CFO of the Year: Amy McKelvey, Carocon Corp.

Family-focused builder provides opportunities

Amy McKelvey answered a newspaper ad for an entry-level job at Carocon Corp., a decision that led to a 30-year career with the construction company and an ascent to its C-suite.

“The ad in the paper was very vague, and I never got a straight answer about what position I was being interviewed for,” McKelvey remembers of the interview when she was 23. “For whatever reason, it felt like I was supposed to be here.”

Carocon founder and owner John Huson took McKelvey under his wing and taught her the job of managing accounting for the construction and development company. It focuses on frame buildings for apartments and condominiums. She assumed more of Huson’s responsibilities and eventually rose to CFO. “I have grown both personally and professionally while watching the success of a company that has endured both difficult and lucrative times, while still maintaining its family feel,” she says.

What are your recent accomplishments?
This past year, we decided that we would not take on projects that didn’t fit our core criteria, such as if the contract terms were not right for us or if it wasn’t the right job geographically. For a year and a half, we didn’t have a lot of work, and in doing so we depleted our cash reserves. It was challenging managing cash on a day-to-day basis. We were able to keep all of our personnel. When the jobs and clients we wanted to work for came through, we were well-positioned to hit the ground running — 2015 will be our best year ever.

What’s a benefit of working for a small company? Carocon is much like a family-owned business, although none of the shareholders is related. I learned that when my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. I lived with her at the hospital for five months, and they never batted an eyelash. I was paid in full with full benefits. Corporate America would not do that. That’s the culture we have here. There are not many companies that would do for me what they did. That experience led you to raise funds for cancer. Since then I have devoted my time, my energy and my passion to promoting awareness of pediatric cancer and how little funding and attention it receives. In 2012, I trained and participated in my first CureSearch Ultimate Hike, which is a 28.3-mile hike in one day along the Foothills Trail in the Oconee State Park. I have been fortunate enough to raise over $100,000 in the search for a cure.

Any advice for young accountants?
In school, I loved accounting, but it’s not the most exciting and creative job. It’s pretty routine. It’s important to work in an environment where you are able to cultivate your creative side. I’ve been able to do that here by being able to grow.

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