After a five-month nationwide search for a new Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, Bishop Cynthia Moore Koikoi has announced that Roger S. White has been selected and will be recommended for election as Conference Treasurer and DAS at the 2018 Annual Conference session in June.
White joined the WPAUMC finance staff in September 2014 after a 30-year career in the financial services industry in the U.S. and abroad. He currently serves as the assistant treasurer and has worked closely with Larry Bridge, the current treasurer and DAS, who is retiring after serving in the post since 2014.
“We began a national search for a Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services in October of last year,” said Bishop Moore-Koikoi. The search committee included members from the Finance and Administration and Personnel committees, the Cabinet, staff and the Bishop. The denomination’s General Council on Finance and Administration was engaged to help with the process. After interviews of several candidates and much time in prayer and discernment, the team eventually selected White, the Bishop said.
“When I look back and connect the dots over two decades, where I am today seems to all be part of God’s plan, “ said White.
His first professional job after earning an accounting degree from Texas A&M was with a small accounting firm in Eastern PA, where for a brief time he and Martha Blackstone, a leader at Salem UMC in Wexford and partner in a Cranberry Twp. accounting firm, were colleagues. Both left that firm and moved on in their careers and, in an era before social media, didn’t stay in contact.
White worked as an auditor, then joined Price Waterhouse (later Price Waterhouse Coopers) as a management consultant in various U.S. locations, eventually moving to Tokyo as a partner. After several years in Asia with PwC and IBM Business Consulting, White returned to the U.S., first working in San Francisco, then moving to Cranberry Twp., near where his wife grew up.
“We moved back in 2008 when our daughters were in second and third grade. It was a good time for them and I had a job (with Citisoft) where I could live anywhere as long as I was close to an airport,” he said. A few years after, he began putting together a financial plan to launch his own company and needed the help of a local accountant. His attorney recommended Martha Blackstone and, after 20 years their career paths crossed again.
In 2014, White said, he knew it was time to make a change that would result in a more balanced lifestyle and professional opportunities where he could begin to give back.
“I spent the better part of the preceding four years being gone Monday through Thursday or Friday and doing work on the weekends. The girls were going to be starting high school. I didn’t have anything lined up when I “retired” from consulting, but I took a month off and started making some calls. He got a lead from Martha Blackstone, who told him that Larry Bridge was looking for a finance director for the Conference. White applied and was hired.
Last fall, when Bridge announced plans to retire, White considered whether to apply for the job.
“I was wrestling with what it really means to work with numbers and budgets (for ministry). I felt as if I needed to be more invested in the meaning of the work. I felt as if maybe part of what I was missing was the local church experience, ” he said. Although White grew up in the Methodist Church, he and his family are members at St. Ferdinand Roman Catholic Church. Recently Roger began attending the contemporary worship service at Dutilh UMC.
“In early January, Tom Parkinson launched a sermon series in which 2018 would be a year in which people were going to be called and sent to do God’s work – a year in which people would become more invested and go all in” he said. “It feels like this is the path that is being laid out for me. It all ties together; it is all connected. I am being called to do this job and to use whatever I can bring to bear to provide stability and support for ministry.
“We as a department have a really good work environment,” he added. “As a group, we are very high functioning and there’s a great dynamic and that’s going to continue.”