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The Pursuit of Curiosity

My Career Path & CFMA Journey

My construction financial management career began 32 years ago at OCP Contractors, where I still work today. While some might think this means I do not like change or that I am not interested in learning new things, my curiosity and desire for continuous improvement are in fact the reasons I have stayed!

Within a couple of years of starting as a Job Cost Accountant, I was selected as an internal consultant to help OCP learn and implement total quality management (TQM) and continuous improvement.

In 1997, I was promoted to Business Manager and knew that I needed to learn more about construction accounting. So, I joined CFMA, attended chapter meetings when the topics interested me, and took the Basics of Construction Accounting course when our chapter hosted it.

In 2009, I attended my first Annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas. While there, I took Cal Beyer’s advice and, before I left each session, wrote down one or two key ideas that I wanted to implement when I got back to the office. One of the sessions I attended was the CCIFP Overview, and I wrote down “study and become certified.”

Over the next year, every time I went to a chapter meeting, I learned something new – either from the topic or from the chapter members who were quickly becoming my friends. I was also invited and agreed to serve on my chapter’s board. Also during this time, I not only studied for and passed the CCIFP exam, but OCP promoted me to Controller.

Even though the following year was a recession, I was able to attend CFMA’s Conference in Hawaii because we had implemented so many ideas from the Conference the year before.

While in Hawaii, Lisa Autino Johnson invited me to serve on CFMA’s Specialty Trade Committee, which focused on developing a conference track and publishing a newsletter for subcontractors. I also met Gretchen Kelly, who told me how much more I would get from my membership by getting involved. In what seemed like no time, I had friends across the country and a network of brilliant people from whom to learn!

I went on to serve as my Chapter’s President, attend CFMA at Spring Creek, become the Chairman for the Specialty Trade and Leadership Development Committees, participate in CFMA’s Executive Mentoring Program, present at chapter meetings and CFMA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition, participate in Peer Groups, and serve on the Executive Committee and as an Executive Officer. During that time, I was promoted to Vice President of OCP and then to CFO. 

As you can see, my leadership path at OCP has been profoundly influenced by the learning and volunteer leadership opportunities available through CFMA.

The Year Ahead

CFMA’s 2021 Conference theme is “The Pursuit of Curiosity: A Blueprint for Success.” I challenge you all to:

  • Be curious and pursue volunteer and leadership opportunities within your CFMA chapter
  • Be curious and pursue national volunteer and leadership opportunities with CFMA
  • Be curious and pursue webinars and conference sessions, and apply what you learn
  • Be curious and learn from others through CFMA’s Connection Café or participation in a Peer Group
  • Be curious and pursue the CCIFP certification

I am excited for the year ahead as we celebrate CFMA’s 40th anniversary and begin on the path forward as one organization that includes the CCIFP certification. I am cautiously optimistic that we will emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic later this year, and I hope to see you at a regional conference or chapter event soon! 

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your Chairman this upcoming year.

Copyright © 2021 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in March/April 2021 CFMA Building Profits magazine.

About the Author

Pamela Hepburn

Pam Hepburn, CCIFP, is the CFO of OCP Contractors, Inc., a mid-sized metal framing and interior finishes contractor serving Ohio and neighboring states.

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