Continental Service Group Inc. continues to grow, in an industry pockmarked by negative reputations, because of the way it conducts itself, its top executive said this week.
The accounts receivable management firm, doing business as ConServe, employs 410 people at its Perinton headquarters and 86 at a call center in suburban Buffalo. It plans to hire 100 more by the end of September, President Mark Davitt said.
"We're right on the cusp of 500," Davitt said of ConServe's employment total of 496.
ConServe is trying to add to its Perinton workforce now, he said. Additions at a call center in Depew, Erie County, are expected to begin next month and continue through the second quarter.
"We are hiring now," Davitt said. "It will be not quite linear throughout the year. There will be a peak in the second quarter, and we should get there by the end of the third quarter."
ConServe is looking for applicants in sales, operations, client relations, human resources, compliance, information technology and finance.
Employment at its headquarters has grown 28 percent since September 2009. The 100 new hires would put the increase at 85 percent in four years.
"We need the people," Davitt said. "Our clients have actually been responding pretty positively to the way we do business. We're very fortunate. We have a lot of good people here."
ConServe was a 2009 recipient of a Rochester Business Ethics Award. The award is presented annually to companies demonstrating high standards of ethical behavior in their everyday business practices and in response to crises or challenges.
"We work in an industry where there are some bad players," Davitt said. "We're a recipient of a business ethics award, and I think our people here really take that to heart.
"They recognize that we can do this the right way. That enables people to control their future. That resonates with our clients. They're comparing our performance to others, and they're rewarding us with more opportunity. Thus, we need more people."
Davitt founded ConServe, a debt counseling and collection business, in 1985. It primarily deals with college loans but has other work in the government and commercial markets.
The Depew location was opened in November 2009.
Job seekers are required to complete a simulated course on the ConServe website.
"It is a requirement, because we want people to understand, to have a good expectation of the job before they get here," Davitt said. "We certainly don't want to waste anyone's time, so we ask that they go out and complete this online simulation. It's better for them and for us."
ConServe was awarded more than 50 service contracts of substance in 2012, including debt-collection agreements with the states of Washington and Nevada awarded through competitive bidding.
ConServe is the collection agency for consumers, former state employees, commercial enterprises and third-party taxpayers in those two states. The first transfer of accounts will come by the end of this month.
The firm announced in January that it had received a contract from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to collect non-tax debts owed to the federal government.
"Things are going well because of our people," Davitt said. "It's the right people doing the right thing at the right time in the right way."
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