Make a Difference Day

Joe W BlogThe fourth Saturday of October witnessed national ‘Make a Difference Day. ‘What did you do to make a difference in your community? Did you, volunteer at a soup kitchen, tutor a student, volunteer at a nursing home or hospital? This year, I was lucky enough to have two projects. The first was Scots in Service Day and the second was in giving a helping hand at the United Way’s Southwest Solutions early learning center.

Everyone who knows me knows that I went to the College of Wooster, GO SCOTS. Each and every year, we Scots, come together, across the world, and give back to our communities. This year, Wooster Detroit community worked with Kensington Metro Park. Anyone who lives in the metro Detroit region, and hasn’t already, should make it out to the park, it’s a beautiful place to visit. This year we helped the park by removing some invasive trees. After we were done, we fed some birds; one even perched on the edge of my hand to eat some seeds.

Southwest Solution is an early learning center located in the heart of Detroit. They focus on empowering parents with young children, ages that range from birth to five. The center also provides free early learning to children, in one most impoverished location in the country. The biggest surprise to me was that the signs were bilingual and that 80% of the families they service are Spanish speaking. We helped Southwest solution by building an outdoor shed on their playground. Overall, it felt good to get my hands dirty and help two great organizations. I hope everyone else made a difference too.

Happy Anniversary APR !

It is amazing to think that we started this company 10 years ago.  On one hand, it seems like yesterday and on the other, it seems like a lot longer than that!  I distinctly remember the day we first walked into an empty office space having just left our jobs.  The day was September 13th, 2004…..

I remember because it was my wife’s birthday that day and I got to tell her that her husband is now unemployed and starting a brand new business from scratch.  Happy birthday, honey… we have no income !!    She knew, as did I, that there was no doubt that we would do great things with this company.  It was exciting and scary at the same time.  The reasons I knew we would be successful are as follows:

1)      Great partners!  We all had a level of success in our previous positions and knew what it takes to get there.  We all had a commitment that, in my opinion, was unparalleled.  We also had the principles that this company has held closely ever since.

2)      Three principles that we would instill and preach for as long as this company shall live!  Work Ethic, Positive attitude and Integrity !!

3)      Do the right things!  For our employees, for our clients, with our vendors and in the community.  You have heard it before….. do the right thing even when no-one is looking.  We have constantly looked for ways to improve our company for everyone.   And, we constantly look for ways to give back.  You can read numerous blogs on how our employees have generously donated their time, energy and money to help those in need.

4)      Hire the right people.  And we have!  We give all the credit to the hard-working, dedicated, and quality people that we have on our team.  This company has come so far because of the efforts of our employees.  We try, but don’t know if we can ever thank them enough for sharing our vision and passion in what we do.

I know I could come up with more, but these are some of the main reasons we have become a great company!  I am anxious and excited to see how far we can go together in the next 10 years.  We thank all of our clients for putting their faith and trust in us and the service we provide.  We love helping them in their business!

Happy Anniversary APR…. cheers !

I recently attended the Kentucky Bankers Association annual convention. I wrote about the wealth of information and knowledge many of us walked away with last week in our blog.

One of the best presentations I attended was on creativity. Yes, creativity!

There was a riveting presentation by a gentleman named Erik Wahl.  His presentation was labeled UNthink.  We were enlightened with some brilliant artwork and insights on how to not lose your creativity that we all had as kids.  Over time we all become less creative and more conforming in the way we conduct ourselves and our lives.  From school k-12, we are taught to do things the same way and as we enter the work force, even more so.

Take the time to break out of the norm from time to time and enjoy some art, music, dancing or whatever trips your trigger!  A great example of this is when Erik asked the audience who can draw….. pretty much NOBODY raised their hand…… he said if he asked a high school group, he would have a few hands…… if he asked a grade school group, everyone in the room would not only raise their hand, but with ultimate excitement !!!  How true is this?

Also, in today’s world of advertising, it is ever more important to have TRUST.  A big word and one that has lost a lot of meaning over the years.  We all need to know, like and trust people in order to feel comfortable to do business with them.

“Desi Turned Denver”

By Kaylee:

Some people have human babies while others have fur babies; I fall in the category as a fur baby mommy. September 14th was “national hug your hound day” so I wanted to share my story of “Desi turned Denver” and how he has touched my life.

Denver photoTwo years ago I moved to a new city and wanted to have a companion by my side. I have always been a dog lover, so I decided to jump on the band wagon and get a pup! Instead of getting a puppy like most people like to do, I wanted to get a rescue dog so I could give him a second shot at a happy life.

When I went to go look at him my intent was not to take him home that day, but I fell in love with his little face and just had to have him! Little did I know that sweet innocent face had fooled me. The rescue had named him Desi and really didn’t know anything about his past besides they got him from a high kill shelter. The rescue I bought him from was a no kill shelter and they had people who would foster these animals until their forever home came – they are called Last Day Dog Rescue. Once I got Desi home I decided to change his name to Denver. I felt Desi was more of a girl’s name and reminded me of that crazy cartoon devil!

After a couple months into having him his whole personality changed and I now realize why they probably named him Desi in the first place! I had gotten myself a wild child! Denver is super smart, but knows how to push the limits and likes to be a little thief and can be a little aggressive at times, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. At APR we have a lot of Vet Clients and as a CSR I always love speaking with them and hearing their stories. While working here I came across a local Referral vet that specializes in behavior problems, so needless to say I jumped on that and made an appointment.

The appointment isn’t till next month so I’m not too sure what to expect, but I’m sure it will be helpful for him. No matter the outcome, I’m in it for the long haul. He has given responsibility, excitement, stress at times, but most of all love to my life! I am so thankful I found my little fur baby and was able to give him another shot at a good life. So, if you take anything from my story, I hope you look into pet adoption. I know those cute puppy faces are hard to pass by, but the reward of giving someone a second life it much more worth it.

 

I took time out to attend the Kentucky Bankers Association annual convention at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, IN.  What a great group of people!  There has been some great material covered and it is good to hear the concerns that are going on within the industry.  Here are some brief overviews of what I heard at the event:

The Economy:  Getting better…… nice!  Still not there yet, but the trends are definitely starting to look up and people are starting to buy again.  Houses, cars, etc.

Mergers and acquisitions:  We got a nice overview of the happenings going on and the mergers and acquisitions will continue….. some good, some not so much.  Let’s hope we do not lose the all important local community banks to the large national giants.

Legislation:  This is always a hot topic and the banks are constantly under fire with new laws and regulations.  To add to this conversation was the subject of compliance.  This is a VERY hot topic and was discussed thoroughly with some good Q & A.  Compliance officers seem to be increasingly more difficult to come by and costing more and more, but the liability to the banks is also continuing to increase.  As well as the liability to the board members.  We, as a 3rd party collection agency for banks, understand this all too well. The general consensus is that the CFPB needs to also consider the liability and responsibility of the consumers that are out there not paying rightful bills.  Let’s just not help people get out of paying their rightful obligations and keep in mind all of the good businesses out there that provide incredible goods and services and deserve to be paid for them.

Golf:  If you can call it that?!?!?!  We had a great team of awesome folks.  My shout out to George and Donna Wise, and Thurmann Senn.  We had a great time and they were great people.  Donna (Coach) has coached college girls basketball for over 30 years and is in the AAIA Hall of Fame!  Awesome stuff.  We may not have been the best on the course, but that is not at all what it was all about.  Great to meet you three and I really enjoyed our time together on Sunday!

Networking:  This is the best part of any convention.  I have the privilege to attend a number of these events and the best part for me is meeting some truly wonderful people.  The members and vendors that are involved in this association are great people.  I thank all of you for your conversations and the stories that you share and allowing me to get to know you a bit.  I look forward to talking with you in the future and I am looking forward to helping many of you in your banks!  Also, this is a great opportunity to see some of our clients.  I appreciate you stopping by and saying “hi” and the feedback about our service.  It is nice to hear that we are having a positive impact in your banks and very nice to hear how well our staff is taking care of you.  From answering the phone to our customer service team, the positive comments were much appreciated.

All in all, this was a great event and I am glad I had the opportunity to be here and share in the convention.  I look forward to many more in the years to come and we appreciate our relationship with the Kentucky Bankers Association as an endorsed vendor!

 

You may remember some historical events like, Hurricane Katrina, the recession, the 10 year remembrance of 9/11, the election and re-election of the first non-white President, or even the creation of YouTube and Twitter.

You also may remember the deaths of The Crocodile Hunter- Steve Irwin, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, Dick Clark, Nelson Mandela, and Robin Williams.

While things like Facebook, Angry Birds, One Direction, Harry Potter, AGT, Grand Theft Auto, “selfies” and Duck Dynasty have become all too commonly known; we have been hard at work growing American Profit Recovery.

Let us share some of our accomplishments:

-We celebrate our 10 years in business in a time where only about one third of new businesses last 10 years

-We have grown to 3 offices and over 55 employees (over 50% of our employees have been with us for at least 7 years)

-We have had an average tenure of 8.5 years for our managers

-We had a collector turn 83 years old (he is still here), while some of our other collectors were still in elementary school when we started

-We have resolved over 230 million dollars in bad debt and returned it to over 7,700 clients nationwide

-We have been voted “Best Places to Work in Collections” for six straight years running

-Some of the other awards we have won are: Collection Advisor Most Influential in Debt Collections, Banker and Tradesman Best of Award, ACA International Education Foundation Fellow Award, PLANET Community Stewardship Award, ARMing Heroes Top Donor, Collection Advisor Who’s Who in Collections and more

-We have celebrated 9 “Employee Weeks”- food, fun, games, raffles, cook-outs, dunk tanks and much more

-We have been in countless newspapers, magazines, and newsletters and have been on Local and National television and radio helping consumers

-We have helped hundreds of charities, donating hundreds of man hours and raising and donating over $60,000 to those charities

Here’s to another 10, 20, 50 years in the making! Thanks to all our loyal clients and talented employees for making it possible.

I just wanted to make a point of inviting everyone to join us at our annual Making Strides walk on October 11th in Howell, MI.  If I’m not mistaken, it will be our 7th year participating in this event.  It’s always a great chance to get outside and spend some time with your co-workers and friends.  Personally, I feel like it’s a chance to honor the memory of my grandmother who passed away from breast cancer in 1985.  The money raised from this event goes towards finding new and better ways to treat and cure this disease, and I have no doubt that the advances made in both treating and preventing this disease have improved greatly in the last 29 years.

I can only wonder what her prognosis would be like had we known then what we know now about how to treat breast cancer.  The efforts made by those who raise money and awareness are helping to ensure that others who are diagnosed with breast cancer can persevere and become survivors.  I’m so proud that our company has associated itself with this cause, and I hope we have our biggest participation yet!  Thanks to all who have already registered with us.

If you have not yet registered, please join us by clicking on our Team page:

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=62664&pg=team&team_id=1664922

I quit my job…10 years ago…

So a company is celebrating 10 years in business. Is that a big deal? Well to me it is. And, I am proud to say that it is this collection agency celebrating it! About 11 years ago myself and my business partners starting talking about starting our own collection agency. A few of us thought we were nuts.

Leaving great jobs with a strong company in an industry that was growing?

Leaving behind thriving, award winning offices that we spent years building?

Taking no paycheck for who knew how long even though we all had growing families with small children?

Well, a bigger part of us was just crazy enough to believe that we could do this thing called “debt collections” better. Why couldn’t we add technology to an industry that was lagging behind in this area? Why couldn’t we add customer service “that you could notice” to an industry where it was all but non-existent? Why couldn’t we create a great place for employees to work where employees actually enjoyed their work and were proud to be a part of? And, why couldn’t we change the way people (business owners, regulators, legislators, media AND consumers) think about collection agencies?

I like to say you need to get uncomfortable to take the next step and grow. Well, we were certainly uncomfortable 10 years ago when we walked out the doors on our jobs that we had been so successful at.   There was no plan B, we “burnt the boats”, but we knew we would succeed!

I am proud of the company we have built. I am proud of changes we have made in our industry. I am proud of the thousands of clients that we have helped.   I’m very proud of the tens of thousands of dollars we have raised for various charities. And, I am proud of the environment we have built at our workplace to attract the top talent in any workforce.

So I ask you to raise your glass and help us salute to 10 more years of making a difference. For businesses, for consumers and for our industry.

 

American Profit Recovery is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this month. It’s hard to believe it was September of 2004 when we opened our doors and started helping our first client resolve their delinquent accounts. A lot has happened since then, we have expanded to 3 locations including Michigan, North Carolina and Massachusetts, we employ 53 people, we collect all over the country and we have resolved over 230 million dollars of bad debt for our clients.

There are over 6,000 collection agencies in the U.S. Some agencies come, and a lot of agencies go. I believe there are several reasons American Profit Recovery has stood the test of time. First and foremost, we offer a cost effective, very diplomatic soft approach that enables us to resolve our client’s delinquent accounts while still maintaining a positive relationship between the consumer and our client. We have found our clients love that we are able to resolve the account AND keep that consumer coming back to do business with them in the future.

Another reason we have been so successful, and perhaps the reason I love coming to work so much, is the people we have working here. I can honestly say that I like everyone who works here. I don’t think there are many people in the workforce that are lucky enough to be able to say that. I give a lot of credit to everyone who is responsible for hiring, training and developing our employees. We try to hire people who embody 3 core qualities that we value the most. A positive attitude, a good work ethic and most importantly, they need to have integrity. It’s not an easy task to know if someone has these qualities during an interview, but the reason our managers are so successful in identifying these candidates is that they themselves possess these qualities and live their life with these qualities in mind.

We appreciate those who decide to make a career here and adopt these core values and make them their own. The results are obvious, everyone trusts each other to do the right thing, and we work hard and have fun doing it. The success of our business is further enhanced due to the treatment our clients receive from everyone who works here. Our goal is to give our clients the best results and the best experience in the industry. None of that would be possible without our dedicated people who are constantly looking for ways to improve everything we do and everything we provide our clients. We believe a happy employee will take ownership of our company objectives and take care of the APR’s two most valuable assets, each other and our clients.

We strive to be the best we can be and we have a 10 year track record to prove it. 74% of our employees have been with us for more than 2 years and 52% have been part of our team for more than 5 years. Our client retention has never been better and I think employee retention is directly related to client retention. We have been voted as one of the top Collection Agencies to work for 7 years straight along with being recognized as an industry leader in many categories. I am proud to be a member of the team here at American Profit Recovery and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years has in store for us.

By Joe Witkowski

I would like to say thank you to Jeff Spurgess for giving me tickets to the Joe Kocur Charity Softball game. It was great to see one of my favorite Red Wings, Darren McCarty, out there playing.

It seems that the older I get the less I follow sports. However, when I was joe kocur blog picyounger I was a big fan of the Detroit Red Wings. I would watch all of their games and followed the team when they won the Presidents Cup in 1996 only to lose to Colorado in the finals. Also, I followed the team when they won the Stanley Cup over the Flyers in 1997.

The most exciting part of the charity softball game was seeing the Red Wings, Darren McCarty in a kilt. It reminded of me of my kilt days at The College of Wooster (see picture).

Again, Jeff thanks for the tickets. I had a lot of fun.

 

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