Reading his answers and seeing his commitment to routines and good habits, it seems natural that Steve Simon would end up in a role where systems and consistency are the goal. You also have to love someone who prefers plain vanilla ice cream. Read on to learn more about Steve, his impressive commitment to UCLA athletics, and how he schedules his day to be as productive as possible.
Name: Steve Simon
Current Role/Job Title: Vice President – Compliance & Quality Assurance
Company: Caine & Weiner Company, Inc.
Length of time at current company: 21 years as of September 2023
Length of time in industry: 25 years
How did you get your start in the industry?
I had worked in Operations Management and Loss Control/Risk Management for Enterprise Rent-a-Car for over a decade. Looking to stay in Los Angeles rather than move to corporate headquarters in St. Louis, I was introduced to an attorney who had just started a commercial collection agency. She needed someone to run the entire operation while she handled the sales aspects of the company. We were able to grow that company pretty well over four years, when I was presented an opportunity to join a much larger organization in Caine & Weiner, where I have enjoyed working for the last two decades.
What is your career highlight so far?
I was point person on both the RFP response and the in person visit that closed the opportunity land a top Fortune 100 company for Caine & Weiner, and we are still successfully partnered with them after 15 years.
When or how are you most productive?
I am most definitely a morning person. If I was not in the office by 7 am, I was LATE. (More like 7:30 am now in my older years on some days). I schedule all my more difficult tasks early in the day, leaving the afternoons for more personnel-driven projects. I also fill my Outlook calendar completely full of potential tasks/projects or issues to address for a day, and I spend the first 10-15 minutes daily sorting through them and re-ordering and organizing my day accordingly to make sure I optimize my time to attack the right work.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I of course have tremendous respect for C&W’s President/CEO, Greg Cohen, with firsthand knowledge of the tireless work he has put in to build our company so successfully over the past 30 years. Outside our company, I truly admire industry leading attorneys such as Manny Newburger and John Bedard. Without their efforts and guidance, companies like ours would have a much more difficult path to success.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I believe I have a great ability both to deal with the “numbers” of our business and handle the “written” aspects at very high levels. I enjoy working with our financial and strategy teams to sift through huge excel spreadsheets, etc. detailing all aspects of internal performance that we are all familiar with. At the same time, I enjoy working with my compliance team on writing all of the CMS policy and procedures documents, responding to RFP’s, creating internal training documents for our operations teams, etc.
What do you like most about this industry?
That virtually every business is a potential client. We are able to help so many companies across multiple industries in recovering monies they have earned for their products or services. Learning how best to assist so many different types of organizations with extremely diverse business models takes a lot of creativity and planning, but provides tremendous rewards when you do it well.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Somehow figure out a way to avoid 50 different sets of state laws just destroying any sense of continuity in our work processes.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
Teaching High School Spanish and coaching softball. (Although my Spanish is VERY rusty at the moment)
Describe a typical work day
I have two different compliance managers and a support team manager, so I meet with them daily to get up to speed on everything happening with their staffs, and help out in any way I can. Then it is managing through the most relevant compliance or operational issues that need my attention. The nice part is that every day is very different.
What is your guilty pleasure?
A large plain vanilla cone from Dairy Queen. (Plus of course my big screen TV with a full slate of ESPN channels at my fingertips).
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always RESPOND, never REACT. Take the time to think about how you want to address whatever issues are in front of you, whether they are short term or long term, quick conversations or in depth projects.
What are you currently reading?
Daniel Silva’s “The Collector“
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am a HUGE UCLA Bruins fan. In one stretch I did not miss a home football game for 20 straight years. I currently attend 20-25 softball games a season, plus everything from women’s basketball to gymnastics.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Any one of the leading industry attorneys.