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: Introduction from Publisher Mitch Bettis

As global and regional economic issues continue to evolve, Arkansas Business shines the spotlight on chief financial officers. read more >

Lloyd McCracken Jr. of Fowler Foods Inc. (CFO Lifetime Achievement Award)

Lloyd McCracken Jr. may have devoted his career as a CFO to one man, Wallace W. Fowler, but you'd need a spreadsheet to track all the business ventures he's served and even the physical offices he's had. read more >

Steve Nelson of Dillard's Inc., UCA (Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting)

Hanging on the wall of Steve Nelson's home office in Little Rock is the associate degree in accounting his father earned in 1952. Nelson said his father, Arnie, always encouraged him to enter the accounting field and become a CPA. read more >

Joe Bumpers of Crews & Associates (Finalist: Medium/Large Private Company CFO)

Joe Bumpers does not want employees who always agree. He wants those who like to discuss and argue their positions. read more >

Melissa Russell of Star Transportation (Finalist: Medium/Large Private Company CFO)

After a long career in manufacturing companies, where she held the position of controller, Melissa Russell was named CFO at Star Transportation LLC in Jonesboro four years ago. read more >

Susan White of George's Inc. (WINNER: Medium/Large Private Company CFO)

As a young girl in Jonesboro, Susan White fell in love with numbers and ledgers and carbon paper in the office supplies section of the old TG&Y stores. read more >

Jean Cook of Travel Nurse Across America (WINNER: Small Private Company CFO)

Jean Cook says she wants to have a positive impact on people's lives. She also works with others to solve problems. read more >

Jenny Hergenroether of Advanced Cabling Systems (Finalist: Small Private Company CFO)

As Advanced Cabling System's first CFO, Jenny Hergenroether cannot use past practices as an excuse for bad decisions. read more >

Kris Upton of RPM Group (Finalist: Small Private Company CFO)

Not wanting to be “pigeonholed” allowed Kris Upton to add the title of president to his CFO duties at RPM Group. read more >

Craig Vick of Colliers International Arkansas (Finalist: Small Private Company CFO)

Craig Vick is beginning his fifth year as chief financial officer at Colliers International Arkansas, the state's largest commercial realty concern. read more >

Tim Culp of Community Clinic (Finalist: Nonprofit Organization CFO)

Tim Culp said becoming too complacent at one point in his career at Wal-Mart was his greatest mistake; that's because he should always be learning new things. read more >

Stuart Hill of Unity Health (Finalist: Nonprofit Organization CFO)

In 1988, Stuart Hill joined White County Medical Center of Searcy, which later became Unity Health, and he's had the same title, vice president treasurer, for almost 30 years. read more >

Kathy Lanier of Vital Link EMS Inc. (WINNER: Nonprofit Organization CFO)

Kathy Lanier, who was raised in Batesville and earned her accounting degree from Arkansas State University, has been CFO of Vital Link EMS Inc. since 2000. read more >

Vanessa Wagner of Lawrence Memorial Hospital (Finalist: Nonprofit Organization CFO)

As a sophomore at Arkansas State University in her hometown of Jonesboro, Vanessa Wagner found that her original major, computer science, just wasn't working out for her. Wagner, who'd always enjoyed math, turned to accounting instead. read more >

Landi Mkhize of Chambers Bank (Finalist: Bank CFO)

In 2013, Landi Mkhize followed the time-honored path from bank examiner to bank officer, hiring on as CFO at a bank he had become familiar with earlier in his stint with the Bank Department. read more >

Stephen Ragland of Stone Bank (WINNER: Bank CFO)

After 18 years with Acxiom Corp. in Little Rock, ultimately as senior director of financial planning and analysis, Stephen Ragland was lured back into the banking industry. read more >

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

As CFO of the Little Rock School District, Kelsey Bailey is responsible for making sure all of the district's financial needs are met, while also overseeing a $43 million reduction in state desegregation aid over the past three years. read more >

Zinnia Clanton of the Conway School District (Finalist: Education CFO)

Now president of a statewide association of school business officers, Zinnia Clanton spent the first two decades of her career as a bookkeeper for a manufacturing plant. read more >

Len Frey of Arkansas State University (WINNER: Education CFO)

Len Frey is vice chancellor for finance and administration at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, a position he has held for five years. He previously served as dean of the university's College of Business. read more >

Brett Powell of Henderson State University (Finalist: Education CFO)

Brett Powell has developed a national reputation for his work on outcome-based models for higher education. read more >

Paul Becker of the City of Fayetteville (WINNER: Public Sector CFO)

Paul Becker dabbled unhappily with part-time work after his retirement for a couple of years when he saw an advertisement for the open CFO position at the city of Fayetteville. Becker applied and got the job 10 years ago. read more >

Jeff Mascagni of Central Arkansas Water (Finalist: Public Sector CFO)

Jeff Mascagni and Central Arkansas Water are devising a new hiring system that looks for personal values more than experience. read more >

Karen Watkins of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (Finalist: Public Sector CFO)

“Dark ages” accounting was only one of the problems Karen Watkins had to confront after joining the state Department of Veterans Affairs. read more >