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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Strategic Notes from FEE, January 2015

January 2015

I’m pleased to report to you this month on a re-alignment and strengthening of FEE’s leadership team.

Carl Oberg, who has been chief operating officer going on five years, has resigned his position effective January 1, 2015, in order to join a firm that provides accounting services to small businesses and non-profit organizations.

For several years now, FEE has outsourced all of our back-office and bookkeeping functions, while Carl has directly managed the higher-level roles of a typical finance department in-house. These include financial reporting, audit and tax (yes, we do file tax returns!), budgeting, employee benefits, and compliance.

Carl will continue to handle these roles for us, with the title Director of Finance, but will do so through an outsourcing contract. We will continue to have his advice and counsel on strategic questions and the benefit of his extensive network.

Carl will be developing this outsourcing service as a business line for his new firm, and we expect he’ll do very well with it, considering the improvements he has engineered at FEE during his tenure, for example:

  • Continual advances in volume, quality and efficiency by the Programs and Media teams, while recruiting a number of enthusiastic young leaders with specialized capabilities,
  • New cuts to overhead every year, allowing us to increase productive investments in our infrastructure, our people, and our relationships,
  • Expense accounting methods that have enhanced our cost controls while cutting audit fees in half, and
  • Analytics giving full transparency each week to revenues and variances from budget.

Together with the generous support of our members, these professional management practices have given FEE a solid foundation from which to expand its circle of influence among young people. As described in our recent annual report, in 2014 we broke all previous records with over 3 million online engagements, 800 seminar attendees, 115,000 publications distributed, 18 online events, and representation at 91 in-person events.

Richard Lorenc, currently Director of Programs & Alumni Relations, succeeds Carl as COO. Jason Riddle, currently Program Development Manager, succeeds Richard as Director of Programs & Alumni Relations. We have started a search to fill Jason’s former position.

With Carl handling financial matters, Richard will be able to focus on several new product initiatives, which you’ll hear more about during 2015, as well as on enhancements to our traditional offerings.

Carl, Richard and Jason are splendid examples of a new generation of leaders in the rapidly-evolving industry of liberty-minded non-profits.

Each brings a strong devotion to the cause of liberty together with an equally strong dedication to the cause of professionalizing the industry. Similarly, they combine a solid academic foundation in the freedom philosophy with years of training and hands-on experience in the practice of non-profit management.

We are fortunate that our movement has attracted people who are as dedicated to excellence in managing the enterprise as they are to learning and teaching about ideas on liberty. We congratulate Carl, Richard and Jason on their new positions and look forward to continued growth with this expansion of the management team.

  • Wayne Olson is the Chairman of FEE's Board of Trustees and a former executive director of the Foundation for Economic Education.