A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
Paula Graff, Nortech Systems Inc.
Title: Vice president and chief financial officer
Paula Graff is continuing to help Nortech Systems Inc. respond quickly to client needs with her promotion to vice president and chief financial officer at the Wayzata-based full-service electronics manufacturing services company.
In her new role, Graff works with the company’s leadership team to develop strategy and goals while also overseeing finance, treasury, internal audit, information technology and human resources for the company and its seven manufacturing locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Mexico.
Graff, who joined Nortech in May as director of finance, said she appreciated the opportunity to expand her role at the company.
“Nortech is a business with growth potential and has great products and high-quality customer relationships and it’s serving a growth industry, so I knew this would be a great position to get into,” she said.
Graff said she planned to apply the same continuous improvement process Nortech uses in operations to its finance and corporate areas.
“We have to be adding value to the company from a corporate point of view,” Graff said. “To do that, we have to make sure our processes are in place.”
She previously worked as a consultant with Experis, a division of Manpower Inc., and gained extensive finance experience at Munsingwear, Ecolab and Toro Co.
Graff earned her CPA after graduating from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting.
Nortech, with 700 employees, produces wire and cable assemblies and higher-level assemblies printed for markets including industrial equipment, aerospace/defense and medical. Its shares trade on the Nasdaq stock market.
Q: Why should a company bring its business to Nortech?
A: We’re very responsive and willing to create and adapt specifically to the needs of our clients. We’re nimble, whether it’s for medical devices, industrial or defense equipment. To be responsive to customers and to deliver, I really enjoy that part of my job.
Q: How does that need to be nimble affect your work as CFO?
A: We have seven different plants, so it’s getting to know the plants and what we do. … I’ve got to figure out the goals within the finance area and the whole corporation as one Nortech. We’re trying to be a very collaborative company.
Q: What has appealed to you about working in accounting and finance?
A: You add so much value to the corporation. It’s not just compliance. Once you realize that, it’s very exciting to be part of the strategy and the goals of the corporation.