Chris Jones, CFO Nortech Systems, Inc.

Chris Jones, CFO Nortech Systems, Inc.

Chris Jones, CFO of Nortech Systems, Inc. has never been one to shy away from adventure and a challenge. Since his time serving in the US Navy (deployed twice), to his career which has brought him to several cities, to most recently relocating to Minneapolis with his family during the pandemic to take the CFO role at Nortech Systems, Inc. Chris channels the leadership and team building skills he learned in the service to his corporate leadership roles; always keeping his standard for high integrity at the centerpiece. His track record of success, ability to thrive in change, and commitment to his values made Scouts Talent curious to learn more…

If you could try a different job for a day, what would you choose?

I would like to shadow the Chief of Staff for the President of the United States. It would be fascinating to see the real inner workings of the White House and the US Presidency.

What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?

I’d offer this advice to every finance person in every industry: become an expert at sales finance and operations finance. Every business exists to acquire new customers and serve existing customers. Sales and operations sit at the center of the core cash generating engine. Find a way to create value to your peers in those business functions.

What is your mantra?

I don’t have a single mantra, but I do have a long list of guiding principles I’ve acquired over the years. I read a book called Principles by Ray Dalio where he documented his guiding principles for life and work. His book inspired me to begin thinking carefully about my guiding principles, writing them down, reflecting on them, putting them into action, and refining them over time. I’ll offer a few essential guiding principles for finance professionals: 1.) Integrity 2.) Free cash flow 3.) Governance, risk, compliance assurance 4.) Analytics 5.) Develop people 6.) Sales and operations execution.

How do you get yourself out of a slump?

My wife Heather and I have four daughters, ages 10, 13, 16, and 19. We are continually learning new practices and tactics to help all six of us navigate the normal ebbs and flows of life. We all have different favorite go-to techniques for finding immediate joy. I jog by the Minnehaha Creek with our goldendoodle, the oldest two daughters love going Nordic skiing, the youngest daughter currently sings the musical “Hamilton” everywhere she goes, and Heather and our third daughter find balance by staying connected with good friends.

What companies or leaders do you admire?

My first job was unique for someone who is now in finance. I served for seven years in the US Navy as a nuclear power surface warfare officer (sometimes called a Navy Nuke). During my seven years I deployed twice to the Persian Gulf and taught at Boston University ROTC. Leadership training and development was at the center of everything I experienced in the Navy. I greatly admire the US Armed Forces and I still hold the military, as an institution, in the highest esteem.

What has been the biggest shift you’ve noticed in your industry in the last decade?

The ubiquitous smartphone. Outside of work, everyone has access to an entire universe of facts, data, evidence, and information. It’s all on their phone, available 24/7. Inside a company, we can’t rely on Google to provide the answers. We are challenged to build our own mini version of Google in the form of business analytics systems that provide people with the facts, data, evidence, and information they need to make wise business decisions quickly. This need for analytics has been accelerated by remote working conditions that separate people and create physical barriers to information sharing.

Who has been most instrumental in your career?

My wife Heather. We have been married for 25 years and we’ve become very skilled at accentuating each other’s strengths and covering for each other’s blind spots. The same principle applies on a Board of Directors or a company’s management team.

What is your go-to celebration meal, drink or tradition?

My go-to celebration is noticing something that someone has done well and saying “thank you”. A simple accumulation of small daily affirmations is better than one big celebration event.


Be a Finance & Accounting Insider.

Stay current on trends, get tips for success, and hear from industry influencers with Scouts Talent insights, delivered right to your inbox.