Derry Chief Financial Officer Frank Childs has announced his retirement.
Childs, who will turn 70 in September, has chosen that milestone for his last month in Derry. He has logged 12 years in the town and said it’s been an enjoyable journey.
Childs, a native of Pembroke, was always headed toward a career in finance. He started college at Northeastern University in Boston, drawn by the school’s co-op program, but came back to New Hampshire when New Hampshire College of Commerce and Accounting, now Southern New Hampshire University, expanded to a four-year program. He graduated from that school in 1966.
Childs knew he was going to be drafted, and he enlisted in the Navy instead of being drafted into the Army. “I thought the worst that could happen to me was that I’d be assigned to a ship off the coast of Vietnam,” he recalled. Instead, he was placed with the Seabees and given the job of building and maintaining an airstrip “three miles south of the DMZ (demilitarized zone).”
He spent 18 months of his four-year enlistment in Vietnam and said, “I was one of the lucky ones.
Childs spent most of his career in the private sector, specifically with utility companies. Though he spent 12 years as president and chief executive officer of a gas/electric distribution facility, most of his work was in the accounting/finance area.
He brought those skills to Derry after Energy North, his last private-sector employer, was sold and merged. His position was eliminated, and Childs knew that if he wanted to stay in private-sector utilities, he would have to move to the Southwest or Midwest. But his family was here, and he decided to stay in New Hampshire. He worked two years for the Manchester Salvation Army as administrative director, and then came to Derry when the CFO spot opened up.
He has liked Derry primarily for the people, Childs said. “My peers in senior management are excellent,” he said. He’s also watched other employees grow and taken pleasure in that growth.
“It’s been a good run,” Childs said, adding that “When I initially came here I thought, ‘Five years.’”
Childs said he’s leaving his department in good shape. “The town finances are strong,” he said. He’s particularly proud of the fact that Standard and Poor’s recently updated the town’s rating to one grade below AAA.
Childs, a resident of New Boston, plans to spend more time with his wife, Beth, daughters Meredith and Melissa – “The M&Ms” – and seven grandchildren. His last day of work is Sept. 30.