In most cases, individuals who agree to participate in this feature share a corporate headshot. There are the occasional dalliances, but rarely does someone send in something candid. Mark Neeb is that rare someone. The photo he sent in was from a trip to The Masters, which is a pilgrimage every golfer dreams of taking. Mark completes the cycle by admitting in his answers below that golf is, indeed, his guilty pleasure. Read on to learn more about Mark, including the interesting way he got his start in the business and how he managed to turn this into a PG-13 profile with one word.
Name: Mark Neeb
Company: neebEDU, LLC
Length of time at current company: Three years, formed upon the sale of my company The Affiliated Group, for the purpose of helping serve on the U.S. Dept. of Education contract.
Length of time in industry: 27 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I was the external CPA for a collection agency that my accounting firm did work for and I got to know the owner well. He doubled my salary to leave the accounting profession and frankly, when I reflect back on his balance sheet and saw no debt, I KNEW this was an industry I wanted to be involved in! So I threw caution to the wind and took the leap out of a pretty good situation and into the collections industry.
What is your career highlight so far?
Without question, my time volunteering with ACA over the years has been the most rewarding aspect of my career in credit and collections. The opportunity to develop relationships with so many people has been very rewarding. There is always something to learn from someone. Of course my time on ACAs exec committee and serving as its President were particularly rewarding, and humbling.
When or how are you most productive?
I’m a very reflective person so my ideas come at odd times and places. My productivity soars when I have a deadline to hit or MUST be creative or decisive.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. I’d say anyone who takes the risk of entrepreneurship is my hero. There are so many individuals who fit this description but if I had to name a couple I’d say Mark Davitt for encouraging me to run for ACA office and believing in me, and Tom Haag for his leadership over the years. Not to discount others, but I will always be indebted to those guys.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Lol, probably realizing that I don’t do anything better than anyone else. Success is a choice and never ever giving up is an option most people never commit to. I’m pretty stubborn and determined. But then again, it’s been said that a person’s greatest strength is probably also their biggest weakness. So, I’ll leave that right there.
What do you like most about this industry?
Easy, the great people I’ve met and developed relationships with. Our industry is filled with so much innovation and intelligence. Business partners in our industry are always inventing new ways of doing things. Also, our industry helps people in tough financial situations, which is very gratifying. At the end of the day, if we are not helping people, our efforts are wasted.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The perception of those from outside the industry. The idea that we are a necessary evil in the gears of commerce and industry and nothing more. The truth is, we put more money on the bottom line of corporate America, while helping consumers fix their financial woes, than any other industry I can think of. We, as industry participants, should be proud of that. As General Stilwell said during WWII, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.” Can I say that??
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Since I sold The Affiliated Group three years ago I’ve had some great opportunities arise. I’m consulting with companies in our industry which is a lot of fun. I’ve purchased commercial real estate and enjoy developing relationships with tenants in properties I own, and of course, hoping for another opportunity in student loans when the DOE finally offers their contracts.
Describe a typical work day.
While the wait for a DOE contract opportunity continues to occur, I’m staying current on our industry and preparing to jump back in on a moments notice. I have it all in my head and am ready to pull the trigger, God-willing.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Hmmmm….probably golf. The hope for playing that perfect round will never subside. Its my drug lol.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“You’ll never know if you can fly if you don’t jump off the cliff.” Most people are capable of much more than they achieve simply because they won’t take that leap. I encourage calculated risk-taking. Because hey, what’s the worst that can happen?
What are you currently reading?
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
That I’d love to help more people in our industry before hanging things up. Selling a business (at least the first one, your baby per-se) is a difficult thing to do. Preparing for that day needs to start years in advance. I want to spend more time helping people maximize their financial and intrinsic rewards from their efforts in our industry.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Lets go with Mark Davitt. I think our industry would benefit from hearing his story.