July 1, 2008

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Ernst &Young 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year

Based on what they’ve seen from this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year entries,...Read More

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CFO of the Year

Jamie Huish Stum, Linda T. Kennedy

July 1, 2008

As Utah’s CFOs confront a struggling national economy, turmoil in the financial markets and stringent compliance requirements, our finalists agree the day of the back office bean counter is past. Today’s CFOs take on a strategic, communicative leadership role, acting as a partner with the CEO while providing firm fiscal guidance to secure a corporation’s financial future. Though our finalists’ careers have directed them to diverse paths — some beginning with large accounting firms, others putting down roots in the public or nonprofit sector — all have successfully made the transition to become dynamic leaders who are crucial to the success of some of Utah’s most esteemed organizations. Government Jennifer Evans Director of the Office of Fiscal Operations Utah Department of Human Services “The CFO is critical in fostering an environment of fiscal discipline,” says Jennifer Evans. “In addition to providing a strong financial foundation including sufficient external and internal controls, the CFO should be a leader — not just in the accounting office, but the entire organization.” Working with the Utah Department of Human Services’ $730 million budget requires Evans to place increased emphasis on accountability as she ensures taxpayers are receiving a solid return on investment. A strong auditing background and a belief in the difference her work is making continue to propel her forward in her leadership role. Darrin Casper Chief Financial Officer Mayor’s Operations Office Salt Lake County Salt Lake County remains one of fewer than 30 counties in the U.S. rated AAA by all major credit rating services, due to the county’s risk averse philosophy, says Darrin Casper. After nine years with Salt Lake County, Casper says he’s never been so motivated for a job in his life. “I whistle on my way to work each day knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of most, if not all, of Salt Lake County’s citizens.” John Nixon Director Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget Overseeing the state’s $11.5 billion budget is not something John Nixon takes lightly. “Utah is known, and has been [known] for some time, as the best financially managed state in the country,” he says. To keep that standard high, one of Nixon’s main objectives has been to institute operational performance and transparency in government. Today, every state agency uses a set of performance metrics used to administer its operations and provide accountability to the governor’s office. Nixon’s department also launched www.performance.utah.gov, where Utahns can see how their tax dollars are performing. Non-Profit Bert Zimmerli Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Intermountain Healthcare “Self-proclaimed as having “very high expectations and never [being] satisfied,” Bert Zimmerli’s drive has made him no stranger to success. After receiving the second-highest score in the nation when he took the CPA exam, Zimmerli excelled in his 16 years with Ernst & Young and 12 years with private health care organizations in Houston before relocating to Utah to work with IHC five years ago. Success keeps coming: a recent Wall Street Journal article cited Intermountain as one of the nation’s best at keeping costs low and quality high. Kevin Grimmett Chief Financial Officer United Way of Salt Lake After spending much of his career in accounting and investment services, Grimmett calls his decision to work with United Way “the best move I ever made.” As CFO of a non-profit, Grimmett says one of his primary roles is maintaining United Way’s community reputation and integrity through strong internal accounting controls and transparent accountability to their board of directors and to the public. To the next generation of CFOs, Grimmett advises, “Learn the soft skills — people, manners and relationships.” Adriano Oliveira Chief Financial Officer Enterprise Mentors Adriano Oliveira credits his contributions to Enterprise Mentors to his “stick-to-it-tiveness.” Born in Brazil and fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, Oliveira embarked on two decades of work in the international arena before landing at Enterprise Mentors, a microcredit organization that makes microloans to entrepreneurs in five countries. In 2007, the foundation was able to provide microcredit loans for 34,000 people. The numbers reflect Oliveira’s own philosophy: “People come first, processes only serve the people.” Small Private Michele Hilton Chief Financial Officer AdvancedMD Hilton is one CFO who understands risk — she signed on with AdvancedMD before the company had even launched a product. Hilton’s sound fiscal guidance has helped take the company to 160 employees and 8,500 physician subscribers, with revenues growing more than 60 percent in 2007. “I have had the same title for over eight years, yet no two days have ever been alike,” Hilton says. “It is so exciting to learn and grow with the business and to have to continuously adapt your skills for the ever changing challenges.” SCOTT W. STENBERG Founding Partner & Chief Financial Officer InnoVentures Capital Partners Scott W. Stenberg says he’d advise new CFOs to learn their clients’ information needs, a practice he believes recently helped InnoVentures raise a new $12 million investment fund. “I have found that most non-accountants get bored of financial statements quickly, so you need to give them the information they want in a format that helps them the most,” he says. Now InnoVentures manages five investment funds totaling approximately $23 million. LYNN JOHNSON Chairman of the Board & Chief Financial Officer MHTN Architects Lynn Johnson attributes his success to his partner’s patience with answering his “innumerable” questions. Now, he says he’s advising others. “I’ve seen my role grow from being the guy that keeps track of the money to the “trusted advisor,” he says. He’s also seen his firm’s revenues grow 110 percent within five years, and his office renovated into one of the few Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) offices in the nation. Medium Private Don McGee Chief Financial Officer Clyde Companies Throughout almost 30 years with Clyde Companies, Don McGee says he appreciates working for a company with consistent values. “As a management group we depend on each other almost every day for one thing or another and knowing that each of us is committed to the same values definitely makes my position enjoyable.” The company’s 2,500 employees who look to McGee for a weekly paycheck continue to motivate him to establish financial security for the company and to form strong, trusting relationships. Kevan Blair Chief Financial Officer Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company Having spent the majority of his career as a CFO and controller in the commercial construction industry, Kevan Blair’s financial expertise has even been put to use in Scotland. His experience has paid off; in Blair’s three years with the company, Wadsworth’s revenues have increased by 108 percent with net income increasing 406 percent. Throughout the process, Blair has learned again what it means to be a CFO: “Your end goal is to become an invaluable business consultant working in tandem with your company president or CEO.” Brad Stewart Chief Financial Officer Basic Research Stewart holds a firm belief that the role of a CFO is to integrate the financial side of a business into the organizational side. “The back office CFO no longer exists. No longer is the CFO the statistician for the organization providing only information. Today the CFO must execute on the information.” Stewart’s execution at Basic Research includes bringing a strategic direction and reporting system to measure success and organizing a crucial Risk Management Group. Large Private BRETT HOPKINS Chief Financial Officer Ken Garff Group Brett Hopkins says CFOs are viewed as filling a “back office” position with a defensive emphasis in terms of accounting, audit and risk management. “These responsibilities remain important today,” says Hopkins. “But a successful CFO also has to have a presence in the ‘front office’ to help drive the direction of the company.” Behind the wheel at Ken Garff, Hopkins is geared towards improving operations, acquisition growth and transitioning the business to the fourth Garff generation. DAVE CHASE Chief Financial Officer Provo Craft & Novelty For guidance, Dave Chase looks to the Gods -- at least one of them. “Janus, a lesser known Roman deity, had one power: the ability to see in opposite directions simultaneously, taking in past and future, local and global, inside and out,” he explains. “Having an understanding like this permits informed decision making.” Chase says making fact-based decisions has guided his own professional accomplishments such as creating a multi-million dollar business component that serves as a self-funded marketing program. DUANE WARDLE Senior VP, CFO & Treasurer Young Electric Sign Company Little did Duane Wardle know when he taught accounting classes after college that it could help him in his favorite assignment: training sales representatives on how to lease signs. Since most of YESCO’s signs are leased, he set up the company’s new lease program, expanding its portfolio by $20 million. He says human relations have become essential to CFOs. “All the technical ability in the world will get you nowhere if you can’t work with people.” Small Public JOHN MERRILL Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer & Principal Accounting Officer Park City Group, Inc. Despite helping Park City Group, Inc. successfully transition their business model from a traditional license, maintenance and services software provider to a software as a service (SaaS) provider, and increasing their revenues 131 percent last year, John Merrill says they face resource challenges on a daily basis. “It’s trench warfare in sales, it’s scrimp and save in marketing, and it’s focus the resources on product quality,” he says. “Quality at PCG will surpass quantity without discussion.” MARTY PETERSON Chief Financial Officer Raser Technologies Marty Peterson says his achievements are found in two “in the moment” business lines: energy conservation and alternative energy production. “We’ve initiated the development of eight geothermal plants in four western states,” says Peterson. “And soon, we expect to deliver a plug-in hybrid electric SUV to our auto manufacturing sponsor.” Peterson makes sure Raser has adequate capital, such as securing up to half of a billion dollars from Merrill Lynch for geothermal development. BRIAN MORONEY Chief Financial Officer UCN, Inc. As the CFO of a public company which provides on-demand, hosted, all-in-one contact center software for intelligent call routing and agent improvement, Moroney says it’s unfortunate his job has become more consumed with meeting excessive regulatory requirements and less with helping the company achieve results for its stakeholders. Nonetheless, Moroney has helped UCN acquire two companies that have expanded their product offering positioning it to be the leading company in its industry. Medium Public James S. Evans Chief Financial Officer Myriad Genetics Having been with biopharmaceutical company Myriad Genetics, Inc. since 1995, Jim Evans served as corporate controller and vice president of finance before assuming his current position. Evans played a key role in the company’s latest funding round, which raised more than $250 million, by forming a strong rapport with meaningful financial lending institutions. Peter Meldrum, Myriad’s CEO, says Evan’s combination of vital technical abilities and strong interpersonal skills has helped make him a successful CFO. Joseph W. Baty Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Schiff Nutrition Working in the highly competitive nutritional supplement industry, Joseph Baty says it’s the “thrill of the hunt” that gets him out of bed every morning. Schiff Nutrition totaled $100 million in net debt when Baty joined the company in 1999, but since using Baty’s learned business principle of “cash is king”, it now boasts $50 million in cash. Baty says success is attributed to selling unprofitable businesses, eliminating negative cash flow customers and providing analysis for new project offerings . GIL FULLER Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer USANA Health Sciences When you listen to Gil Fuller talk about how he works and plays, you have to wonder whether his work has strengthened his sport (running), or vice versa. That’s because he relies on the same components for success in both: flexibility, risk management and considering decisions with an eye on the long-term impact. Fuller advises new CFOs to “know the issues and concerns as they develop and evolve, and anticipate needs well in advance — prepare for the unexpected.” Large Public DOYLE ARNOLD Vice Chairman & Chief Financial Officer Zions Bancorporation Saying “the truth hurts” might fit how Doyle Arnold describes the economic impact banks suffered last year. “Mid-2007 saw the beginning of the greatest, most prolonged global financial crisis since the Great Depression, which placed incredible demands on all financial institutions, including Zions,” he says. But Arnold believes his role as Zions “internal arbiter of truth” in a financial sense, helped the bank deliver their second best annual net earnings in its history — $495 million. J. KIMO ESPLIN Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Huntsman Chemical Though Kimo Esplin helped Huntsman grow to a NYSE listed global manu-facturer worth $11 billion, a significant number to him is the number four. He has four boys, four girls, runs four miles four days a week and, with his kids, is “reading four different books at the same time!” he says. Also, he helped Huntsman shrink their top line by $4 billion when they sold four commodity businesses to transform Huntsman into a differentiated/specialty chemicals manufacturer. BRAD RICH Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer SkyWest Inc. Soaring to the largest regional airline in the world, with approximately three and a half billion dollars in revenue, are achievements Brad Rich says they attribute to proactive team members. “Equally important to the technical ability of our group is what each individual brings to the environment,” he says. “When you treat everyone with respect, if you focus on people and meeting their needs, everything just falls into place.”
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