2015 - 2nd Quarter

Welcome to InFocus!

By Brian Burnett, Vice President for Finance and CFO
Brian Burnett, Vice President for Finance and CFO

Brian Burnett, Vice President for Finance and CFO

Reorganizing, Rewarding, and Moving Ahead in System Finance

As I noted in the last issue of InFocus, the only constant in life and work is change and there are a number of positive changes to report to our system, campuses, students, faculty, and staff we serve each day.


Effective April 1, I have made a change in the reporting structure in System Finance with respect to the office of Management Services. Previously, the Facilities Planning and Development function reported to the Assistant Vice President for Management Services. This group, led by Beth Asbury, which works with all of the campuses on capital planning, project execution, and reporting will now report directly to my position. I made this change due to the increasing work we are doing with respect to our $1.4 billion backlog of maintenance and repair projects across the System’s four campuses, an expected increase in construction activity, and increased scrutiny of space utilization. By having a seasoned staff like Beth reporting directly to the Vice President, I can get an enhanced understanding of our challenges and needs. Beth served as Interim Director of Facilities Planning and Development for one month before being appointed Director on April 1, 2014. She began her career with the University of Missouri in Facilities Planning & Development July 1993 and was promoted to University Engineer on June 1, 2002. Beth has been involved in many of the projects around each of your campuses and has a tremendous grasp of the opportunities and challenges faced by our campuses and the health system. I appreciate Beth’s willingness to report directly to me on a daily and weekly basis – I hope she does not find my questions or tasks too painful moving ahead.


When I arrived in August of last year, the Division of Management Services was led by an interim appointment awarded to Ed Knollmeyer. In the ensuing months, Ed has shown a tremendous grasp of not only Risk Management issues but has worked closely with other areas of the division as new employees arrived and demands for services continued, particularly in the area of real estate matters. Ed was more than up to the task of being the permanent choice for Assistant Vice President for Business Services and this promotion was recently announced. Ed has worked for the UM system since January 2007 and will do a great job in this role – please join me in congratulating Ed on his promotion.

Moving ahead

As some may know, the Board of Curators approved an initiative to move our current internal audit function to an “in-sourced” function after fifteen years of outsourcing with PwC. Our first task was to initiate a search for a Chief Audit Executive and that search has been ongoing for the last few months. At the end of the search, a decision was reached by the President, the chair of the Curator’s Audit committee, and me that our best solution for finding a qualified Chief Auditor was to look to a trusted professional who was already a member of the UM family. Ryan Rapp, UM Assistant Vice President and System Controller, was selected by the Board of Curators to serve as the Associate Vice President and Chief Audit Executive effective May 1. Ryan will be charged with building a team to take over the internal auditing and consulting functions from PwC on November 1, 2015. Ryan is an MU grad with five years of private accounting and auditing experience along with five years of system accounting experience.

We have some work ahead in filling Ryan’s position within the Controller’s office but I believe we have terrific “bench strength” within the Office of Finance to ensure a smooth transition.

I appreciate Ryan’s willingness to take on this exciting challenge – we will provide more details on this new division in future editions of InFocus. Please join me in congratulating Ryan on his new assignment.

Wrapping up…..

Thus, many changes continue to take shape as we work to build a “best-in-class” central finance function serving the campuses and health system with customer-friendly, effective, and efficient services. Thanks to everyone for all you do to support the mission of this great university system.

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