The History of UAEL---Part III
by Kit Menkin
on C. Bednerik, CAE, WAEL's executive vice president for the past four years, packed up his sloop, "Persuasion," recently and sailed toward the sunny Caribbean. Well, something like that. Actually, he moved to another position as executive director of the Florida Pool & Spa Association, headquarters in Sarasota, Florida.
Before Bednerik came aboard WAEL, the association had been run by MAS, a multi-association management form headed by Art Schwartz. In 1988, the WAEL Management Selection Task Force recommended Bednerick, a 20 year association executive for the job. Chosen form a filed of more than 400 candidates, he assumes his post on December 5, 1988, and left December 31, 1992.
According to WEAL President Gordon Roberts, "Jon was deeply committed to WAEL and contributed significantly to our growth as a mature, independent organization. We told Jon that we wanted to be member-driven, and he helped us learn how to do that, while also providing us with a strong, professional staff."
Last month, another extensive, national search was conducted by the 1998 WAEL Executive Committee, and Dr. Raymond M. Williams, CEA, was selected to replace Bednerik as WEAL's new executive vice president. He joined the WAEL staff in Oakland on January 4, 1993.
According to 1992 WAEL President Hal T. Horowitz,, CLP, "Ray's is a highly qualified association professional with a solid experience and excellent credentials. Ray's experience in chapter operation and trade show and convention planning will serve our organization well as we continue to grow nationally."
Williams, 50, brings 10 years of association management experience to WAEL, plus and additional five years' sales and marketing management experience in the private sector. He received his doctorate in education form Claremont Graduate School in 1979, having already received his master's in educational administration for California State University, Long Beach in 1972. Williams also holds a bachelor's in English/rhetoric. In short, he is smart guy. But he also has a sense of humor and laughs easily. When asked about a meaning of life he replied, "it's true, life is difficult, but it gets a lot easier if you don't take yourself too seriously."
Williams describes himself as "a people person who can get things done." And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. He's authored several books on topics such as sales fundamentals, financial management, merchandising, credit and collection, management, and general business principles. While holding such positions as director of marketing and education for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and as executive vice president of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (ABC), he handled staff administration, sales, promotion, fund-raising, budget control, membership, recruitment and retention, government relations, group insurance, and record maintenance.
A Certified Association Executive (CAE), he also holds an ASAE Association Management Certificate from American Society of Association Executives, a Blanchard Management/Leadership Certificate, a Dale Carnegie Sales Management Certificate, and several teaching and education credentials.
In fact, a good deal of his career has focused on education. When asked what motivated him to move from education to association management (he was assistant high school principal of Los Angeles city school in the early seventies), Williams replied, "I still consider education an important part of my job. I don't think education necessarily has to happen in a classroom. Education is usually one of the mail reasons a person is to network and the two really go hand in hand. When you meet someone at a WAEL workshop or seminar, you have an opportunity to learn something form your presenters. You also have the opportunity to start conversations with people enrolled in the workshop. you might learn more from them than you do the presenter. Or, you might even close a deal."
His goal for '93?
"I'll be involved in making sure the Certified Lease Professional (CLP) program becomes an even more attractive certification, and I hope to encourage more people to take advantage of it. I am fortunate to have inherited a highly professional staff and a well-run office. My predecessor did an excellent job helping WEAL put itself 'on the map,' so to speak along the same path."
Regarding his style of management, Williams replied, " I try to encourage a participate rather than dictatorial workplace. Basically, nobody is more important that anybody else. With such a small office, we all need to help each other. We can't afford specialists--people who just do one thing.' In addition to Williams, the WEAL staff includes Sharon Ortiz, director of administration, Julie McLean Knight, ABC, director of publications, and Estarlita B. Green, administrative assistant.
So, what does he think of WAEL so far? "I am very encourage by the talent and support of my staff because it will be through them and our volunteers that WAEL's goals are reached. And, I've never seen such an enthusiastic and well-educated membership. WEAL members and its leadership are extremely proactive in meeting the challenges of the future. WAEL members generally want to give back something to their industry. My position as executive vice president is to help members nurture their industry grows and prospers right along with WAEL membership."
WAEL membership, unfortunately, dipped slightly in '92, along with the economy. How will Williams address membership recruitment and retention?
"The key to membership growth is to retain current members. If you can retain 90-95 percent of your members, you are going to grow. It's not just the leaderships volunteers who have to be committed to WAEL. Each member has to support WAEL and help it become more responsive to their own needs. I'll be encouraging their continuing support. They have to realize that joining WAEL not only helps them and their business, but it also helps them and their business, but it also helps the whole industry. The stronger we are in membership, the stronger our voice will be on legislative matters. WAEL is a home for small-to-medium-ticket equipment leasing professionals. I also plan to send hand written thank-yous to those folks who have rejoined. I want to remind members that this is their association. If we aren't meetings members' needs, then we aren't meeting members needs, then we aren't doing our job, and they need to let us know."
As far as membership recruitment goes, "That's really something every member can do. People listen to their competitors and their peers when it comes to joining a professional association. What I can do is help the WAEL leadership to develop an overall marketing plan and make sure the Association stays on curse."
WAEL's national growth is another thing Williams is looking forward to. "I'm very encouraged be the direction of the WAEL leadership is expanding to different regions in the U.S. I believe WAEL membership is a product that will be bought by leasing professionals from New York to Sacramento. I also feel good about the production of the CLP Home Study Course. It provides a great opportunity for many more leasing professionals to achieve the CLP designation."
His long-term goals?
Williams concluded, "I look forward to a long and fulfilling career working with commercial finance and equipment leasing professionals and helping to established WAEL as one of the most prestigious and best trade associations in the industry."
|WAEL Newsline | Winter 1993 |
|WAEL Newsline | Winter 1993 |
The 1995 Western Association of Equipment Leasing Staff: (back row, left to right) Raymond Williams, Ph.D.,CAE, 1995 President Jim Merrilees, Sharon Ortiz; Front row, left to right) Estarlita Green, James Geluz, Loretta Lowe.
“1995 brings numerous changes to the WAEL Staff. Executive VP Ray Williams, PH.D., CAE, has earned a re-certification from the American Society of Association Executives.
Congratulations are in order for Sharon Ortiz. She was recently promoted to VP of Operations. This new positions puts her in charge of the day-to-day activities of the office. Formerly Director of Administration, she has been with WAEL for nearly five years.
“Additional congratulations go to Loretta Law, WAEL's Meeting Planner. She earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP), which is administered by Convention Liaison Counsel.
WAELOPOLY: Ken Greene to the Rescue
“ I am not certain where Barry Dubin was involved though I recall
that he was, perhaps as a Board member at the time.
“I remember receiving a frantic phone call from Ray Williams.
He had been contacted by counsel for Parker Brothers, which makes Monopoly. The company had somehow obtained a copy of Waelopoly. Ray had created the board game as a conference souvenir, in connection with the conference theme.
Ray had made all kinds of plans. I think that Jim Lahti was going to be Mr. MoneyBags, if I remember the name of the principal character correctly, and the conference was essentially based on the game theme.
“Parker Brothers was not happy with us. They contended that WAEL was infringing on their copyright, and threatened to bring suit in federal court back east, seeking an injunction and treble damages for copyright and trademark infringement, and attorneys' fees.
“I contacted their counsel, who demanded that we stop distribution of the game, and anything else with relating to it, and that we change the theme of the conference.
“We settled. We agreed to stop production and/or distribution of the board game and to send all outstanding copies to be destroyed by the company.
“We agreed not to use any characters. I think in the end Parker Brothers agreed we could use the game as the conference theme, but could not directly use any characters names or likenesses. No money changed hands. They did not get their $200, as we did not pass go. At least we did not go directly to jail. I don't recall exactly how this played out, as it was some time ago, and I am undoubtedly getting senile.
“If any has a different recollection, I would love to hear from them, as it was quite and adventure.”
Law Offices of Kenneth C. Greene
938 B Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
“Hi Kit, Great to hear from you! To attempt clarification. Barry Dubin was on the Board at the time. As such, he was the appropriate person to sanction the "Waelopoly" theme.
“ Actually, at the beginning, Barry was very involved, spending a full Saturday w/ the WAEL staff helping to assemble several thousand packages.
“ It was later when we received the ‘cease and desist' order that Ken generously agreed to help ( pro bono) and eventually saved our bacon. Ken is very accurate in his recollections, except on one point- it was the Hasbro Co. which was up in arms.
“As an aside, I'd like to say that Ken was typically unselfish w/ his time and efforts. Without his expertise, WAEL definitely would've experienced a significant loss.
“Once again, thank you, Master Greene, for help above and beyond the call of duty in a most noble and memorable adventure!”
Tallest person, Ken Greene, Esq-Ken Green and Associations, 2000 United Association of Equipment Leasing (UAEL) Spring Conference Chairman---In front of him, left to right:
Alan Collier, TotalFunding.com, Trish Williams and UAEL Executive Vice-President
Dr. Ray Williams.
What followed were years of growth, including the expansion
of the organization into a national effort, growing to equal
representation on both the East and West Coast, strong
regional representation and involvement, actually changing
the name and creating a logo to become the United Association
of Equipment Leasing. They key thrust was education, as evidenced
by the March/April 1996 UAEL Newsline (edited both for
space, but also CLP functions, once under this committee,
grew to becoming independent supported by other leasing
associations: www.clpfoundation.org )
“Just over three years ago, the Education Committee seemed to have ceased activity. Now, under the leadership of Chair Robert Teichman, CLP, it's become a healthy, dynamic force for the association. For Teichman, providing lease education has become …”
March/April 1996 UAEL Newsline
The Heart of the Matter
UAEL was formed with a very clear purpose. The Association pledges to "provide and promote programs which enhance business opportunities" for its members. And at the heart of this pledge is the Education Committee. "The Association exists to provide education," Robert Teichman, CLP, Education Committee Chair, said. Under Teichman's leadership, the committee fulfils this purpose in two ways: first, by providing quality educational programs; second, by administering the Certified Lease Professional (CLP) program.
But the Education Committee's activity wasn't always so well-defined. Indeed, as recently as 1993, the Education Committee had no activity at all. "The committee pretty much dissolved in 1993," Teichman, Senior VP, Belvedere Equipment Finance Corporation, recalled.
With Teichman's appointment, however, the Education Committee enjoyed a revival. Teichman performed this resuscitation by providing the committee with a direction. "The Education Committee functions as a clearinghouse for ideas, taking suggestions from our members and turning them into programs," Teichman explained, detailing his organizational operation. In addition, the committee became responsible for administering the CLP program, following a directive from the Board of Directors.
Creating a Higher Standard
At the end of 1994, there were 34 CLP designates, representing the 10 years the pro-gram had existed. Since then, that number has grown to 52, adding 18 new designates in just over a year. "The certification program is something I'm particularly proud of, "
In addition, the committee published The Leasing Professionals' Handbook, a comprehensive text detailing leasing practice.
Looking to the future, he sees the Education Committee staying at the forefront of UAEL activity. Not only has education become a primary function of the association, it also plays a major role in improving the industry itself. "The committee will play an important role as long as there is a need for continuing education and certification." Furthermore, Teichman sees the Education Committee as a conduit between the members and leadership. "There has to be a place where ideas can come in and go out," Teichman deter-mined. And his committee has served that purpose well.
Perhaps explaining the change from WAEL to UAEL is best from this
written by then President Jim Merrilees in the Summer, 1995 UAEL
Setting the Course
Our 20th year has brought a number of changes - a name change, growing membership diversity increased activity. But many have wondered how this changes UAEL's direction. UAEL President Jim Merrilees shows us the way.
By now, you have no doubt heard about our name change from WAEL, which had stood for Western Association of Equipment Lessors, to UAEL, the United Association of Equipment Leasing. By just looking at the two names, it's readily apparent that UAEL better represents our members. We have nationwide membership, not just "western." Our members include brokers, lessors, funders, and suppliers. I believe that, in our 20th year, it is no accident that our members gave us the approval to address such an important issue - an issue that has been discussed for a long time. But, having approved the new name, many members have had questions: "What is the meaning of this change? Does this change the direction of the association?" In this column, I want to relate to you my thoughts, in addition to the Board of Directors ideas, on our name change and what effect it has, if any, on the direction of UAEL. These thoughts will be expressed in more detail in the Fall Edition
The most evident sign of change is the Board's approval of the Task Force's recomendation to give full membership rights to what were our "Associate Members." The category; now called Services Members, will allow every UAEL member to participate with votes. Final approval of this proposal will be determined by the members at the Annual Conference.
Much of your association's energy will he spent on going further in the direction we have al-ready set. I believe we must up-hold the tradition of providing members with valuable educational resources at various levels. We will expand seminars for every member. Programs will be offered that "keep things interesting" for our experienced members. Conversely; we will offer entry-level leasing skills presentations for our members who just entered the industry. By offering this variety; we can embrace new members from all over the country But, in order to achieve this, our regions must remain active and strong.
Several years ago, the Board of Directors faced a tough decision: should we let the regions take on more responsibility or not? As with any decision, the hoard was split: sonic were for "decentralizing" and letting the regions have more control; others were for asserting more "centralized" control. Decentralizing won out. And it looks like we made the right decision. Today; the regions have proven to he the foundation of strength of our association, with superb assistance from the UAEL staff. This focus on regional activity- has set our course - our direction - for the future.
So far, going in this direction has paid off. Our staff is second-to-none. We have more regions, regional meetings, and quality local events than ever before. Our membership is the most diverse it has ever been. Our conferences are highly regarded by the leasing industry. Leadership - your Board of Directors - is energetic, vocal, and truly caring. An exciting sign of the times is younger members asking me how they can get involved. After reading these signs, I feel truly optimistic about our direction together as leasing professionals. Let us celebrate the achievements that took lots of people 20 years to create. You can do this while lending a critical eye - a Vision of the Future - by communicating your thoughts and views of your association to me, the board, committee chairs, and the staff We're always open to your opinions. You can also do this by participating. I en-courage you to take advantage of our fine programming: meetings, seminars, social events. So set course for our next national meeting, the Annual Conference & Exposition and Third Annual Legal Workshop. I look forward to seeing you in San Antonio.
October 3,2000, Leasing News:
" Whoelse, but...is Gone"
“Raymond M. Williams, Ph.D. CAE, president of the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Association Executives, and for eight years executive vice-president of UAEL, was terminated by the Board of Directors of the United Association of Equipment Leasing. He was reportedly asked to resign, but took the matter to the full board. He thought he had the votes, but did not.
“Previous presidents were not surprised, but did not want to go on the record although they did tell me about their term, off the record, and current issues may concern the costs of two conferences this year, alleged lack of control, no membership 2000 directory, and a host of issues that now may be considered innuendo. Dr. Williams did serve for almost eight years, following Jon Bednerik, CAE. He was very popular among the membership.
“There is speculation on Dr. Williams' replacement, but with Joan Dalton and Cindy Sprudle in place, it is perceived management appears to be well under control. It may be ironic to some that Dr. Williams hired Cindy Spurdle, former National Association of Equipment Leasing Broker Executive Director, and she now is "temporarily" helping direct the organization along with Joan Dalton. Estarlita Green, administrative assistant for eleven years, left the association last month to continue her gift basket business, she told me. Stay tuned, as there will be more changes here.”
“The departure came hot and heavy:
“from Hal T. Horowitz, Past President:
“It seems to me that somewhere back around 1989 or 1990 WAEL put
together a long-overdue strategic planning session. This was chaired by past president Bob Jacobson and among its committee members were Bill Grohe, Jim Swander, myself and with apologies to those whom I cannot remember, a handful of others. There were several meetings of this committee which ultimately presented a wide range of recommendations to the Board for long term growth of the Association, among which included becoming a national organization. This was at least three years before Ray Williams became our Executive Director. It had nothing to do with Ray's goals or personal plans, nor for that matter with Jon Bednerik's. The ideas that emanated from that group came from the members itself.
“I believe Ray was hired in 1993. It was, if I recall correctly, at the 1991 planning meeting, when I was vice president under Bill Grohe, that we were kicking around name changes (one of the suggested of which was World Association of Finance and Leasing (WAFL) or something like that). Obviously, that one was rejected.
“You can check with Bill Grohe, Gordon Roberts and a few others, but I'm relatively sure you will find that the ultimate decision to become a national organization, and in fact, any decisions regarding the future and the policy of WAEL/UAEL following the loss to our organization of Art Schwartz, was entirely member driven. If Bob or any of the current members of UAEL do not like what the Association has become, look inward, not outward. Let them blame me and the others who were part of the leadership of the time, and themselves more recently for not taking steps to correct what they (rightfully or wrongfully) consider worth grousing about . Jon and Ray were not without faults, ambition perhaps among them, but neither of them is responsible for the condition, good or bad, of the Association today.
“Bob Rodi's comment that Ray Williams wanted to be Mike Fleming when he grew up is inappropriate. The Ray I and others were involved in hiring was charged with providing an administration, not a leadership. During the time I knew him, be became passionate about the Association and the friendships he made and only wanted to see it prosper and do well. Whatever Ray's "concept for growth" may have led to, the "misdirected and ineffective" leadership was ours, not his. Ray was an employee, not a leasing professional and he always admitted that, at least when I knew him and was involved.”
Hal T. Horowitz
In the end, a settlement was made with one of the conditions
by the board to not reveal the terms of the “golden parachute.”
Dr. Williams accepted the departure gracefully. The membership
did not. There is no doubt he was extremely popular with
the membership, traveling to many regional meetings, always
available for a problem from a member, and if he had one
problem, to quote him directly,“ too much on my plate.”
His main fault: He was a workaholic. He always tried to please everybody.
Ray, as president of the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Association Executives reportedly found employment quite easily, and wished the best to his friends:
“I am very proud of what was accomplished at WAEL/UAEL during my tenure. Enhancement of publications, the CLP handbook, the CLP academy, national expansion, jointly sponsored conferences and the regional funding symposiums: these were all accomplished by a visionary leadership -- the best that I have ever had the privilege of working for and with.
“WAEL/UAEL's leaders were some of the best minds in the industry. Most of these people are still there and they still have the best interests of the industry at heart. Because of them, UAEL. will survive and prosper.
“Thank you for the opportunity to give credit where it is surely due. “