VSCPA member Michael Wilkerson, CPA, was honored with a nomination for the 2010 Virginia CFO Awards, presented by Virginia Business magazine and the VSCPA. He didn’t win, but he did learn something from the experience.
“I was there at the event last year, so I prepared some remarks in case I won,” Wilkerson said. “Like the lady sitting next to me at the table, she won last night. … She stood up and said ‘I’m supposed to say something?’ She was taken completely off guard. You go once and you learn. I was going to have something to say.”
It’s a good thing Wilkerson came to the June 23 awards ceremony prepared. He was honored as the top winner in the “Small Private Company” category for his work with Ashland-based Richmond Group, LLC, and Dominion Equipment Parts, LLC.
Not bad for a guy who didn’t expect to stick very long at his company. But under Wilkerson’s steady hand, the Richmond Group has grown into a force to be reckoned with in the heavy equipment industry.
“It turned into something that I really didn’t expect. I expected it to be kind of a stepping stone,” he said. “Now it’s four companies with 30 employees and has gone from 4 million in revenue to about 30 million in revenue.”
Wilkerson, a Chesterfield native, majored in finance at Radford University after graduating from Monacan High School. He decided, along with two friends, to sit for the CPA Exam — “Misery loves company,” he says — and began taking accounting classes at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his CPA license in 1996.
Before joining the Richmond Group, he spent eight years as a bank examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and five years with the Markel Corporation as an internal auditor and manager of accounts receivable.
Wilkerson’s favorite part of his job is getting a big-picture look at his company.
“The biggest thing I like about it is that it gives you an overall view of how a company is performing, how it runs,” he said. “Everything is based off of numbers, whether it’s sales, whether it’s operations or new products. Everything comes down to accounting and ‘Does it make sense?’”
Wilkerson lives in Mechanicsville with his wife, Tami, and his children, Brandon and Brittany. He’s active in coaching youth baseball and basketball, including his children’s teams, and he’s a board member of the Atlee Little League.
He takes time to lend his financial expertise to the community as well, teaching personal finance classes at the Richmond Technical Center. It’s that kind of dedication to his craft that meant he got to deliver that speech to his fellow CFOs.