Magazine article Business Credit

Duane Schwartz, CCE: Meet Your NACM Instructor of the Year

Magazine article Business Credit

Duane Schwartz, CCE: Meet Your NACM Instructor of the Year

Article excerpt

NACM's Instructor of the Year Duane Schwartz, CCE started his professional career in what has to be one of the world's most emotionally grueling professions. "I started in collections, at an agency when in college, and then after college I worked at a hospital doing collections," said the eternally good-natured Schwartz. "When I was working at that hospital I was collecting from this one guy and I called him late in the afternoon. I looked at the bill and it was quite large, and it was for his son who was really sick" he added. "Working at a collection agency, you ask questions to figure out what the guy has, and he's telling me what his bills were and I held up his name for the person behind me. It was a small town so everybody knew each other, and she nodded that he was telling the truth."

"People doing hospital collections, God love 'em. It's tough on a person" he said.

Realizing that he couldn't stay in the health care collections field forever, Schwartz soon made the jump to business credit, as a credit and collection analyst for Condux International in Mankato, MN. "The big challenge was getting to know how to approve credit" he said. "Mankato is about an hour and a half away from Minneapolis, and I was a member of the credit group there, and that's how I got my taste of NACM. A few years later the company moved to the city and I went to Jim McIntyre and took a class from him"

It was this class that eventually set Schwartz on the path to teaching his own courses. "I saw the benefits, and could see how it was going to help me and help my company" said Schwartz. "It's one of the best things I ever did."

After choosing to leave a Principles of Business Credit course that he had been teaching at North Hennepin Community College, McIntyre recommended Schwartz as his replacement. "I had done some study sessions and seminar stuff before, as a presenter, but this was the first instruction, and I really liked it," he noted. "I love being in front of people teaching them because I get as much out of them as they get out of me;' said Schwartz. "That's why it's fun. The hardest part is the prep, but then once you're in front, it's fun."

Schwartz currently teaches Business Credit Principles at NACM North Central (Forius), and some of the Credit Administration Program courses, although the setup at Forius allows Schwartz plenty of other opportunities to fill in for his fellow instructors. "We have several, and it spreads out the workload for everybody, which works out great;' he said, noting that when one instructor can't make it to a course due to a work or family obligation, another equally capable instructor is there to help, ensuring both the quality of the program for the instructors and the students alike. "If one person did it all with a full time job it would be too much on their plate, so there's overlap"

In addition to his award-winning role as an instructor, and his position as credit manager at the Tile Shop in Plymouth, MN, Schwartz is also heavily active in NACM'S Credit and Financial Development Division (CFDD), and aims to use his role there to help today's credit professionals become tomorrow's mentors. "I'm a member of our local CFDD chapter and we're going to be doing our CFDD mentor program," he noted. "I would suggest everyone attend a program like that to get an idea of what it takes to be a mentor;' which Schwartz added, has as much to do with the mentor as it does with the mentee. "You've got to follow different steps," he noted, "and you both have to get something out of it. …

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