Rising to the Challenge: Golobic Takes an Iterative Approach to Innovation

by Tony Golobic Monitor 50th Anniversary 2023
Tony Golobic reflects on the growth of the company he founded in 1992, Great America Financial Services, as he hands the reins to a leadership team of the next generation led by his son, Martin Golobic.

Tony Golobic,
Executive Chairman,
GreatAmerica Financial Services

Independent leasing companies face significant challenges, including increased competition from banks, rising interest rates and changing regulations. Challenges are nothing new for our industry. During my 50-year career, I don’t remember a single year without challenges. However, despite this, our industry has shown resilience and has continued to grow and prosper. Our industry’s growth has been guided by our dedication to understanding our customer’s needs.

When we started GreatAmerica in 1992, small ticket leasing was on its way to becoming a commoditized industry, leaving a vacuum for us to fill with a dedicated “customer first and always trying to do the right thing” approach. We won a loyal following, and as word spread, we actually had to scramble to keep up with growth.

Today, we are still committed to delivering exceptional service through what now are eight different market segments. We’ve also expanded into providing portfolio servicing for banks and manufacturers, as well as HR and IT services for our customer base. I have had the fortune of working alongside exceptionally capable, intelligent and hard-working GreatAmericans who have made our success a reality. So, it has been easy for me to make room for the next-generation talented leadership team headed by my son, Martin Golobic.

GreatAmerica is built to last; building on and preserving the values that have made us successful. Ownership by our family — which believes in GreatAmerica’s legacy, values and determination to always try to do the right thing no matter what — will ensure our continuous success.

This is a pivotal moment in our history. Not only are we undergoing a generational change, but as we continue our growth (currently more than $2.7 billion in assets and $1.5 billion in small ticket volume), we are also adjusting our organizational structure to serve future needs.

Over the years, Martin has taken on increased responsibilities and is now co-CEO with Stan Herkelman, jointly leading us to new horizons of success. The task at hand is ensuring a smooth transition while the business continues to thrive. Martin grew up with GreatAmerica and it’s part of who he is. His commitment to excellence in everything we do, to our employees, customers and our community, very much aligns with values that have made us successful.

We are investing heavily in technology, continuously upgrading the company’s IT infrastructure, integrating new software applications and exploring emerging technologies. We are also expanding, hiring geographically to tap into deeper labor pools. Alongside that, we have been working to instill a culture of innovation and agility within the company. On our road to innovation, we’ve embraced an iterative approach that launches minimum viable products and then builds upon them. This encourages our people to think creatively, take risks and view a fast-moving world with the mental flexibility that’s unencumbered by old solutions.

All of this makes me look forward to our future with excitement, knowing that while today at GreatAmerica was great, tomorrow will be even better.

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