Monday, October 24, 2016

Alan Waxler, Chief financial officer, Centro Inc.
Category: Private Company (More than $50 million annual revenue)

Centro is an industrial distributor and manufacturer’s representative. As CFO, Alan Waxler manages all financial functions. He has a BBA from the University of Memphis, and prior to joining Centro, he was executive vice president of Waxler Transportation.




How’s business? Business continues to feel the effects of the industrial recession that began in early 2015. We have begun to see an increase in activity and orders during the latter half of the third quarter.

Biggest challenge at the moment: Assisting the management team to leverage major investments — two e-commerce sites, four salespeople, one branch location in Birmingham and three new product lines — while managing cash flow, inventory and bank debt.

What will change in the next year? In 2017, we will see the success of our new e-commerce site, which is tailored to the reseller arm of our business. This site will launch in the fourth quarter of 2016. By the third quarter in 2017, we will launch a second e-commerce site directly suited for our [maintenance, repair and operations] business. We will also benefit from a full year of operations with our newest branch in Birmingham and two new sales territories.

How do you measure success? If our employees feel they are a part of our success and our customers recognize us as a value-added supplier for flow control solutions, then we have been successful.


Biggest business strength: Our strength continues to be our number-one asset: our employees. We continue to educate and train our employees so that we can maintain a best-in-class sales team.

Biggest business weakness: An ERP system that is efficient and works perfectly with our legacy model but has seen many challenges as we ramp up our e-commerce presence.

Biggest risk: As EVP of Waxler Transportation, we put a business model together to take a successful small business that was struggling to keep pace with its peers [and allow it] to grow and challenge those peers. We were able to do this with the help of our business partners, the banks, that took the chance on us.

Biggest mistake: On a personal level, not getting my MBA or completing the CPA exam

Most strategic move: In 2007, while EVP of Waxler Transportation, we sold our family business prior to the financial crisis in 2008.

Turning point: At the age of 50, embarking on a new career. My employment contract with the company that bought our family business was not renewed. For the first time in my life, I put myself in the job market.

Biggest worry: Complacency. Centro has had a tremendous run of growth over the past 13 years. We need to maintain that growth and make the necessary changes to continue this same success over the next 10 to 15 years.


Most challenging task: Attract and maintain talented young individuals who will be the key to the success of Centro 10 and 20 years down the road.

Favorite task: Analyzing potential acquisitions or new areas of operations for strategic fit to our master plan.

Least favorite task: Proofreading legal documents


Key goal to achieve: Implementation of a new ERP System

What’s in the short-term future? Continue the development of our e-commerce platforms and support of our new branch location in Birmingham.

Five-year plan: Continue to improve the balance sheet through debt reduction, grow Centro to $100 million in annual sales through organic growth, acquisitions and new product lines.

First choice for a new career: A position with the University of Memphis athletic department with the football program. My blood runs true blue Tiger blue.

What’s something about you that would surprise people? Upon retirement, moving from Memphis to Florida with a house near the beach