Atlanta Spotlight | Patrick Lynch

Patrick Lynch joined Interface in 1996 and was promoted to Assistant Corporate Controller in 1998. In 2000 Patrick became Assistant Vice President and Corporate Controller and was promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2001. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2007. Prior to joining Interface, Patrick previously held the title of Senior Accountant at a national accounting firm providing assurance, tax, financial advisory and consulting services to private and publicly traded businesses.

A CPA by training, Patrick possesses a unique strategic vision and expertise in financial matters. With responsibilities for accounting, internal audits, SEC and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, investor relations, commercial and investment banking, tax, and insurance, Patrick also gives credit to his team as a major force behind the growth of Interface.

About Interface

Interface is a global leader in the design and production of carpet tiles. Its products combine beauty and innovation with functionality and environmental credentials to help customers bring their design vision to life.

The company was one of the first ones to publicly commit to sustainability, when it made a pledge in the mid-nineties to eliminate its impact on the environment by 2020. Known as Mission Zero®, it influences every aspect of the business and inspires the company to continually push the boundaries in order to achieve its goal.
Interface is now more than half way to reaching Mission Zero and has been widely recognized for its achievements to date. Its products have also achieved several awards, specifically for design and innovation, one of the most recent being The Athenaeum Good Design Award for World Textiles.

Where were you born?

Sayre, Pennsylvania

Tell me about your early career- lessons learned?

Being able to coordinate my teams and their supervisors in terms of setting expectations and delivering on those expectations rather than having it directed and delegated. By being proactive and getting out in front of duties to manage how the project was going to come together really has led to positive success.
Secondly, the ability to obtain information from people within their respective accounting roles helps coordination and the ability for everyone to stay engaged within the same vision for a project. Appealing to my peers work styles helped to get information needed in a timely basis. Cooperative rather than combative relationships always help business run smoother in the finance sector of business.

What do you like about your current position?

As the CFO, I get to see so many different aspects of business whether its treasury, capital markets transactions, tax, financial reporting, and business development. I also recently inherited the IT functions as well as the procurement operations. There are so many different areas that I am responsible for, every day is a new challenge. I am always dealing with a new topic and my position is flexible with a lot of variety. These areas are new and fresh and I enjoy the breadth of variety in my many roles.

What makes Interface a successful company?

The sustainability roots are the core of our organization and it’s been great for employee retention. It has helped us in manufacturing and reducing waste. It has been great for our product development in terms of what we have offered to our customers. To have the groundwork of our vision as the sustainability of “doing well by doing good”, at its core it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. In a corporate public company environment you feel like there is a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. We are doing it the right way in that corporate paradigm.

How is the culture of Interface?

If you go back to the entrepreneurial spirit of the original founder, Ray Anderson it is still true today. He saw this opportunity in carpet tile. He was with a competitor of ours and saw this opportunity in carpet tile. They didn’t embrace it or have the vision for the product that he did so he set off on his own course to create Interface and maximize the opportunity around using carpet tile. I think that spirit is alive and well in the organization today. Innovation is a huge aspect for us in terms of being able to revolutionize modular carpet. We are never afraid to try new things and there are no shortages of ideas around here. The pioneering spirit of not being afraid to take risks and gambles has been the core cultural theme of the organization and that goes back to the very beginning of our foundation.

What do you see in the future for Interface?

There is so much opportunity in front of Interface, whether it’s geographical expansion to Central and South America, Eastern Europe, or Asia. There is plenty of opportunity for additional vertical penetration of other markets like healthcare, hospitality, retail, and even the residential market to that degree. There is no shortage of top line growth opportunities organically for the organization as we expand geographically and in other vertical segments. I think we will continue on this path that we set out for ourselves about 10 or 12 years ago in getting back to the core modular business and focus on the opportunities in the head room that we see for modular carpet in the horizon. We will continue to do that in a sustainable and entrepreneurial fashion for the foreseeable future.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Probably the first place to look would be on the golf course. I am mildly addicted to the game of golf. Secondly would be around my daughter’s activities: cheerleading and/or competitive cheerleading. Those consume the bulk of the spare time when I am not working.

Secrets to success?

Sometimes it’s just being at the right place at the right time. Most of the time it’s taking advantage of an opportunity put in front of you. Try to do the right thing, keep it simple and be accountable for what you signed up to deliver by executing.

By Jon Huggins


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