Executive Conversations is a HousingWire web series that profiles powerful people in the financial industry, highlighting the operations and the people that make this sector tick. In the latest installment, we sit down with Chad Mosley, COO of MCS, and Marti Diaz, Chief Human Resources Officer at MCS, to talk about the opportunity to innovate in a low default environment and how MCS is preparing its technology, processes and people for growth.
Q: The last several years have seen plenty of disasters, from hurricanes to fires. How does MCS help its clients with disaster preparedness?
Chad: 2017 and 2018 were very challenging years for our nation when it came to disasters. As a national field services company, each disaster is unique and requires a different response. We had three major hurricanes last year and two more this year, and with those we did have some time to prepare. In the days leading up to landfall we are in constant communication with our vendors in the field to identify and protect the properties in the hurricane’s path and develop a post-storm plan. The nature of a vendor network means that those doing the work on properties live in those areas as well, so our first priority is making sure they are safe. As soon as we have access to affected areas, the real work starts.
In 2018, we integrated with a new third-party technology provider specifically for disaster preparedness. This new technology allows us to quickly identify where clients have vacant properties and use overlays for the different kinds of disasters so that we can pinpoint every affected property and know which were hardest hit. We were able to use this with Hurricanes Florence and Michael and with some of the devastating fires in California, providing our clients with real-time data and helping them to better understand risk.
Q: How does MCS’ experience with third-party vendors benefit its clients?
Chad: We have a 32-year history of partnering with vendors in the field, and they play an absolutely critical role for our clients and for investors. We’re proud that many of the vendors we work with are very tenured and have been providing services for a number of years. We are very focused on making sure vendors have the tools to be successful and we utilize the technology that works best to make all parties succeed.
Q: What kind of technology updates are most important right now?
Chad: When companies are very busy, it can be a challenge to be innovative. Obviously, in 2018 default and vacancy volumes have been down, which has provided us an opportunity to focus on some new technology initiatives that we’re very excited about. The disaster system is one example, and we have several more slated for roll-out in 2019. Our new Chief Information Officer, Mike Housewright, joined MCS from outside of the property preservation industry. Mike previously served as Iron Mountain’s CIO, and has brought with him innovative ideas from other industries that we’ve been able to seamlessly apply to the MCS field services’ platform.
Q: What’s in store for MCS in 2019?
Marti: We see 2019 as an opportunity to grow our business, and we are excited about doing that by focusing on our business processes and people, along with the great technology opportunities that Chad mentioned. Internally we are focused on beefing up our training, especially for the people supporting our client teams. We want them to be exceptional at taking care of our clients and working with vendors, to ensure that we’re consistently providing great customer service.
We want MCS to be the employer of choice in property preservation, and one area that we’re focusing on is career pathing with our employees. We believe there is not a better place to start and grow a career than at MCS, and we want to make sure our employees can see a clear path to move from an entry level role into a more senior position and perhaps eventually into a leadership role with MCS. We pride ourselves in promoting internally whenever possible. This is who we are — if you look around during the executive meetings, a large number of people in those meetings came from entry-level roles, and we believe that’s a significant competitive advantage. We don’t typically have to search outside for new leaders when our business is expanding. We are building tomorrow’s leaders today at MCS. When business is crazy, the focus is on clients and taking care of the business at hand. 2019 is going to give us the opportunity to focus on our people as well. We do feel strongly that when the market turns, we will have the right people in place to take MCS to another level.
Chad: A lot of our operational executives, including our CEO, came out of mortgage servicing, working for banks and mortgage servicers. It gives us a unique perspective because we have walked in the shoes of our clients, managing defaulted portfolios. Default rates are at decade-long lows right now, and that’s not sustainable. At some point, default rates will go back up and MCS will be well-equipped with the best technology, processes, and people. When that growth starts, we’ll be more than ready to assist our clients, their portfolios, and the communities in which we serve.