John Chebat is the visionary and the orchestrating Chief Executive Officer at Account Discovery Systems, LLC with 15 years of experience in collections and business management. After moving around the United States for his family's printing business, John joined the collection business at National Action Financial Services in 1998. He worked with two other agencies before starting his own business out of his house in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York. Chebat has managed collections for Chrysler Automotive and many major credit and retail card issuers. John, or Johnny as all of the employees call him, is in charge of inspiring and motivating everyone that works with him. He is also responsible for business development and for bringing new accounts.
A leader made at Canisius College, John doesn't like to micromanage anyone. "I like to explain my visions and goals and give you the creative freedom to get there," explains Chebat, "But that doesn't mean I cannot hold you accountable for results, and I will." Johnny advocates for the entrepreneurial spirit and has graduated and helped many of his previous employees to run their own businesses.
Reflecting on collections John believes that it is one of the hardest things to do, especially when it is done at ADS. "We listen to debtors and try to help them," says Johnny, "We are like psychologists listening to people about their lives every time we get them on the phone." He knows what it means to be at both ends of the line, and for that he always tells his employees not to "take things personally." "We, at ADS, are educators in a way," he elaborates, "We tell people how they are jeopardizing their future and they do not always accept it. Our account managers sincerely believe in the work they are doing to help these clients; so they develop a thick skin."
Chebat is charitable man. One of his favorite quotes is Gandhi's "The simplest act of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayers." He has, personally, contributed to many charities. On a more of a collaborative contribution, John and his employees raised $25,000 to help many different local charities. To further promote the entrepreneurial initiatives and the importance of education, and part of his efforts to give back to the Western New York community, John is starting an endowment fund at Canisius College. The funds will be used towards scholarships for students who are business-oriented, and have the entrepreneurial aptitude as well as the desire to keep Western New York the great place it is.
Outside of work, John is a caring father for two beautiful kids, a loving husband and a Frank Sinatra fan. He cherishes his family time deeply. "I love spending time with my family, this is what I really live for," says Chebat. He is the adventurous person spending his free time hiking, swimming and skiing. "Besides the outdoorsy things, I really enjoy my quiet time reading a book every time I get the chance."
With 24 years of collection experience, Jim Prawel is the Chief Operating Officer at Account Discovery Systems, LLC. With a beautiful young daughter and a loving wife, Jim runs the day-to-day operations at ADS and leading his employees by delegating the different tasks to each one of them. Jim is the catalyst of Account Discovery Systems with a philosophy to lead by action. He started his collections career in 1988 working in automotive repositions and moved to phone collections with Marine Midland Automotive Financial Corp (MMAFC). With MMAFC, Jim worked on Porche, Mazda and other luxury auto loan accounts. Jim left the banking collections and started working at an agency setting with ACI where he moved up within the agency through mergers with bigger companies three times - from JDR to NCO Financials. He managed many premium accounts, like American Express, Bank Of America, M&T Bank, CitiBank, and Chrysler-Ford Automotive loans.
After his graduation from Canisius College with a BA in Business Administration, and having been in different positions at different agencies, Jim knows a lot about collections, businesses and most importantly, people and family. "Work is at the top of my list with my family being number one," says Jim. From that belief, Jim has joined John Chebat to create a company that is "not about the company itself, but about the people in it." "We asked ourselves, what motivates our account managers?" explains Prawel, "Quality of life has always been the answer. Collectors are humans with families! They need and deserve the time off to spend quality family time. When we work, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality service." Jim's believe that everyone should "work hard and enjoy family time to the fullest."
When Jim thinks about the collection business, he considers it yet another driver for the economy. "Think about it, if we don't collect on defaulted accounts, no one can get loans anymore," says Prawel. "Collections is an industry that is an extension, if not parallel, to the banking industry." He holds the practice to higher standards and makes sure each one of the account managers working with him treat consumers the way they want to be treated if they were in their shoes.
Jim is a do-it-yourself man. He is never hesitant to roll-up his sleeves and do work, whatever it is. "There is no job that is beneath me. But rest assured as I wouldn't ask anyone to do something that I wouldn't do." He also enjoys Country Music. "I relate to the songs. As I've gotten older, I pay attention to the lyrics and I appreciate it more."