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FEI, Az Business present CFO of the Year awards

Financial Executives International (FEI) Arizona Chapter and Az Business magazine presented the 7th Annual CFO of the Year Awards at the Arizona Biltmore. The awards recognize professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards.

Read all about the finalists below, then check out photos of the event.

Finalists were Bradley C. Anderson, executive vice president of finance and CFO, Amtech Systems, Inc.; Dan Behrendt, CFO, TASER International; Jerome Bruggeman, CFO, RMJ Electrical Contractors, Inc.; Christina Cancino, senior vice president and CFO, Arizona’s Children Association; Sandy Catour, CFO, Sitewire; Ed Czemerych, CFO, Liberty Iron and Metal Holdings, LLC; Ward Huseth, CFO, Great Hearts Academies; Joseph Ivenz, CFO, Marcolin USA; Renee Krug, executive vice president and CFO, Clear Channel Outdoor; Thomas C. Lavoy, CFO, Veolia Transportation on Demand;  Shaun McMeans, vice president of administration and CFO, HTG Molecular Diagnostics; David Miller, CFO, Jokake Construction Services, Inc.; Doug Noblitt, executive vice president, finance and accounting, Tallwave; Chris Power, CFO, LifeLock, Inc.; Carlos L. Rojas, CFO, Heard Museum; Ashley Sanders, vice president of finance, Angel MedFlight; Richard Skufza, executive vice president and CFO, LaneTerralever; Debra Thompson, vice chancellor for business services, Maricopa Community Colleges; Christopher L. Turner, director of finance, GlobalMed; Dennis M. Via, CFO, NFP Property & Casualty Services, Inc.; and Shane Wells, Arizona-Nevada market CFO, IASIS Healthcare.

The four winners honored were:

CFO of the Year, Private Company

Thomas B. Fischer, CFO and vice president of finance, OnTrac

Since taking the role in 2000, Fischer has navigated business reorganizations, led the implementation of optimized business practices and collaborated toward the successful launches in five new states, helping to diversify the company’s services and increase customer value. His responsibilities include daily operations of financial and fiscal management.

Impact on OnTrac: In 2013, Fischer coordinated $40 million in new borrowings, which facilitated the buyback of employee stock option plans and the implementation of material handling, as well as allowing for the working capital for increase of business.  More than $20 million has been invested into equipment that will help OnTrac increase its package delivery from 50,000 packages a day to more than 300,000 packages a day. This type of automation significantly reduces the cost of delivery to the company.

CFO of the Year, Private Company

Tom Harris, executive vice president and CFO, Arizona Diamondbacks

Harris oversees all financial operations, risk management, administration, stadium operations and ownership relations. His tenure in this organization and in the industry make him an integral officer in assisting the president and CEO and other executives in guiding the organization to success. His knowledge of the inner workings of local government is essential in the day-to-day affairs of stadium related matters.

Impact on Diamondbacks: Harris spearheaded a 2011 debt refinancing, bond tender offer and line of credit with JP Morgan that reduced long-term debt by $1 million and provides for reduced interest expense and improved cash flow going forward. In 2011, he also spearheaded a modification of the team’s concessions agreement that has significantly improved its concessions revenue share.

CFO of the Year, Public Company

Amin Maredia, CFO, Sprouts Farmers Market

In less than two years, Maredia has established a public company finance function while completing a major strategic acquisition, more than $700 million debt refinancing, and leading Sprouts’ initial public offering efforts. In addition, he designed Sprouts’ finance infrastructure, including implementation of analytical tools, which provide the ability to monitor current and accurately forecast future performance. Maredia has also used his vast retail experience to help Sprouts execute its new store selection process and strengthen its position in the market.

Impact on Sprouts: Maredia has been instrumental in establishing the company’s internal control systems. He is a tireless advocate for transparency in not only financial reporting, but all areas of the operations. He has taken a lead role in developing a delegation of authority policy and code of conduct applicable to all company team members.

CFO of the Year, Nonprofit

Tanya Muñiz, CFO, Valley of the Sun United Way

Muñiz administers all financial operations and analysis. Under her leadership, the annual budget has grown from $50 million to $114 million in five years. United Way has very complex financials and undergoes six audits annually, with consistently excellent results and zero findings. Muñiz oversees a department of 20 employees who have flourished under her leadership. She led the development of organizational scorecards for measuring and managing performance. Customer satisfaction with accounting has increased by 25 percent since she became CFO.

Impact on United Way: Muñiz built a 10-year economic model that enables the organization to better plan its work and serves as a foundation for its strategic plans. The model enables Valley of the Sun United Way to see the effects of multi-year grants and major gifts, as well as recognizing that many expenses are long-term investments requiring up-front financing.

ACC Awards 2012

ACC Awards 2012 Finalists: H-M

Effective corporate counsel has never been more important than it is now. Arizona Business Magazine is recognizing the important and vital role that in-house counsel plays in the success of a business with the Arizona Corporate Counsel Awards, ACC Awards 2012. The 27 finalists and winners were honored Thursday, January 12 during a ceremony and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Phoenix. Here are the finalists in alphabetical order, H through M.


ACC Awards 2012 Finalists, H through M:

George Hittner
Corporate secretary, general counsel, vice president of governmental relations
American Traffic Solutions

ACC Awards 2012Hittner has overseen more than 150 lawsuits for ATS throughout the country, ranging from minor cases to multi-million-dollar class actions, with a 98 percent win rate since October 2008. Some highlights:
* Under Hittner’s leadership, ATS has never lost a constitutional challenge to one of its programs.
* Hittner led the successful legal strategy which resulted in a decision by the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that found the Akron, Ohio, intersection and speed camera safety ordinance legal and constitutional.
* Hittner’s focus on election law has protected the photo enforcement industry from illegal elections, including having three illegal elections declared invalid.


Christine Jones
Executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary
Go Daddy Group

ACC Awards 2012Jones is the leader for all legal affairs at Go Daddy. Go Daddy’s legal department is unique in that it encompasses functions that are not traditionally seen in corporate legal departments. Jones supervises more than 100 people in the legal, domain services, network abuse, and government relations departments. Jones has become and industry leader and activist in addressing Internet abuse, and she created the government relations department at Go Daddy to establish a respected presence and voice in Washington. To keep up to date, Jones enables legal professionals to present in-house continuing legal education programs on a monthly basis.


Sara Lee Keller
Executive vice president and general counsel
Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. — Americas

ACC Awards 2012Since Keller was hired on Jan. 4, 2011, she has grown the legal department from four attorneys to seven. Issues that were traditionally handled by outside counsel are now handled in-house, resulting is cost savings and better management of external spending. Some opinions of her work:
* “Our legal team at Clear Channel Outdoor is becoming a full-service firm right inside the four walls of the company,” said Joe Bagan, Clear Channel’s COO.
*  “This collaboration has improved our overall effectiveness as measured by successful outcomes, more closely managed costs … greater business impact, and improved client satisfaction,” said Ron Cooper, CEO of Clear Channel.


Christopher Kevane
Senior vice president and general counsel
Rural/Metro Corporation

ACC Awards 2012Kevane has been advising and managing the legal affairs for Rural/Metro for more than seven years, the past two as senior vice president and general counsel. His recent accomplishments include managing all legal matters related to:
* The successful close of Rural/Metro’s acquisition by affiliates of the global private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC.
* The successful acquisition of multiple competitor companies throughout the nation.
* Regulatory matters related to SEC reporting mandates.
* Legal issues and settlement negotiations related to federal and state Medicare and Medicaid audits and compliance matters.
* Contract matters and negotiations surrounding executive departures and hiring.


Mark Larson
Vice president and chief litigation counsel — aerospace and transportation systems
Honeywell International

ACC Awards 2012Given Honeywell Aerospace’s content on global aircraft, chances are that if an aircraft accident occurs, Honeywell will be involved in litigation and Larson will ultimately become involved. Larson oversees a large, complex and diversified docket, encompassing litigation and arbitration matters throughout the world. Through skillful negotiation, Larson managed to settle a number of significant claims last year alone, saving Honeywell hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as protecting Honeywell’s product reputation and brand. In his 11 years at Honeywell, Larson has had just one trial loss. He accomplished all that while reducing outside counsel spending by almost 50 percent since 2007.


Ryan Liebengood
Intellectual property attorney
ASM America INC

ACC Awards 2012Colleagues admire Libengood for his unselfish community service. “I have been in the legal field for more than 40 years and as an in-house attorney for more than 15 years,” said Gary A. Smith, general counsel for Phoenix Engineering Services in Mesa. “Rarely have I seen a relative newcomer to the law become so enthusiastically involved in the community.” Libengood became a member of the Mesa Family YMCA, offering his assistance as the organization transitioned from a fitness facility to a service organization supporting a low-income population. He also volunteers with the Mesa United Way Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Program.


Virginia Llewellyn
General counsel and corporate secretary
Barrett-Jackson Auction Co., LLC

ACC Awards 2012Llewellyn has been general counsel at Barrett-Jackson since 2005. In this role, she is responsible for managing all the company’s legal affairs and overseeing outside counsel relationships. She serves as corporate secretary and works closely with other members of the senior management team on establishing and implementing company policies and procedures as they apply to employees, customers, and external business partners. She also serves as the primary liaison to the company’s media partners, including Fox’s SPEED Channel, which broadcasts more than 100 live hours of Barrett-Jackson events each year to more than 80 million homes.


Matthew D. Mitchell
Vice president legal, associate general counsel
Apollo Group

ACC Awards 2012Mitchell’s original responsibilities for Apollo — one of the largest employers in Arizona — were limited to the employment area, but he has since taken on litigation and regulatory responsibilities. Some highlights:
* He has been instrumental in implementing standard processes for the engagement of outside counsel (including outside counsel guidelines and electronic billing), e-discovery and litigation holds, Apollo board litigation updates specific to both the company and the for-profit education industry, and litigation tracking.
* Has assumed responsibility for securities litigation, derivative actions, wage hour class actions, qui tam litigation, and consumer litigation.


Harriet Mountcastle-Walsh
Vice president and general counsel
Honeywell International

ACC Awards 2012Since assuming the role of aerospace general counsel in 2005, Mountcastle-Walsh has forged a successful vision for the Honeywell Aerospace, Law, Contracts and Export (LC&E) function. Some highlights:
* Developed policies, procedures and best practices to streamline functionalization and reduce total expenses by more than 35 percent.
* Consistently strives to upgrade talent in her 400-person department through hiring efforts, and through a training, mentoring and a development process.
* Enabled growth at Honeywell through the development of its patent portfolio and IP licensing.
* Proactive litigation management has helped reduce Honeywell’s spending on outside counsel by more than 50 percent.


Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012