If only he could have been named Tom Better or Tom Best instead of Tom Good, his name would have been more fitting. Good may not be a strong enough adjective to describe Tom Good, a partner at the law firm of Barron & Newburger. Good is a respected legal mind in the ARM industry, and that is only amplified by his support for the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). Read on to learn more about Tom and his unique outlook.
Name: Tom Good
Company: Barron & Newburger, P.C.
Length of time at current company: A little more than 2 years
Length of time in industry: I have been practicing law in the financial services sector for over 30 years. I joined the ARM component of this vital sector of the economy in 2004.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Asset Acceptance was looking for a General Counsel with financial services and corporate experience and I was looking for an opportunity to be a General Counsel. Fantastic! I learned so much from that team. As I have from every other team with whom I have worked.
What is your career highlight so far?
I think the professional accomplishment for which I am most pleased has been my involvement in raising money for my clients. Like it or not, capital is opportunity and with the money we raised, we were able to grow the business in ways that helped our owners, employees and customers.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
First and foremost, I admire industry pioneers such as Bud Reitzel and Scott Lowery because they were here at the beginning of the debt purchasing industry and were willing to put their wallets behind their dreams. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my law partner, Manny Newburger, who has clearly demonstrated an ability to advise the industry simultaneously in operations, law and ethics.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I’m the best Tom Good there is in the industry. Seriously, this industry improves only if we all bring our unique skills, insights, and passions to make this industry what it needs to be over the next decade.
When or how are you most productive?
I am distinctly a morning person. Even though I live in the Mountain Time zone now, I tend to work best on an Eastern Time zone work clock which means that I see far too many 4 a.m.’s.
What do you like most about this industry?
When we do things right, we really help people find solutions to problems that they would not know how to find themselves. Most people want to pay their bills and feel bad when they cannot. We give them hope when we offer them options to fulfill this desire.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I wish we were more effective in describing the value that we provide to the economy. We spend so much time responding to the easy, quick hits which outsiders throw our direction and far too little time crafting a legitimate story of our value.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I am confident enough (and clueless enough) that I believe that I weren’t in this industry I would have found my way into another industry, which undoubtedly have been less fun. After all, I wound up in this industry more or less by accident rather than a cosmic plan. Whenever my son comes to me with his latest 20-year life plan, I always nod encouragingly and laugh inwardly, because life does not respect 20-minute plans let alone 20-year plans.
Describe a typical work day.
I wake up at some ungodly hour, answer my overnight emails and then go into my office and deal with the crises and would be crises of the day. Following the crises, assuming there ever is a following the crises, I tend to try to focus on operational improvements which my clients can use in order to both stay within the law and make some money also. I try to shut down the computer a couple of hours before bed time because, after all, 4 am is coming and the computer does seem to have an impact on having any decent sleep.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Baseball (Go get ’em Tigers). And of course, potato chips.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad always told me to assume that the other guy is smarter than you are. Even in situations where this is demonstrably untrue, a spirit of humility will always be more successful in the long run than a spirit of arrogance.
What are you currently reading?
I have a bad habit of starting everything and finishing nothing. I am currently embedded in the Gospel of Mark and for pleasure I am currently in a biography of Winston Churchill in the Boer War.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
It isn’t easy being a soft-hearted guy in a hard-headed industry. But, it is possible.