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