When Teresa Simmons decided to move on from manufacturing, where she oversaw two acquisitions and a company switch from public to private, she found out that her wide range of experience was a solid base for the tech industry.
Bick Group Inc. is benefitting from Simmons’ expertise as she has already contributed to a restructuring that has increased the company’s operating revenue by 20 percent since she joined as chief financial officer in January 2012.
Bick Group CEO Andy Parham emphasized Simmons’ broad expertise with a company’s books as one of the main reasons for the increase.
“We all know that we need Teresa to hold us accountable for operational performance and at the same time we want her in the room when we are doing our most creative work,” he said.
Before Simmons, 41, joined Bick Group, which designs, builds and operates cloud computing technologies and data centers in three operating units, she worked as controller at Chesterfield-based printing press manufacturer Mark Andy Inc. for 10 years. During that time, Mark Andy went from publicly traded to private by way of two acquisitions, in 2006 and 2008. Her prior experience in private equity as accounting manager for vending machine maker Coin Acceptors Inc. in St. Louis prepared her for the position at Bick Group, her first employer outside the manufacturing sector.
Simmons also brings her experience to area nonprofits. She is a volunteer teacher with Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, where program manager Janet Whalen said Simmons has instructed some 75 students in the past three years on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. “Based on Teresa’s background, the things that she can interject into each of the lessons have enhanced and enriched the curriculum and made it really worthwhile for the kids,” Whalen said.
Simmons said bringing her real-world experiences into the classroom is part of her goal. “I really think that’s how learning occurs, by making that connection and understanding.”
Founder and Executive Director Carissa Figgins said Simmons’ assistance has paved the way for The Sparrow’s Nest to establish sound financial procedures.
“We value excellence and I know that, from what she expects from the Bick Group, she has transferred that over to The Sparrow’s Nest. It helps lend us a bit of credibility and accountability in the community,” Figgins said. The organization closed on a $275,000 home in O’Fallon, Mo., at the end of July, and expects to complete renovations and begin operating there Nov. 15.
Simmons, who has a B.S. in accountancy from the University of Missouri – Columbia and an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, said that her goals involve the continued growth of Bick Group, particularly within Bick Health. Simmons is a member of the St. Louis chapter of the Association of Corporate Growth and St. Louis Forum.