National Merchants Association

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From Team NMA

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Heather Petersen - CEO and Founder

"You take care of your customers, and your customers take care of you," says Heather Petersen, founder and Chief Executive Officer of National Merchants Association (NMA).

Ms. Petersen has been in the bankcard industry since 2003, and has consistently been a leader in her field as a sales agent, sales manager, and as founder of National Merchants Association. She created the Association as an advocacy group for small and medium-sized business owners in 2004.

Ms. Petersen has personally pioneered a new era in the bankcard industry and has developed proprietary merchant account optimization software to ensure perfection in merchant account maintenance. Ms. Petersen is renowned as the bankcard expert.

Dedicated to improving agent knowledge and integrity, Ms. Petersen serves on the Education Committee of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) located in Washington DC. The purpose of ETA is to influence, monitor, and help shape the merchant acquiring industry by providing leadership through education, advocacy, and the exchange of information. The Education Committee is tasked with directing program content for seminars, training sessions, workshops, distance learning offerings, and ETA University Curriculum.

Ms. Petersen was one of the nation's first Certified Payments Professionals (CPP), a symbol of industry excellence. She strives to promote the program's mission to set the standards for professional performance in the payments industry. Along with her CPP certification, Ms. Petersen is also Microbilt Certified. These distinctive certifications signify that an individual has demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to perform competently in today's complex electronic payments environment.

With an eye on philanthropy and service, Ms. Petersen serves on the Board of Trustees for Oak Grove Center for Education Treatment & the Arts, a nonprofit residential and educational treatment center dedicated to rebuilding the lives of at-risk children and their families through educating, healing, restoring relationships, building character, and instilling hope. Ms. Petersen's dedication to her community defines the philosophies in which she built the foundation of National Merchants Association.

A cum laude graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in marketing, Ms. Petersen has proven to be an excellent leader in sales as well as an engaging public speaker and motivator.

National Merchants Association has become one of the fastest growing ISOs in the industry and has, by far, the lowest attrition as result of Ms. Petersen’s constant demand for outstanding customer service and support. Its unparalleled achievement stems from Ms. Petersen’s ardor, drive and unwavering determination to succeed.

Brian Randolph - Chief Technology Officer

“I got into the payment processing field through one opportunity with National Merchants Association, and ever since, I have been learning, developing, and creating new policies and procedures for National Merchants Association to keep the company on top of industry trends,” says Brian Randolph, National Merchants Association's Chief Technology Officer.

Mr. Randolph oversees the organization's infrastructural development and implementation of information technology, and spends his time in the office applying innovative practices to the company’s software and website. It’s Mr. Randolph’s creative background that keeps NMA advancing in the industry and sets the company apart from others of its kind. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry and Technology (Recording Arts) from California State University, Chico, and has held similar technology positions within music industry companies as well as payments industry companies. Mr. Randolph appreciates being a part of National Merchants Association because, through integrity and innovation, he is a part of the rapidly changing and fast-paced payments industry.

Mr. Randolph has been with National Merchants Association since 2009 when the company incorporated its headquarters in Southern California. He was brought into the company to help facilitate PCI Compliance and Data Security Standards as required by the Card Associations, and has been running the organization's technological advancements since.

In early 2010, Mr. Randolph developed proprietary merchant account optimization software that earmarked the differentiation between National Merchants Association and its competitors, giving the company a major advantage. Today, National Merchants Association's members recognize a dramatic reduction in fees as a result of the optimization program.

Mr. Randolph has been licensed as a Certified Payments Professionals (CPP) since November 2013, and strives to make even more leaps and bounds in the industry. "I enjoy pushing the envelope, developing ideas, and finding solutions to complex issues that help our merchants succeed."

Alexis King - Director, Sales Support

“Each day in the office, I get to talk to National Merchants Association ISOs and partners. I can always feel the synergy between our company and our agents, and that motivates me to maintain great communication, so that together, the agents and I can assist merchants with their credit card processing!” says Alexis King, National Merchants Association Support Manager and the office’s energetic presence.

Prior to joining National Merchants Association, Alexis King was highly recognized for her achievements in the bankcard industry, where she spent four years in managerial positions involving underwriting, processing, marketing and customer service. Ms. King is a Southern California native, with parents who own small businesses. She feels a strong bond with National Merchants Association's merchants and truly wishes to help them in every way possible.

As National Merchants Association Support Manager, Ms. King boards all of the new merchant applications, and once approved, assists new merchant members in setting up their online gateways and processing equipment, delivers technical and PCI compliance instruction, handles modifications to merchant accounts, and provides technical support.

Working at National Merchants Association allows Ms. King to continue growing in this industry while helping merchants who have been taken advantage of by other processing companies. She believes that National Merchants Association truly stands for the merchants' right, and is proud to serve that purpose daily. She enjoys working in the payments industry because it is constantly changing, and she is challenged to learn new things everyday.

Part of her duties in the payments industry is her involvement in the Electronic Transactions Association’s (ETA) Member Engagement Committee. This committee recruits, engages, and retains members in the association as well as within the industry. Ms. King utilizes her exceptional sales and recruiting skills when participating in this ETA committee, as well as when working for National Merchants Association. Ms. King is a Certified Payments Professional (CPP), a qualification that indicates an advanced level of knowledge and experience in the bankcard industry.

Ms. King, who has an avocation for art history, also boasts a background as a certified clinical hypnotherapist with a degree from The School of Healing Arts.

"The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to assist a merchant and they are smiling when they get off the phone with me. To solve a merchant's problem, as well as embrace their confidence in National Merchants Association, is the main duty of the Support Manager. It makes me happy to make our merchants happy!"

Kandace Carrasco - ISO Relations Representative

“The bankcard industry is dynamic, fast-paced, and energetic…I’m always busy, and making a difference!” says Kandace Carrasco, ISO Relations Representative at National Merchants Association.

Ms. Carrasco is a mover and shaker when it comes to ISO Relations, a department she loves working in, because it allows her to interact with agents. Ms. Carrasco reviews merchant applications and boards new deals. She collaborates with Underwriters, and communicates with both agents and banks to ensure that the financial process runs smoothly. Her day consists of a system of checks and balances, to package applications and send them to the National Merchants Association affiliated banks.

Prior to joining National Merchants Association, Ms. Carrasco spent 2 years working as a payments processor. She has 3 years of bankcard industry experience, and a collective 6 years of financial field expertise. Ms. Carrasco enjoys the fast-paced aspect of working in the bankcard industry, and likes that the business allows her to constantly learn new facets of her profession while always keeping occupied.

“Working at National Merchants Association allows me to grow career-wise as well as personally, which is an important balance,” Ms. Carrasco says, adding that when not in the office processing merchant accounts, she spends time with her children. She credits her success in the industry to her dependable work ethic. As an innovative thinker, Ms. Carrasco hopes to integrate new policies and procedures to National Merchants Association. “The process of merchant applications and approvals is all paperless,” Ms. Carrasco reports. “The online access of our system allows for a flexible and easy process.”

Ms. Carrasco enjoys that the dynamic technology-centered bankcard industry allows the team members of National Merchants Association to work even more efficiently with merchants and clients. “Our system, while always changing, has allowed NMA to keep on top of industry trends and expand our company,” Ms. Carrasco adds. “I’m looking forward to future advancements in technology, and the fantastic progress of National Merchants Association!”

Pablo Nuñez - Risk Analyst

“I enjoy teaching merchants about credit card processing. The educational aspect of my job is my favorite part!” says Pablo Nuñez, Merchant Account Risk Analyst for National Merchants Association.

As a Risk Analyst, Mr. Nuñez monitors merchant acquiring accounts on a day-to-day basis, develops mitigation strategies, structures collateral to mitigate risk exposure, and works closely with the Underwriters and other Executive Staff regarding merchant account concerns and resolutions.

Mr. Nuñez has over two years of bankcard industry knowledge, with experience as a Credit Card Processing Administrator. Before joining the bankcard industry, Mr. Nuñez served in the United States Armed Forces and earned his Associates degree in General Studies.

“My devotion to the job is what keeps me attracted to the bankcard industry. I enjoy being able to reduce the risk in active accounts for merchants. I feel a great sense of satisfaction in helping merchants fulfill their business goals.”

In his time as a Risk Analyst in the payments industry, Mr. Nuñez has noticed industry trends regarding account security. “Security has changed drastically over the past couple of years,” he reflects. “I am always aware of advancements in the field, especially concerning PCI standards, and I like updating merchants on the recent developments in the industry.”

Mr. Nuñez says that working for NMA is rewarding because he is not only able to work in-depth with individual businesses, but he gets to work in an office where there is open communication. “The brainstorming at NMA’s weekly team meetings helps me to reach my monthly goals. I feel like I accomplish more in an efficient and timely manner because I have the support of the team.”

Mr. Nuñez’s sense of humor and easy-going nature, as well as his exceptional way of retaining industry knowledge, make him an asset to National Merchants Association. “I enjoy being the go-to knowledge base for risk information,” Mr. Nuñez claims. “I can’t wait to learn more. My career goals include becoming CPP (Certified Payments Professional) and Microbilt Certified, as well as get the opportunity to participate in any industry training in order to benefit NMA’s merchants.”

Lindsay Sugarman - Copywriter

“National Merchants Association is the type of company that is innovative and advancing just as fast as the payments industry is. I’m happy to be a part of a company that makes ongoing enhancement a priority,” Lindsay Sugarman, Copywriter for National Merchants Association, says about the company.

Ms. Sugarman, a graduate from High Point University, holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, a feat that gives her the background necessary to create the multitude of documents for National Merchants Association.

As the company’s Copywriter, Ms. Sugarman is responsible for creating all marketing, social media, web, news, and company content. Her past experience in publishing and professional writing make Ms. Sugarman an asset to the Marketing Department.

Ms. Sugarman collaborates with members of National Merchants Association, and attends various departmental meetings to stay involved.

“I handle tradeshow details, paperwork for merchants and agents and our affiliated banks, and have created new company features such as the NMA blog,” says Ms. Sugarman. “I am immersed in every department at National Merchants Association.”

Staying abreast of the most recent industry knowledge is also an aspect of Ms. Sugarman’s role within the company. She reads industry publications like ISO&Agent, the GreenSheet, and Transaction Trends each month, discussing important articles with the Team Members at weekly meetings.

“I keep up with the day-to-day news in the financial field, and the current events of our affiliates,” Ms. Sugarman states. “It’s vital to stay aware of compelling news as soon as it is announced. It’s my duty to share that news!”

Ms. Sugarman states that her favorite aspect of National Merchants Association is the office environment.

“I work with some amazing and intelligent industry professionals,” Ms. Sugarman reveals. “I love being surrounded by coworkers who genuinely enjoy the work they do, the people they interact with, and the industry they contribute to.”