December 10, 2020
I want to use this opportunity in our Pathway to celebrate the work of Don Frink at HBI. Don became the Director of Finance and Property at HBI back in May of 2010. He now has left to move his family back east for family reasons. We are grateful to him!
It is hard to sum up all of Don’s wonderful accomplishments, but let me try. The most important job of a Finance Director is to report the financial results of the organization accurately. Don met that test spectacularly well! Both the Board of the Directors and this CEO never doubted the numbers he gave us, regardless of whether we liked them or not.
We made major decisions based on Don’s numbers, decisions that involved deciding how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. We were never led astray.
Not only getting the numbers correct, but reporting them to the Board of Directors, the CEO and management staff is also vitally important. Not everyone from these groups are financial experts; many have skills and talents in other areas. So reporting and explaining these numbers in a way so that non-financial folks can both understand them and help make decisions based on them is key.
When he first came, Don dramatically improved our financial reporting in ways that were both comprehensive and easily understandable. His presentations got better as the years went by. I actually enjoyed reading them!
Strategic financial management was another key area that Don excelled in. In an industry that faces numerous financial challenges, or challenges that impact finances, strategic thinking is a necessity. Some finance folks focus on the inessential – watch the spending on those note pads!! Don understood that the vast majority of our costs are related to our employees, and that is where we had to do our best work. Especially when the workforce crisis really intensified a couple of years after he came on board.
Don was creative, patient, kind, and fun to work with. He understood HBI’s mission, and what we were trying to accomplish, and cared about individuals with severe disabilities. We will miss him.
The good news though is that we did find an excellent replacement. Paul Gustafson, formally of the professional firm Clifton Larson Allen has begun work here. Paul has a masters degree in finance, and is a licensed CPA. He knows HBI’s finances and our industry well, having either conducted our field auditing work every year or supervising it for CLA. We look forward to working with Paul for many years to come.