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Getting to Know Dennis Christie of Performant

I am thrilled to announce that the “Getting to Know” series is now being sponsored by TCN. TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as SMS, email, predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations while adhering to callers requests. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. TCN serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.

There are just some people you can’t say enough nice things about. Dennis Christie is one of those people. Hands down, one of the nicest people you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet, Dennis is always available to share his perspective and wealth of knowledge about the industry. Read on to learn more about Dennis, how he has been able to combine his two guilty pleasures, and how being a house painter led to a career in collections.

Name: Dennis Christie
Company: Performant Recovery, Livermore, Calif.
Length of time at current position: 33 years
Length of time in industry: 33 years

How did you get your start in the industry?
My close friend from Boston and I owned a house painting business and he was offered a job as a recruiter in October of ’86, at Diversified Collection Services (DCS) which was the original name of Performant. So, I took a job as a collector thinking I’d do it for a few months and then go back to Boston in the spring. However, I saw an amazing opportunity with a very small company (28 people) and the rest is history.

What is your career highlight so far?
I‘ve had so many over the course of 33 years it’s hard to pick one:

  • When the company was sold in 2004 and then when we went public in 2012.
  • Probably the realization at one point early on in my career that I had an opportunity to be part of something special if I continued to work hard.

However, the number one highlight, was having both of my daughters work here at Performant.

When or how are you most productive?
When I’m working and brainstorming with the supervisors and managers on my team. I am very fortunate to have some great people working with me that I totally trust. That’s not to say we agree all the time. I had an old boss that used to say, “if we agree all the time then that means there’s no need for one of us and guess which one of us that is.” My gang knows that, so they voice their opinions which allows us to look at all issues from all angles.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Wow there are so many. Hal Leach. He taught me the real meaning of hard work and how it equates to success. I have two daughters, so I really admire the women in the industry who have been incredibly successful and are great role models for other women. Lisa Im, our CEO, Rozanne Andersen, Leslie Bender, and Lauren Valenzuela. There’s also Courtney Reynaud, Becky Dillon, and Mary Mikus who all own collection agencies. Michael Klutho, Roger Weiss, and Mark Neeb … After 33 years in the business I could name 25 more people.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Nothing. But I think I am pretty good at getting the most out of the people that work with me and working to their strengths. I am also fairly adept at surrounding myself with great people and currently work with an awesome group. Ronald Reagan once said that was the key to his success, so I figure if it worked for him then it’s probably a pretty good game plan to follow.

What do you like most about this industry?
No questions asked; the people. I have made some incredible friends over the years, whether they were co-workers, vendors, competitors, association members, etc. Hopefully we will stay in touch after I leave the business.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The public’s perception of us. Nine-five percent of us run squeaky clean operations and do a great service, but all you ever hear about is the other 5%; the negative. I blame it on fake news.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Who knows? Painting houses? I hope not. Playing the drums in a rock band? Maybe. I don’t ever really give it much thought as I am not really one that’s big on looking back; especially since I am so close to retirement.

Describe a typical work day.
I get in at about 6:45 a.m. and try to catch up on emails and things that may have carried over from the previous day. I then prepare for the onslaught of meetings that seem to be a constant. I am the Sr. Compliance Director, so in this world of ever-changing regulations it is a given that by 8:30 or 9:00 every morning, something new will come along.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and I’ve been known to have a beer or two. Even a chocolate beer.

The Getting to Know Series is Sponsored By:

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My dad always told my brother and me, “Don’t waste your time worrying about things you can’t control and spend your time working on those things you can control.” From my old boss: “Don’t bother complaining because 80% of the people don’t want to hear it and the other 20% are glad they found someone more miserable then they are.”

What are you currently reading?
The “Getting to Know You” questions – Mike Gibb; Camino Island – John Grisham; and Wild Fire – Nelson DeMille

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am a diehard Boston sports fan, regardless of the sport. I play the drums, although not very well. I used to teach high school.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Hal Leach, Mary Mikus, Michael Klutho, Becky Dillon, and a host of others.

I am thrilled to announce that the “Getting to Know” series is now being sponsored by TCN. TCN is a leading provider of cloud-based call center technology for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and collection agencies worldwide. Founded in 1999, TCN combines a deep understanding of the needs of call center users with a highly affordable delivery model, ensuring immediate access to robust call center technology, such as SMS, email, predictive dialer, IVR, call recording, and business analytics required to optimize operations while adhering to callers requests. Its “always-on” cloud-based delivery model provides customers with immediate access to the latest version of the TCN solution, as well as the ability to quickly and easily scale and adjust to evolving business needs. TCN serves various Fortune 500 companies and enterprises in multiple industries, including newspaper, collection, education, healthcare, automotive, political, customer service, and marketing.

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One comment

  1. It truly is an honor to work with (for) Dennis!

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