Came for Opportunity, Stayed for Community
In January 2023, Mortgage Servicing Coordinator Phill Adams celebrated a monumental work anniversary at Alaska Housing. The longest-serving employee currently at Alaska Housing, Phill has worked in AHFC’s mortgage department for 34 years.
“When I started here I didn’t imagine I’d still be working here even 30 years later,” he said. “It went pretty fast with all the changes.”
Before joining Alaska Housing, Phill worked for seven years in consumer collections, but it wasn’t the right fit for him.
“I’ve always wanted to help people,” he said. “Not just repossess their car, boat, or plane.”
Learning the Ropes
Phill said that he didn’t know anything about the mortgage industry when he first got into it, but his then-fiancée, Ginger, worked in the field and helped him with the learning curve. “I knew nothing about the mortgage world, but she knew it all,” he said. “I learned about all the documentation from her.”
After four years working in special credits at two banks, someone who worked at AHFC recommended he apply for their position. Phill said there did not appear to be any opportunities to advance at the bank, so he decided to apply.
Phill started at Alaska Housing toward the end of the 1980s recession. When he joined the mortgage department, he only reviewed loans for foreclosure and remembers in 1989 receiving about 16 foreclosure files across his desk every day.
“I don’t see as many foreclosure files now. The industry has changed immensely over the years. I accumulated more duties, and I’m glad I ended up staying, as I’m learning and doing more things than I ever thought I would.”
– Phill Adams, Servicing Coordinator I, Alaska Housing
Growing Along with AHFC
As a servicing coordinator, Phill now works in special credits, reviews loans for modifications, foreclosures, forbearance and changes in collateral, services multifamily loans and works with servicers doing loss mitigation.
Changes in the mortgage industry and his own tasks aside, Phill said that the biggest shift he has observed over the years is in Alaska Housing’s workforce.
“There were only about 50–70 employees when I started. I remember when all the corporation’s employees could gather together in one conference room for our weekly staff meeting.”
He’s witnessed the corporation grow in its number of employees since then – now the corporation employees around 300 Alaskans across the state, and huddling together in a single conference room is a thing of the past. But the sense of community has remained and is one of the reasons Phill says he is still working at AHFC 34 years later.
“If my late-wife Ginger was still here, I’d have retired by now,” Phill said. “But when I reached 25 years of service, I thought I might as well work until 30. My mother worked for 30 years in the civil service, she was real dedicated to her job and I thought I could achieve that as well as a tribute to her. And I like the people here. I value the camaraderie with my coworkers and being able to help Alaskans, it’s my favorite part of the job.”
Reflecting on His Service
Phill is now thinking about his upcoming retirement and said that he looks forward to spending a few months of every year somewhere warm playing softball – another area of his life where he values the community of his teammates.
Reflecting on his more than 30 years of service at Alaska Housing, Phill said that if he could give advice to his younger self or to a new employee, he’d say, “it’s a good job with great benefits – there is stability here and the opportunity to move around within the corporation and try something new. I’m still here because of my growth in both knowledge and experiences.”
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