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Jack Gochenaur has been named nonprofit CFO of the Year by Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly.
Vice president and chief business officer at Manchester University, he received the award Wednesday morning at the awards breakfast in Fort Wayne.
“Jack Gochenaur is that rare financial manager who combines ‘big picture’ strategic thinking with careful attention to detail — all while bringing out the best in people,” said MU President Dave McFadden, who nominated him for the award. “His visionary leadership, collaborative style and impeccable integrity have earned Jack the respect of the University community and his peers across Indiana.”
In Gochenaur’s 12-plus years at Manchester, he has strengthened the institution’s finances, helped increase enrollment, overseen the $9.1 million renovation and expansion of the Academic Center and mapped the finances for Manchester’s $19 million Fort Wayne campus and doctoral pharmacy program.
Gochenaur graduated from Manchester in 1970 and then served in the Fort Wayne office of what is now Ernst & Young for five years. In 1975, he went to work for Mutual Security Life Insurance Co. in Fort Wayne, where he reorganized and expanded the accounting, audit and financial services department – eventually serving as chief executive officer.
In 1990, Gochenaur accepted a position with national health insurance provider Fortis Health in Milwaukee, Wisc. As senior vice president of client services, he led more than 600 employees and saved the company $13.5 million a year. During his final three years at Fortis he led a $70 million project acquiring and implementing vendor software to replace existing systems.
In 2003, Gochenaur returned to his alma mater, where he leads a team that encompasses physical, fiscal and human resources operations. In addition to budgeting, investing and recordkeeping, student financial aid, conference services, the campus store and campus food service are all under that umbrella. All information technology, construction and maintenance on both the North Manchester and Fort Wayne campuses unite under his leadership.
Despite his financial expertise, Gochenaur understands that his University educates human beings —young people who sometimes need guidance. “He is willing to call a family member whose child has left school to find out why,” says McFadden. “He will explore all options to help a student stay in school and does what he can to curb the size of their debt.”
Outside MU, Gochenaur has long been a leader with Youth for Christ. He has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, served as a consultant for Junior Achievement’s Junior Project Business and served on the financial committee of Northwest Allen County Schools. He was active in the Fort Wayne Rotary Club and was treasurer of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. He coached a children’s soccer team and is a record blood donor for the American Red Cross.
Wherever Gochenaur has lived, he has always been active in his church as a Sunday school teacher, treasurer and elder.
Jack and his wife, Dianna, have three grown children and live in Columbia City.
While Gochenaur is passionate about his alma mater, he also cares about the wider higher education community. Jack was a driving force in creating the Indiana Risk Management Association, an insurance consortium of nine private colleges that self-insure casualty and liability coverage. His more recent focus has been on collaboration in the IT environment.
“Jack is a creative problem-solver,” says McFadden. “Where others see barriers, he sees possibilities.”
His mantra is “no margin, no mission.” He focuses Manchester’s attention on generating a healthy margin because the University can better serve students and fulfill its mission if it is thriving financially.
“Jack always centers his discussions on what is best for our students and encourages budget managers to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them,” McFadden said.
Two of Manchester’s initiatives designed to keep an education affordable for students — Fast Forward and the Triple Guarantee — were launched on Jack’s watch.
Before Gochenaur’s arrival, Manchester had four CFOs in 10 years. Jack brought much-needed stability to the University’s finances which, in turn, has given others confidence in Manchester’s long-term financial success.
Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to 1,500 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at www.manchester.edu.
Sept. 30, 2015