Profile: Beverly N. McFarland and the Beverly Group
By Rense, Kirk*
(When the RN asked Beverly McFarland, the featured professional for our Fall 2003 issue, for a profile of her background we had no idea we would receive two fascinating success stories - one about a girl from a Lithuanian neighborhood in a Chicago suburb, and the second about a company called The Beverly Group, that grew from a start-up in 1983 to quickly become a major asset management, consulting, liquidation and court-appointed fiduciary firm. This article begins with the personal story, told largely in Ms McFarland’s own words. RN’s few insertions are italicized.)
I was born and raised until my teen years in Roseland, Illinois, in a Lithuanian and Ukrainian neighborhood. My mother and father were first generation Americans and Lithuanian was spoken in our home along with English. My grandfather spoke seven languages, he said, and then would add, “none of them vell!”
World War II brought interesting changes to our life. My father was in the 8th Infantry, stationed in Germany, a part of the military police force. After a year or so the dreaded telegram arrived, saying that he was missing in action (which I still have). However, like most strong ethnic families in that day, my mother regrouped, we moved in with my beloved aunt and uncle in the same neighborhood and continued on with our lives. Life was exciting with my aunt, uncle, all the cousins, my sister and I along with our grandfather in one house and one bathroom.
From a child’s perspective, news of the war was boring, but “Inter-Sanctum” and the “Shadow” on the radio were pretty exciting and food was very memorable. Spam, Lipton’s noodle soup, oatmeal, potatoes and an occasional chicken along with a chunk of lard with a package of orange colored stuff to mix in it (aka butter) were the mainstream diet during the war.
My mom was the original “Rosie the Riveter” type during the war. She needed to earn more money with my father missing in action or dead - funds were cut back until his status was resolved. My uncle worked for a company which manufactured military tanks and offered to teach my 100 pound, 5’ 2” mom all about them so she could apply for a civil service job with the company. Well, she passed the exam and quickly became a supervisor of tanks prior to shipment overseas with the assistance of my future stepfather.
I remember my kindergarten class in a Lithuanian Catholic School and Sister Rosalia (my teacher) looking out the window commenting on a woman inappropriately dressed in slacks. It happened to be my mother coming home from work. I defended my mother’s honor by kicking the Nun in the shins and promptly getting expelled from kindergarten. My mom ended up a hero and I was so proud! She calmly went to the principal and was allowed to bring pictures of her tanks and other army stuff that kindergarten kids greatly enjoyed to my class to explain the role that women were filling during the war during the absence of most of the fathers in my class.
I was taught by my very large and loving family that nothing was outside your reach if you worked hard enough and smart enough to get it!
(Ms McFarland married James F. Whelan, an Air Force pilot, at 19, had two children — Nanette and Kevin — and lived the life of a military family, moving 22 times in 18 years. After the marriage ended she began a career working in real estate and sales, business evaluations and loans in 1971 and, turnarounds and workouts for financial institutions in 1981.)
The very best training I received was as a V.P. in the commercial/industrial loan department of Home Savings of America. They were superior in their underwriting of loans and training and subsequently survived the RTC days until their acquisition. My territory was an awesome area stretching from the Oregon border to Bakersfield and Napa to Reno. The L. A. loan committee was tough to please - if the land was not paved with concrete or blacktop, the loan could not be very good - cows were definitely out!
One day, I received a call from State Savings and Loan Association in Stockton, California. They needed a real estate investment officer to work in their real estate investment department (REI) in Stockton, a fancy name for an asset management and “trash for cash” workout department. What a fun and exciting job that was! Serving as a V.P., I managed millions of dollars of loans, soliciting lines of credit from customers from California to Washington, D. C. and everywhere in between.
After closing millions in workouts and being a part of the transition team when State became American Savings and Loan Association, I decided that I needed more money to assist with the college expenses of the University of Southern California for my son, Kevin, and the University of California campuses at Santa Barbara and Davis for my daughter, Nanette. With $10,000 from a very dear, supportive lady friend, Dr. Pat in 1983, I formed The Beverly Group about the same time as I married David McFarland.
(At this point Ms McFarland’s story and that of The Beverly Group merge, with a big assist from the late, lamented Resolution Trust Corporation, the RTC.)
We were the first asset management contractor to be awarded a contract by the RTC in the West. Setting up offices and information systems across the country became my husband David’s responsibility. The company’s awesome responsibilities required training and managing personnel for about 1,000-plus assets from receiverships resulting from failed savings and loans, through our offices in Sacramento, Denver, Colorado and Tampa, Florida. The RTC contracts were awarded to us within months of each other.
Kevin J. Whelan, TBG’s president and CFO, managed from $1 million to $3 million dollars a month in cash transactions, plus all Sacramento and Denver operations. He is my business partner and co-owner of the company for nearly 18 years, although, as he points out, “we have been together for 40-plus years,” as he is my son.
I helped to coordinate all aspects of the contracts, spending a substantial part of the time in Washington, D. C. with various government entities through the years, and on airplanes (about 400,000 miles). We all took part in the (too numerous to remember) Senate investigations (i.e. largely of poor developers who, through no fault of their own, cost the taxpayers billions of dollars). I even was the star of an RTC training movie as “Ms. Model Contractor”, except the producer kept asking me questions about the operations of the RTC and I kept laughing until tears flowed. It took all day to make a 20-minute movie.
TBG has performed asset management on real estate, operating businesses and (not so secured) loan portfolios for the Federal Government and financial institutions in excess of $4 billion in due diligence contracts, and more than $3 billion in asset management and disposition contracts nationwide. The firm has serviced government contracts for the FSLIC, FHLB, FDIC, FADA, RTC and performed consulting agreements for a host of others.
More recently, TBG and its principals serve as receivers, referees and chapter 11 trustees in the federal and state courts. This chapter of life with The Beverly Group, Inc. has also been great fun. We have specialized in large equity and regulatory receiverships over the years and have substantial experience in operating numerous types of businesses, including FCC and other government-regulated facilities. TBG also has been appointed as liquidating agent by U. S. Bankruptcy Courts. I have served as a chapter 11 trustee in real estate and operating business cases throughout California, with my latest case involving two corporations, one LLC, individuals and 25 Taco Bell franchise restaurants. We are “definitely” having fun now!
When I think about who and what are the most important things in my life, I can easily say my husband David, my companion and best friend for more than 20 years; my daughter Nanette; my son Kevin; and my three beautiful grandchildren whom I adore, Heather, Ryan and CJ. I am also thankful for the wonderful spouses that my children have chosen. Nanette and her husband Dr. Taz Curtis, operate successful optometric offices in Sacramento. Kevin’s wife, Sandra, began working for TBG in its infancy, earned her college degree, and was promoted to an asset management position during the RTC days. I liked her right away as we share the same birthday (I am just a couple of years older), and we both have naturally curly hair (only hers is blond).
I look at myself as a very simple person with a very strong will and a God-given ability to be successful at my type of business. My philosophy is always look around the corner for the next opportunity, but remember to take a little time to evaluate what is important to you personally. Equally important, never forget those who helped you along the way!