NEFA Funding Symposium Sets Records; Egan Announces Retirement

Equipment financial professionals from across the U.S. and Canada met for networking, educational sessions and meetings with leading edge exhibitors at the National Equipment Finance Association’s 2017 Funding Symposium from October 4 through October 6 in Atlanta.

“NEFA members are a fun group, but they’re also very serious about their businesses and constantly eager to learn more,” said Bob Fisher of Ascentium Capital, who was chairperson for this year’s Funding Symposium. “They’re also very willing to share their ideas so putting together the education program gave me a chance to work with a wide cross section of members on a wide range of topics. I really enjoyed doing it.”

According to NEFA Executive Director and CEO Gerry Egan, this year’s Symposium set several new records.

“We registered the largest number of people we’ve registered for a Funding Symposium, we had the most exhibitors we’ve had, we had the largest number of first time attendees and new members and we booked the most room nights we’ve ever booked at our conference hotel,” Egan said. “And on top of that, we had the most number of people stay until the very end.”

NEFA Officers and Directors Elected

The Funding Symposium also serves as the official annual business meeting for NEFA and during the event, officers and directors were elected for the coming year.

Elected as president and board chairperson was Mike Coon of AMUR Equipment Finance.

“I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve the National Equipment Finance Association as its president and board chairperson,” Coon said. “I look forward to working with the board of directors, the executive committee, Gerry Egan and the entire membership as we continue our impressive momentum as a first-class industry association.”

Other officers elected were Marc Keepman of KLC Financial as vice president; Dennis Dressler of Dressler & Peters as treasurer and Daryn Lecy of Stearns Bank as secretary. Stephanie Hall of BlackRiver Business Capital will stay on as immediate past president.

Elected as directors were Joe Leonard of Oakmont Capital Services, Eric Alley of LeaseTeam, Kristian Dolan of Tamarack, Laura Carini of Financial Pacific Leasing, James Jackson of The Alta Group, Guy Selinka of Streamline Financial, Scott Lipka of Beneficial Equipment Finance and Adam Peterson of Channel Partners Capital.

Recognized for their board service as their terms came to a close were Past President Gary Souverein of Pawnee Leasing, Gabe Jarnot of Northland Capital, Shane Davis of Dedicated Commercial Recovery and Nick Ross of Western Equipment Finance.

Chris Walker Memorial Member of the Year Award

Named in honor of the late Chris Walker, the Member of the Year Award was given to Kayla Perlinger of Stearns Bank for her enthusiastic support and leadership in helping other members both contribute to and benefit from NEFA’s new Online Learning Center.

“I am honored to receive the Chris Walker Member of the Year award,” Perlinger said. “The sharing of ideas that NEFA offers, and learning from other members, continues to energize my volunteer efforts. I truly enjoy being a part of the creation and adoption of the Online Learning Center. Education is one of NEFA’s core values, and the efforts of all members will be instrumental in making the platform effective.”

NEW CLFP’s Introduced

Reid Raykovich, executive director of the Certified Lease & Finance Professional Foundation, introduced a number of professionals who had earned their CLFP designation and presented them with their certificates during the event.

NEFA Executive Director to Retire in 2018

Also at the business luncheon, after reporting on the current condition of NEFA, Gerry Egan, the executive director and CEO, announced that he will retire next year.

“I agreed to step in to lead the association coming out of the recession because one of its predecessor associations and so many of the members individually had been so helpful to me in my own business before I retired from that,” said Egan, whose wife, Jamie Egan, has also been a critical part of NEFA’s success as the conference manager. “My wife and I are now calling this ‘retirement 2.0. I think most people know this was never my career. It was my goal, though, to get this organized and on track and in excellent financial condition and then turn it over to someone who can take it to even greater heights. NEFA’s ready for that now and Jamie and I are ready to spend more time traveling the country a bit more leisurely in our motorhome again.”

Egan introduced a transition planning committee he’s had working on this for more than six months. In addition to the NEFA executive committee, and board member Joe Leonard, the planning team included Scott Wheeler of Wheeler Business Consulting and William Verhelle of Harvard Partners.

“I particularly want to thank Scott Wheeler and Bill Verhelle for helping us with this critical project,” Egan said. “Scott Wheeler has such a great understanding of our membership, and, from his experiences running First American and his experiences working with other associations, Bill Verhelle has been a huge help to us.”

NEFA, with the help of a professional consultant group, will be conducting a search for its next executive director and CEO over the next few months.

Fundraiser for the Chris Walker Education Fund

In addition to all the business, about 150 attendees went to a dueling piano bar one evening as part of a fundraiser for NEFA’s Chris Walker Education Fund. All net proceeds go to the fund, which supports industry education efforts both within NEFA and throughout the industry.

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