Collector – August 2019 - 20

Weiss facilitates a best ideas forum at ACA's 2018 Annual Convention & Expo in Nashville.

on a smoke break, I'd go to her office
and talk training. Those were some of
the best conversations I've ever had."
Nights were reserved for comedy though,
and Weiss continued to work small clubs in
the area. He even did a set for his co-workers
at an Afni holiday party. He got an agent
("kind of," Weiss says), who encouraged
him to move to Chicago where the stand-up
scene was bigger. Ciskey put Weiss in touch
with Nick DiGiovanni Jr., who ran MAC in
Chicago Heights, Illinois, and he hired Weiss
as a trainer for that all-important day job.
Soon, Weiss began to make a name
for himself in the accounts receivable
management industry. DiGiovanni
promoted him to collection manager after
only a few weeks on staff.
"Right off the bat, Roger really showed
that he was a natural leader," DiGiovanni
recalled. "People migrated to him. He just
has a personality that people want to be
around. He was a talented young man I
couldn't take my eye off in terms of his
ability to succeed in this industry."
While stand-up ultimately wasn't the right
fit for Weiss, he was able to parlay what he'd
learned onstage to his 9-5 job.
"I'm a big believer that everything
positive and negative that happens in
your life can and should be used as a
developmental tool and learning experience,"
Weiss said. "I learned that when people are

20

enjoying themselves and laughing, they
retain what you're telling them. That's why
it's so important to help people have fun
while they learn."
After moving to St. Louis in 1998,
Weiss opened the Academy of Credit and
Collections, the first licensed proprietary
school in the country teaching people
how to achieve a career in the collection
industry.
The three-week, six-hour-a-day
program immersed students in collection
skills, communication techniques,
consumer psychology and the rules
and regulations governing the industry.
Weiss even spent time explaining
resume writing, interviewing skills and
maintaining a professional appearance.
About 150 people completed the program,
which Weiss closed in 1999 to jump into
agency ownership.
"A lot of people say they want to own a
company or be the boss, but Roger made
a plan and followed it, and he's done
exactly what he aspired to do," Ciskey said.
"That requires a lot of perseverance and
self-confidence. In some regards, it also
requires you to be humble and understand
that you don't know everything from day
one. Roger was just out of college when I
first met him, and he was ready to learn
from anyone who would teach him. He
still has that attitude today."

Weiss' willingness to laugh-often at
himself-has endeared him to a whole
generation of ARM professionals, but it
was his dogged determination that helped
him get through some tough times. In
the two years after Weiss and a business
partner took over CACi, they quadrupled
staff size and multiplied revenue about
10 times over. That upward trajectory
continued when the company landed a
large national bank client.
Then the Great Recession hit in 2007, and
that large national bank took everything
in-house as other clients pulled back their
business or dropped out completely.
"It decimated us," Weiss said. "Our
revenue dropped in a matter of a few months
by about 70 percent. It was a very scary
time. We had to downsize and lost a whole
lot of talent. We went from just under 400
employees to just under 100 employees in
a few months. Bar-none it was the single
biggest challenge of my career."
But instead of folding, Weiss reconceived
CACi. Today the company has about 40
employees and a diverse roster of clients,
and it relies on technology to help it stay
lean and competitive. Weiss said he's slowly
rolling out artificial intelligence functionality
on the collection floor, with an eye on other
automation opportunities.
"Roger is very focused and innovative,"
Baich said. "He's not afraid to try new
technologies and new products, and he's
very generous in sharing his experience.
Many times when he's trying out a new
technology, he'll invite me to come down to
his office and do a side-by-side so I can see
how it works."
While Weiss can list multiple people he
considers valued professional mentors, his
natural tendency to help others means that
he, too, is a mentor. Take Dennis Barton,
who today is the successful owner and
managing attorney of The Barton Law
Group LLC in St. Louis, but who nine years
ago was an ARM industry newcomer who
didn't know what a validation notice was.
"Roger has been an incredible mentor to
me," Barton said. "When I first came into
this industry, I learned a lot from him. I

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Collector – August 2019

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

President’s Page
Industry News
Best Practices
FYI
Collection Tips
How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
No Good Option
“You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Protecting Health Care Data
Calendar
Honor Roll
Education Spotlight
ACA SearchPoint
Ad Index
Membership
Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover1
Collector – August 2019 - Cover2
Collector – August 2019 - 1
Collector – August 2019 - 2
Collector – August 2019 - 3
Collector – August 2019 - 4
Collector – August 2019 - President’s Page
Collector – August 2019 - Industry News
Collector – August 2019 - 7
Collector – August 2019 - 8
Collector – August 2019 - 9
Collector – August 2019 - Best Practices
Collector – August 2019 - 11
Collector – August 2019 - FYI
Collector – August 2019 - 13
Collector – August 2019 - Collection Tips
Collector – August 2019 - 15
Collector – August 2019 - How a background in making people laugh has helped Roger Weiss, ACA’s new president, educate and engage an industry.
Collector – August 2019 - 17
Collector – August 2019 - 18
Collector – August 2019 - 19
Collector – August 2019 - 20
Collector – August 2019 - 21
Collector – August 2019 - 22
Collector – August 2019 - 23
Collector – August 2019 - No Good Option
Collector – August 2019 - 25
Collector – August 2019 - 26
Collector – August 2019 - “You’ve got to be a compliance cheerleader for the organization, and that takes a lot of energy.”
Collector – August 2019 - 28
Collector – August 2019 - 29
Collector – August 2019 - Protecting Health Care Data
Collector – August 2019 - 31
Collector – August 2019 - 32
Collector – August 2019 - 33
Collector – August 2019 - Calendar
Collector – August 2019 - Honor Roll
Collector – August 2019 - Education Spotlight
Collector – August 2019 - 37
Collector – August 2019 - 38
Collector – August 2019 - 39
Collector – August 2019 - 40
Collector – August 2019 - 41
Collector – August 2019 - 42
Collector – August 2019 - 43
Collector – August 2019 - 44
Collector – August 2019 - 45
Collector – August 2019 - 46
Collector – August 2019 - 47
Collector – August 2019 - ACA SearchPoint
Collector – August 2019 - Ad Index
Collector – August 2019 - Membership
Collector – August 2019 - 51
Collector – August 2019 - Last Word
Collector – August 2019 - Cover3
Collector – August 2019 - Cover4
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