Kristi Prince of Maxwell Hardwood Flooring (CFO of the Year Finalist, Small Private Companies)

Kristi Prince had her eyes set on the accounting industry since high school. “I had always been pretty good with numbers,” she said. “It was something I was good at and it felt like something I could enjoy.”

Prince spent her childhood in Warren (Bradley County) and Dallas, moving to Monticello at age 14, in time for high school.

She went on to achieve a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, then wanted to hone her skills further.

She started looking into a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which “was the biggest school for internal auditing at the time. This looked more at cost-saving, and I really enjoyed that and did it for the first two years of my career.”

After graduating from LSU in 1999, Prince began her career with Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, as an internal auditor.

“I was there probably for 18 months, then went directly from there to a senior auditor at Radio Shack,” she said, a job that was also in Fort Worth.

Her experience at those two companies helped build a perspective on several different angles of business, she said. At both companies she gained experience in business development, human resources and insurance, among other areas.

In 2002, she returned to her hometown of Monticello. “My family and my husband’s family are both in Arkansas,” she said. “We wanted to raise our family in familiar areas where we knew a lot of people.”

Her diverse experiences with Lockheed Martin and Radio Shack helped her join Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, a longtime business in Monticello, as CFO. Since then, she’s helped the company grow and thrive even through the Great Recession, which affected her company’s industry directly.

“We did a lot of analysis on costs; we streamlined our profits,” she said. “We wanted to keep our key people and not lay off anyone. We streamlined and got as lean as we could. We were in a good financial state at that point to get through [the recession]. After that, we kept people in place as we needed, and we were ready to build back up when business got better.”

Prince said she hopes to stay at Maxwell. “I expect to be there for a long time,” she said. “The company continues to grow, and I think we’re an important part of south Arkansas.”

Outside of work, Prince is a board member of the Monticello Economic Development Commission. She is also a life member of Monticello’s Junior Auxiliary and works with the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries’ membership committee.