Finance and Investing is pleased to announce The Top 25 CFOs of Virginia for 2023. The Old Dominion state has come a long way since its beginnings as one of the first English colonies in North America. Historically rich with landmarks and monuments, and worth a visit for some of its attractions alone, including Mount Vernon, the late George Washington’s home, but the state’s economy has extended beyond the agriculture industry and tobacco is driven by modern businesses too, in the sectors of federal government, military, and high-tech, and education. As of 2022, 21 of the Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Virginia, including General Dynamics and Capital One and Markel.
Among this year’s awardees include Capital One’s CFO Terry Berkley, which was named the fourth largest issuer of the United States’ credit cards in 2022, according to The Nilson Report; German software giant SAP’s CFO, Sonja Simon, who has helped lead the company through business transformations since 2008; and James Taylor, CFO of Hamilton Beach Brands, who has played an integral role in driving the appliance company’s growth and success for four decades.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 CFOs of Virginia for 2023.
1. Sonja Simon
Sonja Simon is the CFO of SAP. She first joined the company in 2008 as its Head of Group Accounting and Reporting. SAP is a German multinational software company based in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg. It develops enterprise software for business operation management and customer relation management. SAP is the world's leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) software vendor. The company is the largest non-American software company by revenue, the world's third-largest publicly traded software company by revenue, and the second-largest German company by market capitalization. Apart from ERP software the company also sells database software and technology (particularly its own brands), cloud-engineered systems, and other ERP software products, such as human capital management (HCM), customer relationship management (CRM) (also known as customer experience), enterprise performance management (EPM), product lifecycle management (PLM), supplier relationship management (SRM), supply chain management (SCM), business technology platform (BTP), and programming environment SAP AppGyver for business.
Previously, Simon was a manager at EY. She earned an MBA from Mannheim Business School and an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Maryland Global Campus.
2. Gina Covington
Gina Covington is the CFO of Kyndryl Holdings, an American multinational information technology (IT) infrastructure services provider that designs, builds, manages and develops large-scale information systems. It was created from the spin-off of IBM's infrastructure services business. It is currently the world’s largest IT infrastructure services provider. Covington, who began her career in 2011, has 12 years of experience. Covington graduated from Virginia Tech with an undergraduate degree in management and finance.
3. John Desantis
CFO, Bon Secours
John Desantis began his professional career 22 years ago. Today, he is the CFO of Bon Secours. Based in Marriottsville, Maryland, Bon Secours is a $3.2 billion dollar not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns, manages, or joint ventures 18 acute care, five long term care, four assisted living, six retirement communities/senior housing, 14 home care and hospice services, and other facilities, primarily on the East Coast. Bon Secours Health System consists of more than 24,000 caregivers helping people in seven states. Its vision is to be a prophetic Catholic health ministry that partners with communities to create a more humane world, build health and social justice, and provide exceptional value for those served.
Desantis first got his start in 2001 as a CFO at Health Management Associate. From there, he went on to Community Health System, before eventually rising to CFO at Steward Health Care, his most recent position prior to joining Bon Secours. Desantis graduated from Louisiana Tech University with an MBA and from the State University of New York with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
4. Terry Berkley
CFO, Capital One
Terry Berkley is the CFO of Capital One, which he first joined in 1997. Capital One Financial Corporation is an American bank holding company specializing in credit cards, auto loans, banking, and savings accounts, headquartered in McLean, Virginia with operations primarily in the United States. It is on the list of largest banks in the United States and has developed a reputation for being a technology-focused bank. The bank has 755 branches including 30 café style locations and 2,000 ATMs. It is ranked 99th on the Fortune 500, 9th on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list, and conducts business in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company helped pioneer the mass marketing of credit cards in the 1990s. In 2016, it was the fifth largest credit card issuer by purchase volume, after American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup.
5. Alex Martin
CFO, Insurance, Markel
Alex Martin is the CFO of the Insurance branch of Markel Corporation, a holding company for insurance, reinsurance, and investment operations around the world. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and founded in 1930, Markel reports its ongoing underwriting operations in three segments, and its products originate from three insurance divisions and one reinsurance division. Through Markel Ventures, they allocate capital to invest in opportunities outside of insurance. Martin has 23 years of experience. He began his career in 2000.
Before joining Markel, Martin was a partner at Classified Moto, a custom motorcycle shop in Richmond, and before that an associate at Stephens, a family-owned financial service firm. Martin graduated from Wake Forest University with an undergraduate degree in analytical finance.
6. Rodney Bradley
CFO, Framatome Fuel (Framatome)
Rodney Bradley began his professional career 16 years ago. Today, he is the CFO of Framatome, a major international player in the nuclear energy market recognized for its innovative solutions and value-added technologies for designing, building, maintaining, and advancing the global nuclear fleet. The company designs, manufactures, and installs components and fuel for nuclear power plants and offers a full range of reactor services. With 14,000 employees worldwide, every day Framatome's expertise helps its customers improve the safety and performance of their nuclear plants and achieve their economic and societal goals.
Bradley first got his start in 2007 as a Global Finance Manager of GAS Turbine Repairs at General Electric. He graduated from Virginia Tech with an MBA in management science.
7. Gene Dongweck
Gene Dongweck was the CFO of Enfission. He first joined the company in 2019. A nuclear fuel technology company, Enfission was a joint venture of Lightbridge and Framatome, which dissolved in March of 2021. Before he became CEO, Dongweck held positions at Framatome, first as a Manager in its Government Contract Compliance department, and then as in Financial Planning and Analysis for Nuclear Fuel.
Previously, Dongweck was an audit manager at Deloitte. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Robert Morris University, and earned his Virginia State CPA in May of 1988.
8. Richard Stewart
CFO, SGT LLC Framatome
Richard Stewart is the CFO SGT, LLC of Framatome, the French nuclear reactor company. The company was first formed in 1958 to license Westinghouse's pressurized water reactor (PWR) designs for use in France. Similar agreements had been put in place with other European countries, and this led to a 1962 contract for a complete plant at Chooz. Westinghouse sold its stake to engineering firm Creusot-Loire in 1976, and the company became solely French- owned. In 2001, Siemens sold its reactor business to Framatome. As part of a larger series of mergers with Cogema and Technicatome, Framatome became the Areva NP division of the new Areva. It changed its name back to Framatome in 2018 after a major investment by utility operator EDF.
Stewart has 12 years of experience. He began his career in 2011. He graduated from Michigan State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance.
9. Kevin Davenport
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, Virginia State University
Kevin Davenport is an expert in higher education finance with over 30 years of experience. He is a CPA and holds a BS in Accounting from Hampton University, as well as an MBA from the College of William and Mary, and a Ed.S degree from George Washington University. He is currently the SVP for Finance and Administration at Virginia State University. Davenport is former Treasurer at Virginia Commonwealth University, Vice President for Finance at Virginia Union University and a former external auditor for Ernst & Young.
Davenport has a lifetime commitment to higher education, especially to serving underrepresented and disadvantaged students. He attended an HBCU and has more than 20 years of financial leadership experience at HBCUs. Davenport’s wife, son, mother, mother-in-law and more than 20 aunts, uncles, and cousins all attended and graduated from HBCUs.
Davenport is from Columbia, Maryland. He is married with two sons and is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, especially in Martha’s Vineyard.
10. Paige Turnes
CFO and Principal, Apex
Paige Turnes, Apex’s CFO and Principal, graduated from Longwood College (now known as Longwood University) with a BSBA, concentrations in both Accounting and Finance, and is a CPA. She started with Apex Systems as an Assistant Controller and has been an instrumental force in the company for the past 19 years, supporting its revenue growth from $38 million to more than $2 billion to date. As Apex’s CFO and Principal, Turnes works with field leaders to drive current business and find creative solutions to client needs. In the past years, she has aided in synergizing the Apex brand by spearheading the integration of Apex Life Sciences teams and entities into the Apex Systems business.
11. Brad Miller
CFO, Riverside Medical Group
Brad Miller is the CFO of Riverside Medical Group. He first joined the company in 2009. Riverside Medical Center is a 300-bed teaching hospital located in Kankakee, Illinois. The hospital operates a Level 2 trauma center and a primary stroke center.The hospital provides inpatient acute care and outpatient services. Founded in 1964, the hospital is a part of Riverside Healthcare, operating a number of residency training and fellowship programs for newly-graduated physicians. The residencies train physicians specializing in psychiatry and internal medicine, and the fellowships train physicians specializing in cardiology, interventional cardiology, and gastroenterology.
Previously, Miller was a CFO at Ferguson Enterprises, and before that a manager at KPMG. He earned an MBA from William and Mary University and an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Virginia.
12. Sarah Strassheim
Sarah Strassheim is the global CFO at Merkle. She provides senior finance leadership to the global executive team and is responsible for commercial finance initiatives in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC and driving enterprise level systems and acquisition integration.
Prior to joining Merkle, Strassheim led the finance organization at the US trading office of a commodity company based in Thailand. She started her career at Accenture where she spent over a decade in a variety of global financial and reporting systems roles.
Strassheim joined Merkle in July of 2014 to support Merkle’s Digital Agency Group. Her scope of responsibility has since expanded to include all the business units in North America, including numerous properties that were acquired and completed during that period. Strassheim consistently drives financial performance by balancing an understanding of the business with her strong finance background. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science at the University of Mary Washington.
13. Robin Ransom
CFO & COO, Dominion Payroll
Robin Ransom serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Dominion Payroll. She oversees the business’s financial management and future growth. Robin previously served as CFO at Commonwealth Commercial Partners as well as Senior Strategic Analyst for MeadWestvaco. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting from West Virginia University Institute of Technology and her MBA from The College of William and Mary.
14. Don Halliwill
CFO, Carilion Clinic
As the CFO at Carilion Clinic, Don Halliwill oversees all financial activities of the organization, as well as strategy development and implementation across clinical and business lines.
Halliwill joined Carilion in 1997 after several years in healthcare finance. He gradually assumed increasing management responsibilities, including CEO of Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and CFO of Carilion’s hospital division, before being named to his current role in 2013. As Carilion’s CFO, Halliwill helped lead its reorganization from a hospital system to a patient-centered, physician-led clinic while successfully navigating the impacts of payment reform.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech and holds an MBA from Wake Forest’s Babcock School of Business.
15. David Besedich
David Besedich is the CFO of Parallon. He first joined the company in 2012 as an ethics and compliance officer. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Parallon provides full-service revenue cycle management and, ultimately, total patient account resolution for HCA Healthcare. These services include scheduling, registration, insurance verification, hospital billing, revenue integrity, insurance collections, payment compliance, credentialing, health information management, customer service, payroll, and physician billing. Parallon also provides full-service revenue cycle management functions for external providers across the country, and offers point solutions for specific revenue cycle needs, including Medicaid eligibility and patient advocacy, patient collections and complex account resolution, as well as many other extended business office functions.
Previously, Besedich was a manager at HCA. He earned an MBA from Eastern Michigan University and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan.
16. Jay Bhatt
CFO, National Safety Apparel
Jay Bhatt is the CFO of National Safety Apparel, a family business whose mission is to protect clients' families working in the toughest industries, helping them get the job done safely, and getting home, day after day. They've contributed to the fabric of America since their modest beginnings in the midst of the Great Depression. In 1935, Walter “Wally” Grossman began developing and manufacturing heat and thermal protective apparel for foundry workers, steel pipe manufacturers and welders in his father’s basement in Cleveland, Ohio. Bhatt, who began his career in 1980, has 43 years of experience.
Bhatt has extensive experience in all sectors, manufacturing, service, defense contracting, establishing overseas operations and subsidiaries in India, Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, and Europe. He is experienced in transforming loss-making entities into profitable concerns in the technology, retail, and hospitality sectors. He has strengthened operations by implementing insightful financial strategies, reducing costs, and integrating vital technology. His expertise lies within negotiating deals, executing M&As, and forging strong stakeholder relationships.
Before joining National Safety Apparel, Bhatt was a President and CEO at MYMIC and before that an SVP and CFO at Evergreen Enterprise. Earlier in his career he worked with KPMG as a Manager. Bhatt graduated from De Montfort University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
17. Jacob Milenbaugh
CFO, VSP Technologies
Jacob Milenbaugh is the Chief Financial Officer at VSP Technologies. He joined VSP Technologies in May of 2022 with a focus to strategically align and prepare the company for scale. During his tenure, he has played a key role in refining and implementing new forecasting and planning processes, redesigning the commercial route-to-market model, and streamlining operational processes. At VSP Technologies, Jacob oversees the company’s Accounting, Finance, and IT departments.
Prior to joining VSP Technologies, Jacob was the Vice President of Global Commercial Operations at Grass Valley, Inc serving as the functional leader for the commercial finance, CRM analytics, & support services departments. He was responsible for building the company’s route-to-market strategy, forecasting end demand incorporating CRM analytics, managing the global deal desk, and restructuring support services team. Prior to Grass Valley, Jacob held various leadership roles internationally and domestically in accounting and finance at Elanco, Inc and Belden, Inc.
In 2013, Jacob graduated with honors and with distinction from Indiana University - Kelley School of Business with majors in finance and operations management.
18. Clyde Cornett
CFO, Virginia Community Capital
Clyde Cornett has served as CFO of Virginia Community Capital, Inc. (VCC) and its affiliates since 2008. He also served as VCC’s COO in addition to his role as CFO from 2008 to 2015. During his tenure at VCC, he has helped grow the organization from $15 million in total assets to over $335 million in total assets.
Prior to joining VCC, Clyde served community banks throughout Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina as a CPA and consultant for a large regional public accounting firm. His work with community banks, ranging in assets size from under $100 million to over $1 billion, included relationship management and supervision of audits of financial statements, SEC reporting, credit review services, internal audit assistance, compliance consulting and operational consulting services. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and is a licensed CPA.
Clyde’s childhood was spent in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains and helped spark a deep love for the outdoors and the people of Appalachia. He enjoys time with friends and family, hiking/biking, and travel.
Clyde also serves as a founding Director of Appalachian Community Capital, an intermediary CDFI focused on addressing the capital and financing needs of member CDFIs and small businesses throughout the 13-state Appalachian Region.
19. Grant Waldron
CFO, Marcari Russotto Spencer & Balaban
As Chief Financial Officer for Marcari Russotto Spencer & Balaban, Grant oversees all finance and accounting, bookkeeping, planning and budgeting operations across all departments and initiatives. He works closely with all 4 of the partners to ensure that current and future projects are properly recorded and tracked to ensure maximum return on investment.
Grant joined the firm in August of 2022. Prior to that, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned as a Supply Corps Officer in 2011. During his eleven year career in the Navy, he served multiple high visibility and challenging tours. He started off as Assistant Supply Officer, Sales Officer and Disbursing Officer onboard USS OSCAR AUSTIN (DDG 79) from December of 2011 to 2014. From 2014 to 2016, he was selected as an Operational Logistics - Transportation Intern/Analyst at Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support. He finished his time in service as Comptroller for the Navy Public Affairs Support Element Headquarters.
20. Jennifer Huddleston
Chief Financial Consultant, Stratascale
Jennifer Huddleston is the Chief Financial Consultant for Stratascale’s Transformative Services practice. She joined the company in 2022 to work with Fortune 1000 c-suite executives to define and execute business and technology strategy, optimize operations and connect financial metrics to drive business success. She has more than 15 years of experience enhancing operational performance and guiding key business decisions across a variety of cross-functional teams. As a trusted business leader, Huddleston has been recognized for her ability to develop, champion and coach other leaders for organizational growth and success.
She served as a Fractional CFO for Grocery Shopii, a woman-owned digital meal planning platform, where her finance, strategy and operational experience helped to accelerate the business. Previously, she also held several senior roles during her decade tenure at CarMax, most recently a Leader of Strategic Initiatives where she was instrumental in guiding complex digital transformation initiatives related to customer shopping experience, order fulfillment and payment processing.
Earlier in her career, she worked in Ernst and Young’s Audit Services practice. Huddleston is a Certified Public Accountant and graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in accounting.
21. Bob Meister
CFO, Chesterfield County Public Schools
Bob Meister is the CFOof Chesterfield County Public Schools, an award-winning school system located in central Virginia. The reputation of the county’s public schools often inspires families to make their home in Chesterfield County. As of 2020, there are about 63,000 students enrolled in 64 schools. There are 39 elementary schools (grades K-5), 12 middle schools (grades 6-8), and 11 high schools (grades 9-12). Additionally, high school students can enroll in 13 specialty centers, two technical centers, and two Governor's Schools. Meister has 29 years of experience. He began his career in 1994.
Before joining Chesterfield County Public Schools, Meister was a VP of card finance at Capital One and before that a Senior Market Analyst at The Martec Group. Meister graduated from the University of Michigan with an MBA and from the University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in finance.
22. Michael Bolton
CFO, Mount Regis Center, Acadia Healthcare
Michael Bolton is an experienced finance and accounting professional with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and healthcare industries. Skilled in budgeting, forecasting, customer service, healthcare consulting, accounting, financial reporting and analytics, cash management, senior leadership and business process improvement. Bolton is a strong finance professional with a Master of Health Administration (MHA) focused in Healthcare Operations from Capella University.
23. Brad Spooner
Brad Spooner began his professional career 24 years ago. Today, he is the CFO of Soothe, a multi-national wellness service provider based in Los Angeles, California. The company allows users to request the services of a massage therapist, cosmetologists, and estheticians. Since its launch in 2014, the mostly mobile app-based company has received significant press coverage and has expanded its service area to include many cities and counties in the United States. It also provides services in Australia, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Germany.
Spooner first got his start in 1999 as a Senior Auditor at Deloitte. From there, he went on to ORIX Capital Markets, before American Capital Strategies, and eventually rose to CFO at The Riverside Company, his most recent position prior to joining Soothe. Spooner graduated from the University of Arkansas with an undergraduate degree in accounting and financial management.
24. Melinda Davis
As CFO at DTSV, Melinda is responsible for all financial aspects of DTSV including financial analysis at both the company and project level, overseeing the corporate accounting staff, monitoring and reviewing internal controls and related policies and procedures, tax planning and working with the CEO and other corporate leadership on bids and proposals, mergers and acquisitions, and other special projects.
Prior to joining DTSV, Melinda was a partner at the large regional public accounting firm DHG. Her 25 years of public accounting experience brings with it industry knowledge in government contracting, tax knowledge on both the federal and state level, and a deep understanding of the financial and tax impacts of various business decisions. Melinda is a graduate of Old Dominion University, a licensed CPA and holds memberships in the AICPA, the AICPA Tax section, and the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants.
25. Stan Edwards
Stan Edwards began his professional career 39 years ago. Today, he is the CFO of Cranemasters, a company that has steadily built a reputation for providing reliable, professional and high-quality derailment services to the railroad industry. In 1988, Cranemasters took its first major step to become an integrated service provider with broad service offerings for rail and industrial clients by adding track repair and maintenance and then, a few years later, railcar repair services, to its portfolio of offerings. In 2002, Cranemasters started the five-year research and development effort to create a specialized, 100-ton, hydraulic, telescopic-boom crawler crane that was specifically designed to meet the needs and unique challenges of the railroad industry.
Edwards first got his start in 1984 in a finance and operations position at Thalhimer Brothers. From there, he went on to Office America, before eventually rising to Financial Manager at Summit Information Solutions, his most recent position prior to joining Cranemasters. Edwards graduated from Longwood University with an undergraduate degree in finance.