WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) has selected Thomas Ware to receive its 2021 Michael J. Fleming Distinguished Service Award. The award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the association and the equipment finance industry. Ware, who is President of Tom Ware Advisory Services, LLC, will be formally recognized during a ceremony at the 60th ELFA Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas, in October.
“Over the past two decades, Tom has helped ELFA deliver market data and insights to our membership and highlight the value of the $900 billion equipment finance industry to the U.S. economy,” said ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta. “It is an honor to present him with the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to ELFA, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation and the equipment finance industry.”
“I’m thrilled to be receiving this award from ELFA,” said Ware. "Throughout my career, first as a lender and chief credit officer, and later as a service provider, I’ve strived to find new and better ways of doing business, particularly by leveraging the power of data, analytics, systems and credit scoring. Doing this well requires real-world collaboration, and ELFA and the Foundation have been absolutely essential in providing the environment necessary and conducive for such collaboration. Thank you to ELFA for making this possible.”
Ware has been an active member of ELFA for many years, contributing to the mission of the association in a number of key areas. As an expert on small business credit and leveraging data and analytics for the commercial finance industry, he is a long-time member of the Credit & Collections Committee and a past member of the Small Ticket Business Council Steering Committee.
Ware has been a champion of the association’s business and professional development programs. As an industry thought leader, he has served as a frequent speaker and facilitator at numerous ELFA events, including the Credit & Collections Conference, Annual Convention, Funding Conference and Operations & Technology Conference. He also has contributed to the association’s Executive, CFO, Bank and Captive & Vendor Finance Roundtables. During the COVID pandemic, he has participated as a speaker in ELFA’s popular Wednesday Webinars series. He also is a regular contributor to the association’s publications, including Equipment Leasing & Finance magazine.
In addition to his work with ELFA, Ware is active with the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Executive Committee and is Chair of the Foundation’s Research Committee. In this role, he leads development of the organization’s studies and research resources. Over the years, Ware has lent his insights to essential Foundation reports, including those on FinTech, Securitization, Alternative Financing, Predictive Analytics and Credit Scoring. Most recently, he spearheaded the design and analysis of the Foundation’s COVID Impact and Recovery Survey.
As President of Tom Ware Advisory Services, LLC, Ware is an independent analytics, risk and credit scoring consultant. Prior to his current position, he served for 18 years as Senior Vice President of Analytics & Product Development at PayNet, which was acquired by Equifax in 2019. In that role he was responsible for the development of PayNet’s MasterScore and probability of default models, which have been used by hundreds of lenders to help decision millions of commercial loan and lease applications worth over $300 billion. Ware was also responsible for creating loss forecasting models, peer lender performance benchmarking and Strategic Business Reviews, and for developing a wide variety of research about commercial lending that appeared regularly at ELFA conferences as well as in leading print and television media outlets. Prior to PayNet, Ware had 17 years’ experience as a lender with banks and finance companies, including as Chief Credit Officer & Senior Vice President, Operations at American Express Equipment Finance, and as General Manager of a division of J.I. Case/CNH Capital. He began his career with a Boston management consulting firm that became the New England office of Oliver Wyman.
In addition to ELFA, Ware has contributed to a variety of organizations. He served on the Board of Governors of the Risk Management Association’s Washington, D.C. and Maryland chapter. He has spoken at events organized by the Canadian Finance & Leasing Association, the National Equipment Finance Association and the Credit Card Roundtable. He wrote “The 12 Secrets of Commercial Credit Scoring,” a three-part series of articles published in the Monitor magazine. He graduated with Distinction in Mathematical Economics from Dartmouth College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA members are the driving force behind the growth in the commercial equipment finance market and contribute to capital formation in the U.S. and abroad. Its 575 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service providers. In 2021, ELFA is celebrating 60 years of equipping business for success. For more information, please visit www.elfaonline.org.