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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 exemplifying those qualities in their everyday work. Their diverse experience and trust in all 1,400+ employees to do what is right 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. As Chairman and CEO, Tom has led CBE through multiple expansions – including the acquisition of several credit service companies, as well as substantial employment growth – from only 25 employees in 1986 to over 1,000 employees today. Tom has served on the board of Associated Credit Bureaus of America, American Collectors Association International committees, and as President of Medical Dental Hospital Bureaus of America. He served as a Waterloo City Council member for 8 years, and is a member of the governor's board of Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress (IPEP). Tom also founded Leader Valley, a business-education partnership aimed at developing the leadership skills of Cedar Valley K-12 students. Tom is a graduate of Mankato State University.

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  • Erica Parks

Erica Parks

Favorite CBE Core Value: Leadership

Erica joined CBE in 2013. As President, she is responsible for executing the overall business plan and driving results for all stakeholders. Prior to joining CBE, Erica worked for RSM and John Deere. She is an active Certified Public Accountant, serves on the Cedar Valley United Way Board of Directors and Finance Committee, and the Executive Committee for Cedar Valley Women Connect, Women Lead Change. She is also a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Iowa Society of CPAs, and the Institute of Management Accountants. Erica holds a BA in Accounting with a minor in Finance from the University of Northern Iowa, and an MBA from the University of Iowa. Outside of work, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband and family, staying active, and traveling in her spare time.

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  • Nick Michael

Nick Michael

Favorite CBE Core Value: Innovation

Nick joined CBE in 1997. As Chief Risk Officer, he works relentlessly to ensure regulatory compliance and client satisfaction – from integration efforts to longstanding performance and continual improvement. Prior to joining CBE, Nick was Director of International Operations for The Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York (MONY). Nick holds a BA in Business Administration and Sociology from Principia College, and an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Outside of work, Nick likes to be active and spends his free time enjoying the outdoors.

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  • Alex Reed

Alex Reed

Favorite CBE Core Value: Continuous Improvement

Alex joined CBE in 2013. As Chief Operating Officer, he is responsible the planning, development, and direction of all aspects of CBE's first- and third-party collections, fraud management, and customer care services. Alex is an accounts receivable management (ARM) veteran of more than 27 years, and prior to joining CBE he held several senior leadership roles within Sallie Mae where he was responsible for strategic vision, organizational leadership, and fiscal guidance across three subsidiaries. A University of Tennessee graduate, Alex is a diehard Tennessee fan and will even dance a little jig whenever "Rocky Top" starts playing.

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  • Melissa Bechtel

Melissa Bechtel

Favorite CBE Core Value: Leadership

Melissa joined CBE in April 2013 and has proven herself to be an invaluable corporate leader. She has held many roles since joining CBE including Financial Analyst III, Director of Corporate Financial, Planning & Analysis, and most recently Vice President of Corporate Strategy. Melissa’s strong financial and strategic strengths will help guide CBE through exciting times focused on value-based growth in every area of our business. Prior to CBE, Melissa was Accounting Manager at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital in Wisconsin, and also has prior experiences including Director of Finance, Senior Financial Analyst, and Auditor. Melissa serves on the Junior Achievement Cedar Valley Area Board, as well as the Women Lead Change Advisory Council. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Wartburg College, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Viterbo University, and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Outside of work, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters, as well as traveling to see friends.

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  • Dr. Albert E. Smothers

Dr. Albert E. Smothers

Favorite Core Value: Integrity

Dr. Albert E. Smothers joined CBE Companies as Chief People Officer in April 2022. Responsible for developing and executing the human capital strategy in support of the overall business plan, Dr. Smothers leads the strategic direction of the organization in the areas of succession planning, talent management, training and development, and compensation. Prior to joining CBE, Dr. Smothers was the Director of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer for the University of Phoenix. He was responsible for leading the Academic Affairs Department for the Houston market, which includes the School of Business, College of Health Professions, College of Humanities and Sciences, College of Social Sciences, and College of Security and Criminal Justice. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, Dr. Smothers spent over a decade in the Financial Services industry as a Financial Advisor and Retirement Specialist. He worked for several different firms including Edward Jones, Invesco, AIM Investments, A.G. Edwards & Sons, and Prudential. He spent several years at Washington University School of Medicine as a Financial and Grant Administrator for the Department of Psychiatry, and several years as an Accounting Administrator for the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Smothers earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management with a specialization in Leadership from Capella University, an MBA from Fontbonne University, a BS from Southern Illinois University, and graduate certificates in Project Management and Marketing from the University of Phoenix.

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  • Lynn Reynolds

Lynn Reynolds

Favorite CBE Core Value: Continuous Improvement

With more than 25 years in the accounts receivable management industry, Lynn Reynolds joined CBE Companies as Chief Sales Officer in April 2022. A proven and dedicated leader, Lynn translates business strategies into maximum profits commensurate with the best interest of the organization, clients, employees, and the community. She is highly knowledgeable in accounts receivable management and business outsourcing processes, with strong experience in Federal and State servicing contracts and Financial, Education, and Healthcare verticals. Prior to joining CBE Companies, Lynn’s tenure included Account Control Technology, General Revenue Corporation, and Pioneer Credit Recovery. As a seasoned professional, Lynn understands the practices and regulation resulting in high achievements of performance and customer experience. She has built a solid reputation based on quality, service, and unwavering ethics while adapting to the constant change in regulatory, legislative, and client requirements. Lynn currently serves on the Membership Committee for Receivables Management Association International (RMAI), previously served on the Boards of National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) and Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations (COHEAO), actively lobbied Congress and industry influencers, and has been a past presenter at numerous industry conferences. She holds a BS in Business Management from Houghton College.

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