Robert B. Podwalny, FASA, a longtime member of the equipment finance and leasing and appraisal industries, passed away on April 14, 2018 at the age of 74 in Brentwood, CA after a courageous three-year battle with lung cancer.
Podwalny, who had been with Banc of America Leasing and Capital for more than 20 years, ‘retired’ from equipment leasing in 2007 but started his own consulting business and was constantly in demand as a speaker, instructor, content contributor and expert witness nationally and internationally until shortly before his passing.
He was known to many past and present equipment leasing folks, especially in the Big Ticket arena, and was a widely respected go-to appraisal and valuation expert who contributed a great deal to the equipment finance industry. His wit and sense of humor will be missed by all who knew him.
Podwalny is survived by his wife Linda, sons Daniel and Robert, sister Alexandra Podwalny Leclere, grandchildren Kayla, Evan, Emma, Lili and Lincoln, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Born in Vienna, Austria on January 14, 1944, Podwalny emigrated to Oberlin, OH in 1949 with his parents, brother, sister and grandparents. He became an American citizen in 1955 and attended Ohio State University and Oberlin College. Drafted in 1965 into the U.S. Army, he served two years as a medic and was honorably discharged in 1967. He returned to Ohio where he first became active in the appraisal industry and eventually became senior appraiser with American Appraisal Associates and Marshall and Stevens. In 1971, he married Linda Fox and together they moved to the Bay Area.
In 1985, he joined Banc of America Leasing and Capital where he became senior vice president and manager Appraisal and Inspection. For more than 20 years until 2005, he managed a team of appraisers and all aspects of valuation and inspection of a $45 billion portfolio of equipment assets under lease. He subsequently became executive vice president, Equipment Manager with Union Bank Commercial Leasing from 2005 to 2007 and, at that point, rather than retiring he opened his own consulting business as an independent appraiser, valuation consultant and lease appraisal advisor.
Porwalny was an accredited senior appraiser and fellow of the American Society of Appraisers and an ASA member for more than 36 years. He was inducted into the College of Fellows with the ASA in 2012 in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the valuation profession. His long and dedicated service to the ASA contributed to the growth and development of the society and helped elevate the status of the profession among users of appraisal services.
Over the course of his appraisal career, Podwalny was a popular speaker and instructor at many national and international conferences and meetings. He developed and taught valuation courses throughout the U.S. as well as in Mexico, Romania, Slovenia, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and China for the World Bank Economic Development Program as well as for the ASA. He was a frequent author of articles on valuation and designated expert witness in litigation matters.
He also was a contributing author to valuation textbooks, course developer and senior instructor of courses taught through the ASA. He held many roles with the ASA and was past international education committee chairman, emeritus member and past chairman of the machinery and technical specialties committee, past regional governor for Northern California, past president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter and past vice chairman of the Board of Examiners for Machinery and Equipment.
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