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2015 Financial Executive of the Year Award: LARGE ORGANIZATIONS

Monica Savino
The Bonadio Group

As chief financial officer of the Bonadio Group, Monica Savino’s days vary significantly. Besides being an accounting firm, the group has 14 subsidiaries.

“Sometimes my focus is accounting firm concerns and some days it’s the subsidiaries,” Savino said. “We get very busy seasonally with mergers. We’ve had a couple mergers every year for the last couple of years, so we have great opportunities to bring on board very talented people. Managing those mergers is a pretty big piece of my responsibilities.”

This year, Savino will have been with Bonadio for 10 years.

“The time has gone by very quickly,” she said. “I started out at the firm as a controller. When I was interviewing, Tom Bonadio said he wouldn’t make me any promises except that I would never be bored, and I’ve never been bored a day in my 10 years.”

In that time the firm has grown more than threefold; Savino has been challenged with managing the mergers, bringing in people and a couple of system changes. It is now the 40th-largest CPA firm in the nation, with nearly $88 million in revenue and 670 employees.

Outside the office, Savino has volunteered with the School of the Holy Childhood at its fundraisers and craft shows downtown, as well as serving on the committee that helped organize a fundraising gala.

“It’s a wonderful organization, and a few years ago I was able to take time out of my day to volunteer in a classroom,” Savino said. “It was a phenomenal experience. … I really have an incredible respect for the teachers and professionals there that just give those children a wonderful and loving environment.

“I still say to people it really is the happiest place on earth; Disneyland’s got nothing on the School of the Holy Childhood.”

Savino also volunteers at St. John Fisher College by conducting mock interviews with accounting students. Once her interviewees turned it around and asked her why she has found her time at Bonadio so interesting.

“I really enjoy the challenge, and I enjoy the opportunity to work with really upstanding people,” she said

—Lisa Maria Rickman

Sean Socha
Finger Lakes Technologies Group Inc.
Sean Socha serves as the chief financial officer of Finger Lakes Technologies Group Inc. The Victor, Ontario County-based company is a more-than- 100-year-old family-run firm comprised of five smaller companies.

“The nice part about this job is it’s not just finance and sitting in my office,” Socha said. “I get to really interact a lot with the rest of the business and really kind of help drive business and make business decisions as opposed to traditional accounting, which is just more of the record keeping. You’re really kind of like a business adviser to the rest of the organization, which is fun.”

Socha spends a lot of time developing the people on his team for the next thing in their career— whether they intend to stay with the company or not. He joined the telecommunications company in 2013, but first worked in the telecom industry in 2000. Finger Lakes Technologies Group has experienced double-digit revenues and workforce growth annually since he joined the company.

“I try not to think selfishly,” he said. “I want them to stay at the company but I also recognize that sometimes there may come a point in time where it’s better for them and their career to move on just because they have a better growth opportunity.”

Socha’s selflessness is reflected in Finger Lakes Technologies Group’s commitment to the communities it is in and giving back to them.

“All of our employees participate in a minimum of one event,” said Socha of the company’s community involvement. Finger Lakes Technologies Group’s owner, the Griswold family, works with the United Way, among many other different charities.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work at several different companies and I think the big thing is when you finally find that greater purpose than business,” he said. “It’s about their family, the company family. We really enjoy everything we do because we approach it as a family.”

—Lisa Maria Rickman

Mark Williams
DeCarolis Truck Rental Inc.
As vice president of finance at DeCarolis Truck Rental Inc., Mark Williams manages the corporate finance and administrative departments, which consist of accounts, credit, human resources and information technology. He oversees its financial reporting and financing relationships with multiple finance institutions.

One of his accomplishments involved working closely with the company’s IT director, Louis DeCarolis, in automating their internal processes to make them more efficient and evolving from a paper-based company to a systems-driven firm. 

Williams also has guided the business through many different business cycles, including “weathering the storm” of the 2008-09 recession.

“We were able to get through that difficult year, although we did have to institute a 10 percent wage reduction. But (we) were able to maintain our really good employees,” Williams said. DeCarolis Truck Rental came out of the recession as a “leaner and stronger organization.”

The company purchases some $15 million in new equipment per year and, with Williams’ help, has cultivated relationships with a variety of financial institutions to fund the capital acquisitions.

“One thing I’m most proud of was increasing the number of finance institutions that we do business with and the fact that the company has had steady growth throughout my 27 years there,” Williams said.

His community involvement includes serving as treasurer for the Webster Jr. Warriors Youth Football and Cheerleading Organization for five years. He also served as the company’s United Way campaign coordinator and participated in the United Way Day of Caring.

Williams said his drive comes from wanting to see the organization continue to succeed and provide service for its customers, which in turn helps make their employees successful.

—Lisa Maria Rickman

5/15/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email [email protected]

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