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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, August 13, 2012, 6:30 am

CFO Recognition Awards 2012: Ron Kampel, Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Leadership — Wine

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    Chief financial officer

    Ron Kampel


    Jordan Vineyard & Winery

    1474 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg 95448, 707-431-5270, www.jordanwinery.com

    Employees: 75

    Professional background: CFO/Business Manager/Controller at Jordan Winery since 1996. Previously employed as Controller for J Vineyards & Winery, and Staff Accountant for Jordan Oil & Gas Company.

    Education: Bachelor in Business Management from Sonoma State University

    Age: 58

    Comment about Ron Kampel: “What makes Ron stand out is work ethic and attention to detail. He isn’t afraid of offending anyone, including his boss if he feels something is right for the company. Ron also isn’t afraid to take the initiative to seek out new efficiencies and savings, and does so on his own.” –John Jordan, chief executive officer, Jordan Vineyard & Winery

    Questions for Mr. Kampel:

    What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?

    Question and validate financial soundness of management’s underlying assumptions for business decisions.

    What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?

    The industry, as a whole, has made a concerted effort to become more accessible. Lots of whimsical new labels targeting a new (younger) audience. Also, distributor consolidation, increased competition from new brands, growth in direct to consumer opportunities, importance of social media in maintaining and growing brand awareness.

    Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?

    We’ve undergone a generational transition at the ownership level, and we’ve emerged a more focused, vibrant and healthy organization. We have continued to thrive through these very challenging economic times. The future looks great.

    What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

    Same advice I’d presume to give any younger person – set a good example through solid work habits and establish yourself as a person of integrity. Cultivate a network of talented professional consultants to whom you can look for advice and guidance.

    What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?

    Identify your organization’s essential goals and strengths, then utilize this knowledge for optimal use of the company’s resources.

    How do you think your business will change in the next five years?

    I suspect innovative and creative viticultural practices will be required to contend with changing weather patterns. Wholesalers will look more and more to the wineries for increased support and promotion through pull marketing initiatives.

    What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?

    I’ve made a number of mistakes, and the lesson I’ve learned is that, in nearly every case, damage can be minimized with a quick acknowledgment of the error and an appropriate corrective action.

    What is your most memorable business experience?

    I generally keep my head down and stay close to my office to avoid “memorable” business experiences …

    What is your greatest business success?

    Longevity and its rewards.

    What was your toughest business decision?

    The ongoing escalation of health care costs and group insurance premiums over the past decade has provided an annual opportunity for tough decisions with regard to benefit design and employee contribution levels. This is a serious issue with which the business community, and society at large, will continue to grapple.

    What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?

    My friends, at least those with whom I’ve never been on a camping trip, might be surprised to know that I can rattle the rafters with my snoring.

    Most admired businessperson outside the company: Wally Wertsch is a partner with Deloitte Tax LLP. An invaluable source for informed and intelligent opinions and a good friend to boot.

    Current reading: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

    Most want to meet: Woody Allen

    Stress relievers: A glass of wine and a good novel.

    Favorite activities outside work: Dinner and a movie or a concert with my wife, Mari. It’s always a joy to get together with my sons.

    Is there anything we may have missed that you would like to add?

    Someone recently remarked that I have a “Masters” from the university of Jordan. In truth, it is an increasingly rare occurrence that one spends virtually an entire career within the confines of a single company. For me, it has been one family’s businesses, and I am fairly certain I would not be receiving this recognition had the Jordan family not been willing to entrust me with the responsibilities they have. I hope this award, to some degree, affirms their decisions to do so.

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