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Public Sector CFO Winner: Todd Townsend, Ozarks Electric Cooperative Corp.

2 min read

Todd Townsend knew that he liked numbers and that he enjoyed working at cooperative utilities, but it was a “good lateral move” that brought him home to Fayetteville and Ozarks Electric Cooperative Corp. nearly a quarter-century ago.

“From a young age, I loved numbers and financial information, and I’m a second-generation cooperative employee,” said Townsend, a finalist for Public Service CFO of the Year. He’s a Fayetteville High graduate who got his degree from the University of Arkansas in town while carrying a full college load and working 50 and more hours a week. “I dispatched for Ozarks Electric on 16- or 24-hour shifts, and I worked at J.C. Penney.”

After graduation in 1987 and a successful CPA exam, he started his career with a couple of local accounting firms before becoming accounting supervisor at Carroll Electric Cooperative Corp. in Berryville, a little over an hour away. But Townsend wanted to raise his family in Fayetteville, also his wife’s hometown.

“In 1996, I had a chance to move back home,” he said. “The grandparents were here, so we just thought it was a good lateral move.”

He’s active in New Heights Church in Bentonville and Ozarks Cares, a group of cooperative employees who perform community service work.

Townsend’s proudest work accomplishments include building a “really good small team in accounting at the co-op,” and his role in “keeping our rates as low as possible for our member owners.” One relatively new duty has been helping Ozarks CEO Mitchell Johnson make the utility “one of the most progressive utility providers in Arkansas,” particularly in broadband fiber.

Johnson “had the vision,” Townsend said. “We now offer broadband, residential and business solar, and we built the first community solar farm in the state of Arkansas.”

See more CFO of the Year

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