2014 CFO Awards: Patrick DeLong, Crimson Wine Group, Ltd.

Chief financial and operating officer2700 Napa Valley Corporate Dr., Ste. B, Napa 94558; 800-486-0503; crimsonwinegroup.com

Employees: About 150 full time

Professional background: Chief financial officer and chief operating officer, Crimson Wine Group, Ltd.; senior vice president and CFO, Icon Estates/Constellation Brands; senior vice president for planning and finance, Robert Mondavi Corporation; manager for port operations, Holland America Line; supervisor, Deloitte & Touche, San Francisco.

[caption id="attachment_96396" align="alignright" width="320"] Patrick DeLong[/caption]

I served on the board of directors for the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Alumni Association and in 2011 was named 2011 Alumni of the Year for the Orfalea College of Business. Additionally, I currently serve as an advisory board member for multiple wine companies and have been a frequent speaker on various wine industry business panels, including events organized by the Wine Industry Symposium Group.

Education: B.S., business, finance and accounting, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; master's degree in applied economics, Seattle University; graduate studies in strategic planning, University of Michigan

Age: 49

What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?: True finance leaders are the stewards of the owner's or shareholders' capital and understand how to assess opportunities and risk then optimize capital allocation. The ability of financial leaders to act more like investors and less like administrators while balancing the need to "mind the till" is key.

Grounding you in the baseline are understanding true economics, what your organization does well and how to measure what success looks like -- how to use the right data -- as well as taking a view towards the long term. The ability to make strategic decisions to keep the direction of the company on track over time with changes in the business environment ensures the organization stays in balance.

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