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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.

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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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