Arkansas Business City of Distinction 2011

A chief financial officer is a historian and fortune-teller responsible for recording what has happened and for predicting what will happen with a company's financial performance. The honorees here represent the perfect combination of intelligence, judgment, loyalty, integrity, high energy, balanced ego and impressive ability to see around corners. Arkansas Business honors those men and women who serve as the foundation upon which companies succeed or fail.

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CFO of the Year: Honoring Those Who Write the Future by Keeping Books on the Present

Navigating the complicated business environment of the past few years is one thing, but as businesses continue to diversify into national and international markets, mitigate foreign currency risks and help plan for future growth in developing markets, the guidance of a CFO becomes more and more critical. read more >

Barbara A. Goswick of the University of Arkansas System (CFO of the Year, Lifetime Achievement)

Barbara Goswick has been part of the growing University of Arkansas System for 14 years and has been a vice president for six. In fiscal 2014, revenue was $2.6 billion. Not only are the numbers big and attention on those numbers sometimes keen, Goswick works with CFOs across an incredibly diverse system. read more >

Don R. Smith of Thomas & Thomas (Lifetime Achievement in Accounting)

In 1983, Thomas & Thomas lured Don Smith away from KPMG to become the Little Rock office's sixth employee, with the task of building an audit department. And while the Texarkana office once had 40 employees, the firm now has 35 in Little Rock and 12 in the home office — not a huge firm, but that was never Smith's goal. read more >

Jill Beall of Legacy Capital Group (CFO of the Year Finalist, Private Company)

Jill Beall, who is now both CFO and COO at Legacy, oversees the internal operations and finances of the company from human resources to payroll to the daily budget. She also handles the financial planning software and still works with specific clients to see to their estate planning needs. read more >

Vince Tate of Central States Manufacturing (CFO of the Year Finalist, Private Company)

The experiences with Williams Tools and Central States have proven to Vince Tate the importance of not just being a hired executive. It's a carryover from his youth when he saw his parents work as a team, with Dad as the businessman and Mom handling the books. read more >

Jim Tull of Crafton Tull (CFO of the Year Finalist, Private Company)

In 1993, Jim Tull returned to Rogers. He didn't plan on working at Crafton Tull, the company his father co-founded, but he figured correctly that northwest Arkansas could be a prosperous place to be. read more >

James Schnoes of One Bank & Trust (CFO of the Year Finalist, Bank)

The J.B. Hunt family lured James Schnoes away from banking back in 1988, which led to more than 20 years of trucking-related work. In 2013, Johnelle Hunt lured him back to banking with an assignment to help reverse the financial fortunes of One Bank & Trust of Little Rock. read more >

Jason Taylor of First Community Bank (CFO of the Year Finalist, Bank)

Jason Taylor has always been good with numbers, so his banking career and rise to chief financial officer should come as no surprise. After flirting with retail for two years, Taylor returned to his hometown to work at First Community Bank of Batesville and hasn't looked back. read more >

Marcus Walser of Twin Lakes Community Bank (CFO of the Year Finalist, Bank)

Marcus Walser was recently named president of Twin Lakes Community Bank, which he helped launch in February 2006 and where he has served as chief financial officer since its inception. read more >

Andrea M. Dobson of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation (CFO of the Year Finalist, Nonprofit)

Andrea M. Dobson flew into Little Rock on a stormy summer evening in August 2000. As her plane flew over the city, the landscape hadn't yet been defined by the William J. Clinton Presidential Center or the Heifer International headquarters, but, Dobson said, she could tell Little Rock was a growing community with a lot to offer. read more >

Jim Fink of Little Rock Christian Academy (CFO of the Year Finalist, Nonprofit)

Little Rock Christian Academy provides K-12 grade education with a Christ-centered worldview. The mission is especially meaningful for Jim Fink because his two grandsons started attending Little Rock Christian Academy last year. read more >

Cassandra Gilbert of Arkansas Foodbank (CFO of the Year Finalist, Nonprofit)

While in high school, Cassandra Gilbert completed a work-study program as a bookkeeper's assistant for Youth Home Inc., a nonprofit that provides emotional and behavioral health care. That set her on a path to a career in finance. read more >

Sylvia Ambrogio of Clinton National Airport (CFO of the Year Finalist, Public Sector)

Sylvia Ambrogio has merged her two loves of numbers and aviation into one career. She has more than 23 years of experience in airport financial management and has been the chief financial officer for the Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock since December 2011. read more >

Benjamin Barylske of the City of Jonesboro (CFO of the Year Finalist, Public Sector)

The city of Jonesboro's finances were in such bad shape that Benjamin Barylske never thought he would work for the northeast Arkansas city. But Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin's persistence paid off. Beginning in early 2009, Perrin pushed Barylske to join the city. Perrin even arrived at Barylske's house on a Friday evening in 2010 to woo him. read more >

Karen Scott of the City of North Little Rock (CFO of the Year Finalist, Public Sector)

In May 2013, Karen Scott was hired as the director of finance with the city of North Little Rock. It had revenue of $171.2 million in 2013 and is projected to have $188 million in revenue this year. read more >

Kelsey Bailey of the Little Rock School District (CFO of the Year Finalist, Education)

It's a good thing that Kelsey Bailey, chief financial officer for the Little Rock School District, likes working with money. It's why he chose accounting. Unfortunately for the LRSD, there's less of it to work with than there used to be. read more >

Bobby Jones of Henderson State University (CFO of the Year Finalist, Education)

Bobby Jones graduated from Henderson State University in 1971, received his MBA from the school, and has served as Henderson's controller, CFO, VP for finance and administration, interim president and even athletic director. read more >

Diane Newton of the University of Central Arkansas (CFO of the Year Finalist, Education)

Diane Newton knows her way around quite a few college campuses in Arkansas. Prior to UCA, she worked at Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She came back to the Natural State after seven years as vice president for business and administration at Landers University in Greenwood, South Carolina. read more >