A CFO for every Property Manager...

My Personal Story…

As the gray hairs become more prevalent on my head and face, I find myself caring less about my
profits and more about my purpose. There is a much deeper meaning behind what I am trying to create
with this business. To start to understand that, you have to understand me. So here is a little bit of my
story and the birth and growth of The CFO Mission.

Born and raised in Emsworth, PA. A small suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. A steel town. Blue collar. Walked to elementary school every day. Catholic School. Raised in church. Didn’t like it. Athlete. Team Captain. College. MBA. High Honors.

First Job

My first real job was with U.S. Steel. A multibillion dollar corporation with facilities in multiple states and countries. Over time I would progress through leadership positions in specific accounting areas such as billing, purchasing, inventory control, and general ledger accounting.
The position I enjoyed the most was Financial Analyst. Experience in every steelmaking area allowed me to learn the steelmaking process through the numbers. My primary role as an analyst was to effectively track the numbers and communicate and plan alongside the Operations manager of each facility. It was here where I started to appreciate the importance of the CEO/CFO relationship.
Working at U.S. Steel afforded me the opportunity to move to Birmingham, AL in 2008 where I got married and had two children, Dagny and Lou Lou.

Corporate life

The corporate life was starting to bore me and annoy me. The farther up the chain I moved, the less impact I felt I was having. I had advanced to a point of managing over twenty employees but felt like I was spending most of my time consoling them for the pointless work that Corporate was making us do.
At this point in my career I was a prime candidate for recruiting firms who were searching for CFOs and Directors for companies doing anywhere from $10-100 million annually. I eventually landed in what I thought was my dream job. I spent two years there. I learned the good and bad of small family-owned businesses. Most importantly I learned about the perceptions and realities of what a CFO is.
I had landed my dream job and was making more money than ever. Life was great. Or so I thought. Out of nowhere, on a sunny Friday afternoon I was let go from that dream job. No rhyme or reason given. In fact, just a few months earlier at our Christmas dinner, the owner of the company was telling my wife how great of a job I was doing. I was shocked. I was mad. I questioned everything.
I arrived home that evening to a house that was half destroyed. We were doing a major renovation and living in one half of the house.
My wife was pregnant with our second child. The renovation was already $100,000 over budget. We were maxing out credit cards to pay for everything with the safety net of my next bonus and more pay raises. Now that safety net is gone. I was falling into a pit. Fast.
How did this happen? I’ve always excelled in my jobs. I’ve always made more money each year. I have saved and saved since my first paycheck. I’m a good person. I’m a hard worker. I didn’t do anything wrong!
When the money got messy, my marriage got exposed. It wasn’t that my wife cared only about money, it was because the marriage was built on the wrong foundation. It was crumbling fast.
I was going to fix it with money. Just find a new job and pick up where I left off.

Finding a job wasn’t hard.

Recruiters loved to place people like me and I had several job opportunities within weeks.
But there was one that intrigued me more than others. A tiny property management company. I never would have even met this company if not for losing my job. Their salary offer was six figures less than I had made the previous year. But my current salary was $0, so I was happy to have a conversation.

Blown Away

I was blown away by the company’s vision to grow from managing 800 homes to 25,000 homes in the next ten years. They recently implemented EOS (which I would eventually help several companies implement as part of my business), and needed to fill the Finance seat.
It was a hard sell to my wife. I took the job anyway. We would scratch and claw with our money for the next few years as I focused on growing this business, betting on a bigger payday down the road.

Loved The Job

I loved the job. On Day 1, I was working with the bookkeeper who was on her way out. I was cashing rent checks, reconciling bank accounts, answering the door for angry tenants (I hated that part), and riding around sketchy neighborhoods to learn what property management was all about. It was humbling, intimidating, and exciting.
I set up their accounting system from scratch. My experience with much larger organizations made this job easy. I knew exactly what we needed and how to do it. One of the first things we exposed from Accounting was that our Maintenance business was losing tens of thousands of dollars per month. Without the new accounting clarity, we would not have been able to fix that problem so quickly.
I started building financial models on how we were going to get to 25,000 houses. We did several acquisitions and grew to over 2,000 houses and more than doubled our revenue annually. The company owner and I were meeting with family offices and private equity contacts in hopes of raising capital. The problem was that we had a great plan in our heads, but a short track record to that point. We were building something great and doing it the right way. However, the success wasn’t showing on our balance sheet or our P&L. Since I help people understand numbers, I’ll say what this really meant: We were losing money and running out of cash!
But we believed in our plan. It was going to work, unless it didn’t.
I was three years into this new job and although I had received pay raises that were very generous (I was making more salary than anyone in the company including the owner), I was nowhere near the income I had built a lifestyle on.
The money struggles boiled over into my marriage. When the renovation ended, so did my marriage. It felt sudden, but looking back on it, it was a slow burn. I just couldn’t see it.
Meanwhile, the company was in a precarious cash position. Years of salaries invested in growth expenses were catching up to us. We were finding the acquisition market stale. I had trained leaders through an accounting path to lead new markets we had created, but we had no money to hire more. I was back to doing bank recs and working hours at home each evening when the kids went to sleep just to explain someone’s Appfolio owner statement. What the **** am I doing? I’m an overpaid bookkeeper. I wanted equity in this business for all that I built, but that never got prioritized and suddenly I saw myself as a liability to our cash issues.
Divorce leads to job problems. Job problems lead to divorce. Blame blame blame. Lies lies lies.
Enter Sandman.
The divorce process took over a year and a half when you started from our first counseling appointment and went until the papers were signed. It’s rough before that. So you can imagine that I had a long period of depression and anger inside me.
I was working out with two of my work friends everyday. They told me that they wanted to take one day per week and do a Bible study. I had done the church thing my whole life. I was kind of done with it after a life full of catholic guilt tripping over all of my sins. But recently I had been going to church if nothing but to get my kids exposed to some of the good that I did believe was there. So I was open to the “small group” as I would come to call it.
We read a book, the first chapter was about how God disciplines his children because he loves them. To say I was wrecked by this was an understatement. A life that was recently wrecked was about to make a dramatic shift.
I’ve since learned that God is always with me. He always has been and always will be. But it was in that pit of my life where I finally called out to Him and he immediately responded.
Now I believe that all of those trials that I faced was God positioning me to that company and that small group. When you can’t fathom such a path, that’s when you know it is God.
The cash flow issues at work were persistent. I felt uneasy and suddenly out of place. This wasn’t my business. I was bought in but it wasn’t my vision.
The owner and I had open conversations about this. I could stay but the opportunity for equity or big raises was not imminent. I was at a crossroads.
It was summer of 2018 and my same friend who invited me to the small group told me about a 21 day online challenge he was doing with other men. For a small investment I could interact with a group of men and do a series of challenges to discover who I am and set a plan for my future. At this point I had nothing to lose, let’s do it.

Mind Blown.

The challenge was simple in context, crazy in a practical sense. Face the facts of everything in your life. Expose the lies. Bury the past. Build your future. I went all in.
One thing became abundantly clear. I had done some good things in my career and in my life, but I was an underachiever. Some may call this a mid-life crisis. I call it Manning the F Up!
One of the final challenges was a walk in the woods.
It was there that I decided I was leaving my job. Quit. Cold Turkey. Monday.
The owner said I could stay on during the transition. I respectfully declined. I would be available to answer questions. But no longer would I accept a paycheck for something my heart was not into.

My Mindsets have shifted.

I had a business plan ready to execute and I started making big money immediately. Haha. That is a joke. I went for two months with no income. I was bankrupt. I didn’t know what I was doing.
But the most important step was made when I quit my job. I was committed.
Sometimes I forget that the first month of my business venture was not even close to what I’m doing now. I was going to start a property management venture of some sort. I quickly realized I needed to pay the bills, child support notably.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t working. In fact I was working harder than ever, on myself. The clean slate having no one to answer to gave me time to establish who I am and who I want to be. I was building myself as a man and as a business. Fitness, Health, Fatherhood. Everything was broken down to the facts.

Scared of Sales

I had some connections from the Property Management industry and had decided to focus on that niche. I got a call from a friend one day who said he caught his “CFO” stealing. He needed me to fly down immediately and figure out what to do.
They launched The CFO Mission which we would rebrand as Property Manager CFO.
I started by consulting. If you had a problem that was related to money, I would solve it for you. It was fun. I grinded and hustled like any entrepreneur.
I was helping people but also learning along the way.
My clients wanted problems solved but the problems kept coming and they were coming from all directions. They wanted a financial consultant but they didn’t have any data for me to work with. I would work with their bookkeeper who didn’t know a debit from a credit. They needed more than a financial consultant.

EOS

I started having discussions with clients on a broader and more fundamental level. The previous company I was with ran on EOS. It was the single biggest reason for their success – a business framework to simply address every problem and possibility in the company. I knew the system and I loved it. I started consulting on their promo when one of my clients asked if I would help them implement it. Hell yes!
I had not learned the art of saying NO yet, but this was a good yes. That company took off and I have since implemented EOS and System and Soul at several property management companies.
What about the data? That problem needed to be solved and I was equipped to do it. If you’ve read this far, I can let you in on a secret. I hate accounting. It was the only B I got in college. It might have been a B+, but still. What I’m good at is building systems and processes. Even at US Steel, I found ways to take our $100 million per month budget and close the books in three days. I knew the data was valuable and my hate for accounting was my drive to create automated processes to get the work done
So the next step for me was to create an accounting process for Property Management companies. Now I could talk strategy with my clients with trusted data at our fingertips. Even more, we can do it at a cost that is comparable to their current bookkeeper.

What’s The Point?

I finally found my niche or my calling. I was doing what I loved and helping people. From the beginning of my business I felt a calling to give back. I didn’t know exactly what kind of charity or giving I wanted to do but I knew that from the beginning, we would give back.
I met with local charities to discuss my plans. They loved my intention, but looked at me kinda funny. I later realized they were anxious to talk to someone who actually had money. You can’t give what you don’t have.

Out of Order

My new found faith led me to a church where I began to meet so many great people. A conversation with a friend about tithing with a friend led me to reevaluate my giving.
See, my words and even my heart said I was committed, but my actions didn’t agree. It wasn’t that I wasn’t giving. I had given more in 3 months than I had my entire life. It was that one of my gifts was to understand the facts and to set up systems and processes. I had to set up a system for my giving.

Pay someone who does it better than you.

The principle of Order was the same reason why I paused my idea for charitable giving. Instead of me starting my own foundation and meeting with local charities, I found myself in a church that has a system for giving and that will allow me to make an impact in my own unique way by leveraging their resources to do much greater than I could on my own.
When I put things in the right order, my business took off.
This happened in my personal life as well. The divorce wrecked me. But it helped me to establish order in my life….
This is a story of Redemption and Rebirth, but with that comes love.

In comes Amanda and Bristal… and their family of animals!

These two have been there for the last few years witnessing the craziness of my personal transformation. It has been rocky. But when order was finally settled in my life, it was time for a new family

Happily Married

We married in 2021 and have embraced that chaos of a blended family with three lovely girls of which two of them are always being called twins. It’s a beautiful thing.
After years of sacrifice as a single mom, sharing a one bedroom apartment and providing for Bristal, Amanda now can resume her own dreams of riding horses and training young riders.
So what do you do?
Pretty deep backstory, huh?
Well, thanks for reading.

I happen to believe that it’s important.

See, we do accounting and planning to help companies grow and succeed. That’s great. But it’s actually not that exciting to me. I get bored with that. I’m not passionate about it to do it for the rest of my life.
I want to see lives changed. I am qualified to help change lives because I changed mine
I can even do your accounting and coach you how to make more profits and help find your purpose.
If you are ready to face the brutal facts in your life and in your business and then do the work to change them, I’d love to go on that journey with you!