Collector - April 2021 - 32

ORIGINSTORY

Success Across Generations
At Paramount Collection Service, Operations Manager Kirstin DeMaio found a deeper connection to her family and career.

K

irstin DeMaio worked at her
family's collection agency in high
school, but it wasn't until she
tried her hand in other arenas that she
knew she would continue her career in
collections. Here's how she got her start
in the industry, in her own words.
Paramount Collection Service in North
Muskegon, Michigan, was founded almost
90 years ago in 1933 by my grandfather,
Hans Homfeld. The agency began
operations at the tail end of the Great
Depression. My grandfather established
the philosophy that still drives the agency
today: " A firm but friendly approach. "
He operated the agency for many years
with his son Bill, who went directly into the
business from high school and eventually
took over.
Bill died unexpectedly in 1982. My father
Bob was working as a revenue officer with
the IRS at the time and decided to step in
and keep the business running. My mom,
Darlene, and I helped too.

32

When I started working at the agency,
my job was filing the card files. Anyone
who remembers the card files will know
how labor intensive it was to write all
the account notes on a card. Starting at
the bottom I learned the whole business,
but my dad felt it was important for me
to attend college, so I began working on
my business and marketing degree while
working at the agency.
I attended community college for two
years and worked at the agency in the
afternoons. I started taking on different
jobs, including posting payments and
making collection calls. One day when
I was 18 years old, my dad basically
handed me the phone and had me talk to
a prospective client. I was nervous and
inexperienced, but he always had faith
in me.
I moved to Kalamazoo to continue
my college education at Western
Michigan University. While there I
worked in the office of a retail store and
would call customers to let them know
their order was ready. It wasn't the same
as collections by any means, but my
coworkers were surprised that I'd just
get on the phone and call customers.
I learned that not everyone has the
temperament to call a stranger on the
phone and have a conversation.
After graduating from college, I returned
to the family business. Initially, I had no
plans to stay in the collection industry
for the long term, but my increased
responsibilities changed my mind.
I began to look at the collection industry
in a different light. Collecting bad debt has
its challenges and consumers may be upset at
times, but we're also able to help them. Plus,
it's very satisfying to have a client call you
and express their gratitude for monies you
have recovered.
It was clear where I needed to be, and
I fully immersed myself in the collection

business and all facets of the company.
I am the operations manager now, but
I still find myself picking up the phone.
As a small agency, it's challenging
to keep up with all the compliance
requirements. Also, from my viewpoint
as the immediate past president of the
Michigan Association of Collection
Agencies, I have seen quite a bit of
consolidation within the industry,
especially over the past 10 years. Still,
I know there will continue to be an
important place in the industry for
smaller agencies.
Like many small agencies, we are known
in our community for our good reputation,
and we know our clientele.
It's always interesting to me to hear
that people think working in the collection
industry is a hard job. It can be, but I
also get to meet people from all walks
of life and spend each day doing
something different.
In retrospect I am very thankful that
I was able to work with and learn from
my father. After he passed away, my
mother really stepped up to the plate
in running the administration side of
the business.
We ran the agency together until the
COVID-19 pandemic hit and she had
to quarantine.
I am grateful that we were able to
spend so many years working together
as a family team. It gave me a lot of
flexibility with my hours. When my
children were young, I could bring them
to my office for part of the day, which was
invaluable to me.
If I had to do it all over again, knowing
the changes and challenges in the industry
over the years, I would still choose this
career. I would find it hard to not be in
this industry.
Reported by Betsy Clarke and Katy Zillmer

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - April 2021

Collector - April 2021 - Cover1
Collector - April 2021 - Cover2
Collector - April 2021 - 1
Collector - April 2021 - 2
Collector - April 2021 - 3
Collector - April 2021 - 4
Collector - April 2021 - 5
Collector - April 2021 - 6
Collector - April 2021 - 7
Collector - April 2021 - 8
Collector - April 2021 - 9
Collector - April 2021 - 10
Collector - April 2021 - 11
Collector - April 2021 - 12
Collector - April 2021 - 13
Collector - April 2021 - 14
Collector - April 2021 - 15
Collector - April 2021 - 16
Collector - April 2021 - 17
Collector - April 2021 - 18
Collector - April 2021 - 19
Collector - April 2021 - 20
Collector - April 2021 - 21
Collector - April 2021 - 22
Collector - April 2021 - 23
Collector - April 2021 - 24
Collector - April 2021 - 25
Collector - April 2021 - 26
Collector - April 2021 - 27
Collector - April 2021 - 28
Collector - April 2021 - 29
Collector - April 2021 - 30
Collector - April 2021 - 31
Collector - April 2021 - 32
Collector - April 2021 - 33
Collector - April 2021 - 34
Collector - April 2021 - 35
Collector - April 2021 - 36
Collector - April 2021 - 37
Collector - April 2021 - 38
Collector - April 2021 - 39
Collector - April 2021 - 40
Collector - April 2021 - 41
Collector - April 2021 - 42
Collector - April 2021 - 43
Collector - April 2021 - 44
Collector - April 2021 - 45
Collector - April 2021 - 46
Collector - April 2021 - 47
Collector - April 2021 - 48
Collector - April 2021 - Cover3
Collector - April 2021 - Cover4
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202104
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202103
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202102
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202101
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202012
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202011
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202010
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202009
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202008
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202007
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202006
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202005
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202004
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202003
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202002
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202001
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201912
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201911
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201910/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201909/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201908/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201907/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201906/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201905/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201904/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201903/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201902/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201901/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201812/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201811/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201810/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201809/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201808/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201807/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201806/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201805/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201804/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201803/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201802/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201801/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201712/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201711/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201710/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201709/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201708/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201707/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201706/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201705/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201704/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201703/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201702/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201701/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201612/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201611/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201610/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201609/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201608/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201607/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201606/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201605/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201604/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201603/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201602/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201601/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201512/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201511/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201510/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201509/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201508/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201507/
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com