Partners

Our partners are each owners and directors in Fort Group Chartered Professional Accountants Inc., and work together to personally ensure that the service you receive is professional, prompt and tailored to your needs. Our partners possess unique skill sets as a result of the real life experiences they’ve had walking in your shoes, in senior or ownership positions within the private or public sector. Please refer to each individual’s partner profile below.

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Aaron Pauls, CPA, CA

Aaron was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree in April of 2005 from the University of Manitoba, majoring in Accounting and Finance.

In July of 2007, Aaron became a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants by receiving his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation, placing on the national honor roll.

Aaron joined Fort Group in January of 2008 and was made a partner in 2014. In addition to working for Fort Group, Aaron is a board member and advisor to a leading Manitoba kitchen and bath manufacturer and solutions provider.

As a partner, Aaron primarily services small business clients in advisory and taxation across various business sectors including but not limited to manufacturing, construction, real estate, consulting and professional services. Aaron also services not-for-profits and First Nations in assurance, taxation and advisory. He has furthered his technical tax knowledge by completing the CICA Income Tax Practice Course and completing the CICA In-Depth Tax Course.

In 2014, Aaron was a recipient of the Early Achievement Award from The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Manitoba (now CPA Manitoba), honoring his significant career achievements within the first 10 years of achieving his CA designation.

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Kevin Ploegman, CPA, CA

Kevin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up in North Kildonan. He earned his Bachelor of Physical Education Degree from the University of Manitoba in 1999 and his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree from the University of Manitoba in 2002. In October 2004, Kevin became a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada by receiving his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) designation.

Kevin became a partner at the Fort Group in 2015. He has 18 years of combined experience in both public accounting and industry, where he serviced private companies and not-for-profit organizations of all sizes. In 2011, Kevin completed the CICA In-Depth Tax Course to compliment his assurance and business advisory skills. Kevin has developed an exceptional toolkit to service all of the needs of small and medium sized owner-managed entities and not-for-profit organizations, and strives to provide the best service possible to all of his clients.

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Brian Walker, CPA, CA

Brian was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He is a graduate of River East Collegiate (2000) and earned his Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Degree from the University of Manitoba in 2005. In November, 2007, Brian became a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants by receiving his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation.

As a student, Brian articled with a local Winnipeg accounting firm where he serviced many private companies and not-for-profit organizations. Brian has been employed by Fort Group since January 2008, and became a partner in 2014.

Brian primarily services small business clients in advisory and taxation, as well First Nations in assurance. Some of the private client industries he works with include medical corporations, law corporations, trades and construction, transportation and real estate. He is also well studied in U.S. tax. Brian has furthered his technical tax knowledge by completing the CICA Income Tax Practice Course in November of 2010 and completing the CICA In-Depth Tax Course in the fall of 2015. He is also an active board member of the Manitoba Athletics Association.

 

 

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Bradley Keefe, CPA, CA

Bradley joined Fort Group Chartered Professional Accountants in 2016. At Fort Group, Bradley provides extensive experience in assurance engagements and specializes in this area. Bradley also provides consulting services in areas such as accounting, process improvement and many other areas. Bradley leads professional development courses for CPA Manitoba in Public Sector Accounting Standards and has specialty knowledge in this area. Prior to Fort Group, Bradley worked with the Office of the Auditor General of Manitoba (OAG) for 14 years. In his final 5 years at the OAG, Bradley was the Audit Principal responsible for the Province of Manitoba’s Summary Financial Statements (Public Accounts) which is one of the largest financial statement audits in the Province of Manitoba.

Bradley is a well-known facilitator, session leader, exam reviewer and author with the CPA Western School of Business (formally CASB) and CPA Canada. Bradley was a UFE marker for 7 years (2008 to 2014). Bradley has volunteered his time to mentor many aspiring CPA/CA candidates throughout his career.

In 2016, Bradley was awarded an Early Achievement Award by CPA of Manitoba honoring his career achievements. In 2017, Bradley was awarded the Kouri Berezan Heinrichs award for this work with the CPA Western School of Business.

 

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Darryl Clarke, CPA, CA

Darryl is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. In May of 2004, he received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba, and became a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2009, earning a Chartered Accountant designation. Darryl joined Fort Group in 2003 and became a partner in 2020.

As a partner, Darryl primarily services Canadian small and medium-sized owner managed clients and U.S. tax clients. Some of the private client industries he works in include professionals, trades and construction, and real estate. For U.S. tax clients his main focus is on individuals with both U.S. and Canadian tax filing obligations. Darryl has extensive experience advising upon Canadian/U.S. cross-border tax matters and related filing requirements.

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Brad Klassen, CPA, CA

Brad Klassen adds decades of experience, and sophisticated tax knowledge in both consulting and tax preparation to Fort Group. He earned his CA designation in 1988, completed CPA Canada's In-Depth Tax program in 1991 and has been continuously serving clients and providing tax advice to both private business and not-for-profits on both a local and global scale.

Joining the company as a partner in 2021, after 27 years at a major Canadian accounting firm, Brad has taught tax courses for CPA Manitoba, has served as a tutor for the national In-Depth Tax program and continues to lead development courses for CPA Manitoba in taxation.

Throughout his career Brad has primarily serviced small to medium-sized businesses across all industries, and specializes in structuring transactions in a tax-effective manner including: mergers and acquisitions, estate planning, and reorganizations.

Known for his dedication to volunteering in his community, Brad currently serves as secretary-treasurer of the Executive Committee, and chair of the Finance and Stewardship Committee for Concordia Hospital. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Concordia Wellness Projects Inc. In the past, has also volunteered with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, McIvor Avenue Mennonite Brethren, and House Blend Ministries.

 
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Aaron Pauls, CPA, CA

Aaron gives and has given generously of his time and talents as a volunteer to many not-for-profit organizations, including Camp Nutimik, Rowandale Baptist Church and Springfield Heights Nursery School in various financial board roles.

When he is not in the office, Aaron enjoys spending time with his wife, Laura and their three boys. They are avid sports fans and attend Jets, Moose and Bomber games. Much of their summer is spent at Pinawa Lake sunbathing on the beach, cruising around in the boat or wakeboarding. In the winter, he prefers to be somewhere hot and tropical. Aaron’s family is very involved in the life of their church. His idea of a good time is getting together with friends, cracking open a craft beer and playing board games.

 

 

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Kevin Ploegman, CPA, CA

Kevin gives generously of his time and talents as a volunteer to many not-for-profit organizations in the community and is currently the Treasurer of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, the Manitoba Mineral Development Fund and Covenant Christian Reformed Church.

At home Kevin finds his time filled by wrangling and wrestling his four energetic young children with his beautiful wife, Christy. With so many school and extracurricular events to attend, there is little time for much else, but Kevin finds time to enjoy watching his son’s hockey team and his daughters' ringette games. Kevin, with Christy, enjoys travelling internationally, and warmly remembers trips to Murren, Switzerland and to Holland.

 

 

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Brian Walker, CPA, CA

Brian gives generously of his time and talents as a volunteer to many not-for-profit organizations in the community and is particularly involved serving Athletics Manitoba as a member of the Board of Directors and as Treasurer.

In his spare time, Brian spends quality time with his wife, Darolyn and their three small children. They love to spend time outdoors, bike riding, skating and playing at the park. They are excited to spend many summers at their Lake Winnipeg cottage. Brian is an elite runner and placed first in the Manitoba Marathon in 2014 and first in the Half Marathon twice (2007, 2011). He usually leaves work in track pants and can be seen running around East Kildonan and North Kildonan with Bradley Keefe.

 

 

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Bradley Keefe, CPA, CA

Bradley was a University of Manitoba Bison track and field member from 2001 to 2004. He continues to be a competitive local runner. Bradley placed in the top 3 six consecutive years in a row in the Manitoba Marathon (2011 to 2016) culminating in finishing 1st in the 2016 Manitoba Marathon. Bradley is married to a dance and school teacher, Randi. They have 3 children and enjoy spending time together travelling. However, when Bradley plans their trips, we know that his secret criteria for choosing a location is whether there is a road race he can compete in while they are there.

 

 

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Darryl Clarke, CPA, CA

Darryl volunteers and has volunteered in various capacities with St. John's Presbyterian and the Presbytery of Winnipeg.

Away from the office Darryl spends time with family near Clear Lake. He is a games and puzzles enthusiast. In particular, he enjoys playing board games with friends while partaking of some quality scotch.

 

 

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Brad Klassen, CPA, CA

Brad laces up his running shoes and brings an extra measure of competitive spirit to Fort Group, (not that we needed any more). As someone who enjoys competing in triathlons, Brad can surely hold his own with the other partners who merely run marathons.

A family man, Brad loves to spend time with his wife, Cheryl, their three adult children (and their spouses) and his 6 active grandchildren. He enjoys travelling overseas and all over North America. Some of his favourite destinations have been France, England, Italy, Australia, Arizona and New York, and hopes to soon visit New Zealand, Australia (again), Virginia, and try a European river cruise.

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