David Trogdon

CFO, La Tortilla Factory, Inc., 3300 Westwind, Blvd, Santa Rosa; 707-586-4000; www.latortillafactory.com

Company employees: 350

Professional background: Business Manager, Controller

Education: MBA – Finance

Age: 51

What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?: To successfully navigate external & internal forces while still meeting our strategic growth initiatives within the financial framework of the organization.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry?: Increased competition from regional manufacturers and from private label offerings, shifting retailer requirements for distribution and merchandising.

Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?: People can’t buy our products unless they are on the shelf so we are changing how we are getting our products to our customers. We are expanding our own DSD system and relying more on regional DSD distributors across the country to order and merchandise our products.

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?: Three things; Understand the impact of what you do and how that helps drive the company towards its strategic goals, learn to hire, develop and motivate a strong team, and continue to challenge yourself to learn. Never stop learning!

[caption id="attachment_78053" align="alignleft" width="200"] David Trogdon[/caption]

What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment?: Control the costs that you can control.

How do you think your business will change in the next five years?: A demand for more technology and automation to drive efficiency and profits.

 What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?: Staying with an organization until I became stagnant. Always challenge yourself to grow professionally.

What is your most memorable business experience? After a successful year, getting the management team together and celebrating by handing out bonus checks. That is the best experience for me!

What is your greatest business success?: Building an awesome team.

 What was your toughest business decision?: Any decisions that negatively impact people are always the toughest.

What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?: My daughter and I love to watch the show “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet. We sit down and have a good old time laughing. She and I plan our evening around that show.

Most admired businessperson outside the company: Tom Hopmann -- a great CFO and a great mentor to me

Current reading: Reinventing the CFO by Jeremy Hope

Most wanted to meet: Ronald Reagan. What a life he had.

Stress relievers: Books, the gym

Favorite activities outside work: Anything with my wife and kids