First-year student Justin Blackford, CICP, of Builders FirstSource outside of Charlotte, NC discusses how his role has grown post-recession, and how he got to GSCFM.
How long have you been in your current position?
I've been with my company now for five years, but I've been in the industry for almost 10.
What do you handle on a day-to-day basis?
I manage the department, and that team has been pressed because of the economy, but we review accounts, existing or new, to increase and establish credit lines. We manage the collection function, dispute resolution with our customers, that sort of thing.
That sounds pretty broad.
Very broad. I also do financial analysis on not only our customers but our business, including sales, so it's definitely widened.
Is that expanded role sort of a recent phenomenon?
It's always been a credit management role, but based on my desire to be innovative and obviously, the economy, everybody's wearing one or two different hats that they weren't wearing before.
How'd you hear about this program?
We've got a strong NACM group, particularly in construction in Charlotte, so it's something I've been aware of for a while. Being new to the field and fairly young in my career, I can't think of a better opportunity than this to enhance my knowledge and learn from people, and network. I don't think there's a better opportunity out there for a credit manager.
I made this comment to another student the other day, but it seems like the socializing aspect of the program is just as important as the actual education.
Absolutely. This is a great networking opportunity. The group is small and for that reason it's a close group, and you learn a lot of different perspectives from people. Not everyone's in the same industry so you learn how they manage their operations and handle similar credit issues that transcend the differences.
Classes continue at NACM's Graduate School of Credit and Financial Management (GSCFM), currently being held at Dartmouth College.