Welcome to Tuition.io’s new employee spotlight series where we’ll be shining a light on the talented team members that lead the charge in making student loan repayment assistance a typical benefit for employees.
For our first post, we’d like to introduce you to Bob Shiels, Senior Director of Sales at Tuition.io, who is based out of our Santa Monica HQ.
What drew you to working at the company?
In all my years in sales, I’ve never been a part of a leading-edge platform like Tuition.io. The talented, educated people here are inspiring.
What is your favorite thing about working at Tuition.io?
It’s exciting to meet folks at large enterprises and learn about the challenges they face. I love showing them about how Tuition.io can help attract and retain the best employees. It’s rewarding to see the impact Tuition.io has on the companies we work with.
What are people’s reactions when you first tell them about Tuition.io?
“Wow, that’s a cool benefit! I wish my company had that!”
How much student loan debt did you graduate with?
I studied Journalism at Ohio State University. Fortunately, I was able to graduate with only $5,000 in student loans and I was able to pay it off in two years—but keep in mind that that was almost 30 years ago. I’m now re-experiencing student loan debt with my daughter, who just entered in college at Warren Wilson in North Carolina.
What have you learned about student loans while working at TIO that’s surprised you the most?
How damaging private loans can be. I can’t believe 44 million Americans are burdened with $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.
Before working at Tuition.io, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I worked for a charity that provided computers to low-earning military spouses so they could communicate with their loved ones overseas. I was honored when we won an award and met General Peter Pace at the Pentagon.
What are your hopes for the student loan industry?
For Congress to pass HR 795. This bill encourages private employers to offer a tax-free benefit to put toward an employee’s student loan debt.
Any random facts you could share with us?
I was classmates with Chris Farley from Saturday Night Live!
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Death and taxes are the only two certainties in life.”
What would you rather be doing?
What book did read last?
Unbroken. It’s a book about an American hero and his journey through endless challenges that he overcame.
What is your favorite thing to do in LA?
Ride my mountain bike on the beach.
Any secret talents?
I can juggle.
You’re happiest when…?
I’m traveling abroad.