CBE Leadership

The CBE Leadership team combines a diverse work experience with a passion for our core values in leading our company to new heights. Get to know more about our leadership team and what skills and knowledge they bring to our company.

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Guiding Us to New Heights

The leadership team at CBE Companies lives by our core values and purpose and exemplifies them in their everyday work. Their diverse work experience and trust in all 1,300+ employees of CBE to do what is right is what allows us to innovate for the good of our clients.

Meet Our Leadership Team

  • Tom Penaluna

Tom Penaluna

Favorite CBE Core Value: Integrity

Tom Penaluna has been with CBE since 1978 as the visionary and founder of the company. He has led it through multiple expansions including the acquisition of several credit service companies and substantial employment growth since 1986 when there were only 25 employees to over 1,000 today. Outside of his life at CBE, Tom was a past Waterloo City Council Member for 8 years, and is a member of the Governors board of Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress. He also founded Leader Valley an education and business partnership formed to enable K-12 education in the Cedar Valley to go from good to great. He has served on the board of Associated Credit Bureaus of America, American Collectors Association International committees, and President of Medical Dental Hospital Bureaus of America to name a few. Tom is a graduate of Mankato State University.

  • Chad Benson

Chad Benson

Favorite Core Value: Innovation

Chad Benson began his career at CBE in 2008, and is responsible for leading the execution of the strategic corporate objectives for CBE Companies and its subsidiaries. He has been instrumental in directing the company’s focus on the deepest understanding of its customers’ business and regulatory landscape, as well developing innovative solutions that solve business challenges, mitigate risk and protect consumers. Prior to joining CBE, Chad served as Senior Director for Capital One for nine years and held multiple operations and marketing positions with Gateway Computer during his ten-year tenure. A graduate of Morningside College, Chad is a 2:00 AM thinker when the Raiders, Braves and game of golf don’t occupy his mind.

  • Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips

Favorite CBE Core Value: Leadership

Mary Phillips began at CBE in 1978 and is our most tenured employee. Her responsibilities involve overseeing all aspects of Human Resource strategies, including employee relations, company benefits, compensation, recruiting top talent, hiring, and management training along with assisting in the execution of the company's strategic plan as a member of the Executive Team. Mary has initiated many new concepts at CBE, including self-managed teams and process improvement, and is a member of the Cedar Valley Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). She is actively involved in CBE’s United Way campaign and Casual for a Cause program to help raise money for worthy organizations. Mary loves her Iowa Hawkeyes, planting flowers and playing Candy Crush when she has a spare minute or two.

  • Mike Frost

Mike Frost

Favorite CBE Core Value: Respect

Mike joined CBE in 2004, and manages compliance policy and a team of professionals including legal, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, legislative affairs, litigation defense, corporate governance and enterprise risk. Mike is a trusted industry expert, serving in leadership roles and as a speaker for many associations – most notably as an ACA Board of Director. He is a member of the Board of Directors of ACA International, Inc., and a member of the Board of Directors for the Black Hawk County Selective Service and Chairman of the Legislative Committee of ACA International. In 2011 and 2012, he was selected by Collection Advisor as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Collection Professionals and ACA Unit Leader of the Year in 2013. Mike is a veteran of the United States Air Force and is a hockey enthusiast who often volunteers to help with his son’s hockey team.

  • Nick Michael

Nick Michael

Favorite CBE Core Value: Innovation

Nick Michael started at CBE in 1997, and works relentlessly to ensure client satisfaction, from integration efforts to longstanding performance and continual improvement. Prior to joining CBE, he was Director of International Operations for The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (MONY). Nick graduated from Principia College and earned his MBA from Northwestern University. An active guy, Nick likes to spend his time out of the office enjoying the outdoors.

  • Erica St. John

Erica St. John

Favorite CBE Core Value: Leadership

Erica St. John joined CBE in 2013, and is responsible for overseeing financial results for all divisions, managing cash flows, financing, capital allocation and enhancing shareholder value. She is also responsible for management of internal controls that drive critical financial and operational information to achieve business strategies. Prior to joining CBE, Erica worked for RSM and John Deere. She is an active Certified Public Accountant and a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Iowa Society of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants. Outside of work, Erica enjoys running, biking and staying active in Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she was volunteer of the year in 2016. Erica graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.

  • Alex Reed

Alex Reed

Favorite CBE Core Value: Continuous Improvement

Alex Reed has been at CBE since 2013, where he oversees the company’s largest federal government and student loan contracts. He is also responsible for running third party recoveries after holding several senior leadership roles within Sallie Mae over the last ten years. Most recently, Alex was Vice President and COO of Contingency Services within Sallie Mae where he was responsible for strategic vision, organizational leadership and fiscal guidance for default prevention and default recovery operations across three subsidiaries. A University of Tennessee graduate, Alex is a diehard Tennessee fan, and will even do a little jig whenever “Rocky Top” starts playing.

  • Curt Martin

Curt Martin

Favorite CBE Core Value: Continuous Improvement

Curt Martin came to CBE in 2012, and is now responsible for the planning, development and direction of all aspects of CBE’s first-party collections, fraud management and customer care services. He brought 20 years of inbound/outbound call center operation management experience, including five offshore locations. His engaged, persevering and client-centric approach to operations creates an environment where success thrives. He is a champion of new initiatives and responsible for managing much of CBE’s significant growth, both international and domestic. When Curt isn’t driving I-35 between Kansas City and CBE’s Headquarters, he’s on a boat or watching hockey with his family.

  • Scott Buchanan

Scott Buchanan

Favorite CBE Core Value: Innovation

Scott Buchanan began at CBE in 2016 and works on key initiatives related to growing our business. His key responsibilities include expanding CBE’s industry’s presence, gaining market share and increasing revenue across service offerings. He is also tasked with developing and managing a 3-5 year strategic growth plan, managing all lobbying efforts and owning all federal contracts. Before coming to CBE, Scott gained considerable experience working at Merak Associates, LLC, Navient and Sallie Mae. Scott graduated from Davidson College and earned his Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University. Outside of work, Scott volunteers with several civic organizations and periodically crowds into vans with friends to run overnight relay races.



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