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Name: Tyler Comstock

Title: Chief Financial Officer

Company: Jackson Family Enterprises

Company address: 421 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Phone: 707-544-4000

Website: www.kj.com

Number of company employees: 1,100

Professional background: Finance

Education: Bachelor of Science in Business from The Ohio State University

Age: 49

What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?A financial leader must be a strategic partner to the owners of the company, the CEO, and the other executives.  It’s not enough to add up debits and credits; a leader must provide financial context and advice on all critical decisions.  In the last five years, I’ve initiated quarterly business reviews that help us to more proactively manage the business and enabled us to sustain profitability through the economic downturn.

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

Consolidation at both wineries and distributors level has changed the industry landscape. Being a “mid-size” winery no longer seems to be an attractive business model, and you have to ask yourself whether you want to be a small, niche company or a large scale enterprise.

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

Young leaders sometimes feel like they should be the boss from Day 1.  While they are often very talented with financial matters, it takes years of experience and seasoning to understand how a company works and how to manage and lead people.  Building a team of people who can work together to achieve a common goal is fundamentally the number 1 responsibility of a CFO.

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

An honest look at what is working and what isn’t in a firm’s operations and investments are necessary. The best way to weather tough economic times is to shift resources to the most profitable activities and cut back on the rest. And then hang on tight.

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

The major players in the wine industry five years from now will be different than today, but no one can exactly predict how. Wine companies need to be prepared for an uncertain competitive environment.

What is your most memorable business experience?

At the age of 28, Core-Mark asked me to move from Ohio to California to become Regional Finance Director over a $500M+ group of businesses.  While I knew this would be a significant challenge, I jumped at the chance to take a major risk and develop myself professionally. Looking back, this was the defining moment of my career.

What is your greatest business success?

When I started, the Jackson family owned myriad different related companies and related entities. The resulting complexity cost the company in terms of management expense and limited our ability to go after new opportunities. I helped the company reorganize these businesses into an integrated enterprise that has made us much more efficient and flexible.

What was your toughest business decision?

I was on a general management career track with Core-Mark International when Kendall-Jackson offered me a position as controller. While I was excited by the new opportunity, I also had to consider whether I wanted to move back to a more traditional Finance role. In hindsight, my operational experience has made me a much more effective CFO as I can provide guidance across a wide range of business issues.

Most admired businessperson outside the company: Lew Platt

Current reading: Fed Up by Rick Perry

Most want to meet: Stephen King -- would love to find out how his mind works

Stress relievers: Family vacations to my home in Graeagle

Favorite activities outside work: Golf

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

Over the last two and a half years, I’ve had the pleasure of being a member of the board of the Red Cross Sonoma and Mendocino Chapter, including being vice-chair over the last year.  This experience had allowed me to use my financial and management skills to give back to my local community.  This chapter helps local families on a day-to-day basis, and I’m proud I’ve been able to contribute.