Meet William Dawson. We met him ourselves at CFO’s Playbook for Private Companies conference in Miami in late October. To say he’s not a typical finance chief would be something of an understatement.
Dawson is the pastor of Mount Gilead, a Baptist church in Williamsburg, Va. When a pair of parishioners were trying to get a company off the ground, he offered them some business advice. The company, Collins Transportation, provides vehicles that Sears uses for delivering appliances to customers’ homes. After encountering some early bumps in the road, the parishioners asked Dawson, who had served in the Air Force for 23 years in the transportation and logistics area, to take a more formal role with the company. Sure, he said. I’ll be the CFO.
It’s basically a part-time job, because he is, after all, first and foremost a pastor. But he must be doing something right. He says Collins’ revenue has ballooned from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars in just the past year.