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The Arizona Chapter of FEI held its fourth annual CFO of the Year Awards

The Arizona Chapter Of FEI Held Its 4th Annual CFO Of the Year Awards

The Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) held its fourth annual CFO of the Year Awards on Nov. 4. FEI Arizona presents the CFO of the Year Awards to financial professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. The nominations and awards recognize exemplary financial management in all types of businesses: public, private and nonprofit. An impressive set of independent judges from local business and academia selected the winners based on their contributions to their respective organizations and their involvement in the community. The following CFOs were honored at the event:

Nonprofit CFO of the Year

Mary Jane Rynd Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Virginia G. Piper Charitable TrustMary Jane Rynd
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

 

The talent and drive that Mary Jane Rynd put into becoming the first female partner of a national accounting firm in Arizona is now benefiting one of the state’s largest nonprofits.

As executive vice president and chief financial officer, Rynd she oversees the investment management of the approximately $500 million endowment of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. She also supervises the trust’s investment consultants and staff in the investment committee of the board of trustees.

For more than a decade before Virginia Piper’s death, Rynd served as the philanthropist’s tax adviser. As a result, Rynd has a full understanding of Piper’s approach to her philanthropy — and translates that every day into the work and spirit of the trust.

“I think I’m really lucky, because the people that I work with are highly motivated, extremely good professionals,” Rynd said.

Among her achievements at the trust is the identification, purchase and complete renovation of the nonprofit’s current offices. Over the past four years, she also has managed the diversification of the trust’s investment portfolio.


Private Company CFO of the Year

Tim Einwechter Chief Financial Officer Ascent Healthcare SolutionsTim Einwechter
Chief Financial Officer
Ascent Healthcare Solutions

 

In his 13 years as chief financial officer, Tim Einwechter has guided his company from a small startup to the $160 million corporation it is today.

When Einwechter began his tenure at the company that was then known as Alliance, he had to deal with cash shortages and other various financial struggles. He aggressively pursued investment capital that allowed the medical device company to take advantage of opportunities in its market. He also initiated a merger in 2005 that allowed the organization to continue growing, and played a key role when Stryker Inc. acquired the company, now known as Ascent Healthcare Solutions, in 2009.

“Life as CFO is not one of simply saying no,” he said. “Rather, it is one of bringing sense of reason to the discussions, understanding the business drivers and supporting what is important to drive the success of the business.”

Beyond the financials, Einwechter is committed to maintaining the ethics that make Ascent a success. In fact, the company’s mission statement of “Results, Integrity, and Quality” was coined by him. Einwechter’s understanding of what makes a business successful, along with a strong focus on ethical behavior, has created a shared ownership of the company’s commitment to integrity.

branding - AZ Business Magazine April 2008

Branding: The Mark Of Excellence

Companies need to build trust to build a successful brand

Great brands are made, not born. Ask any marketing expert and they’ll tell you that it takes a lot of hard work to build the recognition and trust necessary to create an indelible brand for a product or company.

“Really and truly that is what a brand is — trust,” says Nancy Stephens, an associate professor of marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “When I see your brand mark on your service or your product, that tells me, ‘Yes, I know that company, I’ve had great experiences there every time, I know I can trust it. If it’s different, I don’t know if I can trust it, but maybe I can give it a try and I’ll see if I can.’”

The Valley is home to major companies that have dealt with significant branding issues over the last decade. The first, and most high profile, came about as the result of America West Airlines’ merger with US Airways in 2005. Almost overnight, a brand that had been ubiquitous in Arizona disappeared.

“It was a difficult decision to give up the America West name for us, because it was just so well-known and, we’d like to think, well-loved within the Valley and also certain communities like Las Vegas where we have another hub,” says Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.

Eventually, of course, America West took on the US Airways name because company executives felt it better captured the more national and global direction the airliner was heading toward. Not unexpectedly, the name change created confusion among customers.

“We had logistical issues,” Mohr says. “US Airways had their ticket terminals in Terminal 2 in (Sky Harbor International Airport) and America West had theirs in Terminal 4. For some flights, you had to go to Terminal 2, for some you needed to come to Terminal 4. And then we had two separate ticket counters because there were two separate reservation systems at the airline. That could be rather confusing and frustrating to a customer.”

In the end, Stephens says the test for any company re-branding itself is how customers will react — and how the company will respond.

“(Changing a brand) is not an ideal thing to do and it’s an expensive thing to do because you’re going to have to send a message to a very crowded market that says, ‘We were that, now we’re this,’ ” she says. “I would not hammer with the media money until you have the experience down right, because then you get killed. Because if you say, ‘We’re still the same great company and we really care about you, and it’s going to be efficient and our employees are going to be very nice to you,’ and it’s not that way, then all your media money works against you.”

Another longtime Arizona company that is in the process of re-branding itself is the former Phelps Dodge. Louisiana-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold acquired Phelps Dodge in 2006. Despite the radical name change, Stephens says Freeport-McMoRan has different branding challenges than those faced by a retail customer-fueled corporation. Freeport-McMoran is a business-to-business company, but it still has constituents in the form of suppliers, buyers, investors and even the communities in which the old Phelps Dodge made its mark.

Another branding challenge companies’ face is when they take steps to change the look or even the name of a product. Locally, the Shamrock Foods Company decided to change things up in 1994 by creating the Shamrock Farms line of products, revamping its packaging and adding an illustrated “spokescow” named Roxie. It was a daring move for a company that had been around since 1922 in an industry not known for generating much excitement.

“They have taken a really boring, old product and made it pretty exciting with this new packaging,” Stephens says.

Sandy Kelly, director of marketing for Shamrock Farms, admits shaking things up was exactly what the company had in mind.

“It was a real pivotal turning point for the business overall and for the brand,” Kelly says. “We really looked at what was going on and how other consumer packaged goods brands went to market, and what we realized was that the dairy industry has typically been more commodity driven and there isn’t a lot of branding going on nationally. So we wanted to be different.”

Kelly adds that consumer focus groups continue to say they love Roxie, and as a result, the bovine has become the cornerstone of the company’s marketing campaign. In 1998, in an effort to take on soft drinks, Shamrock made some noise again by introducing milk in single-serve bottles instead of the traditional carton. The single-serve bottles are available across the country, including at 21,000 Subway locations. Just recently, Subway launched a milk mustache television ad featuring the company’s spokesman, Jared, holding a single-serve bottle of Shamrock Farms milk.

Also, the company has launched a new line of organic milk and emphasizes that it does not use the synthetic hormone rBST on its dairy cows.

While the company continues to update and add to its brand, it hasn’t lost sight of what makes a brand successful.

“We use the saying: ‘Tradition meets innovation,’” Kelly says. “We have a lot of trust built up with our consumer, but at the same time, we’ve been able to stay relevant with the needs of today, which is a challenge, especially in the dairy category. We’ve been able to have that trust, we’ve been able to build that trust.”

For more information regarding these companies visit:

wpcarey.asu.edu
fcx.com
shamrockfarms.net
usairways.com