Leadership in Finance: Maverik Lacrosse’s Billy Pymm

The CFO provides perspective on talking the banker's talk, keeping tabs on receivables, and the "science" of import taxes.

But Pymm’s status among the Maverik lacrosse stars hasn’t hindered his ability to keep score of the company’s finances. CFO.com talked to Pymm recently about how the finance chief is handling the current credit crisis and the growth challenges that a small manufacturer faces during an economic slump. Here’s what he had to say.

BillyPymm3“I’m on the other side of the table now, and it’s nice to know what banks are looking for. It also helps that [they] know I was in a similar position at one time.”
Maverik Lacrosse CFO Billy Pymm

You still play lacrosse. Is it all just fun and games?
We started a lacrosse league in New York City about three years ago called Gotham Lacrosse. I play there, and Maverik is the league sponsor, so we use a lot of the Maverik apparel and promote [the company]. We got a lot of press coverage because it’s mostly Wall Street teams. A lot of the Wall Street guys played a pretty high level of college lacrosse. Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns have teams. Despite the whole financial collapse, the teams stayed together. It was a real good networking opportunity. Even kids in college play for companies where they were interns. It’s a chance for them to sort of show their stuff and hopefully get a job next year.

How has your first finance job at Fleet helped you in your current job?
I’m on the other side of the table now, and it’s nice to know what banks are looking for, and to talk the lingo. It also helps that [they] know I was in a similar position at one time. Our bank liked the idea that I had a background with Fleet. They know that I know balance sheets, I know income statements, I know cash flow. So it definitely helped, more than hurt.

Did Maverik use venture funding to launch the company?
No, no venture funding. It was some of our own money, just to open the doors. Once we knew we had something [to sell] and wanted to expand, we went to angel investors and raised initial funding to start developing an array of products. Every year after that we’ve just looked at our situation to figure out where the company was financially — what’s changed, which direction we want to go. That’s what we did for three rounds of private financing during the first three years.

But since the initial stages, you’ve had to rely on bank financing, right?
We are trying to build credit lines. We’re small and new, and the banks didn’t want to take the risk because of the credit crunch. So it’s been a battle, especially during the first couple of years, to get the credit line that we really needed to finance production. Finding the right bank was important, because every bank has a different philosophy. We probably went through two or three banks until we found one that understood our business. Some people consider our business risky because it’s seasonal. This one bank took a shot on us, and then developed confidence in us because we were hitting our numbers. It’s a local community bank.

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