Three Roots Staff Spotlight: Jeff Ault

“I’m constantly amazed at the creative way that Three Roots Capital works with its clients,” said Three Roots Capital’s Controller Jeff Ault. “It’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”

Three Roots welcomed Ault to the team in 2021. With a 32-year-long accounting career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he brought an unparalleled level of expertise to Three Roots’ financial operations.

“You either really like accounting or you don’t. Thankfully, I enjoy it. It’s like putting a big puzzle together,” said Ault. “I’ve been able to do so many things with my accounting degree. I did work in public accounting for several years, but what it allowed me to do was learn a lot about how businesses work.”

During his career, Ault held many positions, including internal auditor, Director of the Logistical Services Division and Chief Financial Officer of UT-Battelle Development Corporation. He is most proud of his work implementing two major business systems for accounting and human resources at ORNL.

“I felt like I got to leave my fingerprints on a lot of things that are still in use today,” said Ault. “There is a certain amount of professional satisfaction that comes from knowing the Lab is still using at least two of those big systems that I was heavily involved in implementing.”

In his last 10 years at ORNL, he got involved with the lab’s mentorship program, where he paired up with employees who were early in their careers. He found the work meaningful and that it aligned with his mission to help others recognize, improve and use their talents to help themselves and the organizations they work for.

“I enjoy helping people be the best they can be at whatever they’re doing at the time,” said Ault.

It was this drive to help others that brought him to work at Three Roots. He reached a point in his career where he was considering retirement, but as his wife would say, he “failed retirement miserably” by leaving ORNL one day and starting work at Three Roots the following week.

“If I was going to go back to work after retiring, I wanted to do something with a small company and an organization that was contributing to the community,” said Ault. “I was intrigued by how Three Roots helps businesses solve problems and grow. Businesses need money to operate and good advice. Our team does a good job at listening to what our clients need.”

Three Roots was extremely deliberate in bolstering its in-house accounting services. Instead of posting the open position online or using a job service or recruiting firm, the team connected with Ault through their professional network.

“Three Roots was – and is still – growing our capacity and capabilities,” said Grady Vanderhoofven, founder, president and CEO. “Jeff was the perfect fit for this position. He has extensive, relevant experience that allows Three Roots to expand its resources and expertise for our clients and partners. In addition, he is a pleasure to work with and a great fit with our team.”