50 Years 50 Moments

by Monitor Staff Monitor 50th Anniversary 2023
During its 50-year run as the premier publication in the equipment finance arena, Monitor has always been there to tell the industry’s story. In a sector like equipment finance, however, there are always more tales to tell, so leaders from across the equipment finance industry shared some of their enduring memories, funniest anecdotes, vital insights and top pieces of advice from the last 50 years.



  1. “When I was with CNH, the president of our financial services business, Steve Beerman, came into my office one day in early October and asked,” How’s your Spanish?” It turns out, the company needed me to handle some issues in Spain during the financial crisis. Steve told me I had to leave that Saturday and could come back at Christmas. My wife and I had a kindergarten age child at the time, but she was very supportive, and the company flew them out for a month while I was there.” – Brett Davis, Rinaldi Advisory Services

  2. “In the late 1990s, I had many of our staff members take the CLP (now CLFP) exam. All of our people passed, so we reprinted our business cards with CLP at the end of our names. Shortly after, we had a client meeting and they asked, “What does CLP mean?” We explained it to them and went on to win the deal even though we were higher priced and were competing against another company called GE Capital.” – Bruce Winter, President, FSG Capital

  3. “Years ago, our agency was working for a Canadian finance company with a product called ExpressOS and they wanted to make a big splash at an industry convention. Since the product had a name similar to espresso, we suggested they set up their booth as a coffee bar and it worked out beautifully. It reinforced that people want engagement and not just technology demos.” – Susan Carol, Managing Director, Channel CEO, Susan Carol Creative

  4. “One of the most memorable stories of my career was working with my action team at US Bank Manifest Funding Services every Christmas when we would sponsor a local family. We’d go out and do holiday shopping and deliver gifts to their home as a team.” – Cindy Fleck, Managing Director, Channel

  5. “The first ELFA Annual Convention I went to, a marching band came through the event and I was amazed and thought, ‘Wow! This is really a convention.’” – Dan Egan, Co-CEO, RVI Group

  6. “In 1995, I was one of the first classes of the CLP [now CLFP]. I had the fortunate opportunity to take that class with some industry icons. What it taught me is how people work together in this industry. We spent two days of studying in Texas and then one full day of the actual test, which was 90% essay.” – Adrian Hebig, Chief Corporate Development Officer, Channel

  7. “At the age of 30, I had just become a mother when an opportunity came up to become a credit manager for the equipment leasing department of CitiCapital, a subsidiary of Citigroup. Despite being told by a senior executive that I was too young for the role, I was determined to experience the interview process. I flew to Dallas and met with the chief credit officer at the airport because that was the only time he was available to conduct the interview, as he was about to leave on a business trip. The interview lasted for over an hour, and I had no idea how I had performed. The next day, I met with the executive team at their headquarters, and they shared the same concern that I was too young for the position. Somehow, I was able to convince them that I could do it, because then came the shock of my life, as I got the job. In retrospect, it was a moment that changed my life forever, proving that with determination, perseverance and self-confidence, anything is possible, regardless of age.” – Maggie Holly, Credit and Operations Manager and Senior Vice President, Hanmi Bank

  8. “I was in-house counsel at a company and I wanted to move into management and a position became available. I thought I was going to get it, but I didn’t because the person that was in that role before came back to the company. However, the president of the company knew I was disappointed, so they told me if I really wanted to be a strong all-around leader in this industry, I needed to get some experience in sales. I went into sales and spent three years and it helped me because if I didn’t do that, I really wouldn’t understand the sales cycle itself and what salespeople go through.” – Jule Kreyling, President, Atlantic Union Equipment Finance

  9. “When I was at GE Capital, one year I was one of only five individuals within the entire company that was selected to be sponsored for an executive MBA program. I met the four other individuals and discovered they all had to sign contracts that said they would stay for a stated period of time after they finished their degrees. I found it odd that I was not approached to sign one and two years later when we all finished, everyone left. I was the only one that remained. The lesson I took from that is it’s not about contracts; it’s about the opportunities you receive, the people and the feeling that you’re contributing and growing that make you stay with a company.” – Kyin Lok, CEO, Dext Capital

  10. “When I was running Global Test Supply, we brokered equipment from a partner that was damaged when it arrived at the customer site. We raced to solve the problem, having the customer ship it to get fixed and shipping it back overnight. We lost money on the deal, but the customer told us they were impressed by how we handled the situation and would buy from us again. That taught us a valuable lesson: People make mistakes. How you address those situations is what creates who you are as an organization.” – Robert Preville, Founder and CEO, APPROVE

  11. “In late 2008, in the midst of the financial crisis, the outgoing Bush administration used a statute called the Troubled Assets Relief Program to provide $4 billion in financing to Chrysler and another $1.5 billion to Chrysler Financial to buy asset-backed securities so it could continue providing financing to would-be car buyers. I worked harder on that transaction than at any other time. I’d be in church and get emails that I not only had to read but respond to immediately.” – Stephen Whelan, Senior Counsel, Blank Rome

  12. “When I was 36 years old and working for TV Guide Magazine, I was offered a promotion but had to move to Philadelphia. I couldn’t move, so I had to find a job. People were looking at our office space and that’s how I met Gary P. Cook of F.N.B. Equipment Finance. He later called me for an interview and I told my husband to wait in the car, as it would only be 15 minutes because I was not taking this job. An hour and a half later, I came out and said that I took the job, and when he asked what the job was, I said, ‘I don’t know. Something with equipment finance.’ Twenty-seven years later, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.” – Donna Yanuzzi, Senior Vice President and Director of Equipment Finance, 1st Equipment Finance — FNCB Bank


  13. “When I was chairing my first conference for the National Equipment Finance Association (and at that time we still had paper documents), one of my brokers had sent me some originals and he addressed it to ‘Princess NEFA.’ This was before my time on the board there, so I called Jerry Egan, who was the executive director at the time, and I sent them a picture of it and joked, “Is this real? Do I get to be on the website?’ At that conference, he crowned me princess of NEFA and I have my tiara to this day.” – Stephanie Hall, CLFP, Vice President of Sales, Quality Equipment Finance

  14. “I was overseas for three years in Asia working for IBM Global Financing. I got a call from Philippine Airlines, which we had a bid with, and flew to Manila and sat with their CFO and they asked, “Would you be willing to finance a 747?” I said, “As much as we might like to, I don’t think so.” – Jonathan L. Fales, Divisional President, LEAF Commercial Capital

  15. “I recall a time when a salesperson went out to lunch with a client and came back with a deal on a crumpled napkin with ketchup stains and asked us to process the deal. I’ve seen salespeople do some pretty crazy things, but turning in deals on napkins is taking it to a whole new level.” – Maggie Holly, Credit and Operations Manager and Senior Vice President, Hanmi Bank

  16. “I used to do a lot of big-ticket leveraged leases. We had a big deal that was $300 million plus for telecommunications equipment. It had taken days and days to negotiate, but we finally thought we were closing in on it and at midnight, the lender’s lawyers switched to a new team. They sent over this young, dapper associate named Ernest (and indeed he was). He sat across the table from us with a stack of promissory notes and the loan agreement — he was very serious. He had compared the two and told us there was a discrepancy of about $1.87 between the total amount in the notes and the agreement. Without even looking at each other, all of us on our side of the table jumped up, grabbed whatever money we had in our pockets and threw it on the table. There were bills and coins flying everywhere and we said, “Here, take the money. We don’t care.” – Paul Bent, Senior Managing Director, The Alta Group

  17. “I first started in a branch in Stockton, CA. On my first day of work, the branch manager locked the front doors, and all of a sudden it was like everybody was transported to the nearest bar. People were pulling out bottles of liquor and cigarettes from their desk drawers and just having a great time while balancing the books for the day and counting the vault cash. It was crazy! That’s not something you’d ever see now, but it was definitely a fun time.” – Denise Garcia, Vendor Technology and Healthcare Business Unit Leader and Director, Bank of the West/BMO Bank

  18. “I interviewed to join Fidelity Bank to help it start a leasing business. During the interview process, the controller of the bank asked me if I knew how to account for leases from the bank’s perspective. I said, ‘Oh, of course.’ But I had no clue, so right after the interview, I drove to the library and studied how to do it. In the next interview, I answered a similar question and gave a lot of detail. I ended up getting the job.” – Don Campbell, Chief Risk Officer, Auxilior Capital Partners

  19. “I went on vacation with my girlfriends for spring break in my early 20s to Fort Lauderdale, FL, while I was working for a small independent equipment finance company that financed government contracts. We were sitting at the bar in the middle of the afternoon and there were a bunch of sailors. Suddenly, one of them said the name of their ship and my head spun around. I went up and asked for their commander and, in a bathing suit, said, ‘My name is Shari Lipski. I’m with Public Funding Corporation. You owe my company $127,962.’ He completely froze. We had been doing ship-to-shore calls with them for six months and they would never answer the phone. So, I called my office, had them fax down the paperwork and went to the county sheriff to get my money.” – Shari Lipski, Principal, ECS Financial Services

  20. “I was in a board meeting with great male leaders. I brought a picture of Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, to the meeting. One of the board members asked me why I have a picture of her at my place seating. Just for humor, I said, ‘Christine Lagarde told 60 Minutes that she will cancel a meeting if there is not another women in the room, so I didn’t want our meeting to be canceled and she is the other women in our meeting.’” – Donna Yanuzzi, Senior Vice President and Director of Equipment Finance, 1st Equipment Finance – FNCB Bank


  21. “I got my start in equipment finance as an application developer at Wells Fargo Equipment Finance. One day, I got a call from the CEO of TCF’s equipment finance startup, Craig Dahl. He said they were interested in recruiting me to join their team. But Wells Fargo was worried about other people leaving, so we had this special top secret pickup location, and on the way out to Wayzata, MN, where we were doing the meeting, he was on his cell phone with one of his ops leaders, saying, ‘Red leader one to red leader two. The package is in motion.’ But TCF was located at the same place as Winthrop Resources and one of the executives from Wells Fargo had arrived for a visit, so we had to scoop up lunches and run to another office location. It was totally Mission Impossible, and I ended up joining.” – Deborah Reuben, CLFP, Founder and CEO, TomorrowZone

  22. “When it comes to the industry and diversity, we’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go. We still lack diversity, particularly at the most senior levels.” – Deb Baker, Head of Worldwide Leasing and Financing, HP

  23. “Just keep keeping on. I’ve been through some up and downs in the market, but these create huge opportunities, especially for some of the independent lessors, which is where I first came into the industry.” – Marci Slagle, CLFP, President, BankFinancial Equipment Finance

  24. “When I was young, I would sometimes get frustrated with people not doing things the way that I would do them. My boss said to me, ‘If everybody could do what you did, they’d have your job.’ That gave me a minute to step back and realize I needed to let people do things the way that they needed to do them to give them to room to fail and to learn.” – Stephanie Hall, CLFP, Vice President of Sales, Quality Equipment Finance

  25. “It’s always about people. Those companies that understand that human capital is absolutely the most important thing to focus upon will be those that not only survive but flourish in this space.” – Steve Grosso, CEO, Auxilior Capital Partners

  26. “You never know who you’re working with today that can become a business partner in the future.” – Joe Collins, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Orion First Financial

  27. “The key to lending is to lend like it’s your own money.” – Tom Ware, President, Tom Ware, Advisory Services

  28. “The people and talent you surround yourself with is more important than the structures and solutions. No matter how much technology you put in equipment finance, we are still a people-focused business.” – Vince Belcastro, Group Head of Syndications, and Capital Markets, Element Fleet Management

  29. “It’s OK to become friends with your employees and colleagues. Those bonds and networks allow you to build a level of trust to work better as a team moving faster and being more efficient. It’s also a lot more fun!” – Kyin Lok, CEO, Dext Capital

  30. “It’s really important to understand your vendor partners’ business. The best way to add value beyond just great rates and fast credit approvals is to be an active expert on all aspects of the business, including the industry sector, equipment types, go-to-market strategies, growth forecasts and the challenges to achieving this growth.” – Justin Tabone, SVP of Originations for Vendor Equipment Finance, TIAA Bank

  31. “It seems like a very big industry when you join. It’s an overwhelming number of people that are involved and you feel like you’re a very small part of it, but I found very quickly that you develop a reputation and people know who you are from a very early time in your career.” – Bill Verhelle, CEO, QuickFi by Innovation Finance USA


  32. “I’ve always tried really hard to give credit to my team to maximize their exposure and minimize the length of the shadow I cast.” – Deb Baker, Head of Worldwide Leasing, and Financing, HP

  33. “As much as a leader may be a motivator and technician, if you can’t get the buy-in from your people and have that trust back and forth, it’s really challenging to find success.” – Vince Belcastro, Group Head of Syndications and Capital Markets at Element Fleet Management

  34. “Don’t ever confuse effort with results. We all know people who talk and complain about how hard they work but that doesn’t mean they get a lot done. Some people look like they glide through but get results. If you know how to do what you’re doing and you go about it effectively and efficiently, people will follow.” – Paul Bent, Senior Managing Director, The Alta Group

  35. “Expect the unexpected. There’s never been a time where we’ve gone through a recessionary period where we’ve gotten it exactly right. You can put a lot of smart people in a room and get close, but you’ll never get it all.” – Mike Jones, President of Vendor Equipment Finance,, First Citizens Bank

  36. “Look two steps ahead on the position you hope to have, find a mentor and a model, and talk to them and learn from them. If it’s in business, then find two steps ahead where you want your business to be, and be willing to find a mentor outside of your industry vertical to gain perspective.” – Jeff Bilbrey, CEO, Leasepath

  37. “Really pay attention to what you’re passionate about and try to find opportunities to do that. I love things international and I’m so grateful that I’ve worked with clients that have taken me to other countries. Also, wear comfortable shoes.” – Susan Carol, CEO, Susan Carol Creative

  38. “When you’re the leader, lead. It sounds kind of silly, but the reality is, when you’re a leader, you have to lead and that’s not always an easy task.” – Tony Cracchiolo, President of Vendor Finance,U.S. Bank

  39. “When you have the opportunity to celebrate, celebrate, because that opportunity doesn’t come often enough. We spend so much time worrying about things, so make sure that you take the time to celebrate your achievements when they come.” – Chris Enbom, CLFP, CEO, AP Equipment Financing

  40. “Figure out a way to take every meeting with anyone you can. You never know who you might meet on the other end. It could be a new friend, someone with common interests or a deal! You won’t find out if you don’t take the meetings. If you have trouble finding a way to get a meeting, create one — find a common interest, such as golf, snow skiing, football, art, travel, whatever it takes. It’s pretty easy to ask someone what they think about “X.” Let them drive the conversation and listen.” – Dave Fate, CEO, Stonebriar Commercial Finance

  41. “The most important thing I’ve learned is to listen. Put ego aside. The rules of selling are No. 1, listen and No. 2, listen better.” – Joe Franco, Senior Sales Executive, FIS

  42. “Never hire someone you wouldn’t want to work for in a couple of years. Given how much equipment finance has changed, those are useful words to live by.” – Jonathan Fales, Divisional President, LEAF, Commercial Capital

  43. “Find people who know more about things than you do; they are generally happy to help support your growth if you’re active and supportive.” – Randy Haug, Co-Founder, EVP & Vice Chairman, LTi Technology Solutions

  44. “Always be willing to work hard and roll your sleeves up, but be willing to accept failure. It’s OK to say I don’t know, but be willing to go find the answers.” – Jill McKean-Bilby, President, BOK Financial Equipment Finance

  45. “When you get to an organization or a job, make sure that you learn all the pieces that are interconnected and how they work. Understand what happens before, what happens after, and leave it in a better state with more efficiency, increased profitability and a strong talent bench from when you got it because that shows and demonstrates what you can do.” – Amrita Patel, Head of Equipment Finance, Wells Fargo

  46. “You will work 90,000-plus hours in your lifetime. Do you really want those hours to be unfulfilled? Do you not want to feel good about what you do? The purpose of work is more important than the work. Build a culture around that. If you feel purposeful with what you’re doing, those hours will turn out to be pretty good.” – Robert Preville, Founder and CEO, APPROVE

  47. “Explore different opportunities. Don’t take a singular track. Become a better leader by diversifying your background.” – Rick Remiker, Vice Chairman, The Alta Group

  48. “Raise your hand. Everybody loves a volunteer. There are going to be opportunities that come to you or that you see in the industry that will interest you. It’s amazing the number of people that you’ll meet just by stepping up and reaching for those opportunities.” – Tawnya Stone, Vice President of Strategic Technology, GreatAmerica Financial Services

  49. “Do it right, don’t do it fast. Be patient and everything will work out.” – Michael Romanowski, President, Farm Credit Leasing

  50. “Always be on the lookout for something new that may not have occurred to you in law school or during your first year or two of practice because that may turn out to be the next big thing and, as it has been for me, it could turn out to be the mainstay of your practice.” – Stephen Whelan, Partner, Blank Rome

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