The short of it – as well as long of it – is that financial executives have a direct effect on the economic growth and stability of their companies and the entire Greater Lehigh Valley.
That is a big reason why Lehigh Valley Business this morning honored 21 financial executives at its fourth annual CFO of the Year Awards at DeSales University in Upper Saucon Township, said Mike O’Rourke, emcee of the event and LVB publisher.
“We salute and honor financial executives who have skillfully worked with their business associates to lead their companies, not only for the short term, but for long-term viability and financial gain,” O’Rourke told more than 250 professionals at DeSales’ University Center. “There is no other program in the region that honors the success and achievements of financial executives.”
Gary Bender of SISD Inc., Todd Quann of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority and Alan Abraham of ProJeCt of Easton Inc. were among this morning’s top winners.
Bender, who is co-owner, CFO and executive vice president of SISD (doing business as Garden State Engineering, Surveying and Planning), received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Quann, director of finance and administration at the airport authority, was named Best Turnaround Specialist. The authority owns and operates Lehigh Valley International Airport, Queen City Airport and Braden Airpark.
Abraham, who is a shareholder with Abraham, Borda, Corvino, Butz, LaValva & Co. PC, was honored for Community Achievement. He is volunteer part-time CFO at ProJeCt of Easton, a nonprofit that provides emergency assistance and language and literacy services to people and families.
Mark Gutekunst of Just Born Inc. earned the Rising Star award. He is director of reporting, treasury and legal services at the candy manufacturer.
David Deal, CFO of Blue Mountain Resort, was named CFO of the Year for private companies with annual revenue of up to $25 million.
The other finalists in the category were Dean Browning, executive vice president, finance and administration and CFO, New World Aviation Inc.; Michael Fischer, president and CEO, Client 1st Financial; and Brien Kocher, vice president and CFO, Hanover Engineering Associates Inc.
Steve Gergar of Hospital Central Services Inc. was named CFO of the Year for private companies with annual revenue of more than $25 million. He is vice president of finance and CFO at Hospital Central Services.
The other finalists in the category were David Hillman, CFO of Reeb Millwork Corp., and Chuck Wentzel, vice president finance of JAFLO.
Jim Lynch of ABEC was named Best Growth Manager. He is CFO of ABEC, which provides integrated solutions for biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
Other finalists in the category were Bill Blake, vice president finance and strategy, Vigon International; Mark Cernese, executive vice president and CFO, The Wire Guys LLC; Pierre Lacroix, CFO, Olympus Corp. of the Americas; and Daniel G. Smith, CFO, American Millwork & Cabinetry Inc., Emmaus.
Stacy Gober was the nonprofit organization winner. She is CFO and board secretary at Bethlehem Area School District.
The other finalist in the category was Cindy Hay, CFO of Meals on Wheels of Northampton County.
Sponsors for the event were Concannon Miller, BSI Corporate Benefits, Fitzpatrick, Lentz & Bubba PC, Santander Bank and Equinox.