About Don Gage
Don is a seasoned financial professional with over twenty-seven years of experience in finance, banking, operational management, and law. Don’s executive roles at large national companies and entrepreneurial start-up ventures include Founder, President, CFO, COO, and Senior Vice President. For the past 15 years Don has been a financial executive working directly with owners and private equity investors. Don has financial, operational and transactional experience across a broad range of industries.
It is common to define a CFO as a senior accounting professional overseeing the accounting and financial reporting of an organization. While strong accounting is critical to the health of any company and CFOs often have an accounting background, the role of a CFO is to provide the strategic vision and leadership to guide the financial and operational functions into a cohesive unit yielding maximum profit for an organization. Don prides himself on being a strong financial leader with a strategic, market and operations based approach to delivering value beyond the numbers by providing leadership and perspective to overcome challenges across the business.
In his various executive positions Don has enjoyed assessing the risk/return yield for new and ongoing businesses. It is incumbent upon corporate finance leadership to provide the analysis to identify the risk and reward possibilities without impeding growth. The role of corporate finance is to safeguard capital and deploy it to its greatest use while recognizing that measured and identified risk must be undertaken for capital to grow. Stagnation is fatal to any organization. All processes must be routinely reviewed and historical practices challenged. If the practices continue to serve and profit the company they should persist but “this is the way we have always done it” is not an acceptable practice. The road to success is a continual assent. There is no pinnacle. If you believe you have reached the “summit” of success and stop climbing then you are on the downside of the journey.
Don’s legal training is the foundation for his expert analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills. His law background is a valuable asset in assessing and dealing with compliance and regulatory matters as well as the negotiation of all forms of contracts and agreements. Don is adept at communicating and advocating company initiatives and financial reporting at the investor and Board level.
Don is a leader who takes a wide angle view. He is a CFO who has the perspective of an owner and operator because he has been one. Don excels at formulating strategies, identifying new opportunities, developing operational plans, and executing these plans with specific metrics and reward structures to hold the team accountable for delivering against measurable objectives. Educating team members on the relationship between operational performance and financial results is critical to their individual and collective success.
Don’s areas of expertise and key accomplishments include:
- Creating financial models to access and monitor the risk/reward yield on capital deployment. These models guide executive management to identify the most profitable business lines to enter, support, and grow and which to scale back or shed if they fail to yield an acceptable ROI.
- Establishing financial systems and controls and developing dashboard reporting to monitor the key performance indicators. The KPIs isolate the operational drivers of profitability from sales and marketing to costs and human resources productivity.
- Cash flow forecasting, utilization, and recapture. Managing cash flow is critical to any business, particularly new ventures. Cash is the oxygen all businesses need to survive. It must be guarded and expended judiciously.
- Employing business analytics across an organization to link and demonstrate the relationship between data and profits. Educating and coaching each team member on their role within the organization and how it contributes to the profitability is necessary to foster commitment to the common goal.
- Capital origination from both debt and equity sources. Preparation of capital raise packages and ongoing reporting to executives both within the company and the funding sources.
- Strong background in workouts and turn-around situations that require restructure of contractual and creditor agreements.
- Founded a consumer financial services company that innovated to create an internet based loan origination and funding program reducing the operational investment requirement by 90%. Grew the company to 5 offices.
- Founder and CFO of an award winning, fully integrated, real estate development firm including development, general contracting, property management, and realty sales. Generated $20M in annual sales.
- Executive and CFO of a multi-family development firm increasing the asset portfolio by 50% to 3,000 units with an aggregate value in excess of $300M.
Don honed his leadership and analytical disciplines in finance while serving as a Senior Vice President of First Union National Bank (currently Wells Fargo). Don was responsible for the underwriting, structure, negotiation, and management of $2.5 billion of transactions to national and regional clients. Don streamlined business practices by leading several steering committees whose policy improvements were approved by executive management.
Don earned a BA in Finance with honors from the University of Illinois and a J. D. in Law from Boston University. Don lives in Johns Creek, Georgia with his wife Christine and enjoys golf and SEC football with his three children each of whom attend or have graduated from three different SEC schools.
Boston University School of Law
University of Illinois
Certificates & Licenses:
Law License; Member of Illinois and 7th District Federal Court Bar