Laura Zurborg Grimes returned to work part time in 2008 after a five-year break, and it wasn’t long before the former public company CPA assumed further responsibilities.
Conway’s nonprofit economic development organization, the Conway Development Corp., initially hired Grimes in 2008 to manage the finances for a $32 million development project, that of the Hewlett-Packard Co. building at 355 Ledgelawn Drive. The project, which was completed in 2010, was part of how the city recruited HP to Conway.
The project was completed on time and under budget, Grimes said.
“That was a huge accomplishment for me and for this organization,” she said.
The CDC created a CFO position for Grimes when the organization, and other Conway development organizations, needed her further.
Grimes now oversees the financials for the CDC, Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Conway Downtown Partnership, Conway Foundation Inc., Conway Publications Inc. and Conway Committee of 100.
“It became apparent that they needed someone at [the CFO] level managing all of those,” Grimes said.
Her daily responsibilities include reviewing and preparing financial statements, reviewing the organizations’ cash positions, working on chamber events and analyzing chamber membership levels. She also works to secure the assets of the organizations and report the cash positions of all the organizations to their respective boards. In addition, she supervises the organizations’ one other accounting staffer.
Among her achievements during the past four years of working for the economic development entities was developing accounting polices and procedures manuals to formalize the organizations’ practices.
The goal was “really trying to button up our internal controls, working smarter and improving our accounting processes and updating our software,” Grimes said. “We’re a small staff, so getting the most out of our time is important to us.”
Grimes’ five-year career pause came so she could care for her children full time, but she missed working. She had worked for 10 years as an accountant, holding positions with Little Rock companies KPMG Peat Marwick, Alltel Information Services and Acxiom Corp.
Grimes, 42, is originally from Springdale. She has liked accounting since high school and earned an accounting degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1992.
“I think I’ve always been business minded, and I love numbers,” Grimes said. “I guess it just clicked with me.”