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Credit Q&A - Caroline Perkins

Credit Manager, Mickey Thompson Tires

What is your background?

I began my career working for a small chemical manufacturer and distributor.  Our offices were right beside a rail sitting where we would receive tank cars of bulk chemicals. I remember being on the phone with customers and I’d say, “hold just a moment, there is a train going by” and my customer would say “Oh wow, I can hear the train!”, it was that close.    At the time, I was young and inexperienced but this job, which was hands on work in order entry, customer service, accounts receivable, collections, even purchasing gave me so much invaluable experience.  I have been blessed to continually build off what I learned.  I came to my current role at Mickey Thompson Tires in June of 1987 and earned my CCE in 2012.

How did you first enter the field of Credit & Collections?

Like so many others, I did not set out aspiring to be a credit professional.  When I started at MT, our company was also very small, but as my role grew with the company, the focus narrowed in to where I gradually became the first Credit Manager.  I have been able to establish a lot of policies and procedures along the way.

What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?

As Credit Manager, I perform background checks for our prospective customers and work with I.T., customer service and pricing to get the new account set up in or system.  I manage collections, credit holds, a variety of customer inquiries (and after 35 years at the same company, I get many inquiries!).  I would say I mostly fix problems. 

Can you describe your typical day?

In June of 2021, MT Tires and our then parent company, Cooper Tire, were acquired by Goodyear Tire and Rubber. We are currently migrating to their SAP system.  My days are currently filled with migration meetings along with the responsibilities I have outlined above. It’s been a bit “hair on fire” lately, but we’re getting there!

What would you say are your greatest accomplishments in this industry?

By the grace of God, my company has not lost $1.00 in the last five bankruptcies that occurred from 2012 to 2022.  In one bankruptcy, we were able to (agreeably) take back more product than what we were owed….to the extent that we paid the bankruptcy court $18,000 for the excess inventory.  In that bankruptcy, our UCC filing was ahead of our customer’s bank.  We were the only supplier that received back their unpaid inventory.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In addition to my day-to-day responsibilities, I have been very blessed to be a speaker for NACM the past few years.  I’d like to expand on this as time allows.  I very much enjoy what I do, and I see myself in a continued credit/finance role.

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?

Work hard at building trust and integrity with your customers; fix problems as they occur and don’t let them go unresolved.  Take pride in what you do and be a leader.  Also, secure your accounts at the onset.  It may seem unnecessary at the time, but your UCC filing will put you in the best possible position to be paid.

If you weren’t working in credit, what do you think you’d be doing career-wise?

I always thought It would be great to work for NASA (I’m a space buff!)  I have no idea what I’d do for them but I love working with people so I could make a great tour guide!  That is, after I got a good feel for the lay of the land, my sense of direction has never been stellar!