2014 CFO Awards: David Brown, Adobe Associates, Inc.

CEO and chief financial officer1220 N. Dutton Avenue, Santa Rosa 95401; 707-541-2300; adobeinc.com

Employees: 30

Education and credentials: B.S., civil and environmental engineering, University of Wisconsin; professional civil engineer, LEED AP, QSD/QSP

Age: 57

What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?: To keep the firm cash-strong and always looking ahead for trends to expand or retract.

What are the biggest changes you've seen in your industry?: As with most businesses over this latest recession, we have learned how to get more done with less.

Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?: We were able to minimize downsizing during our most recent recession because of our diversification and addition of services offered. We still were able to remain financially strong.

What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?: Make sure you are financially strong and ready to invest when opportunities arise.

What's the best advice for weathering today's economic environment?: Watch the numbers. Keep up on regulations to best serve our clients.

How do you think your business will change in the next five years?: I think continually growing regulations will require us to stay informed and educated on these regulations to meet the demands of the regulations and our client’s needs.

What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?: Hired the wrong person. You never spend too much time finding the right person.

What is your most memorable business experience?: While in a master’s program for architects and engineers, I began to really get to know how our business industry works.

What is your greatest business success?: Weathering the economic storm and coming out stronger.

What was your toughest business decision?: Having to lay people off.

What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?: That I am receiving this honor. Most think of me as an engineer.

Most admired businessperson outside the company: Richard Branson

Current reading: Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Most want to meet: Deepak Chopra

Stress-relievers: Good bike ride

Favorite activities outside work: Travel, fishing, bike riding, watching my kids have success

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