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Heary making $ense of financial world

September 2, 2011

John Heary, formerly of St. Marys, has enjoyed a steady career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Photo submitted.

John Heary, 37, is well-versed in the state of the country's economy as Lead Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
"The Federal Reserve Bank organization is a great place to work in general. Whether you’re at a main office, a branch office or at the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., there is something for everyone," Heary said. "Not everyone might think highly of what we do or what we stand for, but the 13 years I’ve been here, I can proudly say to others who I work for.
When he first started working at the Federal Reserve Bank, Heary's duties included forecasting, budgeting and ad-hoc modeling for cost revenue pro-formas within the organization.
Soon after, there was a consolidation of positions and efforts in the federal Reserve Banks to streamline and increase efficiencies.
"However, thanks to the financial fraud going on in corporate America-- ENRON, Tyco, Worldcom, Adelphia Cable-- a new financial regulation act called the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) came about, which required publicly held companies and SEC registrants to perform assessments on the internal controls around their financial statements and financial reports," Heary explained. "The Federal Reserve System decided to comply with the new auditing standards which came out of the Act, and the management at the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia provided me with the opportunity to be a part of this new department, which was created to perform the task."
For the past six years, Heary has been working in his current position within this newly established department. Currently, he coordinates and maintains the Bank’s COSO and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and internal control assessment programs, as well as coordinating the Key Risk Assessment process for all bank departments, which includes the identification of inherent and residual risks, the development of action plans and the monitoring and evaluation of bankwide risk.
"I act as the liaison between the bank’s external auditor, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and bank officers on internal and financial control issues," Heary said. "On a national level, I provide analytical and administrative support to various Federal Reserve System COSO and ERM workgroups."
Additionally, Heary provides status reports and updates to the Chief Financial Officer prior to Bank Audit Committee, Internal Control and Assessment Committee meetings. He plans on taking on a more expanded role in such activities in the future.
"The role I play in the bank allows me to interact with every business area, their management and staff," Heary said. "I have developed both professional and personal relationships with everyone in the bank, right up to our president, Charles Plosser; our first vice president, Blake Prichard; and our CFO, Donna Franco."
While Heary stated that every job has its challenges, he emphasized that he is tested by dealing with a vast number of people across numerous entities of the organization.
"Deadlines on deliverables and management of time probably get the most attention," he said.
Following the worst financial crisis in recent times, Heary was assigned to work for one month at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York within the Markets Group.
As part of his tasks, Heary reviewed and tested the financial controls put in place for one of the 14 liquidity programs created under the Federal Reserve Act to help banks, primary dealers and participants in key credit markets with adequate access to liquidity as the traditional channels of lending dried up.
"Living in lower Manhattan and being around Wall Street was a great experience," Heary noted.
While growing up in St. Marys, Heary attended Elk County Christian High School, graduating in 1992. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently finishing his final three classes as part of a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Rutgers University.
John is the son of James "Mouse" Heary and Helen Krug Heary. He has two brothers, James Heary Jr., married to Anne, with two daughters, Sarah and Clara; and Tom Heary, married to Julie, with a son, Ryan, and a daughter, Marissa. His grandparents were the late Art and Clara Heary Sr. and and George P. and Agnes Krug.
Heary currently resides in Sicklerville, New Jersey.
According to Heary, he never thought he would end up in banking or even at the Federal Reserve Bank.
"My career goal out of high school was to get into the physical therapy field and maybe go on to be a doctor or physician’s assistant," he said. "A degree in mathematics wasn’t even on the radar at that point, but my high school math teachers (Mr. Snelick, Mr. Lallman, Ms. Buerk) made math an interesting subject and I changed my major to mathematics."
Heary explained that while the risk management field is not something new, it is gaining attention in many organizations, specifically due to the recent incidents in the financial world. He noted that some universities are offering courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level on the subject.
"However, my main background is in math and just the word can cause people to cringe," he said. "Math is a 'concrete' field, you’re either right or wrong-- 1 plus 1 is always going to equal 2 and if it doesn’t, well then, you might want to double-check your math."
Upon graduating from college, Heary took a local position as a temp at OSRAM Sylvania in the Engineering and Specifications department.
"I didn’t really use my math background as much as I’d like to have, but I was placed on a team which was in charge of implementing the ISO 9000 Quality Standards at the plant and then a team for the implementation of a new business management software called SAP," Heary said.
He added that Gary Fritz, Bill Woodford, Tom Vidoni and Doll Fox all saw some of his potential, thus assigning him more and more challenging work to do.
The job at the Federal Reserve Bank came about after a friend of a friend informed Heary of a position in the Business Planning and Analysis department, which required someone with strong math and analytical skills.
Following two trips to Philadelphia for interviews, Heary was offered the position.
"Any success in my career or life can be attributed to my parents, my brothers, family, friends, teammates; basically, anyone that has touched my life in any way. I grew up in a working-class home, my parents raised us to respect others, work hard, yet be humble. They helped get me to where I am today," Heary said.
"The family has run a successful retail furniture business for over 55 years, and when you have that kind of atmosphere around you, you want to build off that success and even branch out on your own path if that’s what you choose."
While growing up in St. Marys, Heary said the town never seemed small.
"The street you lived on seemed to go on forever. Riding your bike or walking across town to a friend’s house, Memorial Park, wherever, seemed like a day-long journey," Heary recollected. "But as you grew older and your world expanded, St. Marys got smaller. But it allowed me to grow up at a great pace. I was able to enjoy my youth, and feel safe and secure within the community."
Throughout his years living in St. Marys, Heary was a member of the St. Mary's Church Parish, as well as having coached Cavaliers basketball, St. Marys Little League and the Elk County Christian (Catholic) High School track and field team.
Currently, Heary is an active member of the Catholic Men’s Fraternity (CMF), where he enjoys visiting to share a drink and good conversation with old friends and fellow members during his trips back to St. Marys.
Outside of the office, Heary enjoys playing golf, softball and fishing whenever he's back in the area.
"I like to take life one day at a time. Nothing in life is guaranteed. I’d hate to set some goal which never comes to fruition," Heary said. "Whatever challenges or opportunities come my way, the good Lord willing, I’ll accept, complete to the best of my abilities and keep on going to the next one."

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