Getting to Know Derek Hollis of Williams & Fudge

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

Like many, Derek Hollis didn’t like it when people used to ask him what he did for a living. But an epiphany he had one day changed all of that and now he looks forward to being asked what he does for a living so he can tell everyone exactly what he does. Read on to learn more about Derek, how improv’s loss is our gain, and how collections is a lot like teaching algebra and coaching baseball.

Name: Derek Hollis
Job Title: Directory of Compliance & Strategy
Company: Williams & Fudge, Inc.
Length of Time at Current Company: ~4 Years
Length of Time in Industry: ~18 Years

How did you get your start in the industry?
I was managing Back of the House operations in the Food & Beverage industry realizing I needed a change. One of my DJ friends asked if I wanted to try out student loan debt collections, so I interviewed with one of the former PCA’s in the Metro Atlanta area. I was asked what I knew about student loans, and I talked to them about my own personal Rehabilitation Program success, and I was hired on the spot back in 2003.

What is your career highlight so far?
My first 5 year plan, from 2006, was to move up in the corporation to be an Assistant Director if Operations. I skipped that role and earned my first Directorship in 2010.

When or how are you most productive?
I am in “full send” mode up until lunch time. I gain this super hero power by drinking an energy drink, or two.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
Currently, Bob Duenkel. He is the collection industry’s version of “The most interesting man alive”. And there is not a conversation held with him that I do not feel better or more educated after having spoken with him. From my previous employers, Scott Horowitz &, Joe Potter. They saw something in me back in the mid to late 2000’s and gave me the chance to branch out and use some of my analytical skills for the good of the company rather than sit behind a desk and only help myself.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I am too realistic to think I am better than anyone at any thing, but I think I am good at being able to bridge gaps and relate to just about anyone I am conversing with.

What do you like most about this industry?
I wanted to teach Algebra and coach high school baseball. This industry gave me the platform to essentially combine both in to teaching best practices and using data analysis to form strategic workflows to manage inventory.

What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Like most, I used to be ashamed of what I did for a living, rather had a hard time explaining it without getting the old “don’t call me” responses from friends and family. Then one day I realized I was not a debt collector, I was a problem solver and just needed the variables to help solve a consumer’s issue with not paying their student loan balance. After that realization, I smiled with anticipation when asked what I did for a living. So, I would love to see change in the perception of what our industry really is, professional problem solvers.

Describe a typical work day.
Simplest description: Merging the Metadata

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Improv Comedian

What is your guilty pleasure?
Visiting auction sites for collectible sports equipment and baseball cards.

The Getting to Know Series is Sponsored By:

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Today is the best day of your life, as it is the only one that counts.

What are you currently reading?
The Coffee Bean by Jon Gordon & Damon West

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you
I played in the 2017 Professional Disc Golf Championships during the one-week transition from my former employer to Williams & Fudge.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Amelia Anderson, our Director of Marketing & Business Development

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

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