Haselden’s Chief Financial Officer, Troy Schroeder, was recently chosen as one of Denver Business Journals’ Top 10 Financial Executives. That’s a huge honor for both Troy personally and Haselden Construction. So what does it take to be recognized in the upper echelon of financial execs and what makes Mr. Schroeder tick? Read on . . .
If you met Troy in a social setting, you might not immediately peg him as an accountant. He’s very outgoing and freely admits he doesn’t love numbers. Yes, you read that right. So why is he an accountant? He’s very logical, and in college, he saw it as a good career path. He attended the University of Denver where he received both his BS in Accounting and his Masters of Accounting. And there is truly more to accounting than numbers; Troy’s real passion is the analytical, strategic aspect of being a CFO. While textbook accounting is incredibly important, it revolves around looking back at prior data. What inspires Troy is looking forward—i.e., strategizing and planning.
Like many people with a degree in accounting, Troy started with an accounting firm—Arthur Anderson. However he was presented with the opportunity to leave public accounting and serve as a controller for a mid-size drywall contractor. His dad was a journeyman mason, so he had grown up around the trades and developed a great appreciation for the industry. Working for the drywall company introduced him to concepts like productivity tracking and job costing. Those skills readied him for the move to Haselden.
That move was 15 years ago! He started as a controller and five years ago was promoted to CFO.
What It Means to Haselden
What’s it like to have a Top 10 Financial Executive as your CFO? Honestly, it’s pretty cool! For Haselden it means having someone who has been truly instrumental in several key endeavors influencing the overall direction of the company. He helped define and cultivate the Board of Directors and establish the cadence of the company’s strategic planning efforts.
In addition to Finance, he oversees Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) which have both achieved incredible strides under his guidance resulting in increased efficiency and team member satisfaction throughout the company. Essentially building HR from the ground up, Troy first hired a Director of Talent Management. Together they built a solid training program (including Spanish-language availability) and instituted a short-term incentive plan. In IT, Troy promoted an IT Director from within the company (our first female head of IT), bringing a new sense of leadership to the IT department.
What It Means to Individual Team Members
All this translates to good things for the team members! Troy led the charge in developing our competitive short-term incentive plan (STIP), which was distributed under the new plan for the first time this year. This new structure was instituted based on team member feedback to demonstrate transparency, it’s simple and easy to understand, and is tied to definable metrics—it eliminates subjectivity and allows us to see the compensation building up throughout the year, encouraging everyone to maintain productivity and efficiency, as well as tenure with the company. He is also preparing to roll out a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) which will complement the STIP.
Coworkers express a genuine respect and appreciation for Troy, making him a Cool Financial Officer. They describe him as an inspiring leader who has empathy and humility. As team members, they feel supported, trusted, respected, and encouraged. He embraces and nurtures the positive culture at Haselden, and at the same time ensures people have a healthy work/life balance.
What It Means to Troy
To Troy himself, it means being a trusted business advisor to the CEO—validating what he believes is the most important aspect of his job.
Of course the accolades are nice, but one of his proudest moments was being able to bring his two sons—8- and 10-years-old—to the awards luncheon because it was Bring Your Daughters & Sons to Work Day.
What’s the best thing about being Haselden’s CFO? “No two days are ever alike,” stated Schroeder. “It’s not routine by any stretch of the imagination. One day might have a heavy focus on risk management, the next on finances and accounting, the next on forecasting and strategic planning.”
When I asked Troy what advice he would give to young financial professionals, he was quick to respond. “Like where you work! Accounting can be a bit routine, but if you have a work environment that you really enjoy going to and people you like to work with, that can be a game changer. And if you have a place that allows you to grow beyond the numbers? There’s no limit to where you can go with your career.”
One of Troy’s co-workers said this about working with him…
“One of the things I admire most about Troy is his on-going commitment to improving himself as a leader. He continuously strives to develop his leadership skills and it shows. He has grown tremendously in the years that I have worked for him and is able to develop great relationships based on trust, which is why he has been so successful.”