ARRO Consulting recently appointed Heather Montgomery as their new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). She recently shared details on what she believes is the single most important thing an organization can have, what she sees in ARRO’s future, and how living many years in Alaska helped make her the strong leader she is today.
>> In addition to having CFO experience in the engineering industry, you have a fascinating background that includes being CEO of an Alaskan aviation and outdoor equipment company, CEO and CFO of a senior community, and Business Manager and Controller of an Alaskan sled dog tour company. How has the diversity of these roles helped make you the industry leader you are today?
Everything begins and ends with the people on the team. Whether you lead a sled dog team or a diversified manufacturing business, it is the people who get the work done.
I have been blessed by a diverse background that enables me to see situations from different perspectives. I hope to bring to the team an ability to analyze difficult situations, find solutions, and give the team the support needed to drive change.
>> Specifically, how has your background prepared you for success at ARRO Consulting?
I genuinely have a passion around mergers and acquisitions as it plays into my analytical skills and ability to distill order from chaos. Additionally, flexibility, determination, and the ability to surround myself with great people have been the hallmarks of my professional career.
While working to integrate a recent acquisition, I lead the move of a manufacturing plant in Oregon to Alaska. The new plant had never made aircraft tires before, but, within three months, a labor force was hired and trained. And, within five months, we were cleared and certified by the FAA to begin production.
Lots of late nights on the factory floor went into this task, but our team delivered!
>> You’re joining ARRO Consulting as they place a strong focus on growth. What do you think ARRO will look like in five years?
With great people, the sky is the limit. My time at Airframes Alaska showed me that with focus, determination, and a little bit of grit, it is possible to grow to nine times the revenue in just seven years.
This type of growth can be a lot of hard work, but it can also be energizing and fun.
>> What do you enjoy most about being in finance?
Many view finance as boring – numbers on a spreadsheet. Far from it! Finance is connected to every aspect of the business. I love working with colleagues in all functional areas to better understand how their roles drive the business forward.
Finance can be the connecting tissue between departments. Understanding struggles and sharing the big picture helps us all do better together. Many times in my career, my analytical capabilities have been a game-changer for colleagues, and ultimately, the business. I really get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing others succeed.
>> What do you enjoy most about working in the engineering industry?
Engineers make visions a reality. The way we avoid falling behind is to keep moving forward, and challenging ourselves to find new ways and new approaches. I thrive on creating new ideas, stretching the envelope, and driving uncharted paths.
>> You’ve lived most of your life several time zones away from where you now live and work. What brought you to the area?
Humble beginnings as a child living off the grid in a small Alaska town shaped my character, and is the root of who I am today. I learned the value of family, hard work, and making something out of nothing.
Although the journey was rewarding, it wasn’t easy. I have two beautiful twin daughters, and I want to unlock a world of opportunities for them that may not be available in Alaska. We still love the outdoors and camping, but the central Pennsylvania area has proven to offer much more in the way of life experiences for us as a family.