We are not just a CPA…we are a team!

Meet Our Team

Brian Toennies
Owner

Brian earned his Bachelor's Degree in accounting from Illinois State University in 1986. Two years later he passed the CPA exam and started his career in public accounting. In 1997 he started Brian Toennies & Associates with himself and one other employee. Today the the team has grown to more than 14 employees and provides tax, accounting, and business advisory services to more than 3000 clients. The firm prepares individual, corporate, partnership, trust, and payroll tax returns for clients primarily in the St. Louis Metro area but also across the United States.

Brian and his wife Mona have 3 sons, Eric, Zach and Jack.  When he gets time away from work, Brian enjoys spending time with family and traveling. He believes the success of the firm is based upon hiring great employees and providing true value to clients.

Ben Orris
CPA
Ben earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of St. Francis in 2007. He went onto earn his MBA from the University of St. Francis as well in 2009. One year later Ben passed the CPA exam and has held his CPA license in the state of Illinois since 2010. Ben spends most of his time at our Illinois office and enjoys helping small businesses with all their accounting needs and helping their businesses grow. Ben and his wife Sara have one daughter, Sophie. Ben enjoys spending time with his family and attending sporting events, especially soccer. Outside of work you can typically find Ben playing with his daughter or at a local soccer game.
Kip Buettner
CPA

Kip graduated from East Texas State University in 1985 and has been practicing in the tax accounting area for over 35 years. He earned his CPA license in 1990.

Although Kip is new to Toennies & Associates, he has known Brian for years and trained him at his first public accounting position out of college.

Kip is from the Belleville area and enjoys all aspects of taxation.  

Kip is an avid St. Louis Blues fan and other sports as well. Kip has two daughters and a grandson and enjoys family time.

Debra Shephard
Tax Manager
Debra graduated from Saint Louis University with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in accounting. She began preparing taxes in the late 80’s. Over the years she has prepared taxes for CPA firms, one of the largest retail tax preparation chains, and an Enrolled Agent, located in Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. Upon her return from Mexico she studied and earned her Enrolled Agent certificate in 2012. In 2016 she earned her MBA. Debra looks forward to coming to work every day at Brian Toennies & Associates. She is living her dream reviewing income tax returns. She also looks forward to working with this incredible, competent and client focused team, every day. She has enjoyed parenting for 36 years. With her biological daughters now grown, (Sarah 35 and Tamara 30) and she found herself fostering then adopting a baby (Neisha) who is now turning 16.
Brittany Smith
Staff Accountant
Brittany joined our firm in October, 2012, and she holds the position of Staff Accountant. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from Saint Louis University in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. She has several years of experience in accounting and payroll services and has a passion to serve other people in any way she can. She endeavors to work diligently with honesty and integrity. Brittany and her husband, Brian, live in the St. Louis area with their dog, Lily. In her spare time she is devoted to serving at her church and spending quality time with her family.
Mackenzie Gottlob
Staff Accountant
Mackenzie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2017. She has been with Brian Toennies and Associates since December of 2017. In the future, Mackenzie would like to go back to school to get her MBA and sit for the CPA. Outside of the office, Mackenzie loves the outdoors, binge watching shows on Netflix/Hulu and spending time with her two older sisters.
Crystal Grillo
Staff Accountant
Crystal earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Central Methodist University in 2018 and joined Brian’s team shortly thereafter. She is currently studying to sit for her CPA exam and has already started attending seminars to gain as much knowledge as possible to better serve clients. Crystal lives with her long-standing boyfriend, Aaron and is a guardian for her younger sister, Barbara. Some of Crystal’s hobbies include spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading and riding motorcycles. She believes hard work and dedication should be foremost in the list of qualities for providing the best service to all clients.
Craig Eden
Staff Accountant
Craig joined our team in October of 2018. Craig obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Central Methodist University. He double majored in Accounting & Business Management with a minor in Economics. He has several years of experience in Individual Income Tax Returns. He is currently studying for his CPA Exam license. Craig is married to his wife Adrienne and has one son Carson. In his spare time he enjoys playing with Carson outside, and watching the Blues or Cardinals.
Pete Bothmann
Staff Accountant

Pete is a Staff Accountant here at Brian Toennies.  He works mainly on tax returns, bookkeeping and various projects for our clients.  Pete graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2018 where he earned his degree in Business Administration-Accounting and minored in Computer Science.  He joined Brian Toennies and Associates in the Summer of 2019 and he continues to study to sit for the CPA. Outside of his work he enjoys Fishing, Cardinals baseball Games, Hockey and Cooking.

Paul Wibbenmeyer
Accountant

Paul is a new member to our team, beginning at the start of 2020.  Paul earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from The University of Missouri St. Louis in 2016 and is currently studying to attain his CPA license.  Paul has two seasons of tax preparation experience, and he is excited to become a valued member of the team.

Paul lives with his wife Caroline and his dogs Bo and Chloe.  For fun, Paul likes to spend as much time outside as possible.  Whether it be camping, hiking, biking or just playing frisbee with Bo, he cannot get enough of the outdoors.

Mitchell Baum
Staff Accountant
Mitchell Joined our team in June of 2019. Mitchell earned both his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Masters in Business Administration from Rockhurst University. He is a previous employee of H&R Block’s Expat International Tax program, and currently sitting for the Enrolled Agent certification exams. Mitchell and his Fiancé Allison are both St. Louis natives, with an extended family all throughout the city. Mitchell enjoys his hobbies of rock climbing & beekeeping.
Cullen Demarest
CPA
Brian hired Cullen about three years ago. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is licensed as a CPA in Missouri and Kansas. Cullen now works remotely for the firm while attending the University of Dayton School of Law. He still enjoys working for Brian’s great team and likes to see small businesses thrive. Cullen is originally from the Kansas City area; he loves to see the Royals win whenever they can. He also likes spending time with the family, especially the family dog, Mongo.
Paige Jensen
Office Administrator
Paige Jensen is an Office Manager who has been with Brian for 15 years. She attended some college, but prior to joining Brian’s team, gained most of her skills working at Six Flags and in the banking business (where she met Brian). Paige specializes in Payroll Taxes and Bookkeeping work with an emphasis on corporation set up. Paige enjoys live music of any kind, finds baking and John Cusack therapeutic, and enjoys Cardinal baseball any day of the week. She loves road trips and has a dream to retire in the mountains of Utah someday.
Arian Walden
Administrative Assistant
As office admin, Arian is often the first face you see when you walk in the door, or the first to answer your phone calls. She takes pride in helping people, is hyper-creative, enthusiastic and incorporates both traits into problem solving, and function in the office. Arian has some college experience in the culinary arts, with which she worked a short while as a cook and at a bakery. She later found her niche beginning her office administrative career a few years prior to joining our team in 2015. Arian, at home with her wife Mikah, enjoys cooking, gardening, Netflix, RuneScape and playing with their two rambunctious dogs Erza & Jack.
Alexa Gonzalez
Administrative Assistant
Alexa joined Brian’s firm in October 2018 as an administrative assistant. Before that she worked in the car sales and service industry. Alexa is primarily responsible for bookkeeping, payroll, filing, phone management, tax return assembling, and making appointments in addition to assisting clients and associates in their many daily needs. Dedicated, approachable, reliable, personable and motivated, she takes pride in representing Brian Toennies & Associates professionally In her free time Alexa likes to travel with her husband, go for walks, shop, and try new foods. She aspires to strengthen her professional career and skills here with us, while growing her family at home.
Kathryn Lorenz
Administrative Assistant

Kathryn will welcome you with a smile when you step into the O’Fallon, IL office.  Joining Brian’s team in January of 2020 as an administrative assistant, she brings Years of customer service in the banking industry with her.

When she’s not behind the desk she enjoys staying active with her three kids and Her partner, Tom.  She teaches and studies Taekwondo and is currently training for Her second-degree black belt.