Collector – July 2019 - 11

1-3%

HOW THE PAST INFORMS THE
PRESENT
Your company's history can unite
employees and help them feel ownership
over its success. Your staff should know
your company's full origin story: how the
company got started, the challenges it's
faced over the years, and the ways you've
failed and succeeded.
Kirchner said she keeps BCA's history
alive in the company every day, starting with
each new hire.
"The history of the company is discussed
during orientation, and on the last day of
their training [Chief Operating Officer] Kathy
[Kinggard], [Chief Financial Officer] Cindy
[Darley] and I go in and tell stories about our
history at the company-funny stories about
rotary phones and work cards and the way
things used to be. Our new team members
seem to enjoy it, and it shows that we're
human and the company is always evolving."
Many job seekers are looking for
stability, and your company's long history
can be a strong draw.
"I tell them we've been in business for 41 years
and we plan to be in business for another 41
years-at least," said Rod Meade, vice president
of Meade & Associates. "That says something
not only to employees but also to clients. We're
not just a 'here today, gone tomorrow' company.
We have a long reputation in this industry, and
we're not going anywhere."
Kirchner said she also tells stories about
her company's founding fathers in staff
meetings, aligning their experiences and
beliefs with aspects of the company's current
mission, vision and values.
"What I tell them over and over is that I
believe Bill Hearne Sr. and Bill Hearne Jr.
laid a solid foundation for our company,"
Kirchner said. "Their approach to how you
treat clients, how you treat employees, how
you treat consumers and always working in
a compliant manner remains strong today.
And when you have a strong foundation, it's
easy to build off that and just keep getting
better. That's what they did for us. We still
live by their vision today."
Case in point: BCA's ongoing
commitment to being a good corporate

COLLECTOR 07.19

citizen. One of the company's early leaders,
Bill Hearne Jr., was a passionate supporter
of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, so
each year the company raises money for the
hospital in his honor.
Many ACA member businesses continue
from decade to decade thanks to strong
family ties. I.C. System was founded by
Ruth and Jack Erickson in the middle of the
Great Depression. Jack died in 1954, and
Ruth remained CEO until 1995 with her son,
John. In 2011, John Erickson Jr. was named
president/CEO, and three other family
members currently populate the staff roster.
"We have employees who have been with
us for 40-plus years, many of whom worked
with Ruth and are incredibly loyal to the
organization and to Ruth still today because
they had so much respect for her," said Joe
Erickson, director of human resources. "A lot
of the staff carrying the torch from previous
generations talk about things we used to
do and the good times, so we have a new
generation of people who get taught these
things. The history lives on."
Brian Meade said he and his brother
Rod often talk to employees about Meade
& Associates' early days, particularly the
industrious spirit of their father, who founded
the company with just one employee.
"Call us old-fashioned, but Rod and I adhere
to our dad's school of thought that you build
a company on integrity, honesty and hard
work," said Brian Meade. "Our father had a
tremendous work ethic, putting in 60-hour
weeks, and he also believed that you should
treat everyone with respect. We've done our
darndest to maintain his philosophy, which we
extend to consumers, clients and staff."

PRESERVING HISTORY
The easy part of honoring your company's
legacy is talking about it; the hard part is
cataloging and preserving all the ephemera
you've accumulated along the way. Bill
Hearne Jr. kept a lot of BCA's historical items
at his house, and as he got ready to retire
he brought them into the office: newspaper
articles about the company, work cards,
equipment and even the bill of sale from when
Hearne Sr. purchased the company in 1950.

Of all the documents
created by the U.S.
government are considered
important enough to be
permanently preserved
and archived.
Source: The Crowley Company

Kirchner said they've saved and framed
many of these items, which until recently
were displayed on a "history wall" in
the office. (BCA is currently working
on updating the wall, so the items are
temporarily stored.)
I.C. System has a room full of videos,
pictures, awards and artifacts from
the company's history, and for its 75th
anniversary they decided to showcase
everything in a special museum executives
created in the office.
"We had old disc drives, typewriters,
and lots of other old technology that really
puts the stuff we use today in perspective,"
Erickson said. "For example, we used to
have a red light on a big pole in the office,
and when the light was lit that meant a call
was coming in. It's fascinating to look back
at these things to see how far we've come."
The biggest challenge facing many
companies with closets and file cabinets
full of memories is simply finding the
time to catalog everything. Photos can be
scanned; reel-to-reel and cassette tapes can
be converted to MP3 files and those stacks
of videos taking up space can be compressed
onto a tiny thumb drive, but first you have to
designate someone to complete those tasks.
Erickson admits that it can be challenging
to sort through company artifacts.
"Archiving and preserving these items is
something we've made a conscious decision
to do, but it takes time," he said. "If you want
your history to be at the forefront of your
culture, you have to make this a priority."
Anne Rosso May is managing editor of
Collector magazine.

11



Collector – July 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector – July 2019

Upfront
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
What you need to know about the CFPB’s proposed new rule for the debt collection industry
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve literally never received a telegram and wouldn’t even know how to send one.”
Celebrating 80 Years of Helping Members Succeed
How Does ACA Help Members Succeed?
A History of Advocacy
8 Decades of ACA’s Annual Convention
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
Tell It Like It Is: Washington Hears From ACA Members
Collectors Challenge 2019: Getting Creative for a Good Cause
Balance it Out
Balance Billing Challenges Continue
It’s All About You: Helping Members Succeed
Sandbox Rules
What is a Product Sandbox?
in 11th Circuit Case Examining What Constitutes an ATDS
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – July 2019 - Cover1
Collector – July 2019 - Cover2
Collector – July 2019 - 1
Collector – July 2019 - 2
Collector – July 2019 - 3
Collector – July 2019 - Upfront
Collector – July 2019 - 5
Collector – July 2019 - Industry News
Collector – July 2019 - 7
Collector – July 2019 - 8
Collector – July 2019 - 9
Collector – July 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – July 2019 - 11
Collector – July 2019 - FYI
Collector – July 2019 - 13
Collector – July 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – July 2019 - 15
Collector – July 2019 - What you need to know about the CFPB’s proposed new rule for the debt collection industry
Collector – July 2019 - 17
Collector – July 2019 - “I don’t know about you, but I’ve literally never received a telegram and wouldn’t even know how to send one.”
Collector – July 2019 - 19
Collector – July 2019 - 20
Collector – July 2019 - 21
Collector – July 2019 - 22
Collector – July 2019 - 23
Collector – July 2019 - Celebrating 80 Years of Helping Members Succeed
Collector – July 2019 - 25
Collector – July 2019 - How Does ACA Help Members Succeed?
Collector – July 2019 - 27
Collector – July 2019 - 28
Collector – July 2019 - 29
Collector – July 2019 - A History of Advocacy
Collector – July 2019 - 31
Collector – July 2019 - 8 Decades of ACA’s Annual Convention
Collector – July 2019 - 33
Collector – July 2019 - 34
Collector – July 2019 - 35
Collector – July 2019 - Calendar
Collector – July 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – July 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – July 2019 - 39
Collector – July 2019 - Tell It Like It Is: Washington Hears From ACA Members
Collector – July 2019 - 41
Collector – July 2019 - Collectors Challenge 2019: Getting Creative for a Good Cause
Collector – July 2019 - 43
Collector – July 2019 - Balance Billing Challenges Continue
Collector – July 2019 - 45
Collector – July 2019 - 46
Collector – July 2019 - 47
Collector – July 2019 - It’s All About You: Helping Members Succeed
Collector – July 2019 - 49
Collector – July 2019 - 50
Collector – July 2019 - 51
Collector – July 2019 - What is a Product Sandbox?
Collector – July 2019 - 53
Collector – July 2019 - in 11th Circuit Case Examining What Constitutes an ATDS
Collector – July 2019 - 55
Collector – July 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – July 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – July 2019 - Membership
Collector – July 2019 - 59
Collector – July 2019 - Last Word
Collector – July 2019 - Cover3
Collector – July 2019 - Cover4
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