The 30 Year History of UAEL--- Part II


    by Kit Menkin



 “Steve Dunham, WAEL's founder and first president, fixes his gaze on where we've been and where we're going, both as an industry and an association.”

Fall 1996 United Association of Equipment Leasing Newsline
Dunham has 20-20 Vision
By James Veldez Geluz

He is a 30-year veteran of the equipment leasing industry. He founded its most dynamic asso­ciation. With these unique cre­dentials, Steve Dunham has a clear perspective of leasing's past, present,
and the future.


It's a perspective that offers valuable insight to everyone in leasing community. Dunham sees the develop­ment of both the industry and the association as one marked by a number of distinct, and paral­lel, stages.


Stage One:

The Early Years


At WAEL's inception in 1974, the leasing industry, in the midst of developing standards for pro­cedures and documentation, was in a largely formative stage. And, obviously, the association was as well.


The association, which was started to provide a means of exchanging information and building industry relationships, was an exciting entrepreneurial undertaking for Dunham. He saw a need and looked to meet it with WAEL.

Dunham, while eagerly tak­ing credit for WAEL's forma­tion, is modest about his role in making the association run ef­fectively. "All the credit goes to Art Schwartz," Dunham in­sists, noting the contributions of the association's original ex­ecutive vice president. "He took a wild idea of mine and made sense of it.-"


Dunham marks this early stage, as well as every subsequent stage, by associating it with WAEL's leaders at that time. The early presidents - Dunham, Harold "Hal" McAfee, Steve Head, and Fred Shieman - along with Schwartz, laid the foundation for the association. This task included determining the activity of the association, ranging from developing pro-grams to organizing meetings to attract and aid members, ac-cording to Dunham.


True to his entrepreneurial spirit, Dunham focused his en­ergies to generating excitement for the then-fledgling organiza­tion. "I had lots to do to get people interested in WAEL," Dunham recalls.


In addition to starting the association, Dunham's entrepre­neurial skills were tested with the formation of his present company, Leasing Associates of Cupertino, CA, in 1976. The lease brokerage was the latest step for Dunham, who has worked in the leasing industry since 1963, initially working for funding sources. But, "in 1967, I wanted to be a broker, and have been ever since, " Dunham said.


Stage Two:

A Coming of Age

The next stage for the associa­tion centered around the effort to build a solid membership base. Continuing his theme, Dunham connects this period to its leadership of the day. "The presidents - John Torbenson, Bob Jacobson, III - they were the go-go guys that tried to get membership up," Dunham re­flects.

Dunham sees the period led by Jim Possehl, CLP, Ronald Wagner, CLP, and Bill Grohe as the "coming of age" group, es­pecially in terms of assuming the management of WAEL. They were successful in coping with "the difficult time of moving from the association manage­ment organization [that ran WAEL] to creating a self-run­ning association," Dunham said. This included the hiring of Jon Bednerik.


During this stage, the in­dustry continued to evolve. Where once few companies wanted to deal with brokers, the leasing and lending companies increasingly turned to brokers. "Commissions went up; residu­als went up," according to Dunham. With excitement be­ing generated in leasing circles, more commercial lenders got into the act. "They'd do any-thing to fund deals," Dunham said.


Stage Three:


Transition describes the next period, not only for the associa­tion, but for the industry as well. For WAEL and Presidents Hal Horowitz, CLP, Gordon Rob­erts, and Peter Eaton, CLP, that meant a deliberate attempt to fine-tune its member services. Part of this refocusing included the bringing on board of Ray Williams, Ph.D., the current Executive Vice President. "Where Jon [Bednerik] was more of an administrator, Ray is much more of a front man, more geared to promoting the associa­tion," Dunham ascertains.

In relation to the industry, transition has meant the para­mount importance of the com­puter and advances such as credit-scoring systems for today's leasing operation. These changes become vital to keep up in the current economic climate.

Ways of moving ahead include the de­velopment of strategies to cope with downsizing and increased competition, ac-cording to Dunham. One of the ways to cope is to increase efficiency, whether through business practice innovation or technological means. The task remains problematic, however: "The smaller lessor or broker is pushed hard to make a profit," Dunham diagnoses.

Dunham has confidence in the association's current leadership in dealing with the transitional upheaval. "Jim Merrilees (CLP) is a great steadying force," Dunham notes. "Because of his personality as a bright, steady guy, he's ideal for man-aging UAEL through the transition."

The Association which was started to provide means of exchanging information and building industry relationships, was an exciting entrepreneurial undertaking for Dunham. He saw a need an looked to meet it with WEAL.

The Next Stage

For the future, Dunham again projects con­fidence in UAEL's leadership. "Oren Hall (who is slated to assume the association presidency in 1996) is ideal for the times, given his experience in the industry," Dunham said. "He's the perfect guy to as­similate the changes in the industry."

But Dunham is careful to recommend a course of action for the association that he founded. UAEL should be instrumental in providing the means of learning - educa­tional programs, regional meetings, and as­sociation-wide conferences - that will help its members deal with the challenges of the future. With these resources, leasing firms will be "all the better to prepare for the fu­ture of changes" Dunham said. "UAEL can answer the questions like `How do we run our business more efficiently?' or `how do we increase business by maximizing the tele­phone or mail?"'

Given his longevity in the industry, it is obvious that Dunham has enjoyed a great deal of success. Instrumental in this suc­cess is his wife, Diane. "I couldn't have got-ten where I am today without her, " he re-calls. "She's certainly as responsible as any for our prosperity."

Another element includes association involvement, especially the networking op­portunities for our members. "Networking has always been an important part of the association, and is cost-effective," Dunham explains. By attending meetings, it provides an opportunity to meet people and not have to travel " to their offices.

"Regional events supply ideas, espe­cially ones that no one picks up on," Dunham continues. "90 percent of what people say, you've heard before, but then, somebody will say, `this is how we do this,' and I'd incorporate the idea."

Being part of this constant dialog has yielded much success for Dunham. Look­ing back over his career, he pays a consider-able complement: "WAEL has made me a lot of money."

For his next stage, Dunham will con­centrate on "the fun stuff," as he calls it - the marketing of Leasing Associates and generating more "wild ideas." From the man whose wild ideas have included forming WAEL, it's sure to be some fun stuff



Today Steve Dunham oversees the operation from his New England office.  The Santa Clara staff includes Betty Loya, a twenty year employee, as operations manager and his son Brad Dunham as sales manager.  Jay Coles continues to operate the Pleasant Hill Office.


Brad Dunham
Sales Manager
Leasing Associates
3000 Scott Blvd. Suite 104, Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone: (800) 544-3981 Ext. 103 Fax: (800) 700-7595


“Standing: 1996 United Association of Equipment Leasing President Elect Oren Hal. Insert: Saturday keynote speaker Art Schwartz,

( originally a management service provider, then the first executive secretary of the organization.)”

November, 1995 UAEL Regional Reporter


A recent “Whatever Happened to...” found Bob Jacobson:

Bob Jacobson Found Alive and Well!!! 


Leasing News has printed several “Pictures of the Past” regarding former equipment leasing industry Bob Jacobson.   On February 12 of this year, we ran the above photograph, and wrote:

In 1983, Robert S. Jacobson, III, was the Western Association of Equipment Lessor vice-president.  At the time he was vice-president, National Broker Division, Tri-Continental Leasing Corporation, a division of Bell Atlantic, a major telephone company.  A WAEL Leasing Conference was not the same without him. He had served as vice present and member of the Executive Committee. In 1984 he would become president of the association now known as the United Association of Equipment Leasing.

He was recruited by Don Smith and Hy Bren of Interlease, San Francisco in 1974, from Union Bank. Don died of a heart attach while playing tennis in Tiburon, and his then partner Hy Bren went on to form his own company, finally joining Matsco, Emeryville, California, where he was a star salesman and sales personnel recruiter, retiring last year.

Bob learned from the great advertiser/promoter Don Smith at Perry's on Union Street about “discounting” to start his own leasing company in 1975, which was sold to a holding company where he remained president until forming Leasing Acceptance. where Ben Millerbus was the sales manager. They had a direct sales force.  In the next downturn of the industry, 1978, the company split up: Millerbus left to start Pentek Leasing, San Jose, California. He later he sold it in 1982 to Alaska Pacific Bancorporation, which in turn was sold to a large Upstate New York bank. Millerbus didn't stay retired long, forming Pentech Financial Services in Campbell, California with the backing of John Otto, plus was co-founder of Silicon Valley Bank ( he has recently formed a group to start a commercial bank again ).

Jacobson, well-known for his late night poker games, set up a broker “private label” operation called Tri-Continental Leasing, then located in Mountain View, California. In one of the next economic down turns, the telephone company divested itself of this division, shutting down their branch operations. Bob then went to work for Amembal, Deane & Associates doing lease training across the country. From memory, he was here about a year before he left the leasing business to join Hewlett-Packard, reformed, reportedly doesn't gamble, and last heard was involved in managing an engineering department. He and his family live in the Half Moon Bay area, California, where he commutes to work (just like John McCue of McCue Systems, Inc.)

Attempts to reach Jacobson him for a statement of the industry have gone unanswered. He has been “annoyed” at Kit Menkin for several years for not attending his birthday party, and that's Bob.

The Good News ! ! !


   Cheryl and Bob Jacobson are Alive and Well in Lake Tahoe “Periodically, Jim Swander has forwarded to me tidbits from your newsletter that pertain to me.  I thought I'd give you an update if you care to include in any future issue.

“As you all know, I had become passionate about technology during my final years in the leasing industry.  After Bell Atlantic Tricon decided to close the broker division in the early 90's, I devoted about a year to building up a computer BBS (Bulletin Board System) out of my home.  One of my users was a manager at HP Laboratories in Palo Alto.  He made me a job offer to join HP as a temporary I.T. worker, installing computers at the labs.  That progressed to a full time engineering job where I eventually became a department manager in charge of inventing disruptive technologies. 

“After about 5 years, my natural core competency of B*S* took over, and I was sent into the field.  I ended up being a Business Development Manager for Europe, and then Asia.  My job was to negotiate the multi-million dollar alliance and partner relationships for HP overseas.  After 300,000 miles of travel per year and 270 nights in hotels every year for a 4 year period, I finally had to get out

in 2002. 

“Cheryl and I found ourselves in Lake Tahoe over a holiday, and fell in love with the area!  We sold our home in Half Moon Bay, bought a house up here, and then tried to figure out what we wanted to do for work.  I thought that maybe being a blackjack dealer would be a great change of pace!  I was accepted into Harvey's black jack school, but when Cheryl found out, she told me absolutely not.  She didn't want me in the smoke filled, booze filled, environment.  I learned a long time ago that I wear the pants in the family, but she tells we what color and which leg to put in first.  :-)

“So, Marriott opened up a timeshare resort in Heavenly about that time.  I called up and they immediately took me on board.  I've been selling vacation ownership here in Tahoe since May '03.

“I'm still sober, don't gamble anymore, and love living in Paradise!!

Attached is an updated picture they took at HP a couple of years ago.

“I think about all my friends in the Leasing Industry many times.  I try to keep up with what's happening to all my old friends as much as I can.  If anyone wants to email me, my email address is  And, Kit, you are totally forgiven for standing me up on my birthday dinner so many years ago. :-) 

“Bob Jacobson”

April, 1981 WAEL Newsline


Irene Devine has joined the Western Association of Equipment Leasing staff as Associate Director. In addition to serving as Editor of Newsline, Irene will work with Executive Director Fran Schwartz and the Associate Director, Arthur Schwartz. Irene formerly worked with the California Escrow Association, and has a background in publications, public relations and marketing.


February 24,1984, it was announced Randy Bauler, CAE. would become the full time executive director.



Randy Bauler, CAE, formerly Executive Vice President of the Electric League of Arizona, joined the Western Association of Equipment Leasing executive staff in February.


“ ‘We are delighted to have someone of Randy's experience and enthusiasm join us,' said WAEL president Bob Jacobson. “WAEL has grown tremendously in the past few years and many new programs are planned for this year. Randy will be a real asset to the WAEL management team.”


“Bauler will work with the WAEL Board and Long Range Planning Committee in developing a strategic plan for WAEL's next five years. Responsibilities for committee projects and other WAEL programs will be divided between Bauler and WAEL Executive Director Irene Devine.


“Public Relations, Member Services, Certification, Membership, Brokers and Federal Legislative Involvement Committees will be coordinated by Bauler. Devine will work with Education, Legislative Relations, Accounting, Tax, Legal and Standards Committees and will continue to edit


“Bauler started his career as an association executive with the Arizona Electric League in 1975. He received the Professional Performance award form the American Society of Association Executives in 1981 and his CAE ( Certified Association Executive) designation in 1983.”


June, 1985, the new logo was approved:

April, 1987

Sharon Neff has joined the WAEL staff as Director of Member Services, reports Executive Vice President Randy Bauler, CAE.

"Sharon brings previous association experience in administrative and meetings management to her new position, " commented Bauer. "She'll be handling most member inquiries and requests as well as assisting at conferences and other meetings. She is a positive addition to the staff, and I'm confident the members will find Sharon friendly and supportive."

Neff joins the staff following two years with the Central City Association in Los Angeles as Assistant to the Director of Administration

 WAEL NEWS LINE December, 1988

    WAEL Selects New Executive Vice President


After Months of conducting an extensive nationwide search, the WAEL Management Selection Task Force recommended a twenty -year association executive, Jon C Bednerik; he was appointed by the WAEL Board of Directors to the position of Executive Vice President during a special meeting held in November.


Bednerik assumed his new post on December 5. That date marks the beginning of the transition from the long-term relationship with Management/Association Services, Inc. (MAS), which has been providing administrative support to WAEL for some fifteen years. WAEL will establish its own association headquarters staff in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area. Plans call for the transition to be completed around mark of 1989.


Chosen from a field of more than 400 candidates, Bednerik has been Executive Director of the Western Independent Bankers (WIB) for over five years. WIB is a regional trade association of 300 independent banks and some 50 associate member firms in thirteen Western States.


Bednerik's association career includes serving as Director of Government Affairs for over six years with the National Association of Drilling Contractors, and five years with the National Society of Public Accountants, as well as two years with the National Association of Broadcasters. A registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C., his prior job experience was a newspaper reporter and in the advertising and publishing fields.


A graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and government, he also completed his course work for an LLB at Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, TN.


Bednerik noted, "WAEL is extremely fortunate to have the benefit of outstanding volunteer member involvement and has enjoyed the services of one of the finest multi-association management firms in the country. Now WAEL has the opportunity to develop its own full time team. My goal is to continue to build on the strong foundation and to provide expanded membership services, to emphasize high quality seminars at reasonable costs, and to create higher public profile for professional lessors and the important role played by the leasing industry."


An avid sailor, he and his wife Darlene, live in Alameda. Their daughter Lydia attends the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Management of WAEL will be in the process of transition throughout the first few months of 1989, while the new office is being relocated. (See "President's Perspective" column for details on the Management Transition Task Force.) Watch your mail and future issues of Newsline for updates and details on all of the exciting changes currently happening in your association.



Executive Director
Jon Bednerik, CAE

Meeting Planner
Wendi Fong

Administrative Assistant
Esterlita Green

"The director of the
Association is West, young man. Go West."

"I've got a great idea for our next meeting-if only I could remember it."

""Good morning. This is WAEL.
Can you hold please?'




Andrew Kong Knight

Director of Publications
Julie McLean

Director of Administration
Sharon Slahucka

"I paint; therefore, I am."

"Not now! I'm right in the middle of a great magazine."

"Let's see... one plus one is two, two plus two is ..."-


" Jon Bednerik was a real "people person'. Bednerik had a lot of imagination... Events and creativity were the best. "
Ron Wagner


" Jon came to WAEL from the Independent Banker's Association after search committee interviewed more than 20 candidates and reviewed more than 100 resumes. Jon's strengths were his written communications and publications. If you remember the Newsline prior to Jon's tenure it was of much lower quality. Jon received a crash course in financial management during his first year at WAEL. To say we had some tough finance meetings before the BOD met is a gross understatement. The Executive Committee at the time; Ben Millerbis-Past President, Jim Possehl-President, Ron Wagner-VP and Bill Grohe-Sec-Tres held weekly conference calls and held Jon's hand as much as possible. Our Spring Conference at the Camelback was a success, but not without some significant good fortune. The Fall Seattle Conference was also successful but the chaos behind the scenes was serious hand wrenching. We were very fortunate to have hired excellent staff and the year was a positive one for WAEL but required four or five times the time and effort by the executive committee and a load of good luck."

Jim Possehl

Western Association of Equipment Leasing ( WAEL )


          Part III


    On Dr. Ray William's watch:  WAEL becomes UAEL

 Part I| Part II | Part III |  Part IV


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