Meet Jim Stiverson

Jim Stiverson has plenty of experience in the financing industry. For the past six years, he has served Sterling Associates as Assistant Vice President and the Midwest and Central United States sales manager. But Stiverson is unique in that not only can he talk numbers with customers, he is also a true expert on boats.

In fact, few people in the industry possess a more extensive, and intriguing, background in the maritime industry.

"A lot of people who do what I do come from the financial industry, whereas I come from a long history of boating," he says. "I can relate to customers. I can speak to them as a boater and not just as a finance guy."

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Stiverson’s life revolves around the water. He spent time as a professional show water skier in the 1980s at Sea World in Orlando, Fla. and he is also an avid scuba diver. He is a collector of antique race boats, including a vintage 1976 Hydrostream Ventura II. Earlier in his career he worked as a test boat driver, owned a Ski Nautique dealership and also sold yachts.

Now 53 and married with two children, he lives in Lake Fenton, Michigan, where he still water skis in the summer and in winter enjoys ice skating, snowmobiling and ice sculpting. "Whatever time of year it is, I’m on the water," he says. "I grew up in a boating family. My grandfather was a boater, my father was a boater.

Stiverson’s vast boating experience helps him relate to customers, but he still believes that listening is more important than selling. "Sometimes people in sales talk too much instead of listening to what the customer wants, especially when it comes to financing. It’s important to listen to their goals. In the end, my business philosophy is simply to treat others as I would want to be treated," he says.