When did you first join the equipment financing industry and what has been the trajectory of your career?
I joined the industry in 1989 out of college. I worked for a company for a few years, and then went to Oliver Allen in 1995. I was there until I started CoreTech in 2008 and have been the Founder and President of CoreTech ever since.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your own professional development? How did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge was when I first started, making sure from the beginning to create great habits as far as work ethic on a day-to-day basis. I overcame the challenge by making sure to work hard every day, hit personal and company goals and keep that going throughout my career.
When did you first get involved with ELFA and how have you been engaged as a member thus far? How has being in ELFA helped your career?
I started getting involved in ELFA when I started CoreTech in 2008. ELFA has helped me do a lot of things. I’ve met a lot of people, and almost all the banks that are utilized in the equipment leasing segment of the market. So, all the banks you assign payment streams to, sign lines with and acquire transactions from—I have met all those banks through ELFA. The conferences that ELFA has are all about relationships—building relationships and putting together long-term partnerships—so you can make sure your company will grow and withstand any type of situation.
What is the most rewarding risk of your career?
I’d say the most rewarding risk has been starting CoreTech Leasing. I never looked at it as a risk. I looked at it as an opportunity. But starting my own company and doing things the way I wanted to do them—doing what’s best for the client, keeping the decision-making process quick and nimble for the clients and not being bureaucratic—was the most rewarding risk of my career. One of the reasons I didn’t think of it as a risk was because, in my opinion, 2008 was a great time to start. Most companies weren’t lending and, because I had a long-term portfolio with certain banks, they backed me and supported me. I was doing business when people weren’t because I could. I found the banks and the people who backed me to do it. So, yes, it was a risk, but it was also a great opportunity.
If you had to pick one, which is more important when considering a hire—soft skills or a technical background? Please select only one, and please include which soft or technical skill is most beneficial to success.
The first thing that I look for is the person. I want to see if I like the person and if they fit in with our culture. And then I want to see how much that person, no matter what they do, wants to work at CoreTech. Do they follow up? I try to get a sense of what they’ll be like when they’re here. Are they personable? Do they have your back? Are they hard working? Are they going to make your life easier because they’re here? Also, a big thing to me is, are they ethical? Are they going to treat our clients right? Are they going to represent CoreTech in the right ways?
What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give to someone just entering the industry?
I would say to make sure that, from day one, no matter what anyone tells you, you have to work hard every day. You’ve got to make the calls or meet people no matter what anyone else is doing in the office. It only matters what you’re doing. Focus on yourself and not what anyone else is doing. That’s what I see with successful people. They put their head down and work hard. They’re focused and working hard every day and just creating great habits when it comes to work ethic. I would also say to have a focused area, whether it’s a niche or a territory. Be successful in a city or be successful in a niche. Don’t get too spread out. Create passion in your job. Make sure that you figure out your why: Why are you selling this? Why are you doing what you’re doing? You need to figure out why you’re passionate. Are you making people’s lives easier? Saving people money? Creating money for the company? You’ve got to figure out a passion. People only buy from people they like and trust.
Given that the ELFA recently updated its mission statement and strategic plan to affirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion, can you give some perspective on what your organization has or is doing to promote diversity and inclusion?
We have a very diverse company. We look to hire the best people—period. That is one of the things that sets us apart. We want the best on the team, and we know the best come from every walk of life. We also know the company is better when we have the input of every variety of person, so we don’t target any particular type of person. For instance, this year we have hired more women than men just because they were the right candidates at the right time. I look for the best person for the job and that has naturally led to a diverse company.