A Milestone Year for Tax Industry Professionals

Durham, NC – January 2, 2014. Posted by Shelley Hare.

INTRO: During the North Carolina Association of Assessing Officers (NCAAO) Fall Conference, the organization celebrated the accomplishments of tax professionals who have gone above and beyond to represent the goals of the property tax assessment administration. Farragut interviewed each of the 2013 award recipients to get their take on the recognition of their outstanding achievements:

2013 Appraiser of the Year Award

Winner: Linda Brown, Buncombe County Real Estate/Land Records Manager

Linda Brown has been an integral part of the Buncombe County Tax office for the past twenty-six years. Speaking with Linda, you will quickly learn that she is a riveting history buff who takes interest and pride in gathering information from those who have come before us and sharing her knowledge with those around her.

“One thing that helps in our line of work is to always be willing to listen and learn from other people,” shared Linda. “You have to think ahead. Always be open and ready to adjust and learn new things. Don’t be afraid to be innovative and to look at things in a different way.”

Linda says that the most rewarding aspect of her job is being able to do research and solve problems, so that when someone comes to her with an issue she can provide them with the answers they need.

When asked how it felt to be recognized by her peers and awarded the 2013 Appraiser of the Year Award, she told us, “Receiving this award came as a huge shock, and I was completely surprised. It’s a big deal and quite an honor, very humbling.. And, it really meant a lot to me that my staff came all the way to see me get the award.”

“I am really thankful for my staff and for the people that have helped me along the way,” says Linda. “The best leaders recognize that it’s not about us, it’s about them. It’s really my crew that makes me look good. I cannot succeed without the help of those around me.”

2013 Assessor of the Year Award

Winner: Carl Tilghman, Carteret County Tax Administrator

Carl Tilghman has served as the Tax Administrator in Carteret County for over ten years. Prior to that he practiced law and even held a position as a Superior Court Judge for twenty years prior. Carl enjoys getting to know everyone in the county, being able to contact and associate with taxpayers, and helping citizens through any property tax issues they may have.

Earlier this year, Carteret County became the first and only county in NC to receive IAAO’s Certificate of Excellence in Assessment Administration. This certification is only awarded to those taxing jurisdictions willing to undertake a year-long process of challenging themselves to meet and exceed the high standards and best practices as defined by IAAO.

Carl runs an innovative office that rose to the opportunity to enter the challenging program aimed at identifying areas for growth and advancement within their own department. “The whole process was a great learning and training tool,” Carl explained. “It gave us the opportunity to share knowledge and existing practices with each other and discover and expand on new ways of doing things.”

Of receiving the Assessor of the Year award, Carl said, “It was a big surprise and certainly a great honor to receive this kind of recognition,” Carl told us. “I accept the award with the understanding that the staff I have does such great work to make this happen, and I want to recognize their efforts as well. My staff all knew about the award way before I did, so they are good at keeping secrets too!”

2013 Henry W. Lewis Award

Winner: David Baker, Director of the Local Government Division, NCDOR

David Baker is a well-known figure in North Carolina local government and has played a key role in advancing the art of property tax assessment during his twenty-six-year career.

Two of the most noted accomplishments under David’s leadership have been the successful implementation of the state-wide Tax & Tag Together program and the formation of the Local Government division, which grouped all of the services provided by the NCDOR under one centralized location to streamline communications with local governments across NC.

“It is very rewarding to both work with all of the local tax professionals and be able to provide services to local units who can then provide better service to the citizens of North Carolina,” shared David. “There was a lot of teamwork between all of the parties, stakeholders, and local units involved to come up with an agreement and build consensus to make these things happen. Communication is the key.”

When asked his about his feelings upon receiving the 2013 Henry W. Lewis Award, David said, “It was very much an honor and a humbling experience, especially when you look at the people who have won this award in the past, who I have a lot of respect for,” said David. “I have had great mentors who came before me and I am very appreciative of their guidance throughout the years.”

“I am just glad to be a part of a lot of different parties working together,” David told us. “And any success I have is all contributed to the staff here that does a great job and stays involved on a day-to-day basis.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners who dedicate their talents, knowledge, and time to serving North Carolina taxpayers and are instrumental in advancing the property tax industry as a whole!