in May. If you have questions about the awards, please contact Matt Caruso at the CAS office.

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