CFO of the Year Finalists (Large Private Company): Jim Wilson

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Nov. 7, 2011 12:00 am  

Jim WilsonVice President, Secretary & ControllerBaldwin & Shell Construction Co., Little Rock (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Jim Wilson spent the first 18 years of his life in the close-knit community of Green Forest in Carroll County.

“In 1950, the census was 738,” he said.

“Everybody knew everybody.”

As he grew up, he developed a love for basketball and baseball. Wilson didn’t expect his beloved hobby to lead him where it did.

“I was accomplished enough in basketball to get a scholarship to UCA, where I played for four years,” he said. “There were two guys I respected who were older than me. They were good athletes and treated me very well as a younger person. They both became accountants.”

Because of those role models, Wilson decided to work toward a degree in accounting. When he graduated, he moved to Houston to work for Occidental Petroleum Corp. To be closer to his wife’s parents, Wilson moved back to Little Rock in 1973. He worked for the Central Terminal Distribution Center, a warehouse in a downtown building that today houses the Arkansas Museum of Discovery.

But in 1976, the center hired a partner whose attitude concerned Wilson. So on March 15 of that year, he moved to Baldwin & Shell.

“I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

Wilson was attracted to the dedication of Baldwin & Shell’s executives, like President Bob Shell, who has been with the company since 1950.

“This is not only his employment but the love of his life,” Wilson said. “We have really formed a nucleus. Most of the staff members have been here many years. When people come, mostly they stay.”

Wilson thinks leaders should stay transparent. “Honesty and integrity are No. 1,” he said. “Practice what you preach. Lead by example.”

He said difficulties in the construction world had helped temper him as a leader.

 

 

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