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Meet Our Team

Larry Chester
Founder and President

Larry has served as a CFO for 25 years for companies including Colovos Company, Republic Windows and Doors, United Service Companies, and High Sierra, helping them eliminate losses and improving financial operations and reporting.

Realizing that he enjoyed the challenges of helping companies that were working their way through a crisis, he joined a bankruptcy trustee for several years, analyzing the financial condition of client companies, and managing them through those difficult times. Soon after that, he struck out on his own, forming CFO Simplified. Since forming CFO Simplified, Larry has been involved in Business Turnaround, Mergers and Acquisitions, in addition to Financial and Operations Management for his clients.

Larry is an intuitive businessman, able to grasp complex situations, driving to the heart of the matter, while helping to develop creative solutions to problems. His greatest pleasure comes from working with an owner to help his company develop tighter internal controls and greater profitability. In doing so, they work together, guiding the company to smoother operations and a stronger financial position.

Larry lives in Wheeling, IL, where he holds court for his three daughters and 7 grandchildren.

Education:

  • University of Wisconsin – BA
  • University of Nebraska – MBA
  • Villanova University – Six Sigma Training

Bob Walsh

Bob has been heavily influenced by the Credit, Accounts Receivable and Treasury disciplines. At Ace Hardware Corporation, he became familiar with the capitalization, profitability and cash flows that are part of the challenge of running a small business. His career finally took him to Panduit Corporation as Assistant Treasurer where his work on cash flow, debt facilities and lender relationships helped guide the organization through difficult times.

Bob’s major strength is helping non-financial people understand how their business activities affect financial results, and conversely, how financial information can be used to improve business operations.

Bob lives in Plainfield, IL with his wife, son and two daughters.

Education:

  • Lewis University – BS, Finance
  • DePaul University – MBA
  • Certified Treasury Professional

Ellen Meadows

Ellen began her career as a CPA in public accounting, leading financial statement and internal control audits of small businesses and governmental units. As an auditor, Ellen became interested in how processes and procedures could improve a company’s operational and financial performance. After working at Phillip Morris, she joined Kraft Foods for 17 years in financial management in Manufacturing, Sales and various Business Units. Ellen is energized by helping clients optimize their business functions, including sustained profitability, as a goal on their road to ultimate business success.

Ellen is a life-long resident of Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Education:

  • B.S. Accounting – Marquette University
  • Certified Public Accountant – certified 1994-1997
  • Lean Six Sigma Green Belt

Byron Kanaley, CPA

Byron began his career in Accounting and Finance as a Financial / Operational Auditor for Esmark, Inc. As he continued his career, he gained experience working in diverse industries including Professional Services, Distribution, Not for Profit, Retail and Manufacturing.

Throughout his career, Byron has been guided by one fundamental principle, approaching work to identify what is really going on. In order to solve real business problems, it is necessary to differentiate symptoms from real problems.

Byron works closely with owners to address the people, process and systems needs of businesses.

Byron is married with four children and resides in Glenview.

Education:

  • Colorado State University – BA
  • University of Notre Dame – MBA
  • Certified Public Accountant – CPA

Daniel Lechin

Dan is a strategic, profit oriented executive experienced in Corporate Finance, M&A and Corporate Strategy.  He enhances business performance by supporting innovation, brand strategy and business partnerships.

Possessing strong problem solving skills, coupled with the ability to present compelling recommendations, he has a passion for results and is capable of blending both strategic and tactical views of a business.

With over 40 years of financial management experience, he has been responsible for mergers, acquisitions and divestitures while CFO at Beatrice Foods.  Experienced with both large and small businesses, Dan recently served as the CFO of an operator and franchisor of specialty stores with more than 1,200 locations around the country.

Education:

  • University of Illinois at Chicago – BS, Accounting

Don Frueh

Don has worked as CFO in mid-sized manufacturing firms and Corporate Controller in billion dollar multi-nationals including Case, Hendrickson and James Hardie. He brings broad experience in analysis and internal controls to his clients.

Don’s work establishing costing and control systems led to numerous benefits for mid-sized firms. He can lead analysis of product and channel profitability, cost and variance in manufacturing, advising on development of ERP and reporting systems. Don also has experience with M&A due diligence and integration and has directed control over foreign entities and forex exposure.

Don lives in Willowbrook with his wife and son.

Education:

  • University of Iowa – BBA in Accounting and Finance
  • Northwestern University – MBA in Management and Finance
  • Certified Public Accountant