Industries

CFO helps ABC stores mind their P’s and Q’s

Large nonprofits/government agencies: J. Craig Vanderland, Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Richmond

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce

When J. Craig Vanderland talks to new employees about workplace ethics, he often dons a cowboy hat, boots and lasso.

His “Cowboy Ethics” presentation uses clips from old Western movies to drive home important points about strict policies at the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “It’s an engaging way for people to understand that their job matters and how they should deliver service,” Vanderland says. “It turned into something fun.”

The presentation is just one example of how Vanderland has helped the agency become one of the most efficient state-operated enterprises in the nation, his superiors say.
The ABC system includes 330 stores, which employ more than 2,000 people and have gross sales of nearly $700 million annually.

“Craig has been instrumental in helping to develop the agency’s long-term strategic goals and process improvements,” says ABC Board Chairman Neal Insley. “He is also instrumental in aligning our assets and resources to meet our organizational goals.”

Vanderland joined the agency in 1985 and moved into the role of CFO in 2005. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to work in or collaborate with every area of the agency during my career,” he says. “I didn’t set out to be CFO, I just evolved into it.”

Vanderland’s contributions to the agency include boosting Sunday sales, which now generate more than $21 million a year. He also was involved in plans for the growth and modernization of the agency’s store network.

Vanderland focuses on collaboration and accountability. He advocates open discussions of critical issues. “Craig leads by way of example,” says Insley. “He is a consummate agent for positive change of process and procedure.”

As a leader, Vanderland is consistent, dependable and subscribes to a high degree of professionalism and ethics, Insley adds. “He always inspires others to learn more, do more and become more.”

Vanderland initiated the agency’s management succession program last year and also customized a training program that focuses on group development, leadership and strategic planning. “That helped change the culture of the organization,” he says. “It gives us a positive culture that helps improve service to the citizens.” 

Outside of the office, Vanderland has been active in the Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project, a weeklong youth leadership program encouraging teens to become involved in keeping their schools and communities alcohol and drug free. “I enjoy working with young people and seeing how leadership theory can be translated into the way people approach problems or jobs,” he says. 


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