On the Rise: Erin Halicki
Southeast regional account manager | GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp. | Age: 27
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in this industry is the job I hold now as the southeast regional account manager for GreatAmerica. I handle the financing needs for independent distributors in the Southeast region of the United States.
What attracted you to the industry?
I was first introduced to this industry when I was hired at GreatAmerica Financial in my current position. We are the financing partner for large automotive equipment for multiple equipment manufacturers such as NAPA, Advance Auto Parts, and Hunter Engineering. Once I became more familiar with this industry, I made it my goal to learn as much as humanly possible about automotive, so that I would have the tools to dominate in a male industry as a female.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge I have faced so far is learning about this industry at a quick enough pace to make an impact in my territory. I needed to know enough about the equipment I was financing to earn respect from men who had been in this industry longer than I've been alive. I need to be able to communicate financing knowledge to our partners and make sure that what I am communicating to them applies to how and what they are selling. Having knowledge about automotive as well as financing isn't enough in this world. I have to be able to tie financing and equipment sales together in a way that empowers our partners who are selling the equipment to speak on the benefits of financing to their customers.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
There are multiple people who have a large influence on my career. One of them being Mickey Moore who runs Moore Equipment Sales Inc. out of Ranger, Ga. Since I have been with GreatAmerica he has shown huge growth in sales and really utilizes the programs and financing options we offer him to ultimately sell a lot more equipment. He has provided so much knowledge to me in terms of how he presents financing to his customers and what makes him so successful. Witnessing that growth has been truly inspiring and through his successes I have had the pleasure of sharing his best practices with other sales reps in this industry.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
My biggest accomplishment in this industry has been educating multiple manufacturer and distributor sales reps on financing. That education has in turn directly resulted in the increase of their individual sales as well as the growth of some distributors as a whole. Empowering these sales reps to speak on financing with their customers increases individual sales as customers are able to purchase more at a time or purchase higher priced pieces of equipment due to manageable monthly payments. They are also able to close sales at a higher rate due presenting the option of financing to their customers. Seeing that success and growth has been extremely rewarding.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to still be working here at GreatAmerica Financial in the automotive industry. This wasn’t something I expected to do for a career, but now that I am I can’t imagine doing anything else!
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
The biggest issue facing financing for the automotive industry today is keeping up with the constant growth and innovation of technology. Although this is a challenge, it’s an exciting one. I look forward to seeing how things have evolved over the next 10-20 years.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
The one thing I wish someone had told me was how many moving pieces there are within this industry. Between the equipment manufacturers, distributors, and end user customers it took some time for me to understand how the buying process works. Now that I do understand it, I see the benefits for all of those moving pieces and why they are necessary.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
The biggest piece of advice I can give would be to have an open mind and research industry news. I had no prior knowledge of the automotive industry when I started in the financing world here at GreatAmerica. Just when you think you have everything figured out, you find that there are more layers to the craft of building value in the equipment we are financing. There is always something else we can do to support our customers, make their lives easier, and ultimately help them sell more equipment. You can never learn enough in this industry.
Tell us about your family.
My parents have celebrated their 30th anniversary and I have an older brother. They reside in Buffalo, N.Y., while I am living in Atlanta with my wonderful boyfriend and three, yes three, cats.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
My favorite weekend activity is hiking or tubing down the Chattahoochee River!
What keeps you up at night?
Over time I have learned not to worry about my future so much and to live more in the present. However, the excitement of the endless possibilities ahead of me tends to keep me awake. Although the lack of sleep isn’t a good thing, I feel that I have so much to look forward to.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I Irish step danced for 11 years and also had an opera scholarship to sing in college!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is ice cream and being super lazy on any given Sunday. I love TV and can’t get enough of all of my shows!
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I was a better dancer. You’d think since I Irish danced and am able to sing I would have rhythm and be able to throw out some awesome dance moves, but that is not the case at all!
What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is cheese, any type of cheese!
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
If I could have dinner with anyone it would be Anna Farris (actress from Scary Movie, The House Bunny, Just Friends) and actor and comedian Kevin Hart together. I listen to Anna’s new podcast and I think she is absolutely hysterical! I also think Kevin Hart is one of the funniest people of all time! That would probably be the most entertaining dinner I would ever have.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
Although I would absolutely hate it, there is something refreshing about shutting my phone off while I’m on vacation. I would say I could last a solid two-to-three weeks without throwing $1,000 away to get it back.