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Faces of Nelnet: Mark Schilmoeller, Vice President-Customer Relationships, Nelnet Business Solutions

March 2, 2011

Mark Schilmoeller, Vice-President -Customer Relationships, Nelnet Business Solutions-Higher Education

Dawn Knight: What are you most proud of with your department?

Mark Schilmoeller: I am most proud of our department, because of their continued focus on consistently exceeding the customers’ expectations while faced with regulatory, industry as well as organizational changes.

Dawn: Please describe a typical day for you.

Mark: When not on the road traveling, I have breakfast with my three youngest kids. My freshman in High School doesn’t sit down for breakfast and my wife starts her day long before the rest of us.  I leave for work around 7:15 – 7:30 AM arriving at the office about 20 minutes after I leave the house.  My work day is typically filled with: internal company meetings; processing, tracking and responding to request from clients; conference calls with clients and or staff; responding to e-mails; and finding humor in anything I can to make things a little lighter for others.  I arrive home from work, on a good day, around 5:30 PM, using my drive time to touch base with my two older kids who are out on their own. (Side note: Grandchild on the way in June…yes, the Schilmoeller’s continue to have more kids) Once I get home, change and head to the gym for an hour workout.  The workout part hasn’t happened as frequently as I would like, but I still am making the effort.  Hopefully I am back home to spend some time with the family at around 7:30 PM, giving me about an hour to find out how their day at school went and what has happened around the house. Bedtime for the younger kids is between 8:30 and 9:00 PM, giving me the hope of about an hour’s rest before calling it a day.

Dawn: What has been your biggest challenge work-wise over the past 12 months?

Mark: CHANGE !!  A year ago in February I moved from the Nelnet Campus Solutions team as a Regional Director to the Nelnet Business Solutions (NBS) team as a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). In September I accepted the position as the Vice President responsible for the CRM team.  I have been with Nelnet for the past 23 years, primarily working with the Financial Aid side of Higher Education.  With the move to NBS, I continue to work with Higher Education, but more of the Business Office side of the house.  It has been a rewarding challenge to learn a different side of Nelnet and get to know a new side of the Higher Education community.

Dawn: If a school asks you what you do for Nelnet that impacts them, what would you say?

Mark: The team that I support is a sounding board for our clients to Nelnet Business Solutions.  We are the advocates for the needs, wants and wishes of our clients to Nelnet Business Solutions in how we can expand and improve payment processing services to better help our clients meet the needs of their students, while remaining PCI compliant.

Dawn: If you could have dinner with anyone on the planet, who would that be and what would you order?  

Mark: Wow ~ anyone on the planet!!  Is Kathy McConnell still on the planet?  I have had the opportunity to meet and make a lot of great friends over the last 23 years working and traveling for Nelnet, many of which I have not seen in some time.  I wish I could have a thousand individual dinners with each person to just catch up and find out how they are doing.  But if I had to settle on just one person….wow, I have changed my answer like 15 times while typing this……..I am going to go with the Pope.  Definitely would go to Spirit World in Omaha for lunch and have the Chicken Salad Sandwich on marble bread with a side of their home made broccoli salad.  It’s also one of Jim Harris’s favorite places to wine and dine clients!!  [Note from Jim:  Mark loves this place and insists that everyone else should as well. I ate there once with him]

Dawn: What is one piece of clothing you just can’t live without?

Mark: I am going to have to say jogging/running shoes.  I’m sure your thought was that I would say underwear, but really giving it some thought, I think that running shoes would win out.  I was fortunate enough to run and complete a full marathon a year and half ago.  The experience of completing that event has placed running shoes high on my priority list. Plus, if you have great running shoes, nobody really cares what else you’re wearing. [Note from Jim: Mark it is illegal to run in public in only your running shoes.  I, for one and I think I can speak for many, DO care and hope to never see this]

Dawn: What was your very first job?

Mark: What I consider my first real job, was working in a mom & pop department store called Wolff’s Department Store in Sheldon, IA. I was in college, studying Marketing & Management and worked mainly evenings and weekends.  Wolff’s Department store sold everything from kids’ clothing to men’s and women’s apparel to shoes and bulk fabric.  I worked the men’s clothing department.  It was a great first job, and I learned a great deal and had a lot of fun.  Still have many great memories from that experience. [Note from Jim: Unfortunately, most of the clothes that Mark wears today were bought during the era when he worked for this clothing store. Obviously, they had a great employee discount…especially on velour shirts and parachute pants]


Dawn Knight, Rocky Mountain & Western Regional Director (AZ, CO, ID, NV, ND, OR, WA, WY), Nelnet Partner Solutions


One Comment leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    March 2, 2011 3:40 pm

    Yes, I’m still on the planet.
    Best interview ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

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