Born in Potomac, Jennifer Whipple said where she really grew up was in and around her family’s Missoula business Collection Bureau Services, which her grandfather Gilbert Koch started 40 years ago.
Whipple, now vice president, co-owns the company with her father Jeff Koch. She said they work across Montana, handling everything from medical payments to bounced checks and providing collection services for Missoula city, county and the state.
Although getting calls from a collection bureau isn’t high on most people’s wish lists, Whipple said they try to make the process straightforward.
“People are afraid to talk to us. Then, they realize that we’re actually nice and helpful and want to work with them to get this taken care of,” she said.
As vice president, most of her work these days involves talking with Collection Bureau Services’ clients and updating them on the agency’s efforts, as well as performing management duties like hiring, training and payroll.
When she was growing up, Whipple said she always knew she wanted to do something in business. She started working at the family company while she was a sophomore at Hellgate High School before graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in business management in 2008.
In addition to her work, Whipple also sits on the board of the recently formed Hellgate Finance Academy at Hellgate High School.
“It is a big interest and passion of mine to help students and provide education in accounting, banking and financial planning,” she said.
Whipple said she would never be able to do her job at Collection Bureau Services without the support of her husband Tyrell, a retired Marine who stays home with their two children and her two step-children. Every year, the family takes a vacation to Hawaii together.
“He’s really the reason I can be here and be so successful,” Whipple said. “He enjoys being able to have time with them. He didn’t even meet his daughter until she was eight months old because he was in Iraq.”