Finance and Investing is pleased to announce The Top 25 CFOs of Utah for 2023. These individuals play a critical role in Utah's current economy, ensuring the financial stability and growth of their organizations. They are responsible for managing financial risks, overseeing financial planning and analysis, and providing financial guidance to their company's leadership team. Many CFOs in Utah work for major companies across various industries including technology, finance, and healthcare. This year’s awardees, along with others, are helping to drive the state's economy forward by implementing sound financial practices and strategies that support growth and stability.
Among this year’s awardees is Katie Braithwaite, Chief Financial Officer of Centura Health, who has over two decades of experience and recently stepped into the role after serving in the same capacity with Steward Health Care. Awardee Melissa Bishop, Chief Financial Officer of Young Living Essential Oils, leads the global enterprise and has been a key participant in launching 10 new markets over the past two years. Also awarded is Nadeem Syed, Chief Financial Officer of Western Governors University, whose focus is on maximizing their students’ and graduates’ return on educational investment while maintaining the university’s ability to self-sustain on affordable tuition.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 CFOs of Utah for 2023.
1. Katie Braithwaite
Chief Financial Officer, Centura Health
Katie Braithwaite began her professional career 25 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Financial Officer of Centura Health. Centura Health connects individuals, families, and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and more than 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through their 17 hospitals, senior living communities, health neighborhoods, home care, and hospice services, they are making the region’s best health care accessible and affordable in every community they serve.
Braithwaite first got her start in 1998 as an internal auditor at Zions Bancorporation. From there, she went on to Nutraceutical Corporation, before eventually rising to controller at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. She most recently served as the CFO of Steward Health Care. Braithwaite graduated from Western Governors University with an MBA in accounting and from Idaho State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
2. Robert Simmons
Chief Financial Officer, SkyWest Airlines
Robert Simmons was named SkyWest, Inc.'s Chief Financial Officer in 2014. In this position, he oversees all financial controls, capital management, financing, and accounting processes, as well as the corporate communications, human resources, and information technology divisions of the company.
Before joining SkyWest, Robert had an extensive background in corporate finance and public companies. He has served on various boards and as chairman and board member of the Association for Financial Professionals. He has been interviewed as a financial expert in various print and broadcast media Robert holds an undergraduate degree in international business from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
3. Ryan Pugh
Chief Financial Officer, Lifepoint Health®
Ryan Pugh is the Chief Financial Officer at Ashley Regional of Lifepoint Health®, a leading healthcare provider that serves patients, clinicians, communities, and partner organizations across the healthcare continuum. Driven by a mission of making communities healthier, the company has a growing diversified healthcare delivery network comprised of more than 50,000 dedicated employees, 62 community hospital campuses, more than 30 rehabilitation, and behavioral health hospitals, and 170 additional sites of care, including managed acute rehabilitation units, outpatient centers, and post-acute care facilities. Pugh has 12 years of experience. He began his career in 2011.
Pugh graduated from Southern Utah University with a master’s degree in business administration and management, and from Utah Valley University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
4. Braden Tibbitts
Chief Financial Officer, HCA Healthcare
Braden Tibbitts is the Chief Financial Officer at Lone Peak Hospital of HCA Healthcare. He first joined the company in 2012 as a patient care coordinator and became a CFO in 2021. HCA Healthcare recognizes the significant responsibility it has as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities it serves, as well as the opportunity it has to improve the lives of the patients for whom it is entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge, and skill of HCA caregivers, the company has the unique ability to leverage its scale and innovation. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its approximately 36 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care, and save lives.
Tibbitts earned an MBA and an undergraduate degree in accounting from Western Governors University, and holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business.
5. Melissa Bishop
Chief Financial Officer, Young Living Essential Oils
Melissa Bishop joined Young Living with an extensive background in finance and accounting. Before accepting the position of CFO, she spent four years as the head of the global tax department ensuring that they remain compliant in all markets. She has been a key participant in launching 10 new markets over the past two years. Melissa is a collaborator and out-of-the-box thinker who loves being part of a team and working to find creative solutions to problems.
Melissa received her Master of Accountancy with an emphasis on tax from Brigham Young University and is a certified public accountant. She has 15 years of experience in the direct sales industry, as well as four years of experience working in public accounting for both Arthur Andersen and KPMG. Before joining Young Living, she worked for another direct sales company as their CFO. Melissa has also served as the past president of the Utah chapter of the American Women’s Society of CPAs.
6. Dana Russell
Chief Financial Officer, Vivint Smart Home
Before Dana Russell began his tenure as Chief Financial Officer of Vivint Smart Home, he had more than 25 years of finance and operational expertise, most of which has been spent with technology and service businesses. He started his career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and later joined Novell, a publicly traded software and services company. During his 12-year tenure at Novell, he held various positions including VP of finance, treasurer, and corporate controller before being named its CFO. Russell became the CFO of Vivint Solar in December 2013, where he helped take the company public in less than a year. He ushered it through its acquisition by Sunrun in October 2020 in a transaction valued at $5.4 billion at the time of closing.
Russell is responsible for all corporate finance and accounting functions, including treasury, tax, risk management, consumer financing, operations planning and analysis, corporate controllership, and investor relations.
7. Paul Burdiss
Chief Financial Officer, Zions Bancorporation
Paul Burdiss is the Chief Financial Officer of Zions Bancorporation. Prior to joining Zions as CFO in 2015, he was corporate treasurer at SunTrust Banks, Inc., where he was responsible for overseeing the investment portfolio, capital management, liquidity, and interest rate risk management, as well as supporting the stress testing and CCAR process.
Before SunTrust, Burdiss was EVP and treasurer of Comerica Inc., after having been the director of investor relations. Earlier in his career, he worked in Chicago, Illinois as a relationship manager at The Bank of Nova Scotia. Burdiss holds an undergraduate degree in financial administration from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
8. Nadeem Syed
Chief Financial Officer, Western Governors University
Nadeem Syed is the Chief Financial Officer of Western Governors University. Syed leads all aspects of financial strategy and operations at the nonprofit university, with a focus on maximizing their students’ and graduates’ return on educational investment while maintaining the university’s ability to self-sustain on affordable tuition. The university is a pioneer in competency-based education and an early adopter of technology-enabled teaching and learning. In its first 24 years, its disruptive educational model has helped more than 230,000 individuals earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at a cost that has remained at half the national average.
Syed joined WGU following 11 years with AT&T, most recently as its head of consumer wireline finance. Prior to that, he led the product, corporate development, and strategy finance for Xandr - AT&T’s advertising company. During his tenure at AT&T, Syed held diverse leadership positions across finance, pricing, analytics, and business development. He was a founding member of AT&T Partner Exchange, a startup business within the company, and was instrumental in the launch of the DirecTV Now streaming service. Before AT&T, Syed co-founded a medical imaging startup in Singapore, led software R&D at Hewlett-Packard, and conducted machine learning research, publishing several peer-reviewed articles.
Syed grew up in India and obtained an undergraduate degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore as a recipient of the Singapore Airlines Scholarship from the Government of Singapore. He later earned a master’s degree in computer science and an MBA, both from Georgia Tech.
9. Brandon Soto
Chief Financial Officer, Square
Brandon Soto is the Chief Financial Officer of Square, a financial technology company that offers various software and hardware products to help businesses manage their payments, transactions, and financial operations. He is responsible for the management and direction of all accounting, treasury, and financial reporting-related activities for the company, including funding, asset liability management, general ledger, financial analysis, budgeting, forecasting, and regulatory financial compliance. Brandon is also responsible for ensuring that finance activities operate following regulatory guidelines and that all community reinvestment activities are completed as required.
Brandon has previously served as the group CFO for Jiko and as a chief administrative officer for Green Dot Corporation. He graduated from the University of Utah with an undergraduate degree in finance and accounting and from Westminster College with an MBA in accounting.
10. Rob Bachman
Chief Financial Officer, Qualtrics
Rob Bachman is the current CFO at Qualtrics. Prior to this, they worked at Ernst & Young from 2003 to 2013 as an assurance senior manager. In this role, he was responsible for developing and maintaining strong working relationships with senior client executives and board members in providing practical accounting guidance and expertise. Rob also managed and led numerous audit engagement and consulting teams, completing financial statement audits on 25+ different sets of financial statements annually.
Bachman has broad industry experience, having worked with airlines, technology companies, biotechnology firms, consumer product companies, insurance companies, private equity firms, and venture capital firms. Rob has significant experience with US GAAP, SEC Reporting, Section 404, acquisitions, divestitures, and Initial Public Offerings. He is regularly involved in audit and consulting proposals and fee negotiations.
At Ernst & Young, Bachman was a methodology leader representing Salt Lake City and the insurance industry. He was also active in E&Y’s recruiting efforts at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. Rob frequently spoke and instructed at both internal and external conferences. Additionally, he was the E&Y representative to the Wayne Brown Institute, mentoring multiple start-up companies in acquiring capital investment.
11. Jenny Fuss
Chief Financial Officer, Boart Longyear
Jenny Fuss is a senior leader with proven global business turnaround and growth at c-level across Europe, Asia, and North America. She thrives in a changing business environment on the cusp of big change, achieving objectives quickly in different business situations & cultures with unique business models, projects, services, and product manufacturing in various industries including O&G, energy, renewable, building automation, fire protection solutions and service business, plus cutting edge automotive and eMobility markets.
Jenny adds creative solutions to complex business challenges for global organizations across diverse industries. She is a strategic partner and financial advisor for significant growth in multiple industries and countries. She grew the power equipment package business from $0.2B to $2.5B joint venture sales pulled through with improved cash flow and considerable profit improvements and grew an onshore wind turbine business from $0.09B to $0.5B and drove significant profit improvements. Additionally, Jenny reduced the acquisition cost of the strategic Siemens-Gamesa merger, a newly combined business volume of $10B with the largest installed wind turbine capacity by uncovering misrepresented assets and liabilities that enabled concessions.
12. Nathan Cluff
Chief Financial Officer, WEX
Nathan Cluff began his professional career 16 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of WEX, the global commerce platform that simplifies the business of running a business. It has created a powerful ecosystem that offers seamlessly embedded, personalized solutions for its customers around the world. Through its rich data and specialized expertise in simplifying benefits, reimagining mobility, and paying and getting paid, WEX aims to make it easy for companies to overcome complexity and reach their full potential.
Cluff first got his start in 2007 as a staff accountant at Sallie Mae Bank. From there, he went on to Goldman Sachs Bank USA, before eventually rising to become a controller at Comenity Capital Bank, his most recent position before joining WEX. Cluff graduated from the University of Utah with an MBA, and from Brigham Young University with an undergraduate degree in business management.
13. Mark Davies
Chief Financial Officer, Automattic
Mark Davies joined Automattic from Vivint, a $1B+ annual revenue smart home technology company, where he served as CFO since 2013. Before joining Vivint, Davies served as president of global business services with Alcoa. He was also a member of the Alcoa Executive Council. Before that position, he spent 12 years at Dell Inc. in various roles. His most recent position was as the managing VP of strategic programs. He earlier served as the CFO of Dell’s Global Consumer Group, which is a $14B enterprise with operations across the world. He held positions with Applied Materials and HP earlier in his career.
Mark earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Western Washington University and his MBA in finance from Arizona State University.
14. Stephen Ure
Chief Financial Officer, Supplemental Health Care
Stephen Ure is the Chief Financial Officer of Supplemental Health Care. He first joined the company in 2001. Supplemental Health Care is proud to deliver world-class service and career options to its clinicians, a range of dynamic workforce solutions to its clients, and a supportive atmosphere to its corporate teams. Supplemental Health Care places various nursing, therapy and imaging, physician, and physician assistant professionals. The company offers contingent staffing, direct hire, recruitment process outsourcing, PRN pool management, and managed services for healthcare organizations.
Previously, Ure was a VP of operations at Interim Services, and before that, a VP of finance and administration at CompHealth. Earlier in his career, he worked with Marathon Oil as an administrative and accounting manager. Ure earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and economics from the University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business.
15. Raul Parra
Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, Merit Medical Systems, Inc
Raul Parra was appointed Merit’s Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer in July 2018, having served as interim CFO from May 2018 to July 2018. He is a member of the board of directors at American Express National Bank and a member of its audit committee. He also served as Merit’s VP of accounting and corporate controller.
Parra served in other accounting-related capacities with Merit, including the director of financial reporting. Before joining Merit, he was employed as an auditor by Deloitte & Touche LLP from 2003 to 2009. Parra holds an undergraduate degree in business administration, with an emphasis in accounting, from Sonoma State University. He is a certified public accountant.
16. Yuneeb Khan
Group Chief Financial Officer, Quotient Technology Inc.
Yuneeb Khan is an energetic and results-oriented leader with a strong history of transforming global businesses. He is the Group Chief Financial Officer of the leading technology company Quotient, prominent in digital promotion and retail media space.
Yuneeb’s business acumen and deep understanding of strategy are rooted in over twenty-five years of experience in finance. He has managed large P&Ls both as CFO and global president and has a track record of orchestrating financial turnarounds and driving large-scale M&A and LBO transactions for global businesses ranging in revenues from up to $7B.
Yuneeb has a strong record of developing, leading, and inspiring global teams. He leads with empathy and a healthy dose of humor. He has a strong ability to create calm in the chaos and maintain a high degree of employee engagement even during times of significant change and uncertainty. He cultivates a diverse and inclusive environment and easily adapts to change. He is globally mobile due to work authorization in the European Union and the United States.
17. Dennis Christensen
Chief Financial Officer, Dyno Nobel
Dennis Christensen is the Chief Financial Officer of Dyno Nobel. Dyno Nobel is a global leader in the commercial explosives industry. They provide blasting solutions and quality explosives products throughout North America and Australia, as well as to selected customers in other countries. They have 36 manufacturing plants, including state-of-the-art initiation systems facilities in the United States, Australia, and Mexico, and have the capacity to make one million tons of ammonium nitrate a year. Christensen has 18 years of experience. He began his career in 2005.
Before joining Dyno Nobel, Christensen was an audit senior at Deloitte. He graduated from the University of Utah - David Eccles School of Business with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
18. Shane Ware
Chief Financial Officer, MODERE
Having served with the company for 10 years in various roles of progressive responsibility, Shane Ware brings an intimate knowledge of the Modere brand and its historic growth internationally to his current post as Chief Financial Officer.
Recently, as VP of finance for the Japanese market, Shane was charged primarily with helping to execute the rebranding of the then-largest market and its conversion to the company's innovative new social retail business model. Over his decade-long tenure, Shane has traveled to or worked in every Modere foreign office, overseeing financial operations in each market. A licensed CPA with an MBA from the University of Utah, his impressive credentials and extensive industry background makes him an incredible asset to the Company in his role as CFO during what’s projected to be Modere’s largest growth period.
Before Modere, Ware worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers. His experience in worldwide audits, international finance regulations, and establishing consolidated global treasury and cash management processes has driven Modere’s streamlined financial operations.
19. Patricia Sagastume
VP of Finance & Co-Founder, Limble CMMS
Patricia Sagastume is a skilled finance professional and entrepreneur who currently serves as the Co-Founder and Head of Finance for Limble Solutions, Inc. Limble Solutions is a fast-growing Saas software company that provides computerized maintenance management software to businesses and organizations around the world.
Patricia's expertise in finance and accounting has been instrumental in the success of Limble. With experience in financial analysis, budgeting, and strategic planning, she has contributed substantially to the financial stability and growth of the company. Her strategic approach to finance has helped Limble Solutions secure funding, successfully raise in multiple series, invest in new technology, and expand its operations.
20. John Montgomery
CFO & COO, AzomiteMineral Products, Inc.
Originally from Philadelphia, John Montgomery has held CFO and COO positions leading finance, strategic planning, IT, legal, and HR. He began his career at AT&T/Pacific Telesis after receiving degrees in Asian business and finance from the Marriott School, at BYU. During his 17-year career there he held multiple positions in strategic planning and finance in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was influential in guiding the company into the digital and Internet era and left the company when he, a group of executives, and venture capitalists purchased digital video assets from AT&T/SBC, built the largest wireless digital video system in California, and subsequently sold the business in 2000.
During the next decade, after receiving his JD and while consulting with various companies, he was CFO at several digital startups in the Bay Area in industries including large-scale website development, worldwide logistics, and digital standard-setting association management. In 2010, he moved to NYC as COO of a Manhattan-based boutique digital video market research firm, which was eventually sold. In 2014 he moved to Vineyard, Utah, and joined his current company, Azomite Mineral Products, where he continues as its CFO today.
The father of five, and grandfather of 13, he is an avid diver, sailor, and adventurer, documenting it all digitally, of course. He served as one of the first LDS missionaries to Thailand where he loves to visit old friends, explore the incredible places of Southeast Asia, and practice his fading Thai language skills.
21. Jason Asay
CFO, Aesthetic Physicians
Jason Asay is the Chief Financial Officer of Aesthetic Physicians, the leader in aesthetic surgery with over 170 surgeons across the United States. He is the founder of Three Falls Capital, specializing in finance and business consulting services. Asay brings more than 20 years of experience in finance, strategy, and business development at both public and private companies.
Before Aesthetic Physicians, Jason spent 12 years in various roles leading and executing M&A transactions and developing business and corporate strategy for Yahoo and later Verizon Media in the Bay Area and NYC. He began his career as an assurance audit manager at Ernst & Young, serving tech and biotech clients. He earned an MSA from the University of Notre Dame, Mendoza School of Business, and an undergraduate degree in international finance from Brigham Young University. He is a certified public accountant.
22. Mark Nelson
Partner and Chief Financial Officer, RLG Capital, LLC
Mark Nelson began work with RLG Capital as an operating partner and joined as a Partner and CFO in March 2018. He is a senior private equity and corporate finance executive with 30+ years of experience developing, evaluating, negotiating, and closing deals. Before joining RLG Capital, Mark was a managing director at Sentry Financial where he co-led the sustainable investments practice, sourcing investment opportunities in energy efficiency, renewable energy, battery storage, water technology, waste-to-value, Ag-tech, alternative fuels, distributed hydro, and wave/tidal energy. He also developed “As a Service” financing opportunities and programs.
Mark served as the CFO for Enhanced Clean Fuels (ECF), a clean energy project development and financing business funded by Sentry and other institutional investors. Prior to Sentry, he was the founder and managing partner of Cornerstone Capital Group. Mark also served as CFO for one of Cornerstone’s portfolio companies. Before Cornerstone, he worked in the investment banking industry where he provided financial advisory, capital placement, and M&A advisory services to mid-market companies.
Mark began his career with American Express and PepsiCo where he helped launch several products and businesses and provided advisory services to the CEO and CFO on strategic planning, business development, and M&A initiatives. He currently serves on the boards of HealthyYOU Vending and eLearning Brothers.
23. Robert Millard
Chief Financial Officer, CHG Healthcare
Rob joined the CHG family in 2018 as Chief Financial Officer where he oversees the company’s strategy for accounting and finance, capital structure, and risk management. Millard has an impressive background in banking and financial services, serving most recently as CFO at Earnest Inc. in San Francisco. Before Earnest, Millard spent 12 years at Arthur Andersen in New York and 14 years at GE Capital Bank in Salt Lake City.
Rob is passionate about contributing to CHG’s industry-leading growth as well as strengthening the company’s people-centric culture. Besides earning an undergraduate degree in accounting from Fairfield University, Rob is also a certified public accountant.
24. Missy Key
EVP & Chief Financial Officer, America First Credit Union
Missy Key is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for America First Credit Union. Missy began her career at America First in 1988 as a student trainee. America First Credit Union is a federally chartered credit union headquartered in Riverdale, Utah. As of January 2020, they were the sixth-largest credit union in the United States in terms of total membership and the eighth-largest credit union in assets in the U.S.
Missy graduated from Weber State University with an undergraduate degree in accounting. She was then admitted into the Master’s Program where she earned her MACC. In 2002, Missy became a certified public accountant. She has served as a board member for the Care-A-Lot Fund since 2008 serving as the Treasurer. She currently sits on the executive committee for the Care-A-Lot Fund.
She recently joined the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization. She did this after working in this area at AFCU, recognizing the impact that it has on Credit Unions. She is passionate about advocating for better laws that are more favorable to credit unions.
25. Dave Hafner
Chief Financial Officer, Tricentis
Tricentis, a leading testing platform for modern cloud and enterprise applications, appointed Dave Hafner as Chief Financial Officer in June of 2022. Hafner is responsible for leading Tricentis’ worldwide finance organization, including accounting and reporting, financial planning and analysis, internal audit, and investor relations.
With nearly 25 years of industry experience, Hafner brings a wealth of knowledge in financial planning, investor relations, and corporate development. Previously, he served as global VP of strategic finance at SolarWinds, where he also held various leadership roles including division CFO of SolarWinds’ IT Operations Management division.
Earlier in his career, Dave was an equity research analyst at J.P. Morgan as well as a software sales rep in New York City. He has an undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Rhode Island, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Rochester, and is also a CFA charter holder.