2023 CFO of the Year: Evan Brown

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(IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Chief Financial Officer | The Garrett Cos. 

Evan Brown was one of the first team members at The Garrett Cos., which appeared on IBJ’s Fast 25 list in 2018, 2021, 2022 and again this year. He supervises all accounting and financial operations across all 10 entities of The Garrett Cos., which includes oversight of all 23 active construction projects. Mitigating risk, projecting and maintaining a budget, and financial-reporting framework are his expertise. 

Major accomplishments
Because Evan was one of the company’s first team members, he has contributed to all of The Garrett Cos.’ major accomplishments. The company as a whole has won more than 60 awards for fastest-growing companies and best places to work. 

Challenges overcome
Rising interest rates have been a hurdle over the past 12 months for almost every company in real estate—and many have hit pause, Brown said. “However, The Garrett Cos. has been able to press forward and still get deals done,” he said. “We have been able to do this as a direct result of our vertically integrated business model, making us one of the lowest-cost basis producers of Class A multifamily.”

Career path
He went to Marian University on a golf scholarship and knew he enjoyed math. Quickly, he realized that he loved business and numbers, and he majored in accounting and finance. After graduating, he went into public accounting with PLVK. “Without the foundation Kevin Petrow, Marke Kane, John Leemhuis and Ann Vincent provided, I would not be where I am today,” he said. 

My job would be easier if …
“Subcontractors told the truth, and interest rates would pause and ease for the next couple [of] years,” he said. 

If only people understood …
“CFO stands for Chief Fixit Officer, jokingly,” he said. “I love problem solving and analyzing how opportunities and challenges have a ripple effect on the entire company. The role is more than producing numbers.”•

Check out more CFO honorees.

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