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Aug 01 2018
Connie Steed, CCE Retires
Shane Inglesby, CCE, Geneva Rock Products, Inc.

After working 40 years in credit, Connie Steed, CCE decided it was time to retire. Many credit professionals in our affiliate have been influenced and educated by Connie as she has been an example of what it means to give back to her profession.

Connie's career in credit did not start out as many would expect. Upon graduating from high school, she moved to Southeastern Idaho to work in a potato processing plant near Aberdeen. Work in Salt Lake was scarce due to an extended strike at the Kennecott Copper Mine.

She returned to Salt Lake City in 1972 where she worked in the accounting department of Intermountain Electric. Two years later, her company had a need for a credit manager and asked if she would be willing to take on that responsibility. That seemingly simple decision gave direction to the rest of her career. Connie later worked with Pykettes, Rasmussen Equipment and Kenworth Sales Company.

Looking back Connie received the greatest satisfaction from her career by working with customers - teaching them how to better manage their receivables. She particularly enjoyed building customer relationships and has learned these relationships, that she has nurtured over the years, never go away.

She believes strongly in never placing customers on the defensive when making collection calls. She would acknowledge their concerns yet also let them know of her company's need to be paid in a timely manner. If ever more aggressive action was required, she would "ease" into the conversation as she did not want any of her customers to be surprised by what was taking place.

Connie has no regrets making the decision to work in credit. She stated, "What we do is not glamorous. We don't make a lot of money. But every day is different with different problems to solve. Everything runs downhill to credit ... credit departments identify where problems in a company must be fixed." She went on to say, "I loved my job! I loved credit!"

Connie believes strongly in helping others. She said, "What are we here for if not to build people up and encourage them to be better?"

Connie has given back to many in the field of credit. Georgette Bevan, CCE, President of NACM Business Credit Services said, "I met Connie when I attended my first NACM meeting in 1991. She took a personal interest in me and many others, always demonstrating a positive attitude, encouraging people to attend NACM functions, to take business credit education classes and to pursue professional certification. Her willingness to share her skills, knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for the business credit profession and NACM was inexhaustible. My life and career, as well as that of many others, have been greatly enhanced by Connie's genuine concern and her investment in our success."

Connie, even when looking to improve her employment situation, was not above putting in a good word for her peers. While in the middle of a job interview, she quickly realized she would not be a good fit for the job. However, she was not shy about letting the company president, who was conducting the interview, know the best candidate for the position was sitting in the reception area and would be the next interview right after hers. In the end, the individual she recommended was hired. The company president later stated he had never had anyone, in all his years of conducting interviews, give such an endorsement in the middle of a job interview.

She continued by saying, "I would have never come close to accomplishing what I have done without NACM. They teach credit, and education is the top of the list, but, in the end, it's the people [of NACM] you learn from."

Connie feels very fortunate to have had three mentors that have helped her in her career. Ilene Solomon, CCE was an early mentor as she was relentless in her "pushing and nagging" Connie to receive her CCE. Connie received her CBA in 1980 but delayed receiving her CCE in 1990.

Dean Wangsgard, CCE is another valued mentor for Connie who played a key role in her early days of credit management. He encouraged her, even ten years after receiving her CBA, to pursue her CCE. Whenever she talked to him, he always expressed his faith in her ability to pass the exam if she would simply commit to taking the test. Connie is very grateful for his encouragement. He believed in her when she didn't necessarily believe in herself.

Susan Lujan, CCE with Kenworth Sales, also played a key role in Connie's career. Susan recognized Connie's abilities, gave her a job when she needed one and kept Connie motivated as she dealt with several health challenges during the latter part of her career.

Connie's plans for retirement include completing some home improvement projects including a new backyard deck. She can't stand airports. As a result, her travel plans will be road trips in Utah including her favorite destination - Kanab. She also looks forward to spending more time with family. She indicated she did not become a parent because she wanted to avoid raising a teenager, yet, ironically, she is currently raising a foster daughter who is 18 years old. She is grateful for the opportunity and says she is learning much in the process.

Connie will continue to periodically attend ICEL and NACM functions when she is able as she wants to keep in touch with her credit manager friends.

Connie's knowledge and influence will long be remembered. We wish her the best in her retirement.