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Schools new HR director likes risk

June 29, 2005|By KAREN HANNA

Lynch, a former U.S. Marine Corps captain, sat in a black suit, the angles of the pressed lines pulled taut, a white dress shirt underneath spotless and stiff.

Lynch, 51, gets up every morning at 4 and lifts weights at 5. He can bench press 370 pounds, he said.

A former human resources manager of MCI and WorldCom, he most recently served as chief operations officer for the Ballenger Group, a Frederick company put out of business by government moves this spring.

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At its height, the Ballenger Group had about 350 employees and handled about 150,000 accounts a month, Lynch said.

"My son keeps telling me, 'There's no such thing as luck. You just go out and play hard,'" Lynch said. "I say, 'That's right.'"

According to Patricia Abernethy, deputy superintendent for instruction, Lynch will bring "a new dimension and new eyes" to the role. School officials long have said they want to improve strategies to find and keep the highest-quality teachers.

Lynch said he is eager to get started in a position where he can leave a lasting mark.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Ballenger Group processed debt-management accounts for AmeriDebt, one of the nation's largest credit-counseling agencies. The commission alleges both companies used misrepresentations to defraud consumers.

It prohibited AmeriDebt Inc., The Ballenger Group's largest client, from taking new customers, and it is trying to recoup about $170 million from the company and its founder, Andris Pukke.

"I wouldn't know Pukke if he walked in the room right now. I've never even met the guy," Lynch said.

The Federal Trade Commission settled its suit with The Ballenger Group for $750,000.

Lynch, who started at the company as its director of human resources, said he does not regret the experience.

"I don't think anybody thought it would have went the way it did. That's the risk you run into on the private side," Lynch said.

Lynch spent a few years at Panda Motors Corp., a car manufacturer that eventually attracted some 400 employees. The company, which was incorporated in Delaware in 1988, had facilities in the United States, Hong Kong and China around the late 1980s and early 1990s, but a plant of nearly 2 million square feet never produced a single car, Lynch said.

According to Lynch, the company failed in part because it could not entice the Chinese government to allow in-country sales.

"I liked the risk, I like the challenge of building something new, at least at that point in my career I did. It was a risky opportunity, but it was the experience ... Where else are you going to get that kind of experience?" Lynch said.

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