James D Maher
CEO & Founder
Location: Illinois Metro East, IL
Industry: Financial Services
*SECOND YEAR HONOREE*
When James D. Maher chose to launch his own financial services company, he intentionally set out to do it on his own, insulating his decision-making and endeavors from hurting anyone else in case the firm didn’t succeed.
“There was no roadmap,” he said. “So I made an economic decision to go it alone. I didn’t want to harm others if I was wrong. The reality is there are few ways to de-risk a startup, especially in the professional services industry. This was not only a startup in one professional service industry, but multiple at the same time. That kind of defines risk in retrospect.”
Maher is the CEO and founder of Archford, a financial firm offering management, accounting, retirement planning, business consulting and philanthropy services. The company aims to contribute to its clients successes by simplifying their financial life by educating, guiding, and informing. Archford is also heavily involved in philanthropy and Maher said his personal mantra is, “Help others.”
“The vision was bundling ‘all’ professional services for families so they would have a single resource from a team that has all the professional certifications and licenses to help them navigate the complexities of how certain moves impact other areas of their life and those professionals need to address those consequences,” Maher said.
In the last year, Archford doubled in size and added to its employee benefits package, including options to receive Archford services for employees and their families long into the future. The company was named to the Inc 5000 fastest-growing companies in the country list for the second time and was named by the St. Louis Business Journal for the second time as the 26th-fastest growing company in the region.
Maher has invested in research projects to understand the business landscape in the St. Louis area. His company commissioned a study through a professor with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Business to survey more than 400 business owners to get data on their transition planning and to learn what this might mean for the business outlook in the local geographical region.
“The results were surprising, and we now know how to help our family business owners in better ways to ensure a better outcome for the communities in our region,” the company said. “This data we were able to gather and interpret could have a tremendous impact on families we serve, which will have a compounding effect on business owners and all residents in our region.”
The acknowledgment to me actually sparked a greater sense of responsibility and accountability to other business owners in the region. Each team member I have helps support five jobs in the community outside our company. We need a healthy business community!!