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Bill Bartmann Speaker Profile
Leading Authority on Entrepreneurship in AmericaTopics:
– Team Building
– Goal Acheiving
Bill is the ultimate underdog/survivor/achiever overcoming personal circumstances and tragedy to rise to the top enterprise in America. Homeless at age 14, a member of a street gang and a high-school dropout – Bill took control of his life by taking the GED exam and putting himself through college and law school. At the request of a bank, he took over a foreclosed oil-field pipe manufacturing plant and turned it into a million dollar a month business, until OPEC slashed the price of oil – leaving Bill out of business and a million dollars in debt. Refusing to give up, Bill and his wife & business partner, Kathy, borrowed $13,000 and created a new industry – Debt Resolution. Three years later, they had repaid the entire million dollar debt. Over the next 13 years they grew the company to 3,900 employees with revenues in excess of $1 billion and earnings in excess of $182 million. There they pioneered novel financial instruments still utilized today on Wall Street. They also implemented unheard of perks and benefits for their employees, such as salaries at 2 times the industry standard, free health care, free on-site daycare, 250% 401K match program and legendary company trips where they took ALL of the employees and their spouses on annual trips to the Bahamas, Las Vegas and Ocean Cruises.Bill and Kathy were listed individually in the Forbes 400 wealthiest people in America.
In 1998, tragedy struck when Bill's former business partner committed fraud and sent the company into bankruptcy. Although Bill's former business partner told the prosecutors that he had acted without Bill's knowledge, admitted his guilt and was sent to prison – in the post Enron environment, U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, indicted Bill on 57 felony counts relating to Bill's partner's activities. Five years later, after a 2 ½ month long trial where the government called 53 witnesses and produced over 1,000 exhibits, Bill rested his case without calling a single witness or producing a single exhibit. The jury unanimously acquitted Bill on all counts. Ironically, 17 months after his acquittal and six and a half years after his company was liquidated, the Federal Bankruptcy Trustee issued his report which publicly acknowledged for the first time, “CFS was not a fraud”. This experience would have embittered most people, but not Bill. He now travels the country, sharing his story of how he created his success and how he dealt with his challenges. Bill has been credited with singlehandedly changing and reforming the collection industry in America. His new mission, just as ambitious, is to "reverse the business failure rate in America".
Bill’s current venture is Financial Samaritan. Samaritan provides services to consumers for debt-negotiation, job search, social services and financial literacy; all at absolutely no cost to the consumer. In some cases, Samaritan has helped customers improve FICO scores 150 points in six months by increasing their net disposable income and eliminating debt at significant discounts. This process creates healthier and more stable families that are provided a path to conventional financial services. Samaritan is successful at creating lender-borrower relationships with these consumers by restructuring their debts with fully amortizing loans and affordable payment plans and single digit interest rates. Samaritan drives financial inclusion through its free services as well as its lending programs.
Bill is both an accomplished “social change agent” and businessman. He was named National Entrepreneur of the Year twice by USA Today, NASDAQ, Inc. Magazine, Ernst & Young, and the Kauffman Foundation. He was recipient of the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. Additionally, Bill was named one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs of the Last 100 Years by Apple Computer and the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He was recognized by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History for the innovative use of information technology. And his company’s business model was the subject of a Harvard Business School Case Study.
He is currently working with Princeton University on a study of consumer financial decision making behavior. Bill serves on The Board of Trustees for the California Institute for Advanced Management.
In 2013, Bill was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his initiatives to foster stronger families, healthier children with better educational outcomes and to reduce the level of spousal, child, and substance abuse by eliminating the stress placed on families that was caused by abusive and unethical debt collection and alternative financial services industries. Bill received his Juris Doctor degree from Drake University and his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Loras College.
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2017 Nobel Prize Economics Science Winner
Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics