Our Team


Jeff Spear, Principal

jeff@cfocolleague.com (740) 507 – 9180

Jeff Jeff has had a varied career in private industry, followed by eighteen years and counting in higher education. His higher education experiences include CFO of Mount Vernon Nazarene University (2007-2013), CFO and Professor of Accounting at alma mater Houghton College (NY) (1997-2007), participation as a finance specialist on visitation teams for the Middle States Accreditation Association, board membership of ABACC and the CCCU’s Commision on CFOs, a term on the NACUBO Small Institutions Council and service on a joint NACUBO-AGB task force on tuition and discount reporting issues. Jeff has also assisted various institutions and organizations as an independent consultant and speaks frequently about quantitative and analytical issues in higher education.

Prior to his service at Houghton, Jeff was co-owner of an Eastman Kodak spinoff, CFO of a public company, Controller of an investment banking firm, and began his career as an audit and tax specialist at Peat Marwick.

Founding CFO Colleague, LLC in 2013, Jeff indicates that this was contemplated for some time. “I enjoyed presenting at conferences, with a particular focus on quantitative analysis and financial modeling. The industry seemed ripe for various concepts used to account for activity in the manufacturing world.  Dabbling with some pioneering clients, the comment, ‘You really ought to be doing this full-time’ was made a number of times.  CFO Colleague was formed in early 2013 as a result of that encouragement.”

Outside the office, Jeff has served on numerous non-profit and community development committees and councils, including recent service as treasurer and a program volunteer for the Winter Sanctuary, a shelter for homeless persons in his home town of Mount Vernon, Ohio.  He also served on the economic restructuring committee for the area and as a board member for the Heritage Centre Association, a downtown development and historical preservation organization.  He shares with his wife Janine six precious grandchildren.

Current and former associations and affiliations:

– Certified Public Accountant, New York State, May, 1987 (currently inactive)
– AICPA and NYSSCPA – Past member
– NYS Society Committee on Stockbrokerage Accounting
– Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) Commission on CFOs – Chair
– Association for Business Administrators of Christian Colleges (ABACC) – Board member
– Middle States Accreditation Team – Member
– NACUBO Commission on Small Institutions – Member
– NACUBO / AGB joint task force on institutional aid/discount reporting – Member

Presentation highlights – Higher Education:

– NACUBO conference on tuition discounting, 2000
– CCCU annual CFO conference 2003, “Current Issues for CFOs”
– NACUBO annual meeting 2005, “The Gown Buys the Town”
– Association of Theological Schools CFO conference 2012, “Math that Matters”
– ABACC annual conference – quantitative and management topics – 7 years

Community Activities:

– Treasurer and volunteer, Winter Sanctuary, Inc., a ministry to homeless persons (OH)
– Volunteer, church hot meals program (OH)
– Board member, Heritage Centre, a downtown development non-profit (OH)
– Treasurer, Allegany County Industrial Development Agency (NY)
– Treasurer, Gates Wesleyan Church (NY)
– Board Member, Houghton Community Association (NY)
– Member, Budget Oversight Committee, Spencerport CSD (NY)

Jan M. Haas, Senior Consultant

jan@cfocolleague.com (267) 278 – 4650

Jan Haas Jan brought two decades of experience in health care administration before serving Cairn University (PA) for another sixteen years (2000 – 2016). As Senior Vice President, Finance and Administration for the Philadelphia-based university, Jan wore the various hats of Chief Business Officer and Treasurer, along with Assistant Secretary for the board of trustees, President of a real estate LLC, and board member of the Regency Foundation. His leadership responsibilities at Cairn included Technology Services, Campus Services, Safety and Security, Human Resources, Food Services, Campus Store, Financial Aid, and Business Services. Cairn’s School of Business utilized his well-honed presentation and teaching skills for courses in organizational finance.

During his tenure at Cairn, the school moved from a Bible College to full university status, expanding its offerings to become a leader in Christian higher education in the region. He also served the industry as a board member and chairman for the Association of Business Administrators of Christian Colleges (ABACC) where he guided their growth and was a frequent presenter and contributor.

Jan’s twenty years in the world of health care included corporate-system hospital settings, affording him a diversified management background that involved responsibility for both health care professional and general operational departments along with strategic planning, new program development, public relations, marketing, and a variety of subsidiary activities. He gained extensive experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit medical center related entities.
In Jan’s words, “the disciplines gleaned from my years in a rapidly changing industry provided a solid platform to enter higher education. My passion is to move institutions to the next level of performance. There is much to be done.”

Jan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a varsity letter in lacrosse from Pennsylvania State University. After working in medical research, he obtained a Master in Business Administration from Temple University.

Current and former associations and affiliations:

– Association of Business Administrators of Christian Colleges (ABACC): Board member and Chairperson
– ABACC Leroy A. Johnson Outstanding Service Award: 2014 Recipient
– Christian Leadership Alliance Philadelphia: Chapter President
– American College of Health Care Executives: Southeastern Pennsylvania Regent’s Advisory Council
– Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association: Board Member and Treasurer
– Bucks County Health Improvement Project: Steering Committee
– Bucks County Health Improvement Project: Consumer Advocacy and Information Task Force Chairperson

Current and former community activities:

– Cairn University Baseball: Head Coach
– Short-term mission trips to Mexico, France: 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2005; Kyrgyzstan, and Panama: 2011, 2013 and 2015
– First Baptist Church of Newtown/Grace Point: Board of Elder, Ministry Transition Team Chair, and Stewardship Campaign Director
– United Way of Bucks County: Marketing Committee
– Lancaster East End Health Clinic Board member
– Ronald McDonald House of Delaware: Organizational Committee
– Youth athletics coaching: Yardley-Makefield Soccer, Pennsbury Community Basketball League, Pennsbury Athletic Association, and Yardley-Morrisville American Legion Baseball

Joseph (Joe) Botana, CPA, Senior Adviser

botanajd@gmail.com (920) 207 – 7013

joe-botana Joseph (Joe) Botana began his varied career with a manufacturer, The Kohler Company, learning the internal audit and project management functions during a nine-year stint. Transitioning to higher education in 1990, Joe began as Controller of Lakeland College (WI), eventually becoming their CFO, while also serving as an Assistant Professor of Accounting. His work there was transformational, improving systems and streamlining operations to ensure a string of years where the College delivered solid operating results and improved responsiveness to informational needs. The disciplines of manufacturing and a love of learning were keys to his success at Lakeland. And, his ability to encourage and challenge those under his care created a fertile environment for change and improvement.

Upon leaving Lakeland, Joe performed interim CFO roles at two universities and a non-profit. His passion is to dive deeply into operations and find ways to operate more effectively and efficiently while offering encouragement to his staff and colleagues. He is integral to our Interim CFO practice, bringing years of experience and wisdom to varied assignments.

Joe received a BA and MS from Roosevelt University and has completed the coursework (ABD) for a doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University. He is active with the Christian and Missionary Alliance as a board member for the general church, having led their audit committee and delivered solid advice as a consultant on a variety of projects. He has also been a member of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and served as President of the Sheboygen County CPA Association.

A native of Cuba, he has traveled extensively throughout the Americas and is a native Spanish speaker. He and his wife, Kit, make their home in Sheboygen County, Wisconsin.

Michael Stowell, MBA, Senior Adviser

mstowell2@cox.net

stowell Michael’s background combines a unique set of operational and financial skills, including serving in several CFO roles over the last 10 years. Those CFO roles included positions with a software company, a medical device company and a stint as acting CFO with a private Christian college. Michael’s financial skills were honed beginning with his efforts as co-founder of Arris Ventures, a regional venture capital firm, where he had responsibilities that included due diligence, regulatory and tax compliance issues, preparation of financial models, forecasts, budgets, and business plans. As the venture portfolio matured, Michael mentored and worked with many early-stage companies in both operational and financial capacities.

Prior to Arris Ventures, Michael spent over 5 years at Accenture, where his engagements focused on the realization of business strategies and related business processes across a variety of enterprise functions. He led a team that developed knowledge capital and trained professionals in the area of creating business processes for the evolving eCommerce environment. Other projects included re-engineering of business processes, ERP software selection and implementation, using activity-based costing to better service customers and developing a portfolio approach to evaluate and develop new ventures.

Michael has mastered the CFO Colleague COMP4cast, along with practical techniques to take performance to the next level or to merely keep the doors open. From negotiating financing arrangements to establishing world-class reporting systems, Michael has consistently delivered solid performance over his many years of service.

In addition to being a Six Sigma Black Belt, Mr. Stowell holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.B.A. from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, and a Master of Accounting and Financial Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management. He and his wife, Robyn have two daughters and live in Phoenix, Arizona. Michael serves CFO Colleague’s western US region.

Mark Biddinger, Senior Adviser

markbiddinger3616@gmail.com

Having served a variety of companies in multiple industries and at different stages of the business life cycle, Mark’s experiences include start-ups, mid-size and larger companies in the healthcare, professional services, higher education and non-profit industries. Mark even spent time in the heavy diesel salvage business for one of the Midwest region’s largest players, as well as CEO for a mission nonprofit.

Most recently, Mark served as the Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at Cedarville University (OH,) gaining a reputation for improving operational processes and implementing best practices across campus. His program profitability analysis improved struggling programs while resourcing those that were performing well. He also developed a forecasting methodology for non-traditional and graduate programs.

Added to his specific accomplishments at Cedarville were volunteer leadership work with a number of non-profits, making Mark uniquely qualified to analyze and evaluate organizations of various sizes and missions. His demonstrated desire is to encourage every individual to directly connect their goals and activities to the mission of the organization.

Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and a MBA (higher education concentration) from Cedarville University.

Current and former associations and affiliations:
• Financial Executives International – Dayton, OH Chapter, Past President

Current and former community activities:
• Lay leader/teacher in church Jr. High youth group
• Treasurer, Grace Global Ministries ($1.2 budget)
• Treasurer, Grace Baptist Church ($1.4M budget)
• Active on campus teaching financial literacy seminars
• Regularly conducts Identity theft seminars for church and civic groups

Jessica Ryals, Consultant and Analyst

jessica@cfocolleague.com

Jessica Jessica was Assistant Controller at Kenyon College (OH) from 2013 – 2015. In that role, she developed a tool for alternative investment accounting and reporting that cut the time to record activity by a third. She also created a new chart of accounts to facilitate more accurate management reporting for a subsidiary organization and supervised a transition from manual time reporting to web time entry. currently, she serves part-time at the College as the Investment Operations Analyst, providing analytical support to the in-house investments team, freeing up time to assist CFO Colleague clients.

Prior to higher education, Jessica spent 3+ years on the Business Intelligence Team for NIB Health Funds (ASX:NHF, Newcastle, Australia), where she was responsible for regulatory reporting, due diligence and integration of management reporting for an acquisition, liaising with actuaries for regular estimates. This experience followed 3 years as an auditor with Deloitte (Rochester, NY) which included clients in the not-for-profit industry, among many others.

At CFO Colleague, Jessica specializes in data analysis issues, focusing specifically on cost accounting projects and forecasting assignments.