Billy Pymm plays attack. That’s not his management style, although he and the other senior managers at Maverik Lacrosse label themselves entrepreneurs. Pymm, 35, is an attackman, the equivalent of a forward in hockey or soccer, in the Gotham Lacrosse league, an organization mostly made up of Wall Street denizens that is sponsored by Maverik, a maker of lacrosse equipment and apparel.
Finance and lacrosse both may require the right combination of brawn and brains to out-muscle and out-smart opponents. But they also require speed, finesse, and an intimate knowledge of the game, something Maverik has built in just five years — and is counting on now as it faces a sagging economy and new challenges from behemoths such as Nike and Reebok, which have recently entered the lacrosse equipment and apparel market.
Pymm, like the rest of the Maverik management team, played Division I lacrosse in college. He was scoring goals for the Friars of Providence College while majoring in finance, and then received his MBA from the same school, while coaching its men’s lacrosse team. Armed with his degrees, he took a job in commercial banking at what used to be Fleet Bank, before it was acquired by Bank of America in 2004. He was a credit analyst covering small and mid-size companies that were searching for financing, experience that has come in handy now that he is a finance chief.
After two years as an analyst, Pymm made his first entrepreneurial move, taking a job at start-up software maker Jenzabar, where he worked on the launch of an academic-advisor module to help collegiate athletes and their coaches keep better track of grades and schoolwork while on the road. After the product launch, Pymm returned to his roots to work in the family business, RedyRef Kiosk Solutions, at a time when the phone booth manufacturing company was making the switch from telephone to computer kiosks — the kind that are ubiquitous at airport terminals.
By 2004, Pymm was CFO of Maverik, an edgy start-up company that reportedly brought a stronger, lighter lacrosse stick to market. As is the case with most smaller companies — Maverik generates less than $250 million in revenue a year — the finance chief wears many hats. Indeed, Pymm says his experience with materials sourcing, manufacturing, and importing gained while at RedyRef helped guide the new lacrosse stick through production and onto the shelves of retail stores. He also used RedyRef’s accounting and financial processes as a template for Maverik’s finance department, which has grown to 14 full-time employees.
Pymm contends that compared to the rest of the management team, he is on the “bottom of the list” when it comes to lacrosse play. Most of the other executive partners are former All-American lacrosse players from schools like Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, and the University of Virginia, and two of those partners — company founder and chief executive John Gagliardi and marketing director Jay Jalbert — are members of the U.S. men’s national lacrosse team, better known as Team USA.