President, Western Equipment Finance Member, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association Member, Western State Agency Board of Directors Member, Western State Bank Board of Directors
Since 2009, Laurie Bakke has held the position of president at Western Equipment Finance, where she focuses on origination strategies and business operation efforts to develop a portfolio of vendor originated transactions in narrowly defined industry segments. Under Bakke’s leadership and through her industry contacts, prior relationships and ability to identify and develop multi-million dollar opportunities, Western currently finances over one hundred structured programs with regional and national equipment vendors, manufacturers and franchisors, a tribute to Bakke’s commitment to a sustainable and profitable business model.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE:
“Having never looked at opportunity as something out of reach, I believe that opportunities are available to those who acknowledge and embrace their benefits and adversities. I believe the combined strengths of a diverse team contributes to the financial, operational and cultural success of an organization.”
Bakke is highly respected for her ability to create cohesive and collaborative teams. She believes in the ability of others and always strives to create opportunity for individuals who demonstrate initiative, drive and the desire to see the possibilities within the equipment leasing and finance industry.
“Laurie joined Western at a time of extremely challenging economic conditions,” says Kris Darby, who serves as vice president of Risk Management at Western Equipment Finance and has worked with Bakke for 20 years. “Throughout the extreme growth of the last 10 years, the team has remained small at just 52 employees, which speaks to Laurie’s continuous drive to create efficiencies to meet the demands of customers and vendors while generating desired profits for Western’s stakeholders. One of her greatest strengths is her desire and ability to connect with people on a personal level. There are numerous examples of business opportunities that have come to Western simply because someone remembers an encounter with Laurie at a business event and was so impressed with her personally and professionally that they wanted to learn more about Western and figure out a way to do business together.”
Over the past 25 years, Bakke has been actively involved in the greater equipment leasing and finance industry. She is a past member of the board of directors for the ELFA and the board of trustees for the ELFF and has participated on panels at the ELFA Annual Convention and Executive Roundtable. She also advocates for the Certified Leasing & Finance Professional accreditation, with several of her team members achieving the certification.
Outside of work, Bakke participates in a number of local and national women’s initiatives and is a previous member of the board of trustees for the Washington & Alaska chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Monitor recently caught up with Tom Slevin, founder and CEO, and Brian Dundon, SVP corporate development at First Financial Equipment Leasing ahead of their company’s acquisition of NorFund, an independent leasing company specializing in capital equipment, solar and alternative energy and vendor finance programs.
Founder & CEO,
Wingspire Equipment Finance
When Liberty Commercial Finance launched in early 2017, it was founded with a vision of putting the needs of customers, employees and investors first. The idea was to create the type of organization that customers would repeatedly trust with their finance needs, employees would want to stay and grow with, and investors would want to continue to reinvest as the business grew.