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D CEO and industry leaders honor outstanding financial professionals at 2023 Financial Executive Awards



D CEO, in collaboration with the Association for Corporate Growth, TXCPA Dallas, and Financial Executives International, hosted the illustrious 2023 Financial Executive Awards, an event dedicated to recognizing CFOs and financial professionals who have demonstrated exceptional performance in their respective industries, according to Dallas Metro News.

Held at the upscale On the Levee venue in Dallas Design District on Tuesday night, the ceremony celebrated financial leaders who have shown unwavering resilience, navigated through uncertainty, and seized opportunities while forecasting for the future.

The honorees, who were recently revealed during the private event, have been acknowledged in the May issue of D CEO. The exceptional winners and finalists have exhibited tremendous determination and excellence in their finance careers. The event was graced by top executives, industry leaders, and notable guests, and photographs of the occasion will be published in the coming weeks.

Among the exceptional winners was Michael Castaldo of Texas Security Bank, who received the Emerging Leader in Finance award. Castaldo’s exceptional performance in surpassing his loan and deposit goal by 210% last year, combined with his recent promotion to vice president and associate managing director, leading a team of three other bankers, made him a deserving recipient. In his acceptance speech, Castaldo emphasized the significance of resiliency, cultural fit, planning, and relationships in his career.

Another exceptional winner was David Price of The University of Texas at Arlington, who received the Outstanding Internal Auditor award. During his career, he led his audit team in identifying more than $25 million in vendor overcharges and fraud. His team’s hands-on approach to assisting UTA to receive about $6.2 million from the National Research University Fund produced a positive outcome, thereby earning him the award.

Tom Zelewski of RumbleOn was awarded the Achievement in M&A Finance award. Zelewski’s outstanding contribution in mergers and acquisitions has significantly impacted the North Texas community. His tenure as vice president of finance for AMR Global Services helped Arlington pet product manufacturer Petmate reach $200 million in revenue, and his leadership guided North Texas-based Freedom Powersports to $225 million in revenue before driving it through an acquisition by Irving-based RumbleOn.

The Innovative Finance Team award went to Priority Power, led by Joe Loner. The finance team’s efforts in closing four significant deals, including the acquisition of Texas-based AB Power Advisors and the acquisition of the energy procurement and solar development business of Affordable Gas & Electric Company, were remarkable. Priority Power closed 2022 by refinancing its existing debt and increasing its credit facility from $85 million to $250 million, and the team’s determination and focus made the win a deserving one.

Karyn Brown of Austin Industries clinched the Outstanding Chief Accounting Officer, Controller, or Treasurer – Private Company award. Brown’s leadership in securing a five-year, $200 million line of credit that improved her company’s rates, fees, and covenants from a previous five-year deal earned her the award. One of her key leadership strategies is to encourage new things and new processes.

Donna Burgess of AECOM received the Outstanding Chief Accounting Officer, Controller, or Treasurer – Public Company award. Burgess’s remarkable achievement was implementing a global transfer pricing strategy that aligns her company’s tax reporting with its “think and act globally” strategy. The implementation process involved educating senior executives, operational executives, finance teams, IT teams, and legal teams from around the world, an effort that earned her the award.

John Stone of JacksonShaw won the Outstanding CFO of a Small Private Company award. Stone’s execution of $280 million in real estate transactions and transformation of his company’s accounting and finance teams was remarkable. The changes he spearheaded increased commitment, retention, teamwork, efficiency, and operational effectiveness.

Moe Haidar of Dialexa won the Outstanding CFO—Midsize Private Company award. Haidar led his company through rapid growth without any external capital and continued at the helm of the finance team he has built out as CFO. More recently, he helped guide the company through an acquisition by IBM Consulting.

Marsha Beasley of Parkland Health Foundation won the Outstanding CFO: Nonprofit Organization award. Beasley has focused on reimagining her organization’s entire business model to align with other social service organizations and holistically serve patents. One way she has helped make that happen is by developing a tool for projecting revenue for her organization, which has made the organization more nimble and stable in uncertain times.

Manmeet Soni of Reata Pharmaceuticals won the Outstanding CFO: Small Public Company award. His team worked with federal regulators to bring new products to market that can make a life-changing impact. Soni is proud of how his team has worked together to achieve their goals.