Collector - April 2018 - 52
Travis Bowley learned the importance of hard work growing up on his family's farm,
which led to his success founding a growing global company.
By Katy Zillmer
Founder and CEO Travis Bowley;
Chief Financial Officer Steve Hayes;
Vice President of Operations
Management Joe Lustek
and Chief Marketing Officer
rowing up on his family's dairy
farm in Arizona helped Travis
Bowley learn not what he wanted to
do for a career, but how he wanted to do it.
On the farm, he did his share of manual
labor, taking care of the family's cows and
property with his father over the years-
enough to know that a nonstop work
schedule wasn't for him.
"You never had a day off, the cows always
had to be milked and fed so we had to work
pretty much 24/7," Bowley recalls.
But Bowley left his family's business with
an unmatched work ethic as he headed off to
college. He also knew, as a communications
and marketing major at Grand Canyon
University in Phoenix, that he wanted to
work in the banking industry.
"So," he said, "I became a bill collector."
In 1987, Bowley took a job at Western
Savings and Loan and received several
promotions at the company while studying
for his bachelor's degree.
He quickly realized he had a knack for
working with consumers to resolve their
debts. Over the years, Bowley worked
for other agencies, up to the role of vice
president, before branching out on his own.
His niche wasn't just helping consumers;
it was also innovation and leadership. As a
result, just 10 years after his first job, Bowley
started his own company in 1997.
Jump ahead another 10 years and
Empereon-Constar is a growing business
process outsourcing enterprise. With
10 locations and 3,500 team members
nationwide, it provides customer service,
tech support, chat support and more to
Bowley also led the acquisition of
Constar Financial Services LLC in 2010,
which focuses on accounts receiveables
management, first-party collections,
recovery collections and credit bureau
Bowley has never officially left Arizona as
his home base, but Empereon-Constar has
a presence throughout the U.S. and Mexico,
and a growing base of global clients.
The company's first location opened in
Denver and it has offices in New Mexico,
Pennsylvania, Texas and Arizona, and
nearshore Baja Mexico (10 miles from San
"We never thought we would be the size
we are today," he said. "As we grew and put
up other centers, we realized it was fun to
Since then, the company remains focused
on growth and building a strong company
"It's never been about money," Bowley
said. "It has always been about creating and
building, creating jobs [and] putting people
Looking back on his career, Bowley said
his advice for other collection professionals
is to find a company that's the right fit for
you and work your way up.
"I'm 49 years old [and] I've had three
jobs-four including the company I started,"
he said. "A lot of people have four jobs before
they hit 23. If you spend enough time at a
company and you're a model employee ...
you will work your way up."
Katy Zillmer is ACA International's