A sold-out crowd at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort was on hand Thursday to celebrate the winners of the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International’s CFO of the Year Awards.
“The Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International, FEI, hosts the CFO of the Year Awards each year in order to shine the spotlight on those individuals in our business community who have demonstrated outstanding financial management,” said Stephen McCaskill, president of FEI-Arizona and controller at Institute for Supply Management. “We believe this recognition benefits the greater Arizona business community by providing a forum that highlights the importance of financial leadership and promotes a better understanding of the role of finance in the world of business.”
Here are the five financial executives who were honored with CFO of the Year Awards:
CFO of the Year: Nonprofit
Morgan R. Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer, Arizona State University
Background: Olsen’s responsibilities at the University include overseeing treasury and financial functions, real estate, facilities operations, human resources, police, environmental health and safety, information technology, business and auxiliary services and capital projects at the University’s five campuses. ASU currently has over $1 billion in active capital projects in various phases of design, construction, or close out.
Impact on the company: Olsen arrived at ASU during the recession and was responsible for ASU’s financial maneuvering to survive and thrive during hard financial times. He steered ASU through a nearly 50 percent funding reduction per student in state investment, while at the same time balancing a 20 percent growth in full-time equivalent enrollment. He identified areas of reorganization for academic units and the consolidation of schools and departments to adjust for the changes in funding, allowing ASU to flourish during this challenging time.
CFO of the Year: Medium private company
Cheryl Campbell, chief financial officer, Wildflower Bread Company
Background: Upon joining Wildflower, Campbell immediately recognized the company is positioned for persistent growth both in Arizona and beyond. She led a successful recapitalization of the company in 2012 by working diligently with all financial stakeholders, including investors, banks, consultants, and auditors. She managed negotiations to determine value, process and structure of stakeholders transitioning out of the company. As a result of Campbell’s leadership, Wildflower is now 100 percent locally and family owned.
Biggest challenge: “As a controller, the company I worked for experienced revenue growth over 500 percent during a five-year period. Seems like a great problem, except we were always running in many directions at the same time. Clear and effective and constant communication was the key to success.”
Greatest reward: “I enjoy helping teams understand how their business decisions impact the company financial position and coaching them to decisions that will deliver the best possible financial results.”
CFO of the Year: Large private company
Patricia Chiodo, chief financial officer, American Traffic Solutions
Background: Chiodo is an accomplished business leader with a successful track record as CFO for both public and private companies. She has a unique ability to combine financial acumen with operational understanding to drive change, achieve results and grow shareholder returns.
Impact on the company: Since joining ATS a little more than two years ago, Chiodo’s leadership has helped lead the company to higher financial performance. A hallmark of Chiodo’s leadership is a genuine intellectual curiosity that drives her to uncover root causes of problems and provide pragmatic solutions. In 2016, due in part to Chiodo’s simple rallying cry of “hit the plan,” ATS enjoyed its most successful year in the company’s history. ATS increased EBITDA by almost 50 percent year-over-year without launching new products or major changes in the markets ATS serves. These strong financial results culminated in the successful transaction of ATS to Platinum Equity in May of 2017.
CFO of the Year: Public company
Adam B. Remis, chief financial and human resources officer, InnSuites Hospitality Trust
Background: Remis has been the CFO at Innsuites Hospitality Trust since 2013. He has almost 20 years of combined accounting, audit, tax and technology consulting experience. His clients have included Palm, Pioneer North America, Meritage Homes, Mesa Airlines, Choice Hotels and InnSuites. He served as the president of the local Arizona chapter of ISACA.
Biggest challenge: “At the time InnSuites recruited me, their CFO just retired followed by a well-qualified replacement who quit after one day, the auditors just quit and the accounting books reflected a team without leadership for three months. Priorities were set and we focused on the most important items first.”
Greatest reward: “At the end of the day, management’s focus is to add significant value to our shareholders. As a CFO, the most rewarding aspect is finding creative cost-effective solutions to problems, reducing our costs and therefore increasing profits and shareholder value.”
Charles Serianni, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Republic Services, Inc.
Background: Serianni is responsible for maximizing shareholder value by driving long-term growth and efficiently allocating capital, managing enterprise risk and enhancing internal control environment. He oversees financial analysis and planning, accounting, treasury, investor relations, internal audit and tax.
Biggest challenge: “Filing Republic Services’ annual financial statements with the SEC 90 days after our $12.5 billion acquisition of Allied Waste was my biggest challenge. Success required a team effort. I was able to assemble a talented and motivated team and focused my efforts on ensuring they had what was necessary to be successful.”
Greatest reward: “Developing people is the most rewarding aspect of being an executive. My success is due to the coaching and mentoring I received throughout my career. There is great satisfaction in being able to do the same for others. Nothing is more rewarding than witnessing the success of someone you helped develop.”
Here are the other 2017 finalists for FEI-Arizona’s CFO of the Year Awards:
Medium private company finalists:
Large private company finalists:
Public company finalists:
Here’s a full list of the finalists:
- Karen Abraham, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
- David Alderslade, Edgenuity Inc.
- Lisa M. Autino, Caliente Construction, Inc.
- Greg Barber, EPCOR USA
- Tim Barone, Vantage Mobility International
- Steve Chun, DEPCOM Power, Inc.
- Kevin Coyle, Cable One
- Brian Deak, Arion Care Solutions
- Elizabeth Dodd, TriWest Healthcare Alliance
- Kurt Graham, The Red Door by Elizabeth Arden | Mario Tricoci
- Peggy Houren, EOS Fitness
- Sean Husmoe, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center
- Ted Kardasz, Total Dental Administrators
- Renee Krug, GlobalTranz
- Donald Laughlin, Pinnacle Transplant Technologies
- Gregory Lee, Arizona Cardinals (Rojo Hospitality Group)
- Lorraine Murrietta, Off Madison Ave, LLC
- Rachael Piergallini, Derma Health
- Eugene Ruiz, Moon Valley Nurseries Inc.
- Michael Sheneman, Commerce Bank of Arizona
- Todd Siffren, Global Patent Solutions, LLC
- William E. Siwek, TPI Composites, Inc.
- Ron Vincent, Crexendo, Inc.
- Jeff Winzeler, Everspin Technologies