Joan Brubacher is a gas.
Well, she knows gas – and how to account for it.
“Growing up in Kansas, my dad was a fuel distributor,” said Brubacher, chief financial officer for Resolute Commercial Services, a Scottsdale-based receivership and corporate renewal firm,. “He also loved math, just like me.”
At only 14, number-loving Brubacher was working as her father’s bookkeeper. By college, the self-proclaimed tech geek would choose to crunch numbers for life, earning an accounting degree from Kansas State University.
Recruited by Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) out of college, gas would continue to drive Brubacher – one of her first audit clients was a convenience store and fuel distributor.
And it wouldn’t be her last.
After putting in her time with the Big Four – and getting married – Brubacher joined her father in the family business as its CFO.
“My father, husband and I decided to grow the business together,” said Brubacher. “In less than a decade, we grew from one to 19 locations statewide.”
Eventually, however, Arizona would come calling when her husband decided to take a great business opportunity in the Valley in 1989. For the first time since she was 14, Brubacher had nothing to account for except her husband and two young daughters.
Embracing her inner tech geek, she eventually earned CFO positions with several high-tech companies over the next two decades. One company – iGo – she would help take public in the 2000s. While working on the IPO, she became friendly with colleague Jerry Foster.
“He was a staunch supporter of the community – and his passion was contagious,” said Brubacher.
Before she knew it, she had joined Foster as a member of the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Arizona as well as branched out on her own, volunteering on the board with and serving on several committees for the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and Financial Executives International, among others.
And after the IPO, Foster had other plans for her as well.
“Jerry had co-founded Resolute Commercial Services in 2008 as a receivership organization assisting businesses with complicated debt and other issues in the midst of the recession,” said Brubacher.
She joined Resolute as CFO in 2009 and has helped expand the firm into California, Nevada and Texas. Most recently, she has also helped drive the business in another direction.
“Often, receivership can be avoided if we can get in and help a business early enough,” said Brubacher, who has spearheaded this proactive approach over the past year on behalf of lenders and debtors alike.
Among her biggest clients – convenience stores and gas stations, of course. She has assisted more than 30 locations nationwide already in addition to physician practices, car washes and construction businesses, among others. Brubacher finds that her background in finance and operations makes her uniquely qualified to assist businesses with their operational and financial issues, regardless of the industry.
“Life really does come full circle,” said Brubacher.