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2015 Financial Executive of the Year Award: SMALL ORGANIZATIONS

Clay Carpenter
Nichols Construction Team
As a partner and chief financial officer of the Nichols Construction Team, Clay Carpenter wears many hats.

Carpenter has been with the company since 1998. In his current role, he oversees financial operations and acts as a liaison between the project managers and superintendent on each project.

“It’s helping to plan and budget projects,” Carpenter said, “be that helping the estimator with bid projects or having input relative to negotiated opportunities.”

Some of his day-to-day responsibilities include working with the professional partners they have from a financial, insurance and legal standpoint, as well as reviewing contracts with customers or subcontractors.

He also serves as treasurer and a board member of the Webster Soccer Association Inc.

“A definite highlight was joining the board of the Webster Soccer Association and becoming treasurer there and giving back to the community,” Carpenter said.

He is probably most known locally as the director of finance and an owner of Lovin’ Cup LLC bistro at Park Point on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus. Carpenter and John Nichols, president and CEO of Nichols Construction, teamed up with fellow Lovin’ Cup owners Erik Ward, Leslie Zinck Ward and Bob Zinck.

“(I want) to put my best foot forward on anything I do, whether it’s business related or giving back to the community,” said Carpenter, of what drives him to succeed. “I think being able to give back is an important aspect of everyone’s responsibility and I enjoy doing that.

“I also enjoy the people I work with. For me, that’s a big reason why I put the time and energy I do into things.”
—Lisa Maria Rickman

Mike Guche
Canfield & Tack Inc.
Mike Guche has been with Canfield & Tack Inc. for close to 20 years and became its chief financial officer in 2009.

His responsibilities include monitoring overall finance, overseeing the accounting department and handling the insurance and banking needs of the Rochester printing firm.

“I also watch over human resources and am responsible for the financial reporting, management and business analysis,” Guche said.

He manages the employee stock ownership plan as well.

“(It) is something I learned from scratch when I got here,” he said. “I handle all the administration of the plans and do the coordination with outside professionals in doing the evaluations and paying out employees.”

The $3.5 million ESOP has paid out close to $1.5 million to former and current employees since its inception. The company has some 85 employees and logged $18.2 million in sales in 2014.

Around the time Guche joined the company, he led the firm’s evolution from a manual accounting system to a computerized one with its first enterprise resource planning system. He is now overseeing the implementation of a new management information system.

Additionally, Guche helped guide the company through the acquisition of another printing company, Dellas Graphics Inc. in Syracuse, in 2012 that brought a roughly 25 percent increase in sales.

Guche’s community involvement includes coaching youth baseball teams in Penfield. He also assisted with the administrative needs of his children’s soccer programs. In the past, Guche has served on the board of Financial Executives International-Rochester Chapter, including a term as vice president.

“It’s inherent in my nature to always give it my best shot,” he said. “Work ethic is something that came from my family long ago. It’s something inherent in the company here at Canfield & Tack so I think I fit in well. I just like making improvements and seeing the company get better and better each day.”
—Lisa Maria Rickman

Scott Strong
MWI Inc.
Scott Strong is the finance and treasury manager for MWI Inc., a manufacturer of graphite and carbon products in Henrietta.

Strong’s responsibilities include supervising the finance and accounting departments, producing the monthly financial statements for the company, cash management, the daily monitoring of bank balances and moving funds around as needed.

“I do this cash position report, which gives the owners of the company a lot of information on our current status and helps them plan for where we want the company to go in the future,” said Strong, who has been at the firm for some 14 years. “So much of accounting is reporting on what has already happened, but this report is a forward looking report that helps manage the company in the future.”

Strong is also responsible for moving the company from paper to digital documentation with a package called Docuware.

“Before, we had all these filing cabinets full of information,” he said. “Now everything is in the computer so everything is so much easier to access and look at.”

Strong is involved with Faith United Methodist Church in Henrietta and serves on the finance committee and as assistant treasurer. He is also the leader of the church’s men’s group. One of its annual projects is partnering with an elementary school to provide backpacks for children of struggling families. Through his church, Strong also has helped raise money for the Habitat for Humanity.

“The Rush Henrietta League of Churches each year sponsors a home, and just recently they asked me to participate in one of their fundraisers,” he said. “They asked church leaders and pastors to act as waiters at Peppermints Restaurant.”

Tips and a percentage of the sales go to Habitat for Humanity.

“I’ve always been a self-driven person,” Strong said. “I have a self-motivation to do a good job and do the best that I can every day that I work.”
—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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