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HISTORY OF AKRON CHAPTER IMA

By


Ken Bechtol

N.A.C.A. (National Association of Cost Accountants) was formed in 1919 in Buffalo, NY.  The Akron chapter was established with 63 members during the 1938-39 competition year.  Akron chapter charter date was February 24, 1939.  On July 1, 1957, the Association name was changed to NAA (National Association of Accountants).  On July 1, 1991, the name was changed again to IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) to reflect the broader base of membership.

Prior to forming the Akron Chapter, Akron accountants attended meetings at the Carter Hotel in Cleveland.  The interest in forming a local chapter grew as accountants with careers in common and going to Cleveland monthly for dinner decided to form a chapter here in Akron.   

The chapter started meeting at the Portage Hotel, and in the early days, a great deal of emphasis was on Fun.  Sam Smolie would play the piano and members would sing.  Wives were participating in some events and normally a dance would be held at Christmas with the Red Schwartz Band.  Molly Mollenkopf and Milo Zaveson started the practice of shaking as many hands as they could, which led to the tradition we have followed for many years called “The Hand”. 

Logan Monroe (the Monroe Award) was involved in forming the chapter, and two Cleveland members named William “Arme” Armstrong and Tom Dickerson were known as the “Mom and Pop” founders of the Akron chapter.

The chapter did not always have technical sessions, but had discussion groups, plant tours, and extemporaneous meetings.  Board meetings were required but not held monthly.

Meetings, which started at the Portage Hotel, moved several times over the years, with major time periods spent at: The Chesterfield Inn, The Firestone Country Club, The Mayflower Hotel, The University Club, The Women’s City Club, Tangier Restaurant, and the Martin Center. 

The practice of singing at meetings continued until the 60s at the Women’s City Club.  Lou Amer was the Master of Song and even published songbooks.  Lou evidently did not have a replacement as the practice died out in the 60s as chapter members developed other forms of entertainment.  

During the 40s, the chapter enjoyed a period of organization and rapid growth.  We had the backing of major company officials and strong “common sense” guys ran the organization during that era.  Chapter members were not interested in competition and used the meetings for more social and information exchange than we do currently. 

During the late 40s, interest grew in National Competition with Charlie Reinherr gaining the Second Place Stevenson Trophy in 1948-49. 

The 50s period was a period of let down.  We had grown to 250 members, and we had obtained national recognition, but interest in NAA was static.  The attitude was “let’s not talk about NAA points, do what’s right for the chapter membership, and the points will come automatically as the membership is serviced”. 

In the 60s, we generated enough membership (555 members) and had an opportunity to move our strong Canton group membership to chapter status.  National put pressure on the chapter to spin off Canton, but some of the membership was reluctant to leave the Akron Chapter.  Glen Woodson led Akron Chapter to its only First Place Stevenson Trophy in 1960-61, and then helped with the June 1, 1961 spin-off of the Canton Chapter and became its first president.  The 60s were years of awards and recognition. 

In the 70s, we continued to generate membership and win banners and awards.  Our chapter had developed with the assistance of many industry and business leaders.  During the 70s, two major reductions of membership came when we spun off Cuyahoga Valley Chapter (July 1970) and divided the Akron Chapter into two chapters, Akron Summit and Akron Cascade (June 1, 1977).  In its final year of its 39-year history prior to the partitioning (513 members), the Akron Chapter won the Stuart Cameron McLeod Society Third Place Stevenson Trophy and the prestigious Presidents’ Award Trophy in 1977 (for 1972-77 years). 

Milo Zaveson, Clyde Van Horne, Jim Pohl, and Glen Woodson developed the Past Presidents’ Club, and Charlie Reinherr, Lou Amer and Ed Kramer formed the Investment Club.   

In the 80s following the partitioning of Akron Chapter, the Akron Summit Chapter was initially in a period of rebuilding.  The first several years were difficult, but the quality of the membership during and after the split made the Akron Summit Chapter viable and strong.  In its 12 years of existence, the chapter received eight banners, six national awards for public relations, and, the most prestigious award of all, the Presidents’ Award Trophy in 1987 (for 1982-87 years). 

The Akron Cascade Chapter was also in a rebuilding posture, reflecting the exodus of white-collar jobs from the Akron area.  The Akron Cascade Chapter began the post-partitioning period well by winning the Remington Rand Second Place Stevenson Trophy in 1977-78.  During its 12 years of existence, the chapter also won a banner, five national awards for Public Relations, Membership Achievement, and Socio-Economic Achievement, and won the Ohio Council Monroe Award for seven consecutive years (1978-84).  The chapter was blessed with two women presidents during its 12-year existence.   

On July 1, 1989, the Akron Summit and Akron Cascade Chapters merged (due to dwindling membership) and re-established the Akron Chapter.  Since coming back together, the Akron Chapter has received fifteen national banners (most recently, the 6th place banner for 2015-16) and eight national awards for Public Relations (most recently, the Silver medal award for 2015-16) and Runner-Up for the Community Service Award.  Following the September 11, 2001 disaster, Roy Howarter suggested that we show our patriotism by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at chapter meetings.  The chapter offers usually two hours of CPE at most meetings by scheduling a pre-technical session and technical session slate of speakers. 

In 2000, the Cuyahoga Valley chapter was merged into the Akron Chapter (due to declining membership). In the Fall 2005, several members of the former Youngstown chapter transferred into Akron chapter.

Today, the approx. 250-member Akron Chapter is widely recognized as one of the leading chapters in the nation, celebrating its 79th year. 

For a bit of nostalgia, here was one of the tunes we used to sing at Akron Chapter meetings:

PLEDGE TO N.A.C.A.
Tune: Auld Lang Syne 

We’re members of a loyal band
A fellowship so true
With purpose but to give our best
In all that we may do
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 CHORUS

N.A.C.A, we pledge to thee
Our loyal service true
We’ll give our best to meet the test
N.A.C.A. for you.
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So, all for one, and one for all
This spirit will prevail.
Join hands and grip in fellowship
True friendship ne’er can fail.

REPEAT CHORUS 

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