It has been reported to me that Mark Guimond has passed away after a sudden heart attack. That makes me very sad.
For those who have been around the debt relief and credit counseling space for a long period of time, we knew Mark.
Mark bragged lovingly about his family. He described his now 18-year-old daughter in 2013 by saying she was his “goalie superstar daughter” who loved soccer.
He was a legend, not only in adventures but also in his sharp skills and unique perspective.
Over the years I always found Mark to share a similar view of the debt relief space. He would be as outraged by sloppy shops that simple created consumer complaints and drew the attention of regulators. And he fought hard for good industry players.
Those who I have spoken with since his sudden passing have also had kind things to say about him. For example, “At the height of regulation of the credit counseling industry, Marks fingerprints were everywhere. As old-school thinking tried to control legislative efforts, Mark challenged those who could not or would not change.”
Others said, “He challenged common industry “wisdom” with his intellect and passion. He was a warrior that was sent into battle with a slingshot against an overpowering force and normally came out the victor. An extremely talented and effective professional who of course knew how to have a whole bunch of fun.”
I don’t disagree with any of that.
Mark was smart as a whip. He could gather data and organize it so the industry could digest it to make better choices. His original guide to state laws regarding debt settlement was a bible for many years.
Mark saw the industry with open eyes and provided great advice to consumers when asked. But his business was to provide great advice to companies in the industry.
I found Mark to be a lobbyist worth respecting. Mark described himself by saying “I am a government affairs professional who has served as a registered lobbyist before the U.S. Congress and in 11 states and testified more than 200 times before 43 state legislatures. I am familiar with all aspects of direct lobbying, presentation of testimony, bill drafting, grassroots mobilization, shepherding legislation and legislative tracking.”
And over the past several years Mark moved on to other areas and I’d lost touch with him. But according to his Linkedin profile, he was involved with Alzheimer’s Association, and the Arthritis Foundation.
Past statements about Mark tell the story of what a great person he was.
“I have known Mark since his work with AADMO. He is a tireless and forceful advocate on behalf of the debt management industry, and by extension, consumers and consumer protection. As founder of the AADMO, he has, in the six years that I have known him, been at the forefront of often contentious issues about the appropriate limits of credit counseling and has been an advocate, at both the federal and state level, for sensible regulation that both protects consumers, while ensuring that credit counseling is still available for them.”
“I have known Mark for many years as an Executive in the credit counseling and debt management industry. As a member of the American Association of Debt Management Organizations (AADMO), which Mark started and managed, I witnessed his busy travel schedule in order to make sure the interests of the member organizations were properly represented. During his time with AADMO, he was very influential and highly successful in meeting with state regulators, lobbyists, drafting uniform legislation and state laws pertaining to industry oversight and consumer protection. Other industry trade associations relied on Mark’s expertise and connections to get the job done and get the job he did.”
“Mark’s knowledge of current events and his expertise in the consumer credit industry is superior. He was able to establish key connections and develop relationships quickly. Mark is considered to be the subject matter expert in all aspects of the consumer credit industry and expertly negotiated with many lawmakers, government officials and industry leaders change that positively affected all parties. Mark truly is a professional and has the pulse of the industry.”
“I had the luxury of witnessing and benefiting from Mark’s work as he created a trade association in the consumer debt management field. The industry was going through a tumultuous time of new regulation at the state and federal level. Prior to Mark’s involvement, there was very limited industry representation at any legislative level. Mark saw a need, organized industry leaders, developed and executed a lobbying strategy… and profoundly impacted the state and national legislative landscape.”
“Mark, is an excellent Lobbyist for the Debt Management Industry, he has fought and won many battles in favor of DMO’s as well as providing protection for the consumer.”
I will miss you Mark. And to his family and loved ones, just know that Mark made a positive difference in the lives of many people you will never know.