Bennett Kowalk, Verdant Commercial Capital – 2023 NextGen 40 Under 40 List

Bennett Kowalk, Vice President, Corporate Controller, Verdant Commercial Capital

Bennett Kowalk has embraced opportunities to extend his unique skill set beyond the boundaries of a singular role throughout his career. He left a large public accounting firm in 2019 to join Verdant Commercial Capital as the company’s first corporate controller. “Part of what drew me to Verdant was that, as a new and nimble independent equipment finance company, I could impact all areas of controllership, including financial accounting, treasury, budgeting and accounting policy,” Kowalk says.

Kowalk quickly proved his value and was promoted to a vice president and company officer role in 2020. Since his arrival four years ago, he has significantly improved Verdant’s accounting processes and procedures and helped increase debt facilities to support more than $600 million in annual originations. “I am forever grateful that Verdant allowed me the freedom to make such an impact to the organization,” Kowalk says.

A self-described “corporate chameleon,” Kowalk can find common ground with anyone. A creative analytic, an introverted extrovert and a leader who can follow, he believes the best way to understand something is to be able to argue for and against it. “Faced with a new issue or challenge, I take the time to deeply analyze all sides and empathize with the parties involved to arrive at the most efficient and effective solution,” Kowalk says.

Kowalk is passionate about work-life balance and has a special interest in personal health. “You wouldn’t believe it if you saw me, but I was once a towering 6-foot, 6-inch, 305-pound offensive tackle for the Harvard football team,” Kowalk says. “Today, I’m about an inch and a half shorter — gravity is undefeated — and 100 pounds leaner.” Kowalk lifts weights five days a week and mixes in cardio. The routine keeps him balanced and focused every day at Verdant.