What ever happened to Zep??
" Alan J. Zeppenfeld "
Zep always has a great positive attitude. He has always been enjoyable to be around. I have know him for a number of years. Zep was the manager of Xerox when I first met him. Even though we were competitors, I always considered him a good friend."
"Zep was a consistent contributor to the United membership committee, when I was active on it. He came up with some good ideas. We should get him active again."
Where is he today? I am now the Director of Leasing for the Retail Solutions Division of NCR Corporation. Both NCR and I got away from leasing for a few years, but now we are back into it in a world class way. I am working with an outstanding team of leasing professionals and making contact with many old friends and acquaintances.
Now I need to fix the racecar…….
Someone once said that "life is what happens to you while you are planning on doing other things". I know that is true in my case. But, I am convinced that you have to keep moving forward.
After finishing my MBA in 1973, I answered an advertisement in the Cleveland paper and became the Equipment Order Entry Manager for the Cleveland Branch of Xerox. Things were great then, everyday was exciting and rewarding, and I was very proud to be a Xeroid.
But there was one thing that was always in the back of my mind. Our office was on the 6th floor, and on the 7th floor was US Leasing. The more I talked to the US Leasing people in the elevator every morning, the more I wondered whether I really wanted my career to be one floor up.
Life has a habit of forcing or eliminating decisions, and after becoming Controller in Cleveland, then Region Credit Manager in Arlington, Virginia my thoughts about leasing were filed somewhere in the back of my mind. Two years later, I got an opportunity to be with a new Xerox division in a great city, Atlanta. This was it, I was where I wanted to be doing what I wanted to do. But, nothing is constant but change, and two years later, the big X combined it's two divisions and we had too many people for the number of jobs available. I really wanted to stay in Atlanta, but the opportunity offered was in Kansas City, so I packed up the family and off we went to find Dorothy, Toto and Auntie Em. As was typical then, after two years it was time to change again, and Xerox moved to headquarters in Rochester, NY. I went there with a fierce determination to disprove the statement that "living in Rochester" was an oxymoron.
I hit Rochester full force, and became a very busy person. At Xerox I was the Manager of Asset Control, in our suburb I got active in politics, and in my spare time I started restoring collector cars. The car hobby became a second business and my wife Diane and I opened AutoZest Gallery, an automotive art and automobilia boutique.
Xerox started a program called the Partnership Asset Strategy that sold off the rental machines and revenue streams to major funders and leasing companies. My second assignment in Rochester was to manage the operation of that program, and my contact with the leasing industry resumed. Then in the early 1990's our senior vice president had thoughts of starting a major administrative outsourcing business. It seemed only natural that since we were world class in administration and had ties with the leasing industry that we go into "leasing administration". We changed the name of my department to Third Party Leasing Administration and I set out to find some customers. After getting the first two contracts signed and the services implemented, senior management was convinced that there was really a business there and "Xerox Administrative Services" came into being.
That was it. I was there, again. I was with the company I wanted to be with, working with the leasing industry, active in the leasing associations, living in the house I wanted to be in even if it wasn't in my favorite city, and building a race car. Life was wonderful.
Then in 1995, our senior vice president abruptly retired, his replacement didn't believe in outsourcing as a business opportunity, and I got introduced to a whole new experience in a big way….downsizing. Many articles have been written about how Xerox invented and started great things, and then gave them up. And, the business news and stock market are clearly showing how a giant can fall, so I won't take up any more time on Xerox here.
There's and old song "I'll get by with a little help from my friends". But, you really need to know who your friends are. I had made a lot of good friends in the leasing industry, so I reached out to them for some help. The wonderful news is that they reached out too, and I will be forever grateful to all of them for their help and support. I spent some time with leasing companies in Philadelphia and Chicago, did some short term consulting and made some industry presentations. Unfortunately we had to close the collector auto business, sell the house and store the racecar.
When the company I was with in Chicago figuratively went south, Diane and I decided it was time to literally go south. We moved back to Atlanta and I became the Director of Asset Management for Lanier Worldwide Inc., an outstanding company. Life was good for two years.
Then it happened. After a great day at Road Atlanta I was towing the racecar down I-85 when the rear tire blew out on my pickup truck and I jackknifed, throwing the race car half off the trailer and blocking both lanes of the interstate with traffic coming at me. Luckily, my three or four trips across the lanes before the trailer completely jackknifed clearly communicated to the people behind me that I was having a minor problem that they needed to respond to.
That was in May of last year. In June, we found "the house" and started negotiations. In July, a friend of mine sent me an internet job posting and there was the key word….leasing. In August we moved and I changed jobs.
I am now the Director of Leasing for the Retail Solutions Division of NCR Corporation. Both NCR and I got away from leasing for a few years, but now we are back into it in a world class way. I am working with an outstanding team of leasing professionals and making contact with many old friends and acquaintances.
Diane and I have a wonderful house near Lake Lanier, our sons AJ and Brent are here, and in April our granddaughter will make her debut into the world. Diane has reopened AutoZest in a great resort and car enthusiast area, and all the artists and suppliers are happy to resume our relationship.
I am again doing the job I want to do, with the company I want to be with, in the industry I want to be in, and living where I want to live. I have also decided to become a CLP.
Now I need to fix the racecar………
It is an honor for me to be included with Cindy, Jon, Stewart and Hal. Best Regards, Zep firstname.lastname@example.org