President & CEO
Location: Willow Grove, PA
Gary Pudles is the president and chief executive officer of AnswerNet, a full-service provider of inbound, outbound, automated and business process outsourcing (BPO) call center services. AnswerNet has evolved from its roots in 1929 into a global BPO provider, offering telecommunications and technology services.
Pudles has helped AnswerNet integrate 17 acquisitions within a 24-month period. The strategic acquisitions have strengthened AnswerNet’s position as the largest provider of third-party verification services in North America and enabled the support of over 50 renowned nonprofit organizations.
“I have mortgaged my house five times in the last 25 years in order to acquire companies,” Pudles said. “Why? Because I believed the deals would benefit the company.
“With the purchase of four leading third-party verification providers (Calibrus, TPV.com, TrustedTPV and VoiceLog), AnswerNet acquired businesses that have completed 115 million-plus verifications and is now the largest provider of third-party verification services in North America. The acquisition of FineLine Solutions allows us to support over 50 internationally known nonprofit organizations, including American and Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and Doctors without Borders.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pudles led AnswerNet through a period of steady growth while providing essential COVID-related services, such as contact tracing, emergency rental assistance and state unemployment claims support. The pandemic also prompted a shift in operating models, leading to the expansion of remote teams and diversification of service offerings.
“Not only did this work quickly boost our sales and help us maintain our growth trajectory, it also reshaped our entire operating model,” Pudles said. “No longer did the majority of our revenue come from traditional, facility-based contact center work, it now came from a combination of facility-based and remote teams. We also used this opportunity to diversify our service offerings.”
Beyond his role at AnswerNet, Pudles, who is named to the Titan 100 list for the second time, is committed to fostering the next generation of business leaders. He teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and serves as a CEO mentor in its Educational Design Studio. He participates in Startup Camp and the International Startup Festival and judges the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition.
Outside the workplace, Pudles is an accomplished musician and can often be found behind his drum kit, sharing his musical talents with the Philadelphia-area music scene.
Pudles said the most important trait of a good leader is authenticity. “The most important attribute of successful leadership is to be authentic,” he said. “Focus on being a human being and sharing your human self.”
Being recognized as a Titan 100 has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with so many wonderful and high-performing people. Through the Titan events and online community, I have found a great place to share ideas, successes, and challenges outside of the traditional CEO groups.