CHICAGO — The Chicago-based Women in Public Finance will honor three professionals next month at the national organization's 7th annual founders' awards.

The group's lifetime achievement award, recognizing a public finance professional's contributions to the field, will go to bond attorney Patricia Curtner, a partner at Chapman and Cutler LLP.

Curtner joined Chapman and Cutler in 1979. In addition to acting as bond counsel, underwriter's counsel and special tax counsel on billions of dollars in bond issues, she drafted the Illinois tax increment act that enabled Sears, Roebuck & Co. to move its merchandising group to Hoffman Estates, Ill. She concentrates on legislative drafting, Illinois general obligation, revenue, special service area, tax increment and economic development bond issues.

Curtner is a longtime member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers serving on numerous committees. She has served on the Illinois Commission on Debt Reform and other legislative panels. She also served on the U.S. House's Ad Hoc Committee on TIF, which helped write the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Curtner is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on public finance and serves on the boards of several charitable organizations.

The She's Our Hero award will be given to Carmen Arrieta-Candelaria, El Paso, Texas' chief financial officer. The award recognizes a public finance professional's ability to manage career, self-development, family issues, and civic involvement.

Arrieta-Candelaria, a native of New Mexico, has served as El Paso CFO overseeing a budget of nearly $700 million for seven years.  She also serves on the El Paso Fireman and Policeman's pension funds and is treasurer for the local chapter of the Association of Governmental Accountants. She also balances community work for the YMCA and Center Against Family Violence with family life with her husband Dennis and three children Andrew, Santiago, and Xochitl.

The Rising Star award will go to Olga Chernat, deputy finance director at New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority. The category recognizes an individual whose worked in public finance for less than a decade but has demonstrated skill and intelligence that can have a long-term impact in the field.

Chernat has served since 2009 as deputy director of finance for the MTA where she assists in the management of a $30 billion multi-credit debt portfolio and helps evaluate and plan debt issuance. She previously worked at the New York City Municipal Water Finance Authority where she rose from senior analyst to deputy treasurer and then treasurer. She began her career after college as an assistant vice president at Roosevelt & Cross, Inc. in 2002.

The reception honoring the three is set for Jan. 22 at the Encore Lounge in the Hotel Allegro in downtown Chicago. Nominations are reviewed by the group's founders — financial adviser Courtney Shea, Chicago's chief financial officer Lois Scott, Standard & Poor's senior managing director Sarah Eubanks, and consultant Nancy Remar — and past winners.

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