Orleans Hub presents award to Jodi Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 January 2014 at 12:00 am

CRFS leader is Orleans Hub’s ‘Person of the Year’ for 2013

Photo by Brad London – Orleans Hub today presented Jodi Gaines, CRFS chief executive officer, with the Hub’s “Person of the Year” award for her job-creation efforts in 2013. Pictured, from left, include: Orleans Hub Publisher Karen Sawicz, Jodi Gaines and Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub editor.

ALBION – Orleans Hub on Dec. 31 declared Jodi Gaines, the chief executive officer of Claims Recovery Financial Services, as the county’s “Person of the Year.”

We thought Gaines clearly deserved the award for building a juggernaut of a company that has been on a hiring spree in the county that sorely needs jobs.

This morning we presented Gaines with a certificate noting she was Orleans Hub’s choice for “Person of the Year.”

Gaines has been busy to start off the new year. Just last week 230 of her employees in the Olde Pickle Factory in Medina moved to the former JP Morgan Chase building in Albion.

The computers and employees made the transition during a weekend with sub-zero temperatures. About 450 employees work in a building next to the former Chase site and they are expected to move next door in late February, putting nearly all of the CRFS employees under one roof in Orleans County. (CRFS also employs 70 people in San Antonio, Texas.)

“We could have gone anywhere but Albion is where we wanted to be,” said Gaines, who started the company from her home in Albion about a decade ago.

She wanted to stay local because so many of her employees live close by. She also likes her 5-minute commute to work.

Gaines in September announced the company would consolidate its Albion and Medina work forces in the former Chase site and would add 150 employees. Gaines said the company is still hiring. It has actually hired 194 people since the September annoucement.

Orleans Hub wanted to recognize Gaines for providing opportunities for so many local residents to be able to work in Orleans County. These jobs have helped keep people here and to support their families.

The parking lot was nearly full this morning with several hundred cars. It was an awesome sight after the Chase site has been mostly empty in recent months.

The sprawling parking lot on East Avenue is nearly full with workers from Claims Recovery Financial Servces.

She praised Roger Hungerford for acquiring the building from Chase and making improvements for the CRFS staff. Gaines expects to have a ribbon-cutting celebration in early spring once the Albion staff transitions to the bigger 60,000-square-foot building.

She praised her management team for organizing the relocation efforts, which have gone without a hitch. Kelly Sargent managed the move with Jason Snook taking charge of information technology. Last Monday, the first day at the Chase site, employees arrived at 6 a.m. and turned on their computers without any problems.

Gaines said her employees’ skills and dedication have made the company’s expansion possible.

Claims Recovery Financial Services works with banks and investors to recover money with foreclosed properties. The company connects with attorneys, county clerks, utility companies and investors from all over the country. CRFS works to recover past-due interest, unpaid principal, unpaid taxes and unpaid insurance on houses.

Gaines said she is also proud of the employees for their commitment to the community. CRFS has set a $25,000 goal for employees to give to the United Way drive. The “CRFS Gives” campaign among employees picks a cause each month in the community.

To see the Dec. 31 article on Gaines being named “Person of the Year,” click here.

To see our list of Outstanding Citizens for 2013, click here.