Steven Rose of Conway Regional Health System (CFO of the Year Finalist, Large Private Companies)

When the top financial position became available at Conway Regional Medical Center in 1990, Steven Rose hesitated.

Less than a year earlier, Rose had left his job at Baird Kurtz & Dobson in its Little Rock office to be the assistant administrator for finance at a small hospital in Decatur, Texas.

But taking the Conway job “was an opportunity to … get back to Arkansas and be closer to family,” said the 50-year-old Rose, who grew up in Walnut Ridge.

He also figured that Conway Regional would grow, so he took the job. “Fortunately, it worked out,” Rose said.

Rose is vice president and chief financial officer of Conway Regional Health System, which includes the hospital and its clinics. It has about 1,200 employees.

Away from the hospital Rose is the chairman of the board of the national Healthcare Financial Management Association, a nonprofit organization for health care financial management executives and leaders. It provides “education, analysis and guidance” to its more than 40,000 members, according to the HFMA’s website.

Rose’s one-year term as chairman began on June 1.

Growing up, Rose thought he would join his family’s farm equipment business. He helped with the books for the company, but it closed because of an economic downturn.

Rose went to Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and graduated in 1984 with a degree in accounting. He then went to work for BKD.

About six months into his career at BKD, Rose began to specialize in audits and consulting work for hospitals. And he was hooked.

“Although not directly in patient care, I think those working for providers in health care finance realize they are contributing to the greater cause, which is contributing to the physical and mental well-being of those they serve,” he said. “That’s why I chose … this profession.”

After arriving at Conway Regional in 1990, he has seen it expand from more than 100 beds to 154. The hospital had $123 million in net patient revenue in 2012 and a net income of $1.8 million, according to its annual Medicare cost report.

He said his management philosophy is to have the right people on his team, stand back and let them do the work. “I believe the right team can function just as well, and maybe sometimes better, without me being involved in every detail,” he said.

In his free time, Rose serves on the board of the North Central District of Junior Achievement of Arkansas. Rose said he is motivated by serving. “I think ultimately that’s what it boils down to,” Rose said. “It can be quite hectic at times, but I’ve been blessed to be in the position that I’ve been in and just want to try and give back.”