Ultimate CEO Award- Rafe Sanson
Rafe Sanson got to know The CSI Companies as a client. Winn-Dixie, where he worked in the accounting department for 17 years, used CSI for temporary staffing. Little did he know that one day he would be running the CSI.
But Winn-Dixie wasn’t his only serendipitous interaction with his current employer. He also saw CSI first-hand in 2003, when he worked as a comptroller for to Fidelity Investment Services.
But after years of observing on the sideline, he moved into the role of CFO in 2005.
“The owner of CSI wanted to grow the company and needed a finance guy,” Sanson said. When the company was sold to Recruit Holdings, a Japanese-based company, he was offered the position of CEO.
Leapfrogging up the corporate structure of a vendor wasn’t his aim after graduating from Louisiana State University, though. Like many now, he was just seeking employment.
“Jobs were hard to come by in the late 1980s, and Winn-Dixie was the first opportunity,” he said. “It brought me to Jacksonville and I just progressed from there.”
But because of hardwork and dedication, he excelled in his new field and was quickly rewarded.
“I started out as a clerk accountant and my goal was to be an assistant comptroller. I did that in two years. Then I wanted to be comptroller and then a director and a CFO,” Sanson said. “Even though I thought it was farfetched, my next goal was to be a CEO and six years later I was a CEO.”
Though recruitment is what CSI is all about, Sanson said his biggest challenge is finding the right people for his own company. “We have a unique culture. We’re very lean. We ask a lot of our people. They are rewarded well, but we work hard/play hard.”
The future in the ever-changing health care IT industry will be challenging as well, he said.
“We are well positioned to change with it. We’re doing a good job at making a profit for our shareholders. We have all the pieces in place to grow.”
So, Sanson has set another goal — getting to $500 million in revenue within the coming five years.