Public Policy Associates Chief Financial Officer Virginia M. Orabone will retire from PPA at the end of the year after playing a vital role in the company’s success for nearly two decades.
Ms. Orabone joined PPA as director of business management in 2005. A certified public accountant, she created financial management systems and oversaw administrative functions, built lasting relationships with vendors, and planned company events. She became CFO and co-owner of PPA in 2014 and later sole owner, before selling the company to CEO Rob Fowler earlier this year.
Company founder and Board Chair Jeff Padden recalled hiring Ms. Orabone, previously controller of a research firm in Grand Rapids, and called her “the perfect fit.” She modernized business operations and transformed the way PPA tracked money and staff time. She was involved in interviewing and hiring staff and helped create a welcoming environment that fostered professional growth and company success.
“Everyone at PPA just loves working with Virginia. She really understands there are a lot of demands placed on staff because clients have lots of needs and expectations,” Mr. Padden said. “We’re lucky not just because of her technical and business skills, but because she is such a wonderful human being.”
PPA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Graber said it’s hard to imagine PPA without her. She said Ms. Orabone has played a critical role in advancing projects from the development stage through completion and in sustaining relationships with vendors and clients.
“She has always been dedicated to helping PPA be a success,” Ms. Graber said. “And she is a very caring person who has the employees front of mind in decisions about the company.”
Mr. Fowler is grateful to Ms. Orabone for making his transition to leadership and ownership as smooth as possible.
“She has been a terrific mentor and teacher. I have appreciated her wisdom and patience,” he said. “The company is in good shape and has lots of opportunity for growth.”
Ms. Orabone said she has found her work at PPA rewarding and will miss most working with great people.
“I’m proud of the quality services we provide to our clients that have contributed to important policy decisions. It has been a privilege to work alongside our talented staff and consultants over these past years. The support of our vendors is deeply appreciated by me. I want to thank Jeff Padden for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow with PPA. It has been a wonderful experience!”