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​IIA Announces Thurston and Global Certification Award Winners

June 16, 2021

LAKE MARY, Fla. (June 16, 2021) — The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the internal audit profession’s widely recognized advocate, educator, and provider of standards, guidance, and certifications, presented Rick Wright Jr., CIA, with the 2021 John B. Thurston Award for his article, “An RPA Road Test.” His winning article details his internal audit department’s pilot program to implement robotic process automation. 

The award, named after the internal audit pioneer who played a key role in establishing The IIA and who served as its first leader, recognizes the author of the article voted as the most outstanding work published in Internal Auditor magazine during the previous year.

Wright’s article appeared in the April 2020 issue of the magazine.​ He is director of internal audit and enterprise risk management for Yellow Corp. Wright has more than 25 years of experience in internal audit practice and training, including as an adjunct professor teaching accounting, finance, fraud, and strategic management courses. He also is the author of several Internal Audit Foundation books, including The Internal Auditor’s Guide to Risk Assessment, Internal Auditing: Uncover the Myths, Discover the Value, and Agile Auditing: Transforming the Internal Audit Process.

Additionally, The IIA presented the following Global Certification Awards during its annual International Conference, co-hosted by IIA-Singapore:

  • William S. Smith Award presented to Andrew Easton. Recognizing the candidate who scored the highest on the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam, the award is named in honor of William S. Smith, CIA, The IIA's first chairman of the Board of Regents, a former IIA chairman of the board, and a driving force behind the development of the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) program.
  • Dr. Glenn Sumners Student Award presented to Philipp Steinmueller. The award recognizes the student with the highest score on the CIA exam.
  • CRMA Highest Achievement Award presented to Sarah Tiecks. The award is given to the individual scoring the highest on the Certification in Risk Management Assessment (CRMA) exam.

The CIA is the only globally recognized internal audit certification. It represents the knowledge, skills, and competencies gained to effectively carry out professional responsibilities for any internal audit worldwide.

Media Contact

Chris Almonte
The Institute of Internal Auditors

About The Institute of Internal Auditors

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a nonprofit international professional association that serves more than 230,000 global members and has awarded more than 185,000 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications worldwide. Established in 1941, The IIA is recognized throughout the world as the internal audit profession's leader in standards, certifications, education, research, and technical guidance. For more information, visit