Most collection-industry professionals do not spend their youths dreaming of becoming a collector. Bill Lindala is no exception to that rule, but having spent more than a quarter-century in the industry, he can’t imagine doing anything else. A certified instructor, Bill never needs a lot of prep time to rehearse for a presentation, an important quality for someone who has his hands in all aspects of the business. Read on to learn more about Bill.
Name: Bill Lindala
Company: Director of Operations, Federated Adjustment Co., Inc.
Length of time at current company: 15 months, but I did work for Federated for almost 9 years, from 1992 until 2001
Length of time in industry: It will be 26 years this November
How did you get your start in the industry? Great question and I wish I had an original answer, but it was on a whim. I wanted to get into the insurance industry and I needed a steady paycheck while I built that client base. I answered an ad for a sales position with a local collection agency and with the exception of a few years in the mid 2000’s, I have been here ever since. No one ever wakes up and says, “I want to be a bill collector,” but I have likened this industry to the song, Hotel California. “You can check out any time you’d like, but you can never leave.” I mean that in the best way possible.
What is your career highlight so far? The training that I went through to become an ACA International Certified Instructor was grueling, but it was the best professional experience that I have had. On the simpler side, receiving a sincere thank you from a consumer that I have helped or from someone that I have trained, is more rewarding than I can explain.
Which industry professional do you admire most? I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with so many good people, that it’s hard to pick just one. I admire genuine people who are willing to open their minds to me and allow me to become better than I thought that I could be.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else? I have a fairly unique knack for being able to present information with very little preparation. That’s what has helped me so much as a trainer and as a presenter. If I understand the topic, I can take one private run through of PowerPoint, for instance and present it as though I have done it for years.
What do you like most about this industry? The people for sure. I have made many friends over the years and had more good times than I can count. I also enjoy the fact that we have the ability to help clients and consumers alike, just by doing our jobs well.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry? The perception of who we are and what we are all about. The image of this industry has become worse, even though we are more regulated than we have ever been. Also, the lawsuits based on technical violations. I’m not a fan of that at all.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing? I don’t know that I could completely get away from this industry. It’s all that I know and I do enjoy it. My goal would be to do contract work/consulting (which I did in the past), because it would give me variety and the ability to help and be a part of many organizations. That is something that I am currently striving for.
Describe a typical work day. I don’t think I have ever had a typical day in this business and that’s yet another thing that I like about it. Currently, I work for a small company, so I am literally involved in every aspect of the organization. I still talk to consumers, I deal with clients, system issues, compliance, training and whatever else comes my way.
What is your guilty pleasure? Netflix. I spend way too much time watching it, but it’s a nice escape for a little bit.
What is the best industry advice you’ve ever received? My dad passed this down from my grandfather; “Give eight hours of work for eight hours of pay and if you aren’t happy, don’t badmouth the company or your boss. Make the decision and leave.” It’s simple, but I have held onto it.
What are you currently reading? I read a lot of industry-related things, but I don’t usually take the time to sit down and read for pleasure. I did years ago and a favorite author is David Baldacci.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you? What you see is what you get with me. I speak and act the same way whether I am in a business meeting, in front of a training class or with friends and family. It’s far easier to be real than to change costumes all of the time.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions? Rozanne Andersen, Harry Strausser, John Rossman