Louisville, Ky.-based Zeon Chemicals LP Chief Financial Officer LaStacia Dalton was named Plastics News CFO of the Year at the 2019 Financial Summit, held May 20-21 in Chicago.
"When I sit and think about my greatest achievement, it's hard for me to say because when I think of success, I think of it more of a people standpoint and a relationship standpoint. The people that I work with, that's why I come here every day — because of the people, the employees," Dalton said during a May 1 phone interview.
When Dalton first started at the University of Kentucky, her original plan was not in finance. She was a political science major and wanted to go to law school. But things changed course when she took an accounting class and loved it.
Dalton held an accounting internship with Kentucky Utilities, graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting and worked for KU full time following graduation. She also graduated from the University of Louisville with a Master of Business Administration.
She worked for Ware Energy then went back to KU as it was merging with Louisville Gas and Electric.
In 2006, Dalton left to become corporate controller of Zeon Chemicals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zeon Corp. of Tokyo that produces specialty elastomers. She became CFO in 2012.
Dalton said her responsibilities as CFO have expanded every year. Information technology came under her umbrella in 2013, human resources in 2015 and purchasing in 2016.
"A day in the life of LaStacia is more or less doing a little bit of everything," Dalton said, adding that typical responsibilities include looking at sales, checking the news and foreign currency, holding one-on-one meetings with direct reports and the executive management committee, and planning objectives and strategies.
Over the last few years, Dalton and her team have centralized accounting functions to the corporate location, which streamlined operations and allowed for more efficient use of resource while lowering costs; implemented a timekeeping system across all locations; employed a performance management system; employed a new budgeting system; implemented an expense reporting system including mobile capabilities; carried out an accounts payable automated and paperless invoice approval process; and deployed data analytics across the business Microsoft Power BI.