Meet our Management Team!
Mark Foat, CPA, CBA, CVA, CFF
As one of the original founders, Mark Foat is now the majority shareholder of McCoy Foat. His work style can be summed up in two words: energy and synergy. If you’ve talked with Mark you understand the energy part of the equation; he overflows with enthusiasm and ideas. The synergy component is more subtle. Mark is constantly thinking about how to combine efforts, serve clients and improve the work environment for the team at McCoy Foat. Mark’s philosophy is this: “If we invest in our employees and foster a positive work environment, our clients will reap the benefits.” It’s a simple idea that shines a guiding light on the work done at McCoy Foat.
Mark earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business at Warner Pacific College while working in the banking industry. For many years he worked as a commercial risk officer in both the retail and commercial sides of the bank – analyzing complex financial issues, ratios and cash flows. Mark founded McCoy Foat in 2001 with Michael McCoy and Dick Gassner, and the goal of offering tax preparation and other financial services to help businesses grow and prosper. In 2015 Mark purchased Mike and Dick’s shares in the company, and today Mark is involved in all areas of the firm, with emphasis in commercial finance and business valuation. “We’re really interested and engaged in supporting our clients’ business growth,” he says. “In doing so, we take a team approach – business problems tend to be multifaceted. We proactively help our clients solve problems and avoid future issues with a soup-to-nuts approach that conveniently meets all of their needs.”
Mark lives in Northeast Portland with his wife of 30-plus years. He likes to go wine tasting, play golf, and hang out with his family. He spent the better part of his early years playing drums in various rock, blues and country bands. After taking more than a two-decade break he dusted off his drumsticks and began playing again. Currently he plays for the 8:30am contemporary service at Augustana Lutheran Church in NE Portland, and anyone within earshot of his basement. He enjoys what he describes as “good” music – “the kind with real instruments” as he puts it.
Mark is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants (OSCPA) as well as the Institute of Business Appraisers (IBA) and the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA). He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds both the Certified Business Appraiser and Certified Valuation Analyst credentials. Mark has also earned the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) designation from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
A few of Mark’s Favorites:
- A grilled salmon filet on top of greens
- Marionberry pie
- The annual summer Sunriver trip with his family
- HIIT classes
- A “big” wine
- A round of golf at Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Sherri Ness, JD
Sherri Ness is inherently detail-oriented and impeccably organized, making accounting a perfect fit for her personality. Sherri grew up in Alaska and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska before migrating south to earn her law degree from the University of Oregon. Throughout her education journey, she knew her ultimate destination would be a position in tax management.
After graduating, Sherri worked for a large CPA firm specializing in international and domestic tax management. Today, as a manager at McCoy Foat, Sherri’s responsibilities range from accounting and financial statement preparation to collaborating with all members of the accounting team to ensure quality work and client satisfaction. Her background in law brings a unique perspective and skillset to the firm, balancing the highly technical skills of her colleagues.
Sherri appreciates the opportunity to work in McCoy Foat’s positive, team-oriented environment with a personalized boutique approach to service. “I strive to find the right balance between being very detail-oriented and highly cost efficient,” she explains. “Our goal is to provide strong value and reliable partnership to our clients.” Those who have worked with Sherri will tell you that she is a good listener and a great problem solver. “I try to understand my clients’ needs and help them find appropriate solutions by applying my knowledge to their business challenges,” she says.
Sherri is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Washington, and is an active member of the Oregon State Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association. Sherri lives in the Portland area, but before and after tax season they escape to SunRiver as frequently as possible.
A few of Sherri’s Favorites:
- Disneyland with the family
- Starbucks chai tea latte
- Go Ducks!
- Walking/hiking with the dog and family
Trevor Habig, CPA
Trevor’s family relocated to Oregon from Kansas when he was in middle school, and aside from a stint in southern California for college he has been here ever since. Like many, he values the proximity to the ocean and mountains, and his tastes have appropriately adapted to prefer a hot cup of Stumptown Coffee in the morning, and a local craft beer or Pinot Noir in the evening.
One could say that Trevor’s accounting career began in high school when he took a few accounting courses just to check it out. As a self-described “numbers guy,” Trevor enjoyed his introduction to the subject, and when it came time for college it only took one term for him to dive in head first.
In 2014, Trevor joined the McCoy Foat team. He maintains his love for numbers and has since added an appreciation for planning and execution. Trevor says “It’s always satisfying when I plan with a client throughout the year, the tax return is finally filed, and we get to see the results of that planning. It’s fun to find ways to save clients money.” To accomplish this Trevor takes a straightforward approach; “If there’s a problem, I want to get it fixed. If there are adjustments needed, let’s get them adjusted. If we can jump in and get something taken care of, let’s do that.” In this way he’s an asset to both the firm and his clients.
Trevor’s free time is mostly spent with his wife, three daughters, and son. He enjoys exercising, as well as sneaking in a round of golf every now and then. When the whole family has a few days off they like to get outdoors for a family camping trip.
A few of Trevor’s favorites:
- The Kansas City Chiefs
- On TV, Trevor enjoys The Office and Parks and Rec
- A good, juicy, hamburger
- Pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms on his pizza
- The beach and the mountains
Meet the Rest of our Staff!
Candace Plant, EA
Candace, or Candy as she is known around the office, is a veteran of the tax accounting game. Her patience, and love for numbers and forms (Candy loves a good form) has allowed for a long and successful career traversing the tax accounting landscape. She always enjoys the satisfaction of a job well done on April and October 15th when the busy season comes to a close.
Candy comes to Portland via Chicago. While growing up in the 60s she spent summers in the Portland area with her aunt and uncle and fell in love with the Oregon outdoors – especially Mt. Hood. She says “I’ll always remember my first chairlift ride at Timberline Lodge.” She still makes it up to her favorite spot, Hoodoo Skibowl, for some downhill skiing when she gets the chance.
The Charbonneau district is home to Candy and her husband, and she makes traveling a priority. She goes on two road trips each year with her friend, and her friend's dog. They’ve visited 46 National parks since they began, and they've been joined by the dog for 33 of them.
A few of Candy’s favorites:
- Crater Lake National Park, especially in the Winter
- The Chicago Cubs
- An IPA
- The Beatles, who she saw perform in Portland
- An Italian dinner, finished with a scoop of spumoni
Xue Ding, Senior Accountant Associate
Born in China, Ding made her way to the Northwest for school and now calls Portland home. She likes that Portland is not an overwhelmingly large city, yet still has so much to offer. Ding identifies with the hipster vibe, the “keep Portland weird” attitude, and loves all the friendly people.
Business and individual tax returns are Ding’s expertise. As Ding puts it, “I like solving problems and doing research. When I finish a return it feels like I’ve finished a jigsaw puzzle – everything is in the right place.” She also values the friendly, family vibe at McCoy Foat & Co; “Everyone works as a team and helps each other grow as tax preparers.”
When Ding isn’t working she likes to explore. SE Portland and Beaverton are her favorite places to find the best Chinese food, and she loves to visit the Oregon Coast. In between busy seasons Ding’s favorite place to visit is Hawaii, and if there isn’t time to jump on a plane she’ll settle for a slice of Hawaiian pizza.
A few of Ding’s Favorites:
- Andina restaurant
- Matcha ice cream
- Reading and crafting
Heather DeRoberts, Administrative Assistant / Receptionist
Heather will often be the first face clients see or the first voice they’ll hear at McCoy Foat. As an Administrative Assistant and Receptionist, Heather enjoys directing traffic around the office and ensures that everyone leaves with a smile on their face. She loves a good joke and says, “My day isn’t complete until I can make someone smile.”
She helps clients understand their tax return upon delivery or will find them the best person to explain the intricacies. Heather is there to help, but there’s toughness behind her gentle demeanor. “The New Jersey Devils are my favorite Hockey team. I have enjoyed watching hockey since I was young – and yes, the fights are my favorite part.”
Heather moved to Oregon with her family when she was 13 years old. Since then, her family has grown to include her husband of 22 years, three sons, and a grandson. Family is important to her, and she keeps most of her loved ones close in Canby, Oregon. When she’s not at work she enjoys crocheting, reading, playing games with her family, or sitting on the back deck while the kids play in the pool.
Some of Heather’s favorites:
- Any Italian food
- Vanilla, or orange sherbet ice cream
- The Portland Zoo
- A trip to New Jersey to visit family and friends
- A good romance novel
Jessica Benadom, Accountant
Jessica began her career in accounting as bookkeeper for her family business. She developed a relationship with McCoy Foat when her family business began working with the firm, and in December of 2019 she transitioned to a part time role with McCoy Foat as a bookkeeping specialist. As someone who takes pride in her work, Jessica was a perfect fit for McCoy Foat - only six months after her part time role began, she joined the McCoy Foat team full time. Jessica remembers “Even before working for McCoy Foat I felt welcomed by everyone. They are dedicated to their clients, and to each other, and that dedication flows into their work.”
Native to the Northwest, Jessica finds her hometown to be one of the most beautiful there is. She loves that she is never too far from a mountain or the coastline, and frequently strolls around her Oregon City neighborhood with her dog to catch up with the neighbors. When they get out of town, Jessica, her husband and two daughters enjoy Great Wolf Lodge in Centralia, Washington. For some local delights they frequent Crystal Falls Rhododendron Garden. The warmer months of late spring to early fall are their favorite time to enjoy the Great Northwest.
A few of Jessica’s Favorites:
- Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis
- Pizza topped with pineapple, and a Shirley Temple.
- Mr Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra
- Taylor Swift
- Never misses a Seattle Seahawks game!
Lori Grant, CPA
At McCoy Foat, Lori Grant found what everyone looks for in their professional endeavors; work that doesn’t feel like work. In August of 2015 she joined the firm, and she appreciates the relaxed and flexible atmosphere. Her organizational skills make her perfect for the accounting and tax field. While others may groan when yet another tax rule changes, she loves the variety that the changing landscape brings to her work.
Lori attended George Fox College (now George Fox University) in Newberg Oregon, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics. She is a native Oregonian and values the great outdoors accordingly. Lori loves to hike and bike everywhere, especially on the Rails to Trails system. Be it at home in her garden, on the coast, or in the mountains, you’ll find Lori outside in her free time soaking up the fresh Northwest air.
Lori calls Salem home along with her husband and two cats. She also has three grandchildren and a great grandchild living out of state.
A few of Lori’s Favorites:
- Pralines and Cream ice cream
- Oregon beaches, Cape Perpetua, Devils Churn
- Your Scars Are Beautiful to God, by Sharon Jaynes
- The cheesiest pizza
- Strawberry lemonade
- “Look back in forgiveness, forward in hope, down in compassion, and up with gratitude.”
- - Zig Ziglar
Marlys Walker, Accountant
Marlys comes to us via sunny Southern California. At first, she came to the Pacific Northwest as a visitor to see her brother, but as the years went on, she and her family decided to make it their full-time home when they fell in love with Oregon’s scenic beauty and wildlife. She loves that she gets to experience all four seasons in Portland, and values the community feel and outdoor activities.
Nursing was Marlys’ initial professional goal, but, as she puts it, “I quickly realized it wasn’t for me when I was invited to my first autopsy.” She recalibrated and took a job at a Savings & Loan, where she set her sights on the accounting department. She found that she liked the detailed, analytical work, and it was this experience that led her to pursue an education in accounting. She has worked as an assistant controller and controller for two California savings and loans companies and as an accounting specialist for a Portland tax consultant before joining McCoy Foat in 2015.
At McCoy Foat, Marlys enjoys helping clients with their accounting and payroll needs, working one-on-one with clients, and being support for them, especially in critical times. As she puts it, “It’s satisfying to build relationships with clients, so that they feel comfortable calling for guidance and support.”
When Marlys isn’t working, she enjoys gardening and visiting gardens. She and her husband are active in their church community group. She also enjoys family get-togethers, which often include old movies, BBQs or pizza. She and her husband have two children, who live in Portland, and a beloved orange tabby cat, Ned.
A few of Marlys’ favorites:
- Husband’s love of cooking
- Salty’s on the Columbia
- Puttanesca pizza
- Cheetos that make your fingers orange
- Vacations at Carmel by the Sea, or Hood River
Ricky Foat, Tax Preparer
A native Portlander, Ricky loves everything about the town in which he grew up. He appreciates the old trees, the crisp fall mornings, and looks forward to the perfect summer evenings. He feels lucky that Portland is so close to so many things – coastal and central Oregon are his favorite places – and he enjoys exploring his hometown’s abundance of breweries, wineries, and delicious restaurants.
Ricky attended the University of Oregon where he studied English Literature and Business. He worked for the University’s Bookstore organization for a total of ten years, and credits his time there for his retail-hardened appreciation for customer service and hard work. He still follows the University’s sports teams closely and attends games whenever he gets the chance.
Ricky was introduced to accounting by his father, Mark Foat, who is a founding partner of McCoy Foat & Company. As the son of a CPA he once resisted the idea of hectic tax seasons and long hours, but now finds himself looking forward to them. He enjoys understanding how one line item affects another on a tax return, and as his dad says, “Ricky wants to know how the sausage is made.”
As a new father himself, Ricky enjoys spending time with his family. They like to watch college football on the weekends and get out of the house when the weather (and the baby) allows for it.
A few of Ricky’s favorites:
- Go Ducks! Go Blazers! RCTID!
- Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
- A round of golf with friends
Sterling James, LTC
Sterling wasn’t born in Portland, but he feels like a native. He and his wife moved to Oregon 26 years ago from California in search of a place to raise their young family. Since then, they’ve settled in West Linn, not far from their two daughters who live and work in the Portland area. He and his wife enjoy all the things a good Oregonian should; parks, nature walks, reading, and most of all a nice evening on their back deck. You could say that in 26 years they’ve adjusted nicely.
Prior to joining McCoy Foat Sterling was self-employed as a real estate investor and developer, but in 2009 it was time to make a change. A CPA friend encouraged him to give the accounting field a go, and due to his already extensive knowledge in accounting practices for the self-employed he took to the profession like a fish to water. He values accounting for “the way it brings order to the Universe – or, at least to someone’s tax return,” and he revels in the completion of a particularly complicated project.
Sterling began with McCoy Foat in 2014, and he loves the nice people and relaxed working atmosphere that make the culture so inviting.
Some of Sterling’s favorites:
- Mexican food
- Chocolate ice cream
- His favorite non-accounting course in college was Fencing
- The Eagles, and Tom Petty
- Coffee, or ginger beer
Of Counsel (Retired)
Richard "Dick" Gassner, JD
“Do the right thing. Period.” This is the philosophy that Dick Gassner works by every day and strives to cultivate in the working environment at McCoy Foat. He explains, “I don’t believe in taking shortcuts. I’ve found that if you do the right thing – always acting with integrity and professionalism in the best interest of others – success will always follow.”
Dick officially retired June 30, 2016, but he will always be an important member of our team. He remains available for special projects and “is only a few miles from the office” whenever we need a hand. Dick admits that he’s more of a “word guy” or wordsmith than a “numbers guy.” But don’t let that fool you. While he may be a writing and problem-solving dynamo, he can still hold his own with a financial statement. As one of the original founders of McCoy Foat, Dick manages special projects on a part-time basis, including researching legal issues, finding answers to tough questions, writing policies, negotiating tax disputes, serving as a designated trustee for structured settlements, and of course, managing business and individual clients. He also helps business owners establish legal entities and navigate the obstacles that arise throughout the life of any business.
So how did this “word guy” land at a tax and accounting firm?
After securing his MBA from Portland State University and his law degree from Willamette University, Dick began his tax career at Arthur Andersen. From there, he went on to provide complex tax services for Portland General Electric (PGE) and later as a tax director for Pacific Power & Light (PP&L), before cofounding McCoy Foat.
It was at PGE that Dick first met his soon-to-be friend and business partner Michael McCoy. When Michael first set out on his own (before the days of McCoy Foat), Dick often strategized with him on complex tax issues. So, when PP&L was purchased and Dick’s position was eliminated along with the rest of the tax department, it seemed like a natural next step to join Michael McCoy and Mark Foat in establishing a new firm.
The trio was destined for success, as evidenced by several years of steady growth and the fond praise of the firm’s clients and employees. When you meet Dick, you’ll immediately notice his warm smile and calming presence. He says, “I try to be steady and even-tempered. These qualities really help in stressful tax situations. I’m able to understand others’ positions and present our positions in a calm, strategic and persuasive manner.”
Dick is licensed to practice law in Oregon, is an active member of the Oregon State Bar Association and a licensed Oregon real estate broker. He resides in West Linn and has two grown sons, three grandsons and a granddaughter. When he isn’t working, you’ll find Dick out hiking, biking, fishing or restoring an old car.