Add me to mailing list    |           |      Search

Top 25 Most Influential People Leasing Industry-Final
by Christopher Menkin, Publisher

May 18th Leasing News announced "Looking for nominations for the Top 25 most influential people in the leasing business that are still alive. They may be retired or still active.

"Would like a nomination and one or two sentences as the reasons you consider this person one of the top 25.

"'Influential' as 'a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events' {Online Dictionary}."

When a nomination was submitted that didn't seem to fit the caliber of those on the list, the editor decided not to include them.

When the nominations were originally accepted, the descriptions were printed as originally received. Several were up-dated by readers.

In both editing the descriptions, trying to make them shorter, correcting syntax, grammar, and pairing down the list over several days, off and on, as the list was over 50, I began to realize something---then it jumped right in my face: There were two groups here.

My view found Industry Contributions and Transactions. The list then was downsized to the top 25 Most Influential in each category:

Industry Contribution

There are the top 25 influential people who had an impact upon industry policies, government relations, education, practices, standards, ethics and approaches, as submitted by the readers of Leasing News. They are recognized for their mentoring, educating, providing leadership and setting an example for others to follow; making contributions to the industry in this form of major influence.


Jim Adler-Jim created a lease document that was the most widely used in the industry while at Colonial Pacific Leasing Corporation. All lenders accepted it and many lessors made it their standard document. Jim being available to explain the document and how to use it to my advantage in marketing and enforcement. Though this is a marketing driven industry without an ironclad document; none of us would be successful.

Sudhir P. Amembal-Respected worldwide, author, lecturer, leader of international conferences and to name the leasing companies he has served as a consultant would fill up this page. He has been partners in several leasing ventures and services, as well as current co-publisher of As a publisher and author he has published 12 and co-authored 14 books on leasing including the international bestseller, The Handbook of Equipment Leasing. A keynote speaker not only to international and US conferences, but sought after by all US leasing associations. His greatest gift: education. One of his best assets: His sense of humor.

Joe Bonnano, CLP --- He and Barry Marks should be credited with the great help they gave in the formation and beginning of the National Association of Equipment Brokers. In 1998, Barry left from alternating as the Legal Counsel for the association. Joe has not only contributed much here, but also to members and non-members with legal questions and dilemma's, and brought the progress of education, ethics, and good will, including serving on the CLP Foundation board for many years. A major influence in the leasing industry, always available to answer questions, seemingly day and night.


Bernie Boettigheimer- - CLP-Active in the education of the leasing industry, upon his retirement developed software, a program to protect lessors from vendor fraud as well as providing information inexpensively on vendor, lessee, and suspect behavior, and at this point, basically a financial contribution to the leasing industry.

Dennis Brown, CAE--Since 1993 he has represented the leasing industry interests to the 50 state governments, traveling the country, promoting legislation and also opposing legislation, representing not only the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, for whom he works, but the entire finance industry. He is the only person representing the industry before the state legislatures, state elected officials, and other state entities. He has also been instrumental in the Streamline Sales Tax committee. An U.S. Army sergeant, he brings this personality to job of getting things done.

Clark Covert- Original developer of the small-ticket, vendor leasing program & platform for the PC market. He designed and built Dell's vendor program in 1988, then later introduced the model to CompUSA, Staples, NEC, Micron, Gateway and others. He built proprietary workflow systems and automated documentation systems in the early 1990's, which produced faxed contracts and 2 hour turn-around times from application to equipment release. He introduced today's major PC funding sources to the idea of funding this equipment, and coached them on the importance of this market.

John C. Deane---Founder of The Alta Group, the major independent "think tank" to the leasing industry, with principals and associates all over the world; past president of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, active in it as well as the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation. He has served as the CFO and president of several major financial corporations. Highly respected and his opinion carries much weight in the industry world wide.

Michael J. Fleming-- 27 year growing and serving the members of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association and Foundation. A significant number of events, publications and training courses were launched, as well as media coverage, legislative activity in Washington and the fifty states, growing a professional 25 staff, the only association today not using a management firm. A visionary, Mr. Fleming, affected the direction of leasing for everyone in the industry.

Shawn Halladay ---He has influenced our industry quietly from an academic and educational angle. He has authored or co-authored eight books on equipment leasing, including "A Guide to Equipment Leasing," "An Introduction to Leasing" and "The Handbook of Equipment Leasing." He is a prolific author and lecturer, considered an authority on lease accounting as well as both the intellectual and practical aspects of the world wide leasing industry.

Ken Greene, Esq. Key attorney for Leasing News. From potential lawsuits regarding Bulletin Board Complaints, lawsuits, "bully" letters, 1st amendment issues, competitive practice, Mr. Greene has protected Leasing News without a financial charge or complaint about his time for nine years.

Bruce Kropschot-created the channel by which leasing companies could sell to each other. Influential, yes, his focus on the leasing marketplace allowed him to obtain specialized knowledge on how to evaluate a leasing company, which continues today

John Kruse, System 1/Capital Stream, instrumental in the first low cost software for brokers and small lessors to keep track of leases, contact management, as well as automatically type contracts of many leasing companies, unheard of in its day and quite inexpensive. Developed private label programs for the one person office to compete with much larger operations. He is also known for introducing the automated front end system to the small brokerage industry.

Paul A. Larkins-Leasing News chose him as the person who has done the most for the entire equipment leasing industry in 2006. Throughout his career he has promoted education and opportunity, volunteering for many assignments in his community, in the industry, expanding his company overseas. His influence in the leasing industry, in leasing associations, and continued effort for more education is certainly now missed.

Elaine Litwer- She dedicated herself to improving the leasing industry. She fought tirelessly to abolish lessor vicarious liability in New York State. She was involved in the auto industry from almost every aspect, being a lessor, a sales rep, working in the offices at GM, lobbying in Albany. She was involved in the National Leasing Vehicle Association at the state and national levels. She always was there to answer other lessor's questions.


Lisa A, Levine, CAE--Executive Director of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, who has continually attracted an active board of trustees, as well as conducting and commissioning " credible, unbiased future-focused research about the equipment lease financing industry. To date, the Foundation has funded more than $1.6 million in research grants." The Journal of Equipment Lease Financing, published three times a year.

Barry Marks--He was the original National Association of Equipment Leasing Broker's attorney and a very forward thinking, bright attorney, practical businessman. He helped the organization grow along with Joe Bonanno, CLP, and many excellent volunteers. I serve on the NAELB Board and his advice and counsel helped us move forward each year. He is one of only three people to earn the Bill Granieri award.

Jim Merrilees,, CLP, first to develop a "wide area network" BLISS before the days of the internet. Steered the Pegasus dealer program, and under his watch a computer credit scoring profile for both vendor and broker business in a highly quick process. The internet version of BLISS, BLISSnet, was created long after Jim had left the company. Where I see Jim's "influence" is through his contribution to the issues found in the industry.

Paul Menzel, CLP- Highest of ethics, good clean portfolios, quality leader. He has been active in two leasing associations himself, also supporting others, giving his time to the industry for many years. Paul is a leader who believes in "do as I do, not as I say". He has set a great example for all his years in the industry. (He also is the First Leasing News Person of the Year: editor)

Deborah Monosson--- A role model for women in leasing, active on the board at the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation, first female president of the Commercial Finance Association, serving on many committees, very active and outspoken.

Gerald F. Parrotto --- owner, publisher and executive editor of Xander Media Group, Inc., which publishes the Monitor and ABF Journal, as well as the Monitor On Line, an internet trade publication for the finance and leasing industry. Creator of the Monitor 100, a financial industry standard, annual analysis of the financial industry. The publications under his direction have a long time readership and are highly respected for their articles, insight, and news. He is also owner of Malloy Associates, Inc. "regarded as a premier executive search firm serving the Equipment Leasing Industry nationwide."

Ralph Petta --- On the staff of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association since 1987, his title puts him in charge of research and industry services. He not only oversees all industry reference but many of the surveys, including MLFI-25, salary, but all key accounting and financial reporting, as well as serving as staff liaison to many of the key committees. His work throughout the years at ELFA has had a profound affect to the entire finance and leasing industry.

Robert Teichman, CLP --Bob has probably instructed more currently influential people in the equipment leasing industry than any other individual. He has given and participated in an incalculable number of seminars and workshops. Since the inception of the CLP program which he was instrumental in developing, he has been a primary instructor of classes for those preparing to take the CLP exam. These accomplishments and many more were recognized at the 2009 NAELB Annual Meeting where he received a commemorative trophy recognizing him as the "Leasing News" Equipment Leasing Person of the Year. I cannot imagine anyone who has had a greater positive influence on the industry by raising the educational bar and thus raising the performance level of the entire industry. He should be at the top of your list.

Mr. Terry Winders, CLP---He writes the column Leasing #102 every week since 2006, which I never miss for the information that it provides, always topical. The column states he has been a teacher, consultant, expert witness for the leasing industry for thirty years. He has given seminars for the Equipment Finance and Leasing Association for years, as well as other groups, including the Certified Leasing Professional Foundation. I could not find a biography, but he definitely has been an influence on keeping my staff abreast on leasing and financing in's and outs and how it affects my company.


Leasing News Top 25 Most Influential Persons---Transaction

Equally important to advancing the industry and the interest of those in it, are those savvy practitioners that have accumulated a lifelong transaction resume that spanned many industries, structures, and resources. Leasing News gave special consideration to those whose talents bridged many segments and company affiliations larger and smaller. These persons, in designing and completing large transactions of size, or small transactions in volume, repeatedly over many years came to change the course of industry events and are widely recognized as the industry's multi-talented practitioners: The Top 25 Most Influential, according to Leasing News readers.


A.J. Batt-- Formerly the CEO & Chairman of ATEL. Batt started in the industry in 1977 and worked his way up from being a small shop in San Francisco selling off deals to banks such as BofA, to running a 150 person operation using public income funds to invest in Operating Leases for Large Ticket transactions. He wrote the first "Leasing Software" called LEAH II in the early 80's. Originally a NASA engineer Batt knew numbers… and had a reputation of using the numbers to make leases work.

Stephen C. Bieneman- Currently President and Chairman of Compass Capital Corporation. Over his 35 years in business, Bieneman financed over $5 billion of equipment and managed all integral parts of an equipment leasing organization. Prior to founding Compass in 1991, Bieneman was founder, President and Chairman of Pegasus Capital Corporation from 1988 to 1990. During that time, Pegasus became a leading operating lessor of commercial aircraft, financing over 60 commercial jet transports with a combined value in excess of $1 billion.

John P. Colton-- Colton was the right hand man to Paul Gass as together they built Eaton Financial. His role was to attract discounters and brokers, becoming active in the industry, serving as president of the American Association of Equipment Lessors, as well as being active in other leasing associations. After Eaton was sold, Colton rejoined Paul Gass at BankVest Capital and retired in 2000.


Al Gamper, Jr..-Formerly CIT Chairman and CEO Gamper led the company through two tumultuous periods connected with Tyco. Gamper originally joined Manufacturers Hanover, working his way up to the top, expanding the company overseas, building the company to $50 billion in assets before his retirement in 2004. His last stock raising tour was reputed to be a triumph. A leader in commercial finance who in his watch may have been a beneficial influence on the entire banking and financial industry.

Paul Gass-- Gass' company, Eaton Financial, was purchased by AT&T Capital for $70 million in 1989, possibly making Gass the richest man in leasing at the time. After he sold Eaton to AT&T he became the largest individual shareholder in AT&T and was a substantial underwriter of the American Association of Equipment Lessors lease education foundation. He paired up with Greg Smith to form BankVest securitizing $30 million per month small ticket machine. (See also "John P. Colton".)

J. Stephen (Steve) Gagne-- Gagne's copier leasing company, VMS Leasing (which later became part of Dana Corporation) impacted the captive lessor market place with outsourcing from Apple, AST, Compaq, IBM, Kaypro, NEC, Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Merisel as well as MicroAge, ComputerLand, expanding to Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France. Gagne sold out to Heller Financial in late 1998 for nearly three times book value. At Heller, Gagne served as President of Global Vendor Finance until his retirement in January 2000.

Harvey Granat- Granat founded and was CEO of Granite Equipment Leasing Corp., one of the first American Stock Exchange listed leasing companies. He also was president and CEO of Sussex Leasing Corp., Sterling/Carl Marks Capital, Inc., and Past President of The American Association of Equipment Lessors. He is a frequent lecturer and contributor of articles related to financial services, and has participated at the White House Conference on Small Business.

Stephen R. Harwood-- Former president of CIS Equipment Leasing, Harwood founded Cypress Leasing in San Francisco in 1985. In addition to operating leases, the company is a leader in purchasing existing equipment, re-leasing or providing sale/leasebacks, managing investment programs and their own lines of credit. Cypress is one of the few income fund companies to enjoy a long term track record of success while focusing on select, large ticket transactions, and at almost 25 years old Cypress is not the largest but may be the best run of the income fund companies.

Curt Lysne-Lysne was formerly head of both GE Capital and Colonial Pacific's credit department and their chief sales officer. In both capacities Lysne managed (directly or indirectly) relationships with over 400 brokers. In these roles he has a reputation of always maintaining the highest levels of professional standards and ethics. Some say he exemplifies what a leader in this industry should possess and as such acts as a great role model to others. Lysne has served on many of the industry associations and is always willing to contribute to forums and round tables.

John McCue-McCue, founder of McCue Systems (now part of NetSol International), was a leader in the development of financial software for leasing. He developed software to run on many computer systems with other software interfaces, and hence became a leader in software technology and industrial forums. McCue was once active in several associations on committees and boards, and is now retired.

Dan Michalek -- Michalek was the founder of Connor Capital Corporation (which was sold to Linc Capital, Inc.) and later founded Paynet, where he was the first chairman whose payment history reports have become the standard for larger lessors in the commercial leasing industry. Paynet is sponsored both by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association and Experian, as well as "partnering" with InfoCentricity.

Jim Merrilees-Merrilees, now with QuikTrak, was first to develop a "wide area network" BLISS before the days of the internet. Steered the Pegasus dealer program, and under his watch a computer credit scoring profile for both vendor and broker business in a highly quick process. The internet version of BLISS, BLISSnet, was created long after Jim had left the company. Jim's "influence" is through his contribution to solving myriad issues found in the industry.

Alan J. Mogol, Attorney -Mogol, over the last 25+ years, created a large volume of the middle market lease documentation currently used by the majority of the larger bank and finance companies in the industry; including standard forms of lease documentation as well as industry standard syndication, assignment, notice of assignment, participation and motor vehicle titling trust documents. Much of what Mogol has created is considered de facto industry standard in the bank middle market space. He is a frequent lecturer and author in the equipment financing area.

Ned Mundell-- Mundell was chairman and CEO of U.S. Leasing International from the 1970s until just after the company was sold to Ford Motor Company in 1987. During that period of time, he led US Leasing to a position of being the largest independent leasing company (NYSE public company) in the United States, and amongst the largest in the world. He brought the company to international markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, forging banking and finance partnerships with some of the largest companies in the world. He sold the company for $68 a share in 1987, far exceeding the company's equity value in the markets at the time.

David Murray-- Murray co-founded Direct Capital/Preferred Lease, f the first telemarketing company based on computer program information, copied by many today. The company hired college students and young executives to follow a script, and then sold the originated leases off in groups to funders. He also used the TransLeasing model for using a leasing credit card. He was innovative in that he sent everyone a "pre-approved" card in a mass marketing campaign. Murray's marketing techniques are still being utilized by many companies today.

Walter Rabin-Rabin created a platform that went from start-up to over $1.4B in 10 years. His company, All Points Capital, is a major funding source for the broker community, especially in the Northeast, today it is a Capital One Bank company.

Jim Renner-- Head of Wells Fargo's leasing and equipment finance business for over 13 years, Renner led the growth of the portfolio during his tenure from $530 million to $7.5 billion. When he retired in 2005 there were 40 locations and 375 employees nationwide who make up Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc. (WFEFI) in the U.S. and Canada. He was active in many committees, past chairman of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association as well as trustee and chairman of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation. Gary Shivers-- Co-founder and former president of Marlin Leasing and current President of Navitas. Shivers helped Marlin go public and it remains are one of the few micro-ticket leasing companies that has done so.

Rick Remiker---Outspoken, active, highly respected. He was president and COO, Commercial Leasing at Key Equipment Finance, managing director and group head of the equipment finance group at Merrill Lynch, and now Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer of RBS Asset Finance, Inc. Your news publication has quoted him often, and noted his involvement in the industry. He speaks up and your readers listen. I know I do.

Gary Shivers--Co-founder and former president of Marlin Leasing and current President of Navitas. He helped Marlin go public and they are one of the few micro-ticket leasing companies that has done so. As a former employee at Marlin, I know that people valued him as a true sales champion and he is clearly missed there currently! I followed him to Navitas when Marlin's Chicago office closed and was pleasantly surprised that I was not the first (or likely the last) ex-Marlin employee to make this switch which should be a great testament to Gary.

Saul P. Steinberg-- Steinberg began leasing IBM Computers, forming Leasco, purchasing Reliance Insurance in 1968. For the next 30 years Steinberg used Reliance, and its steady cash flows, to finance numerous acquisitions and became a major figure in finance beyond equipment leasing.

Robert W. Stubbs-- Founder of Tricontinental Leasing in St. Louis, Stubbs relocated to Paramus, NJ when it was purchased by Yegen Assoc. The company was later bought by Bell Atlantic. Stubbs then bought back the TriCon leasing division and then sold it to Bell Atlantic as AT&T was breaking up in the early 80s. Stubbs was Chairman of Equipment Leasing and Finance Association prior to retiring.

Ron Wagner-Wagner is a long time veteran in the leasing industry, active in several leasing associations, 1990 WAEL President, and had an illustrious career, reputed to conduct leadership and high ethics by example. The Pentech Financial Navigator Program was run by Wagner who put together the team that successfully funded over $300 Million in small ticket leases, many already turned down by US Bank Manifest.

Paul B. Weiss-- Weiss began his career in portfolio acquisitions and became among the best known buyers of capital equipment portfolios beginning in the late 1980s. As bank credit for large acquisitions became tight in the 1990s Weiss worked on innovative financing structures including finding new ways to structure transactions that had considerable residual value upside. In partnership with Beau Clarke, Weiss acquired ICON Capital in 1996 and introduced the first sizable portfolio acquisition strategy to a public fundraising vehicle. ICON, the floundering, became one of the largest independently owned leasing companies; the largest public leasing program sponsor in that industry's history, changing the way that industry operating and causing many imitators who were unable to match ICON's dramatic success. He sold out in 2006 and today is Chairman of a San Francisco investment banking and advisory firm.

David Wiener-- Wiener structured and executed over 700 transactions totaling $2.3 billion. He has created full capital markets deal placement capabilities for 3 separate to 10 vendor finance organizations. In 1981 when the Economic Tax Recovery Act was enacted, Wiener engineered 47 tax benefit transfer leases - purportedly the most executed in the U.S. His transaction resume includes an aggregate of $195 million of financing for California's Bay Area Rapid Transit System and the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority.