Christian Ivory, the founder of Ivory Consulting, recently reflected on 30 years of membership in the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association.
“On behalf of our entire company, I would like to thank the ELFA for recognizing our 30 years of membership during today’s 2020 ELFA Business Live,” Ivory said. “I owe a large debt of gratitude to the ELFA for giving me and Ivory Consulting an easy way to interact with our customers and potential customers as we were quickly building out SuperTRUMP in its early days, and as we continue to improve SuperTRUMP and our other products every day.”
Ivory first showcased Ivory Consulting’s TRUMP product, the precursor of SuperTRUMP, at the Equipment Leasing Association (ELA) conference in San Diego 30 years ago.
“There was immense value in attending the conferences,” Ivory said. “At the time, we were adding a lot of functionality because the tax laws were changing, including the addition of the Investment Tax Credit.”
Over the past 30 years, the conference of the ELA (and subsequently the ELFA) gave Ivory the opportunity to meet with clients face to face and gather feedback as SuperTRUMP was evolving.
“We didn’t have tools like Zoom and all of our sales activities were conducted by telephone,” Ivory said. “The conferences were critical from a sales standpoint because that was how you could truly build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.”
As Ivory Consulting continued to grow, Ivory stepped back from regularly attending conferences to focus on developing SuperTRUMP and encouraged his employees to remain active in the association.
Ray James, senior consultant for Ivory Consulting, has been a key contributor to the ELFA’s research and data collection initiatives. He currently serves as the chairman of the ELFA Research Committee and has been on the committee for more than 25 years. Martin Klotzman, senior marketing manager for Ivory Consulting, represents the next generation of ELFA membership at Ivory Consulting. He is a founding member of the Emerging Talent Advisory Council and serves on the Service Providers Business Council Steering Committee.
Ivory Consulting’s CEO, Scott Thacker, serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation and is the founding chair of ELFA Equality. He is a past member of the ELFA board of directors.
“The impact the association has had on our company is significant,” Thacker said. “This industry thrives on innovation because the ELFA acts as the platform for members around the world to collaborate and share their unique perspectives.”
Ivory began his career in equipment finance almost 50 years ago when he was hired as a programmer by IN (Industrial National) Bank of Rhode Island to work on a lease analysis software application for structuring leases, which was originally written by Jim Robertson.
“Funny enough, I was fired after two weeks,” Ivory said. “Jim was leaving the bank to open a lease brokerage office for Firstmark Corporation to be located in Rhode Island. As I was going through the bank’s new employee onboarding program, I was unsure if I wanted to stay. They let me go when I couldn’t give them a definitive answer, so I joined Jim at his new company.”
Ivory went on to work at other equipment leasing companies developing lease analysis software before founding Ivory Consulting in 1983.
The lease analysis software that Ivory worked on early in his career became the foundation for SuperTRUMP, Ivory Consulting’s flagship product, which is a solution for modeling and pricing complex leases and loans.
“The product was originally called TRUMP,” said Ivory. “My stepbrother and I used to play the card game Spades and whoever makes the highest bid chooses the suit color, and that becomes the trump card.”
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