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Daniel Ethan Hopley

Chief financial officer

Redwood Oil Company, Inc.

50 Professional Center Dr., Ste. 100, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

707-584-7000

www.redwoodoil.com

Employees: 290

Age: 49

Education: Bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting

Get to know Redwood Oil Company’s Daniel Ethan Hopley, winner of a North Bay Business Journal CFO award.

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF A FINANCIAL LEADER IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT?

I believe it’s essential to have the utmost integrity and lead by example; in any environment, in any role. I am doing my best when empowering others to do their best. This approach allows me to have a solid team working under me, which achieves better results from the bottom to the top.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES YOU’VE SEEN IN YOUR INDUSTRY?

The focus change in brand/customer loyalty. With more and more emphasis on differentiation to target niche customer bases.

TELL US ABOUT THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAS MET IN THE RECENT PAST.

It has been both challenging and opportunistic to constantly evaluate operations and systems. No doubt it’s time consuming to review and analyze something that is not broken, but more beneficial over the long-term. Staying current has allowed us to adopt new technology and streamline operations.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG EMERGING FINANCIAL LEADERS?

Whether you are at a desk, out in the field, weekday, or weekend, work will consume you. It’s paramount to enjoy what you do. My office is my home away from home. I believe you can’t be effective if you are unhappy with your employment or work environment. Make “enjoying your job” be a priority. Further, evaluate criticism; learning what you did wrong is one of the best tools for development and growth.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE FOR WEATHERING TODAY’S ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT?

Keep Calm and Relax. Have you heard this one before? First, study the history of economic change, and second, know your limitations. There is no gain to carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders when you are only capable of lifting your finance department.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR BUSINESS WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

More cloud computing, more “Internet of things,” and more data-mining. This will lead to more informed decision making and better margins.

WHAT IS A DECISION YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?

I was real excited to implement a third party vendor solution to electronically gather, consolidate and push particular transaction data into our subsidiary ledger. This vendor was a trusted partner of our accounting software vendor so I felt confident on my decision.

As it turned out, all the i’s had not been dotted and after much troubleshooting, our system did not have the capabilities to handle the import. Lesson learned: even with a known commodity, implement change first in a test environment before applying them into your production environment.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE BUSINESS EXPERIENCE?

Early in my career, I accepted a position that was ill defined. I found myself accountable for tasks that I did not have the knowledge to complete. I’m reminded of how that situation was a struggle and how important it is to clarify desired objectives.

Daniel Ethan Hopley

Chief financial officer

Redwood Oil Company, Inc.

50 Professional Center Dr., Ste. 100, Rohnert Park, CA 94928

707-584-7000

www.redwoodoil.com

Employees: 290

Age: 49

Education: Bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST BUSINESS SUCCESS?

I believe success is achieved step by step each one builds on the other. My years of service and my acquired knowledge, has and will continue to build my success.

WHAT WAS YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS DECISION?

I’ve been a “numbers guy” my whole life, but realize everything seems to come back to the human level. My most difficult challenge has been to terminate an employee that had “job” skills but was personally disrupting to the department. I firmly believe that a team is more effective than an individual.

WHAT WOULD YOUR FRIENDS BE SURPRISED TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOU?

I’m not a private guy, but I shy far away from social-sharing sites. I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve done but have no compulsion to broadcast any of this.

QUICK TAKES

Most admired businessperson outside the company: The likes of Warren Buffett and Elon Musk. I admire folks that contribute and are teachers to our society, have strong and honest character, and can constructively handle praise and criticism.

Current reading: “How Jesus Became God” by Bart D. Ehrman. Not for the religious aspect, but for the psychology. I’m very interested in human behavior: Why we need, why we want, what motivates and drives us. What are the aspects of leaders, of followers, of doers and of givers.

Most want to meet: I never got the chance but I would have loved to meet Robin Williams. I would love to take a long road trip, maybe a train ride across the country and just dialog with him about inspirations, challenges, dreams, etc.

Stress relievers: Cycling has a way of changing my mood. It opens my mind and my lungs. I don’t escape from my stress; it just allows me to process my thoughts on a different level.

Favorite activities outside work: Spending as much time as I can with my daughter, cycling, and getting outdoors: walking, hiking, yardwork, etc.