Reporting to the CEO, the new CFO will be responsible for managing all finance, accounting and reporting functions for this industry leader in training for the aviation industry.
He or she will (1) work closely with the CEO and others to gather and leverage financial and other data to make critical decisions around programs, enrollment, expansion, financial aid, technology, partnerships, and other aspects of the school’s operations; (2) provide leadership and coordination of all company financial practices, including accounting, budgeting, financial reports, taxes, and audit functions; (3) assure compliance with all regulatory agencies, including working with outside auditors in preparation of annual financial and compliance audits; and (4) work with the VP of Administration and head of Financial Aid to oversee financial aid programs and all associated transfers of funds between the company and the federal government’s Title IV and other programs.
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology is a for-profit postsecondary education institution that provides certificates, associate degrees and bachelor degrees in Aviation Maintenance Technology (“AMT”), Avionics, Professional Pilot Training and Quality Control / Non-destructive Testing (“QC” and “NDT”). The Company also has contracts in place with the United States Air Force and private companies to provide aviation technician and pilot training. Spartan is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma where its campus footprint spans 247,000 square feet of physical space.
Spartan is accredited by Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (“ACCSC”) and is eligible for Title IV funding. The Company was founded in 1929, has graduated 90,000 aviation technicians and pilots, is the oldest school of its kind in the country and is one of the best recognized brands in the sector known for its quality of instruction and positive outcomes for its students.
The mission of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology is to provide a supportive educational environment for students to actively participate in learning and to provide quality career-oriented higher education programs to a diverse student population.
Key differentiated aspects of the institution include:
- Strong Student Value Proposition: Best in class student outcomes
- Academic Rigor: Employer recognized unique, rigorous and hands-on programs.
- Unique Non-Destructive Testing Program: Despite rapid growth of the NDT industry, Spartan is the largest and one of the only postsecondary institutions offering training for non-destructive technicians
- Outstanding Regulatory Compliance: Spartan has maintained strong regulatory compliance historically and is well positioned in light of recent changes in regulation
- Strong Brand and Large Alumni Base: Longest running aviation program in the U.S. with over 90,000 alumni
Spartan provides hands-on training in aviation maintenance, avionics, nondestructive testing and quality control. Students can graduate from Spartan's programs in anywhere from 12 to 23 months with high-demand skills. They also gain the professional training and credentials necessary to work in some of the most exciting industries and in many parts of the world.
More than 80 years ago, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology began as a place for individuals to learn how to take their passion for aviation and turn it into a career they loved. Founder W.G. Skelly was convinced that air transportation would come of age and bring with it a need for skilled aircraft technicians and pilots. He was right, and as a result, the Spartan aviation school, with its learn-by-doing teaching philosophy, quickly became a leader in aviation education, standing out from other aviation schools and programs.
The school motto, “Knowledge and Skill Overcome Superstition and Luck,” is exemplified by the Spartan Black Cat and the number 13. This insignia dates back to 1929 and the beginning of the Dawn Patrol. The Dawn Patrol name came about as a result of Spartan flight schedules that began at the crack of dawn. It was during these early morning flights that members of the aviation programs performed precision formation flying. Students knew that relying on superstition and luck was not an option and that the skill and knowledge gained at Spartan was paramount to their success.
Not only do Spartan College of Aeronautics graduates have the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in their chosen field of study, they have a respected worldwide reputation, a rich history that has helped shape the field of aviation and the success of thousands of its aviation school alumni who came before them. As the torch is passed on, it is the alumni of the school’s aeronautical school who can continue to influence the aviation industry and aviation colleges and help contribute to the success of Spartan’s future graduates. There is only one Spartan and its history truly lives on in the success of its alumni.
Spartan offers programs at its Tulsa campus in the following areas—
- Aviation Maintenance
- Avionics Technology
- Nondestructive Testing / Quality Control
- Aviation Management Technology
- Pilot Training
- Continuing Education
Spartan also offers select Associate Degree courses on-line.
Completion and Placement Rates
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Spartan is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and is authorized to offer Associate of Applied Science Degrees with Majors in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Avionics Maintenance Technology, Quality Control and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Technology Management.
It is also licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools. Programs are approved by the Oklahoma State Accrediting Agency for Veterans (GI Bill). The Aviation Maintenance Technology Program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. Spartan is authorized under federal law to enroll eligible international students.
ABOUT THE INVESTORS
Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Founded in 1983, Sterling has invested billions of dollars, guided by the company’s stated purpose: INSPIRED GROWTH™, which describes Sterling’s approach to buying differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling focuses on investing growth capital in small and mid-market companies in industries with positive, long-term trends – education, healthcare, and business services. Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of operations and functional experts based in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.
Included among its portfolio of investments in the Education sector are Laureate Education, Ashworth College, Educate, Educate Online, School of Rock, Progressus Therapy, Meritas, and InfiLaw.
Reporting to the CEO and working with the CEO and company’s investors, the new CFO will drive all financial management decisions for Spartan College as it achieves healthy growth. He or she will also play an important operational role in support of the CEO.
This new CFO will be responsible for managing all finance, accounting and reporting functions for the college. He or she will (1) work closely with the CEO to gather and leverage financial and other data to make critical decisions around programs, enrollment, financial aid, technology, partnerships, and other aspects of the school’s operations; (2) provide leadership and coordination of all company financial practices, including accounting, budgeting, financial reports, taxes and audit functions; (3) assure compliance with all regulatory agencies, including working with outside auditors in preparation of annual financial and compliance audits; (4) work with the VP of Financial Aid to oversee financial aid programs and all associated transfers of funds between the company and the federal government’s Title IV and other programs; and (5) work with the CEO and investors to assess and, if and when appropriate, open new campuses and/or acquire other schools.
Specific responsibilities and expectations include the following:
- Oversee all company accounting practices, including accounting, budgeting, financial reports, taxes and audit functions for all campus locations.
- Assist the CEO in managing school operations.
- Provide consultative support to internal department leaders and their initiatives by providing reporting, sound financial analysis and thoughtful, well-reasoned, balanced recommendations.
- Assure compliance with all regulatory agencies, including working with outside auditors in preparation of annual financial and compliance audits.
- Develop and utilize forward-looking, predictive models and activity-based financial analysis to provide insight into the organization’s operations and business plans.
- Create, coordinate, and evaluate changes and improvements in automated financial management information systems for the company. Work with the VP Administration and head of Financial Aid to oversee financial aid programs and all associated transfers of funds between the company and the federal government’s Title IV and other programs.
- On an ongoing basis, gather financial and other data that can be used to run the school more efficiently and profitably.
- Assist with financial strategy, planning and forecasting.
- Synthesize and generate financial reporting for outside accounting firm(s), ownership, CEO, and department heads.
- Prepare financial analysis for contract negotiations and corporate investment decisions; manage procurement process for meaningful equipment acquisition or major contracts.
- Assist in refining and/or establishing policies, procedures, internal controls, and analytical processes to ensure timely and efficient execution of finance, accounting and financial aid related objectives.
- Refine and execute expense monitoring and control procedures.
- Assemble the right financial team; supervise a Controller and other junior accounting staff members; constantly evaluate staff
THE CAREER OPPORTUNITY
To an experienced CFO with relevant for-profit higher education experience and a strong operations background, this opportunity offers several attractive features:
- The opportunity to join a small executive team and have “a seat at the table” as the college and investors chart its future
- The opportunity to work with the current investors in evaluating growth options, including new campuses, joint ventures and potential acquisitions
- The opportunity to be the principal financial decision maker in a niche school capable of growing to $60+MM or more within 3-5 years
- The opportunity to attain equity in the company
- The opportunity to work in an attractive Nashville TN location
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The ideal candidate is working as Chief Financial Officer or Vice President of Finance for an accredited for-profit college that enrolls students eligible for federal financial aid funds under Title IV legislation. He or she has worked with the CEO, COO, and other corporate executives, as well as Campus Presidents, to oversee all company accounting practices, including accounting, budgeting, financial reports, taxes and audit functions for the school. S/he has also helped to maintain accreditation and Title IV compliance, and together with a CEO and investors to secure additional funding and/or in an M&A capacity as opportunity presents. Importantly, this individual has a strong operational background—not just a “bean counter.”
This individual is a “player/coach”—strategic enough to handle critical financial management issues but also hands-on enough to manage day-to-day cash flow at the campus level.
Specifically, he or she has –
- High energy, financial and operational skills, work ethic, and integrity
- An extensive background in financial management with particular strengths in the areas of financial statement preparation, budgeting/forecasting and planning, financial analysis, internal controls, process improvement, and cash management
- A strong operations management foundation—capable of working with the CEO in a variety of functional areas to build a powerful operational foundation to the school
- Facility with data—its sources, aggregation, and application to allow the CEO and others to make enlightened decisions in a variety of functional areas, including new campus rollouts and program development and marketing
- A management style that is decisive and entrepreneurial; strong conceptual, creative, and problem-solving skills; a self-starter who is capable of managing his/her time and priorities effectively while successfully accomplishing planned objectives
- A track record of exerting strong fiscal control (appropriately managing/conserving cash) and driving EBIT bottom-line growth
- Specific experience with Title IV and other financial aid programs, regulatory compliance, revenue recognition, reviewing account reconciliations, and pro-forma analyses
- Experience developing and implementing financial processes and procedures that are scalable as an organization grows; experience managing finances for a multi-location school
- Experience bringing a strategic level of leadership to the finance function, serving as financial strategist while managing the day-to-day requirements of a finance department
- Superior business and financial analytical skills--success with timely monthly financial reporting, detailed financial analysis, and the preparation of ad-hoc reports and analyses, cash flow planning, and management
- Experience working with external parties, e.g. private equity investors, bankers, consultants, and independent accountants; experience reporting on, and monitoring compliance with, bank covenants; M&A and/or IPO experience would be valuable
- A bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance or a related field; a Master of Business Administration degree and/or designation as a Certified Public Accountant would be a plus
Culturally and temperamentally, the ideal candidate is a team player who believes that individual success flows from the overall success of the organization.
This involves a range of personal attributes-- flexibility and adaptability; a great work ethic; leadership with minimal supervision; an ability to analyze and evaluate one’s own (and other’s) performance and to develop plans to improve performance; excellent presentation skills; willingness to take responsibility for both success and failure—a thick skin; self-confidence and a positive attitude about self, company, and marketplace; consistent, effective prospecting skills—knowing how to reach decision maker; effective listening and questioning; sincerity, trust, believability and warmth; and a strong desire for success.
Compensation will include salary, bonus, and equity in line with the individual’s experience.
Travel is unlikely to be more than 10%.