Welcome to The 6 a.m. CFO, where finance chiefs share how they jump-start their days and engage with the tasks that are in front of them. Today, Edgewood Resort CFO Aaron Hartwig shares how his dad continues to inspire his professional life, his favorite calendar on his desk, and how he best uses Twitter.
Edgewood, like many hospitality companies, faced crippling crises over the past few years, but Hartwig’s leadership helped it emerge intact from literal ashes. Read more about Hartwig’s impact on Edgewood here.
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Edgewood Companies is a private real estate company in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada that includes Edgewood Tahoe Resort, a 154-room resort with a top 100 golf course.
Years in Business: 125
Size: 500+ employees
Weekday wake-up time and the first thing I like to do: I normally wake up at 5:45 am with my wife Jessica to hit the gym for 45 minutes to an hour. As we are waking up, we are getting a dirty look from our Basset Hound, who is in denial about waking up. At the gym, we try to get into a good variety of exercises and some core work. Truth be told, this is all done to help my golf game, as I need all the help I can get.
Time I send out my first email: Oh man, I am not a fan of email. I much prefer a conversation if at all possible. I know there is a time and place for email, but I try to limit this to sharing of information, data, reports, or a message meant for multiple people.
Best advice for writing an effective email: Never write an email while you are upset and lashing out — never a good idea. I think you need to be short and to the point. I don’t believe long emails are read.
Workday start time: I have an hour commute, so generally I start between 8:30 and 9:00 am. I do try to take advantage of the commute to have conversations — both business and personal.
Coffee, tea, or other morning beverage choice?: I am a little embarrassed to say, but I love a Monster Energy Drink, practically any color. I know it is bad for me.
How I usually spend the first hour of my day: Mostly reviewing reports and dashboards. I try to maximize that first hour with an understanding of operations and prior day activity. It helps dictate the day’s conversations.
First dashboard I review: Daily operating report. This is a review of all revenue streams and all labor expenses for the prior day, compared to last year and budget.
Mid-morning snack of choice: I try to do intermittent fasting, meaning I don’t eat until noon or so. So, no snacking.
Favorite quote or mantra: My Dad, who is and always has been in my life, said, “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” I couldn’t tell you who first said it, but if you ask me, there is only one person who said it — my dad!
I truly do believe the harder you work at anything, the luckier you will be. I have heard another one, which is, “luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” and if you think about both quotes, they are reciprocal. You work hard or prepare hard, and when that opportunity presents itself, you will be the lucky one to seize the opportunity.
Favorite leadership lesson: Be real and relate to your team. I love that I have worked my way up through the industry and done many of the tasks within finance. It allows me to understand what a team is going through, but it also allows me to see when the wool is trying to be pulled over my eyes.
Something important to know about me that you wouldn’t know from my business bio: I spent my first three years in Las Vegas going to school full-time and working full-time without a vehicle and only riding my bicycle to get around. Further, I started dating my wife while riding my bicycle — talk about her taking a chance on someone!
Favorite number: 53 — it was always my number playing basketball in school. It’s the first two digits of my debit card pin. Now you only have to guess the last two digits and no, it is not 53 again.
Most noteworthy items in my workspace: I have handmade Chicago Bears, University of Illinois, UNLV, and Fresno State signs my dad has made me, and a calendar my wife makes me of all of our special moments throughout the previous year.
Favorite app on my phone that is not related to business: Twitter for me. I stay away from the political “junk” but I love the updates I can get on my Chicago Bears and all of the college teams I love. Also, I love the golf information and stats on Twitter.
When do you take time for learning/reading?: I am definitely better in the afternoon.