Tom Ogle is AIB International's new vice-president and c.f.o.

Data and dollars

The addition of Tom Ogle to AIB International’s leadership team earlier this year seemed a natural fit. At the time of his hiring as vice-president and chief financial officer, Andre Biane, AIB International’s president and chief executive officer, said Mr. Ogle’s expertise would be “critical” to the organization’s long-term success as it streamlines its day-to-day business and continues growing internationally.

Two months into the job, it appears that assessment was on the mark.

“I think my experience matches well with the needs of our company,” Mr. Ogle said. “We’re looking to grow the organization, becoming more efficient and embracing technology. These are all things I’ve worked with previously in my career. This is a good opportunity for me personally because although I am new to the business, the concepts I’ve applied are perfectly transferable.”

Mr. Ogle has more than 20 years of experience with multiple financial functions along with information systems responsibilities. He has worked for large multi-national corporations such as IBM and Haldex and regional companies such as Continental Disc Corp. Most recently he was interim c.f.o. for Alphapointe, a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization serving the visually impaired.

His experience includes roles in controllership, cost accounting, and financial analysis, managing working capital, international startups, acquisitions, process improvements, employee pension and benefits enhancements, and guidance to executive teams and boards of directors. His information systems experience includes leading the implementation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, simplifying and integrating accounting and travel expense systems, and establishing appropriate levels of I.T. security and financial controls.

When he first learned about the opportunity at AIB International, Mr. Ogle said he was interested in it because of the size of the organization — small, but with a global reach.

“There are many challenges in being an organization of our size with global responsibilities,” he said. “There’s a lot of variety — you tend to have a pretty interesting day.”

Mr. Ogle said he was particularly excited about AIB International’s investment in the future.

“We’ve broken ground on expanding the operation to make it a more attractive place to work and to improve our offerings to our customers so that we can take on some additional opportunities,” he said. “A lot of that effort is with an eye toward expanding in the future. All of this is focused on what our customers need and expect.”

Since coming on board in February, Mr. Ogle said he’s focused on efficiencies in the organization.

“Opportunities to reduce waste exist at every level of every organization, and it’s just not about cost cutting,” he said. “It’s about thoroughly examining processes and looking for opportunities to eliminate unnecessary steps to become 100% customer focused. That way it makes everyone’s day go easier because not only are you more closely attached to what the customer values, it also yields cost savings to the company, and being in finance that’s the part I really like. I see constant process improvement as an opportunity for us to get closer to our customers, to establish that kind of focused thinking throughout the organization.”

He said AIB International also is ramping up its investment in technology. The organization has invested in customer relationship management (CRM) software, but he stressed it’s not always about buying software — there has to be a focus on creating processes that provide value.

“We’re just leveraging technology to help better support the needs of our customers,” he said.

Mr. Ogle said his role at AIB International is about what he expected, crediting Mr. Biane with painting a good picture of all the exciting changes on tap.

“As we’re changing the company to be more data driven, more metrics driven, more KPI (key performance indicator) driven, it’s becoming more facts and data oriented,” he said. “We need solid data to run the business, and as the business gets larger it’s the way it needs to operate.”

Mr. Ogle said his first order of business is pretty simple: achieving the plan.

“We make a commitment every year to the board and to each other as far as what our budget is and making sure we hit those targets,” he said. “Behind all that, it’s primarily making sure we achieve our sales goals because that drives what we want to do as an organization. Everything we do touches money and information. It’s data and dollars.”