Gene Clark, Director of Credit and Collections at OTR Wheel Engineering, Inc., shares his experiences and thoughts on his career in the credit and collections industry.
What is your background?
I have a degree in finance, and I was working in business banking when one of my clients recruited me to the credit and collections world. I’ve been in the industry for 10 years, and I’ve loved it from the beginning.
What is your job title and what are your responsibilities?
I am the Director of Credit and Collections at OTR Wheel Engineering, Inc. I’m responsible for managing a team of six, including credit managers. I maintain a close and strategic relationship with the Sales, Customer Care, and the Shipping Department to maintain effective communication. I get to know the teams, solve any problems, and receive information on any risk from the customers. I make sure that my team can do their job and that they look good to everyone.
Can you describe your typical day?
Most days start with email catch up to make sure that everything is flowing smoothly. When cash is posted from the previous day, I pull a report for the collections team, so they know which accounts to focus on. I meet with sales to discuss key accounts and with customers with large balances to look into any issues, and work on a resolutions.
What would you say are your greatest accomplishments in this industry?
I feel like I’m really good at my job. I’ve worked for 3 companies with similar credit and collection duties, and I’ve been able to reduce past due accounts by at least 50%. I’ve accomplished this by implementing new credit policies on the front end. I’ve put credit limits in place that make sense based on the history of the customer and future sales. This allows us to catch issues before they arise.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I want to continue my career in this type of role. OTR is a global company, but I’ve been focused on business in the United States. I would love to take on a role in receivable efforts for other parts of the world. I have set some high goals for myself over the next five years, and elevating to global collections would be really great!
What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the field?
There is a lot more art to this job than people realize. Knowing the policies and procedures is crucial, but realizing that every customer is unique is the most important part. Knowing a customer’s situation and how to react is key. Some accounts can be handled with kid gloves, while others will need a firm hand, and you might have to be ready to pull the cord quickly. There is so much more to this industry than looking at numbers.
If you weren’t working in credit, what do you think you’d be doing career-wise?
I would 100% be working in real estate. I purchased my first house in 2011, and have since bought and sold three more. I love every part of the process, from finding a good house and deal, to making updates and repairs. I also enjoy helping friends and family look for homes.