Mary Alice Walker-Lysak is the CFO at Armstrong Energy Corporation in Roswell. From her dedication to the Roswell community through her volunteer work for various organizations to her unique hobbies which include scuba diving and maintaining her pilot license, Mary Alice’s dynamic personality shines through. Her unwavering support of the CPA profession and commitment to excellence are truly noteworthy. We recently had the chance to speak with Mary Alice about her experience as a successful CFO at Armstrong Energy Corporation and learned about how her background in public accounting gave her the broad base of expertise she needed to excel.
Mary Alice Walker-Lysak, CPA, CFO
I’m a CPA because…
Accounting was the only class in high school that I excelled at and my mother suggested that I try accounting as a career. In high school, I would have friends from my class come over and I would help them with their accounting homework. Being in the accounting world, I have been so fortunate; I have met great people all over the state and it has been a rewarding experience.
How did you make the decision to transition to corporate accounting after spending 12 years in public accounting?
I wanted to spend more time with my son. Bruce Ritter, CPA knew I was interested in moving to industry and we had a client looking for a CFO so it kind of worked out. Bruce knew that I was not happy in public accounting, so he believed making the transition to CFO would be a good fit. I have been with Armstrong Energy Corporation for 12 years and I have known Bob Armstrong (founder and President) most of my life as I go to the same church as he does and grew up babysitting for his family. Bob is such a great person, a wonderful role model and benevolent leader. Bruce Ritter and Bob have both been wonderful influences in my life. I have learned a great deal from them.
Having been a successful CFO for Armstrong Energy Corporation since 2004, what advice would you give to someone who wants to become CFO in the future?
I think that having a really good base in public accounting gives you a great start. Having to manage deadlines and the experience working in public gives you the diversity you need to become a CFO because when you work for a company like I do, you’re involved in so many things. Bob requires filing of one of every tax return there is and having the broad base from working for an accounting firm for so long really gave me what I needed to work at Armstrong.