Jeffrey C. Littmann, MST 1981
Jeff Littmann:Honored for Extraordinary Service
Walsh College is proud to announce the Jeffrey C. Littmann Endowed scholarship , made possible by a generous grant of the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation. The scholarship, established in honor of Mr. Littmann’s long service to Ralph Wilson Enterprises, is intended to assist Macomb Community College transfer students, especially those individuals with children who are balancing the demands of family, work, and academics. Ralph C. Wilson Jr., most widely known as the owner of the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise, said of Littmann, “Jeff is the hardest worker I know. It is hard to believe he has been with me for more than 27 years. He continues to be an invaluable advisor on everything we do. I know he values his education from Walsh and I am so pleased to be able to honor him with this scholarship in his name.”
Jeffrey C. Littmann (MST ’81) is vice president and CFO of Ralph C. Wilson Enterprises, LLC, director and CFO of Buffalo Bills Inc., a member and CFO of the Ralph Wilson Equity Fund, and director and treasurer of Interstate Highway Construction, Inc. Littmann’s roles as officer with the many business units of Ralph Wilson Enterprises requires a unique skill set. “To be able to do it, you have to have the right mindset. First and foremost, to multi-task and handle all of the roles, you have to understand that the people in the field have a unique management expertise – that of their industry. While most management skills are transferable, industry knowledge is not. I work at the 40,000-ft. level – there’s a detachment from the everyday – and that’s a tool I bring to the table. They, on the other hand, are living the customer experience daily and great deference must be given to their views.”
Commenting on the mission of finance in an organization, Littmann said, “I hate the word controller. A controller doesn’t control. He (or she) services.” Continues Littmann, “I learned that long ago from Peter Drucker’s seminal book on management, “The Practice of Management.” You have to view other departments as your customer. I have to find a way to say yes and at the same time, make sure the culture and the beliefs of the organization are upheld.”
Littmann learned the culture of service first-hand at Arthur Andersen, where he served a variety of clients in a host of industries. “That’s where I learned that I’m not the guy, my client is. You have to listen to and engage with different people and relationships,” says Littmann. “It’s the same thing with a family-owned firm. It’s not about my goals. It’s about respecting the family’s goals and helping them to achieve those goals. I wouldn’t have my position, and I wouldn’t have lasted this long, without the bond of trust that I have with Mr. Wilson. It’s that bond of trust that has carried us through all the challenges.”
Littmann has some advice for today’s busy students: “If you’re doing that (work and school) grind, you have to make it fun. You have to tape up and get ready for the game. Go to class with your game face on and stay with the professor throughout the whole lecture. If you’re just trying to make it through, you’re toast.”
He should know. While working full-time and raising his family in the early 1970’s, Littmann first attended Macomb Community College, then earned his Bachelor of Accounting and a Master of Taxation at Walsh College. He later earned a Juris Doctor from Detroit College of Law. Recalling those days, Littmann says, “I went to night school not only out of necessity – I did need a paycheck – but also because I needed the work-study balance to stay on track.” He explained that, “the four-year, on-campus experience isn’t for everyone. Some people can handle the immersion, but others are bored with the long gaps of free time afforded by an on-campus experience.”
Littmann is proud that this gift is directed to Walsh for the use of Macomb Community College students, and equally proud that his long-time mentor, Ralph Wilson, has chosen to honor his service in this way. “This endowment was set up to help people who do it the long way… balancing family, work and school.”
Please join Walsh College in applauding Jeff Littmann in his continued success by adding your comments below.
To nominate an alumnus to applaud, contact Duc Abrahamson, Alumni & Student Relations Manager at (248) 823-1298.