Present: Executive vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer for Stanley, Inc.
Career highlights: After receiving his bachelor's in accounting from Virginia Tech, Clark secured executive positions at companies including Titan Corporation and Arthur Andersen. Joined Stanley, Inc., in April 2006.
Personal: Clark lives in Falls Church, Va., with his wife. He's also an avid sailor who enjoys sailing his boat out of Annapolis, Md.
- Stick to the plan. “It's easy to get sidetracked with short-term interests. While you do need to be attentive to the short term, you also need to make sure you don't lose focus on long-term strategy, which is really what's ultimately going to drive your company into the future.“
- Be aggressive on the communications front. “You can offer employees the best health benefits, training, and opportunities. But unless you're also committed to being aggressive on the communications front, none of that will matter. Each summer, our senior executive team sees all of our nearly 5,000 employees, at all of our sites, for example.“
ExecutiveBiz: What was the catalyst for Stanley going public in 2006?
Brian Clark: At the time, our ownership was held principally through an ESOP. That was one key factor that led us to an IPO“”the desire to unlock that value so it would be accessible through the public markets. We'd also incurred debt at the time in order to complete a significant acquisition, in early 2006. So the IPO was used to provide capital to de-lever and strengthen the balance sheet to support continued growth.
ExecutiveBiz: How would you characterize Stanley's culture?
Brian Clark: It very much centers on taking care of our customers and our employees. Specific to our employees, we believe strongly in providing industry-leading benefits, actively seeking opportunities to develop our people and promote from within, and having broad-based employee ownership through a number of vehicles. We are very proud of the fact that we have appeared each of the last three years on Fortune Magazine's list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.“
ExecutiveBiz: What's your primary focus on a daily basis?
Brian Clark: I spend less time focused on numbers crunching, and more on strategy “”on how to get us to the next level. We set pretty aggressive targets, which isn't surprising. If you look at us relative to our peers in the industry, we have a pretty young management team that's got a lot of drive and enthusiasm.
ExecutiveBiz: As CFO, what consumes the bulk of your time?
Brian Clark: Besides traditional financial management, I spend a significant portion of my time with the investment community, and with our customers and employees in the field. I also work closely with our Board on a number of matters including our executive compensation structure, regulatory issues and mergers and acquisitions.
ExecutiveBiz: Stanley is noted for having industry leading margins in the government services space for public companies. How'd you and your team reach that distinction?
Brian Clark: It has everything to do with how we operate the company, serve our customers and incentivize our leadership. I don't try to manage the company by cutting costs but rather by starting each year with a clean slate and rationalizing the cost of infrastructure and services against our growth objectives. One of the other big things that I've done “” and we started this about a year and a half ago and it's paying dividends now “” is leading the effort on a corporate-wide restructuring that more closely aligned our profit and loss responsibility with each of our lines of business. That approach has resulted in additional operational efficiencies and significant lowering of corporate infrastructure costs as well as allowed us to be a much more flexible and responsive organization.
ExecutiveBiz: Looking ahead, what are some of your top goals?
Brian Clark: One of my biggest goals, obviously, is to continue to drive financial performance, while executing on our strategic objectives. I'll continue to focus on metrics of greatest importance to the investment community “” like having the highest profit margins in the space and solid earnings growth. That's a goal I've had since I came on board and I'm very pleased with the results we've achieved and our prospects for the future.
ExecutiveBiz: What can we expect next from you and Stanley?
Brian Clark: The outstanding finance and accounting team that I have will continue to afford me the opportunity to expand my role and be more forward-thinking and focused on operations and evolving the company to be best positioned to meet the challenges of tomorrow. As we look forward, you can expect to see Stanley continue to grow both organically as well as through acquisitions. One of our top strategic priorities is to further fill-out customer sets, capabilities and our suite of contract vehicles. I expect this will be addressed in part through our mergers and acquisitions program.