PRA Group CEO Speaks at 10th Annual Virginia Economic Summit
Kevin Stevenson, PRA Group president and chief executive officer, gave remarks at the Virginia Chamber Foundation’s 10th Annual Virginia Economic Summit on Friday, December 6, 2019. The Summit brought together more than 800 company executives, economic development leaders, and elected officials to discuss Virginia’s economic future.
During the “Why Virginia? A Perspective from Virginia CEOs” panel, Stevenson told the story of how PRA Group started in Norfolk, Virginia to do things “the right way for the right reasons.” The company thrived due to its focus on long-term, sustainable growth and its commitment to reinvesting in the communities it operates in.
“We set out to create a different kind of collection company,” said Stevenson. “One that strives for a culture of respect, collaboration and dignity towards our employees and our customers.”
Twenty-three years later, PRA Group operates in 17 countries, in 12 different languages, and in 12 different currencies but is still committed to Virginia. Stevenson described his leadership team’s decision to open its newest call center in Danville, Virginia.
“We hired a site selection company to do some research on where we should expand. They came back with a significant list of places but none were in Virginia. We’ve been in Virginia since the beginning so we pushed back and said, ‘we love Virginia, can you specifically look there?’” said Stevenson.
Danville very quickly became PRA Group’s first choice due to its skilled workforce and support and investment from state and local government. The company expects to be operational in Danville in a couple of months, bringing 300 jobs to the city.
“The Commonwealth was a great place to start a business back then and it still is today. We currently sit as the #1 place to do business due to our pro-business policies and talented, educated workforce,” said Stevenson.
Throughout the program, many speakers, including Stevenson, discussed their views on the impact proposed legislation may have on Virginia’s economic competitiveness.
“PRA Group first opened its doors in Hampton Roads in 1996 with just four people. Since then, we’ve grown into a global leader in acquiring and collecting nonperforming loans employing nearly 4,000 people. We operate in 17 countries across North and South America and Europe. Importantly to Virginia, our Corporate World Wide headquarters is in Norfolk, along with operational centers in Hampton and Danville, resulting in more than 2,000 employees in Virginia,” said Stevenson. “We’ve been able to thrive because of Virginia’s pipeline of talent and its pro-business policies including the Right to Work law. My hope is that any bills proposed in this year’s legislative cycle will not stifle or impede companies’ ability to locate or expand in the Commonwealth.”