CFO: Time Flies When Hall of Famer (Hofer) Porter Is Having Fun
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Marc Porter, the CFO at the Law Company, likes surprises.
So it’s a good thing that he was caught unaware when he learned of his induction into the Wichita Business Journal’s CFO Hall of Fame.
“That’s neat,” says Porter, who has spent 31 years in the CFO chair at Law.
“The other two guys, I know both of them and they’re both retired so it surprised me a bit. I’m still kicking and I have a lot of kicking to do.”
Porter wears a lot of hats at the Law Company, and that’s a big part of the appeal of his job. He’s not just an accountant cranking out reports on the third of every month. He’s the CFO and leads administration, HR, employment, pensions, insurance and investments.
“A lot of cool stuff,” he says. “I’m like an outfielder. I come to work and wait for the balls to be hit in my direction. I like it a lot.”
His boss, company CEO and chairman Rich Kerschen, speaks reverently of Porter’s work.
“He’s more than a CFO,” he says. “He’s a good CFO, for sure, but he’s a lot more than that for us.” For example, Kerschen says, the company channels much of its litigation work through Porter.
“He has as good a mind as any lawyer in town,” Kerschen says.
Predictably, Porter didn’t take the conventional road to his profession.
“When I was a kid, I was fascinated with electricity,” he says. “I’m a conceptual-type person, things like that. I don’t like working on cars, for example, using wrenches. I wanted to be an electrical engineer.”
Until he met a friend of his father’s as a freshman in college, a man who was an electrical engineer.
“I was really excited to meet an electrical engineer,” Porter says. “That is, until he told me, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t be an electrical engineer.
“You do the same thing all the time and it’s not as exciting as you think,” Porter recalls. “So he said he’d go into finance. Those guys get to make all the decisions and analyze things. So, I said to myself, ‘I think I’ll be a finance major.’”
Porter got a finance degree from WSU, then he finished his masters.
He became a controller for Hale Ritchie before interviewing with Kerschen in 1987.
Porter says according to Kerschen, Ritchie said that if Kerschen didn’t hire Porter he’d be dumb — using a more colorful expression. Kerschen agreed he would be dumb. Porter was hired.
By Bill Wilson, Managing Editor
Wichita Business Journal