Public Sector CFO: Jeff Mascagni, Central Arkansas Water

Public Sector CFO: Jeff Mascagni, Central Arkansas Water
Jeff Mascagni • CFO, Central Arkansas Water | Little Rock

After Jeff Mascagni graduated from Arkansas State University and joined Frost PLLC in Little Rock as a CPA, Central Arkansas Water was his first client, and a major client through five years in public accounting.

It was a good fit, Mascagni said, and in 2006 he joined the water utility as controller, rising to chief financial officer in 2014.

But he didn’t grow up thinking about accounting as a career. After considering chemical engineering and medicine, he found a deepening love for numbers and followed his accounting degree with an MBA from ASU, a little more than an hour from Mascagni’s hometown of Osceola. “I found that I liked the strategy and numbers used to put businesses together and make sure they’re successful,” he said.

He discovered his creed in business at the 326-employee waterworks, which supplies water to more than a half-million Arkansans. That creed? “Don’t ask anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself,” said Mascagni, who in his off hours works to clean up watersheds and in pre-COVID days routinely read to at-risk children in public schools. “If I’m asking somebody to work hard, I need to work even harder.”

He’s also proud of helping the utility foster a culture of innovation. “As an example, last year we issued the first ever green bond to protect forestland, and that has become a model for the rest of the world.” The $31.8 million bond, certified under the Climate Bonds Initiative’s water infrastructure criteria, was earmarked for acquiring forestland as a buffer for sourcing clean drinking water.

“There are bond buyers dedicated to helping the environment, and this program allows us to go out and talk to people about protecting the watershed, as well as providing resources to make sure we have a bigger team protecting the watershed down the road.”

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