Our Team

About Our Team

John Russon, CPA, started his career at Arthur Andersen after finishing his accounting degree at California State University, Northridge. As a young professional with a growing family, John moved to a local firm where he began developing specialized expertise in auditing retirement plans. John started his own practice in 2005 and building on a handful of clients merged his practice with a local CPA firm in 2006. Starting Pension Assurance LLP in 2014, John has positioned himself over the years as a leader in the employee benefit plan audit industry.

John is a visionary who is always looking around the next corner. He is constantly working to realize those visions, striving to develop the team in order to provide the highest level of service and expertise to clients. At work, he derives the greatest satisfaction from the relationships he has with his colleagues, both as a partner and advisor to clients and a mentor to team members. He lives in Agoura Hills with his wife and four children. He loves the ocean and can often be found on early mornings or late nights surfing or diving for lobsters.

Nathan Johnston, CPA, entered the accounting world in an unconventional fashion. After attending film school at the University of Southern California, Nathan began working in accounting and going back to school for a second education in accounting. He started in public accounting as a staff auditor at a local firm where he performed audits of small to mid-sized corporations, non-profits, and employee benefit plans. In 2007, he joined John Russon’s employee benefit plan audit practice. In 2012, he was named the Practice Leader of the employee benefit plan audit practice. In 2014, Nathan became a partner at Pension Assurance LLP.

Nathan has a penchant for all things technical and intellectual. He loves the logical process of simplifying complex problems and creating novel solutions for both clients and team members. He is a glutton for knowledge, constantly attending conferences and reading independently to stay up-to-date, but he also loves sharing it. He heads up the firm’s training and education programs and takes great joy in educating clients or team members on challenging or unique retirement plan issues during his interactions with them. Nathan lives in San Gabriel with his wife and three boys, who he named after some of his favorite filmmakers.

Eric Kuo, CPA, was named Partner at Pension Assurance LLP in 2018. Eric has over a decade of public accounting experience. Joining the team in 2010, Eric has become a respected leader within the team as well as a worthy representative of the firm to both clients and industry partners. Eric is a pillar of the practice, bringing considerable expertise in difficult areas like multiple employer plans (MEPs) and overseeing several of the firm’s largest, most complex, and challenging retirement plan audits.

Eric is one of the hardest workers around, diligently and tenaciously seeing projects through to completion. Eric takes the greatest pride in being able to provide valued services to our clients. Eric received his undergraduate degree in Business Economics (Accounting Emphasis) from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Eric lives in Los Angeles with his wife and his current foster dogs. His pastimes include playing golf and watching sports.

Kathleen Jones, CPA, was named Partner at Pension Assurance LLP in 2020. Kathleen brings considerable technical knowledge and over 17 years of experience and expertise in auditing benefit plans. She began her career in public accounting in July 2001 with a local public accounting firm in Camarillo, CA. There, she was a member of the Employee Benefit Plan Audit and Advisory services practice, specializing in employee benefit plans, and managed over 60 audits each year. She has a balanced perspective understanding complex compliance issues while addressing the needs of her clients and is focused on providing a more pleasant audit experience for the client.

Kathleen graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a bachelor’s degree in business economics with honors, as well as a master’s degree in economics. She is a member of the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and California Society of Certified Public Accountants. She lives in Camarillo with her five children and enjoys spending time with her family and working as a volunteer group facilitator at Camarillo Hospice.

Philip Bae, CPA, was named Partner at Pension Assurance LLP in 2020. Philip has a singular focus on retirement plan audits, managing dozens of retirement plan audit engagements for the firm. Philip has a great working relationship with his team and his clients are his top priority. He is known for his integrity and reliability and is an essential component of the Pension Assurance team. Philip graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a bachelor’s degree in business economics. He began his career at a local public accounting firm in Los Angeles and joined the team in 2012. Philip enjoys working closely with clients in order to understand their needs and to strive for the best solutions for them. He lives in Tarzana with his wife and three children and enjoys cooking, spending time with his family, and the movies.

Alex Sanchez, CPA, was named Partner at Pension Assurance LLP in 2022. He began his public accounting career as a staff auditor for a public accounting firm in Irvine, CA where he performed audits of mid-market privately held companies, non-profits, and employee benefit plans. Over the years he became a practice leader managing a wide array of client engagements including 40 employee benefit plan audits a year. He has become a respected leader in the industry and in the local community. He has a true passion to serve others and does it with a smile.

Alex graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting Emphasis). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of Certified Public Accountants, and serves as a board member for several local not-for-profit organizations. He lives in Boca Raton, Florida with his wife and values his faith, family, and friends. He also loves to travel, enjoys great food, and is an avid sports fan.

Christopher Beckett, CPA, Practice Leader at Pension Assurance LLP, graduated from California State University, Northridge, and began his career in 2014 at Deloitte & Touche. Christopher joined Pension Assurance LLP in 2016 to devote 100% of his effort to develop expertise in the unique area of benefit plan audits. Christopher currently lives in Jackson, Missouri with his wife and son.

Dalila Dehbashi, CPA, Practice Leader at Pension Assurance LLP and has over eight years of public accounting experience. Upon graduation from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy, Dalila joined Moss Adams LLP where she specialized in assurance services for retirement plans, manufacturing and distribution, food and beverage, and health care industries. She joined Pension Assurance LLP in March 2020, where she manages over 50 benefit plan audits.

Dalila is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. Dalila currently lives in the San Fernando Valley where she enjoys spending time with her rescue pets when she’s not off traveling.

Jason Figgat, CPA, Practice Leader at Pension Assurance LLP began his career in public accounting at a local firm based in San Jose in 2007 where he quickly grew to prefer (and enjoy) auditing employee benefit plans. Throughout his career, Jason has made the education of both those he works with internally and his clients a central focus of his career and derives his greatest satisfaction as a professional in observing others grow to master the knowledge he has shared. After working at multiple regional firms in northern California, plus a brief one-year stint in private industry, Jason joined Pension Assurance LLP in January 2021 and is excited to continue his career focused on the work he most enjoys.

Jason graduated from Brigham Young University and his interests include astronomy, building computers, hiking, and the installation of custom car audio systems.

Michelle Brumfield, CPA, Practice Leader, recently joined Pension Assurance LLP as a Practice Leader. Michelle has 30 years of experience in accounting and financial audits for various industries. For the past 17 years, she has planned, led, and provided technical support to numerous employee benefit plan audits, including defined contribution retirement plans, defined benefit retirement plans, and health and welfare plans. Michelle has a proven track record building a team and the EBP practice, and she has a knack for client retention and a love of service. Michelle is also an advocate for staff and client education and has spoken at various CPA organizations, online learning platforms, and the AICPA Employee Benefit Plan Conference.

Michelle is a “foodie,” and her client travels were also a culinary adventure and discovery of local foods. She recreates dishes she discovered during her travels and enjoys sharing her creations with her team, friends, and family. Michelle lives in Richmond, TX, and will be moving to Fort Collins, CO.

Todd Hallowell, CPA, is a Practice Leader at Pension Assurance since 2021.  He began his public accounting career for a public accounting career firm in Florida where he performed audits of privately held companies, non-profits, governmental entities, & employee benefit plans.  He began to specialize in employee benefit plans and became the firm leader in the Employee Benefit Plans practice during his ten years at the firm.  This led Todd to join a firm in New Hampshire that’s sole focus was on auditing employee benefit plans where he managed over 60 plans a year.  Todd enjoys building relationships with his clients and providing a smooth audit experience for the client.  Todd graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting.  Todd has also spoken at the Florida HR Conference about retirement plan audits and served on the FICPA’s Employee Benefits Plan Conference Committee.  He lives in Tallahassee, Florida with his wife and daughter and enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and is an avid soccer fan.

William M. Monti, SPHR, Director Of Operations at Pension Assurance LLP, joined the team in 2008 and is passionate about an organization’s ongoing operations and procedures. William’s background includes Information Technology, Accounting, and Human Resources. William’s career began as System Administrator before taking a greater interest in the systems that facilitate running a busy and growing organization. William graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree and lives in Arizona with his wife, son, daughter, and 2 Havanese puppies. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and listening to music.

John “JB” Bautista, CPA, is a Senior Manager at Pension Assurance LLP and has dedicated his time specializing in the employee benefit plan space since 2017. After graduating from California State University, Northridge, he began his public accounting career at PwC. During his free time, John enjoys spending time with his loved ones, hiking, and being a food connoisseur.

Alicia Neururer, CPA, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP has over eight years of experience auditing retirement plans. Alicia graduated from Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in business administration. She began her public accounting career in 2013 at KPMG in Minneapolis, MN. Knowing they wanted to raise their family with more space to roam, she and her husband moved to Sioux Falls, SD in 2014 where Alicia joined Eide Bailly, LLP. She managed dozens of benefit plan audits annually while also working on various other engagements for private companies. With the desire to dedicate her career to benefit plan audits, she joined Pension Assurance in 2022. Alicia currently lives on an acreage west of Sioux Falls with her husband and two sons. They enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, and exploring the outdoors.

Ashtyn Atkinson, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP, has over five years of public accounting experience. Ashtyn graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business. She also obtained a master’s degree in accounting from California State University, Sacramento. After graduating, she began her public accounting career in 2017 at Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt LLP, where she specialized in employee benefit plans. In February 2020, she joined Pension Assurance LLP, managing over 35 benefit plans. Ashtyn currently lives in the San Diego area, where she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her energetic dog, Baxter.

Brian Coons, CPA, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP, graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and a master’s degree in accountancy with a tax emphasis. Brian originally joined the team as an intern in 2016 until he graduated from BYU in 2019. After graduating, Brian began his professional career at Ernst & Young doing taxes for high-net-worth individuals and private companies. In 2020, Brian decided to return to Pension Assurance and focus on retirement plan audits. Brian lives in Newbury Park with his wife and enjoys sports and cooking.

Joseph Costa, CPA, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP and has over 20 years of public accounting experience auditing employee benefit plans, not for profits and privately held companies.  Joseph graduated from Sonoma State University with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration (Emphasis on Accounting).  He has served on the board of several not-for-profit companies in the Silicon Valley and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.  He lives in Los Banos with his wife and three children.  He has coached high school swimming and water polo, and his daughter’s travel softball team.  He is active with all his kid’s activities.

Kelly Arteaga, is an Audit Manager at Pension Assurance LLP and has over eight years of public accounting experience. Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration with an option in Accounting from California State University, Los Angeles. She joined the firm after several successful years with BDO LLP where she specialized in assurance services for retirement plans, not-for-profits, real estate, manufacturing, distribution, and investment companies (both public and privately held).

Kelly manages over 40 benefit plan audits annually and assists in supervising a team of over twenty professionals. Kelly currently lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Nancy Harada, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP has over ten years of experience auditing retirement plans. Nancy joined the team as an intern in 2011 while she was attending California State University-Northridge (CSUN). She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and began her professional career at Deloitte & Touche. In 2015, with the desire to focus more on retirement plan audits, she joined Pension Assurance. Nancy lives in Simi Valley with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her family and watching her babies grow.

Rebekah Albert, CPA, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP, has over twelve years of experience auditing retirement plans. Rebekah graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s and master’s degree, both in accountancy. She began her public accounting career at Averett Warmus Durkee in 2009 which was later acquired by WithumSmith+Brown (a New Jersey firm) in 2015. In 2022, Rebekah decided to join Pension Assurance to focus her time on employee benefit plan audits. Rebekah lives in Orlando, Florida and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being involved with her local church, and salsa dancing.

Sharon Li, Manager at Pension Assurance LLP, joined the team in 2019. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Accounting Emphasis)  from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Before joining Pension Assurance,  Sharon worked at BDO USA LLP for 11 years and has audit experiences on various public and private engagements. I live in San Gabriel Valley with three lovely kittens. I enjoy spending time with my family and watching kittens playing in the garden.