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Joe Petrich, CFO, Activar: Winner of Executive of the Year

Activar creates, acquires, and builds small to middle-market businesses, primarily in the manufacturing industry. Joe Petrich started with the Minneapolis-based company in 1997 as the general manager of the plastics division. In 2005 he became CFO.

One of his accomplishments since assuming the role was restructuring the company’s health and workers’ compensation plan. Premiums and work compensation claims were increasing annually at a high rate. As a solution, Petrich helped the company switch to high-deductible plans and develop safety programs. “The primary reason we restructured our health and workers’ compensation plans was to assure the safety and welfare of our employees,” he says. “The responsibility for safety begins with the company and its employees.”

Petrich has dedicated himself to creating a strong foundation for smooth acquisitions and company growth, specifically by cleaning up the “back of the house” operations within the Activar companies. One of his biggest accomplishments in this area has been establishing a single corporate accounting department that encompasses all of the Activar companies, resulting in improved organizational consistency. “My vision was for the operating entities to focus on the manufacturing and marketing of their specific products without needing to be concerned about other things like HR issues and accounting,” he explains. “All ‘behind the scenes’ functions are now managed at the corporate level.”

Petrich has been instrumental in restructuring Activar’s debt facilities in the past few years, putting the company in a good position to make an acquisition. He has worked hard to diversify Activar into different markets to build greater stability and generate consistent growth in a fluctuating market.