Executive at Santa Rosa’s Nordby Construction wins 2020 North Bay Business Journal CFO award
Robert Collin guided the Norby family through perils of the Great Recession and brought other partners into the construction business.
The North Bay Business Journal is honoring him with a CFO Recognition Award, one of leaders recognized from a variety of businesses and nonprofits throughout Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. Award winners were honored Aug. 28 in a Business Journal Virtual Event.
Number of company employees: 41
Professional background: 21 years at Nordby; 30 years as a CFO
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in political science, University of California Berkeley. MBA, Santa Clara University.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic disruption changed how you carry out your job at your current employer?
Transitioning to not be able to communicate in person has its challenges. It is hard to pick the nuances in conversation and you can’t just go down the hall to ask a question.
What changes have come because of the pandemic in the industry you work in? Identify which changes are temporary and which, if any, are lasting.
Job schedules are being pushed out to make sure job sites are safe for our employees and subcontractors. Most jobs allow for one sub on a site at a time.
Our safety protocols have been enhanced and hopefully this will continue and make industry safer.
Tell us about a recent success your company has had.
Successfully implementing a wide-ranging program to keep our employees and subcontractors safe in these times. Nordby spent a lot of time and effort to try and be the best in this area.
What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?
Work with people you trust and can open, honest discussions about the challenges that you and your company face.
How do you think your business will change in the next five years?
Automation and modular building components will drive down the cost of construction.
What is a decision you wish you hadn't made? What did you learn from it?
I wish had not uprooted my family from my lifelong hometown to follow a job with a company whose owners I knew I shouldn’t trust. I lasted there six months after the move. In the end it worked out great because that we brought us to Sonoma County and we really love it here.
What is your most memorable business experience?
Helping the Nordby family through a generational change is ownership and then assisting in bringing other partners to the Nordby companies.
What is your greatest business success?
Helping Nordby survive the Great Recession and then thrive after 2010.
What was your toughest business decision?
Advising an owner I worked for he needed to file for bankruptcy. He fired me and still wound up filing six months later.
What would your friends and family be surprised to find out about you?
I only work out because my wife is an award winning baker.
Personally, what is the biggest lesson you have taken from the events of the last few months?
Life can be messy. After we finished rebuilding our house in February I thought everything was finally OK. Spent a lot of time there over the last few months.
Tell us about your community involvement activities: My wife and I support Compassion Without Borders. I was previously on the board of Paws As Loving Support (PALS).
Most admired businessperson outside the company: Ben & Jerry
Current reading: “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind”
Most want to meet: Barack & Michele Obama
Stress relievers: Running, swimming and cycling