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.
Reading his answers, how could anyone not want to work for Dale Watts? I’m not sure about you, but he had me at forcing all his staff to take an hour-long lunch break every day. We could all stand to learn a little something from Dale, especially his ability to not take things personally. Read on to learn more about Dale, what sets the tone for his day, and his love for uncovering the mysteries of the universe.
Name: Dale Watts
Current Role/Job Title: Vice President and CIO
Company: Armstrong and Associates
Length of time at current company: 25 years
Length of time in industry: 34 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
In the late 1980s I needed a full-time job while I was in college. My job at the music store in the mall did not pay enough, so I took a job as a debt collector with Credit Bureau of Mobile collecting medical debt and past due accounts for a relatively new invention – cellular telephones.
What is your career highlight so far?
Armstrong and Associates has a well-established 107-year record in the ARM industry. After 15 years of employment I joined the other two owners as a principal of Armstrong and Associates.
When or how are you most productive?
I am most productive when I can sit in my office with no distractions and the background hum of the collections floor in the distance. I find I am better at handling the more involved, complicated items before lunch.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are several individuals I have admired from afar. One person that seem to have amazing energy and focus is Harry Strausser.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I have succeeded at not taking things personally – sometimes even when they are intended to be personal.
What do you like most about this industry?
I have seen a growth in the level of cooperation among agencies to promote educational opportunities across all levels of the ARM industry. There is a genuine desire to improve the health and well-being of employees by ensuring they are properly trained and have the tools to combat stressful situations that are prevalent in this industry.
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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
I would remove the assumption many people have that collection agencies only do the right thing because of the threat of lawsuits.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing research in astronomy or cosmology trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
Describe a typical work day.
After I wake, I log in to the office to check on things and send a few marching order emails, but the heavy lifting doesn’t start until I arrive at the office around 8am. The first hour sets the tone for the day so I avoid scheduling meetings before 9am. Staff, manager, and client meeting are usually scheduled before lunch – often virtual, but they are gradually returning to in person. I enforce a minimum one-hour lunch break for all staff, so I try to practice what I preach, usually eating outside when the weather is nice. After lunch I set aside time to review my long term project and goal list to identify items that are ready for the to-do list. At the end of the day I try to leave by 5:30 to head home to my wonderful wife who usually has dinner ready.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate dipped cones from Dairy Queen
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather often told me “Don’t love anything that can’t love you back.”
What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading “Heaven’s River: Bobiverse, Book 4” by Dennis E Taylor.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I love to travel internationally for pleasure and short-term mission trips with my church. The world is an amazing place.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
I’m not quote sure, but the best ones leave me saying – “I never realized…”
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