Speaker Bios D-F


Karen Davidson, CPP
Deputy Assistant Director of Payroll Services, City of Houston

Karen Davidson is the Deputy Assistant Director of Payroll Services for the City of Houston. She is responsible for system configuration updates and payroll administration for over 22,000 employees.

Karen has over 15 years of payroll experience. She became a national APA member and Houston Chapter member in July 2007. In October 2007, she earned her CPP. She previously served as the treasurer of the Houston chapter and currently serves as a Texas Payroll Conference board of director. On the local level, she has been actively involved on several Houston Chapter committees. Her involvement in the national American Payroll Association includes being a member of the National Speakers Bureau and a volunteer on the CPP Certification board.

After receiving her certification in 2007, she began volunteering with the Houston Chapter’s education committee in 2008. With a strong passion for payroll certification, in 2009 she help created an eight week payroll academy which covered the payroll basics – FLSA, DOL, gross pay and taxation calculations, payroll tax deposits, accounting, and management as a foundation to get more members of her payroll team certified. By the spring of 2010, three additional team members became CPPs. By the end of the academy in 2013, two more team members had received their CPP certification. After the payroll academy ended, they continued the learning sessions through lunch and learn meetings through 2015.

Karen has been awarded many accolades during her career which includes Houston Chapter’s Payroll Professional of the Year (2012) and Unsung Hero (2014), Kronos Education Grant (2013), the Payroll Services Team Player of the Year (2015) and the Texas Payroll Conference President Award (2015).

Karen earned her BBA in Accounting from the University of Houston. She is married to her husband John for 21 years who fully supports her payroll endeavors on the national, state and local levels.



De Ann Doonan, CPP
Director of Global Payroll, Maxim Integrated Products

As Executive Director of Global Payroll at Maxim Integrated Products, De Ann Doonan, CPP leads an international team responsible for Payroll Operations, Time and Attendance and Stock Administration for 8,000 employees in 27 countries. Prior to coming to Maxim, she was the Director of Global Payroll for Dell, responsible for 96,000 employees in 63 countries.

During the last six years, De Ann has built a Global Payroll organization, with a Center of Excellence (COE) in the Philippines. In addition, they have implemented new payroll systems in 27 countries and are currently implementing new time and attendance systems in 22 countries. Throughout her career, De Ann has specialized in the management of large teams optimizing processing efficiency, people development and acquisition integration.

De Ann was awarded the Dallas Chapter Payroll Professional of the Year in 2005. She was voted Texas Payroll Professional of the Year in 2008. Currently she is a member of the APA’s National Speaker’s Bureau.

De Ann earned her Management degree from Texas Wesleyan College in 1983 and her CPP in 2000. She is a member of the American Payroll Association (APA), the Dallas Chapter, APA and the CenTex Chapter, APA.



Daniel Dycus, CPP
Senior Director Education Services, American Payroll Association

Daniel Dycus is the Senior Director of Education Services for the American Payroll Association. In this role, Dan has the overall responsibility of the Education Division for the APA.

Dan’s responsibilities include all of the in-person education classes, virtual classes, webinars and webinars on-demand for the APA. Dan oversees the Strategic Payroll Leadership Task Force, along with its ten subcommittees, the Strategic Accounts Payable Leadership Task Force and the Shared Services Task Force.

In addition, Dan’s team teaches the CPP and FPC Bootcamp courses.

Dan represents APA by teaching APA courses, speaks at APA events and the events of other organizations. He also helps in the planning of the APA Annual Congress, the Fall Forum and the Educational Institutions Payroll Conference.

Before joining APA in 2015, Dan was the Senior Manager of Accounting for Intelsat Corporation where he managed the Global Payroll and Payroll Accounting Department. During his 25 year career, Dan has managed payroll, accounts payable, benefits and accounting for a variety of organizations.

Dan is a member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter, Colonial Capital Chapter and the Charles Town West Virginia Chapter. Dan obtained his CPP designation in 1999.



Brian T. Farrington
Shareholder, Cowles & Thompson

Brian T. Farrington is Shareholder at Cowles & Thompson. His practice consists of transactional work advising and representing management concerning employment law. Principal practice areas are Fair Labor Standards Act and Equal Employment Opportunity laws, Texas Workforce Commission unemployment eligibility, government contracts labor standards (Davis Bacon Act, Service Contract Act), OSHA 11(c), and state wage payment laws.


Education and Court Admissions:

    • J. D., Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, 1994
    • M.A., University of Chicago, 1974
    • B.A., summa cum laude, University of Dallas, 1973
    • Admitted to the State Bar of Texas, 1994
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit



    • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Member, Dallas Bar Association
    • Publications and Speaking Engagements:


Mr. Farrington is noted for his exceptional ability as a speaker and trainer. He has taught sessions on the FLSA for the State Bar of Texas and Arkansas, and for the Dallas Bar Association. He has addressed groups such as the Society of Human Resource Management, the Texas Payroll Conference, attendees at AADP's "Meeting of the Minds" national conference, Ceridian Corporation's "Insights" national conference, local chapters of the Human Resources Associations, American Payroll Association, American Compensation Association, and many others.



Cassandra Felton
Senior Stakeholder Liaison, Internal Revenue Service Houston office

Cassandra Felton is a Senior Stakeholder Liaison with Communications and Stakeholder Outreach (CSO) at the Internal Revenue Service Houston office. Cassandra has been with the Internal Revenue Service for thirty-one years. She began her career as a Taxpayer Service Representative responding to technical tax referrals. She worked as a Revenue Agent from 1991 through 2000 where she examined individual, partnership, and corporate tax returns. Cassandra joined CSO, formerly Taxpayer Education and Communications group in 2001. In the Education group, Cassandra worked publicizing various special projects including the National Research Program, Earned Income Tax Credit, Disaster Relief, and Electronic Filing. Cassandra worked for two years in the Bank Secrecy Act Compliance group conducting BSA examinations and five years as a BSA Specialist with IRS Headquarters educating money services businesses on anti-money laundering laws. Cassandra is married and has two children.



Ken Fitzgerald
Senior Employment Tax Services, Ernst & Young National Tax Department

Ken is a Senior with EY’s National Employment Tax Department in Dallas, Texas. He focuses solely in the area of federal, state and local employment tax.

Ken’s experience includes providing employment tax advisory services to client in various industries, including technology and construction.

Ken recently assisted a client outside of Houston in remediating deficiency notice for a multi-state and multi-employer employer. In the process, he identified refunds from overpayments, and successfully secured abatements of penalties and interest.

Ken is frequently a speaker at Texas Payroll conference, recently presenting in 2016 and 2017 on Shadow Payroll and Short Term Business Travelers.