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Lift as You Climb: Floyd Amuchie’s Motto for Helping Others

Floyd Amuchie, CPA, vice president and corporate controller at space tourism company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) says he’s committed to keep helping others on his quick rise up the career ladder.

“I’ve always been taught to lift as I climb,” he says. “It’s just a natural thing to do.”

He’s also aiming to help lift his company to the ranks of the area’s more valuable public companies.

The Richard Branson-backed firm went public via a reverse merger in 2019. It now sports a market valuation approaching $6 billion.

The company’s main base of aerospace operations are at an expansive site in New Mexico, though its executive hub, headed by CEO Michael Colglazier, a longtime exec at Disney, are at the aptly-named Flight campus in Tustin.

Amuchie says Virgin Galactic’s goal includes giving “people access to space [so] they can see that it’s really one world.”

“There’s not all these divisions. You lose the view of the different countries, the different racial divides. You really look down and you see one world.”

The 36-year-old Amuchie was awarded the Business Journal’s Rising Star Award as part of the CFO of the Year Awards event on Sept. 28.

Dividends in Investment

In accepting the award, Amuchie urged Orange County business leaders to keep supporting diversity.

“I am the product of investing in diversity,” Amuchie, an African American, told the crowd of about 450 people at the Irvine Marriott.  

The up-and-coming accounting specialist quoted a mentor saying that “diverse teams lead to better business outcomes.”

Amuchie previously served as a vice president and corporate controller at high-tech traffic movement and safety company Iteris Inc. (Nasdaq: ITI) in Santa Ana, starting in 2016. Iteris was valued at about $215 million as of last week.

Before that he was a senior manager of general accounting at the health insurance-focused Word & Brown Cos. in Orange from 2013 to 2016.

Amuchie joined Virgin Galactic in April, where he reports to Doug Ahrens, the company’s chief financial officer.  

A few months after he started at Virgin Galactic, founder Branson took a massively publicized ride into space in July on the company’s spaceship.

Would Amuchie like to a take a ride himself one day?

“Yes, definitely. I think it would be an awesome experience,” he told the Business Journal on Oct. 4.

Amuchie says that even though he isn’t a pilot or an engineer at Virgin Galactic, “I’m still a part of the mission. I’m still a part of a piece that’s hopefully going to change the world for the better.”

Family Push

Amuchie said that while he was growing up in Los Angeles, his mother, an educator, instilled in him the drive to succeed. The family later moved to LA County City of Cerritos, where he went to high school.

“My parents pushed me to a college prep program.”

He graduated with a B.A. in Business Management Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, after he “fell in love with the discipline of economics.”

“I always was interested in business,” he says.

He worked in the Bay Area from 2006 to 2013 when he moved to Orange County.

Giving Back

“Wherever I go I try to get involved and try to give back and really try to help people,” Amuchie says.

His outside roles include serving as national treasurer of Umu Igbo Unite, a cultural promotion group dedicated “to exporting the norms the value and traditions of the Igbos.” The Igbos are a large ethnic group who originally come from Nigeria and whose diaspora has taken them to countries across the globe.

He has also served on the board of the Orange County chapter of 100 Black Men of America, whose main goal is to help African-American young men and women reach their full potential.

Mentoring Youth

When he talks to young people, Amuchie emphasizes there are plenty of ways to pursue a successful career.

“A lot of kids these days think of entertainment or you get the cliché ‘be a doctor or a lawyer.’ But there are a lot of other disciplines. But I really just share my story, and that sparks interest.

“It’s tough to imagine something you’ve never seen before. But when you do see it, you know it’s possible.”

Teenagers are “probably more interested in their salary and how much money they can make,” he says, but reminds them there are various lucrative professions.

Amuchie’s wife, Allina, can attest to that. She is a trial and litigation partner with Rutan & Tucker, the second-largest firm in Orange County as measured by the number of local attorneys. She was named to the list of Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch (2021-2022).

They live with their 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, in Newport Beach. 

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