September 8, 2004
From our archives:
Whatever Happened to......Cindy Spurdle?
Lease Executive. Executive Director. A very popular lady.
We had to let the "cat out of the bag" when the United Association of Equipment Leasing Association Orlando, Florida conference began. This wonder woman, who was very instrumental in the formation of the National Association of Equipment Lease Brokers is now:
Executive Director - CLP Foundation
She is also a part- time staff member at various equipment leasing association conferences to assist with conference set-up and registration.
On May 9, 2000, I received this e-mail:
It was great to meet you finally. Thank you for arranging to get the AOL Disks to hand out. That was a great idea. I would like to also make sure that the two page handout you provided about free access to the internet so every one could have an Email address is provided to all of our members.
Unfortunately, I won't be involved much longer. The Board voted to turn the management of the Association over completely to the Prime Management Services. They have eliminated my position altogether. I'm sure they will be notifying all the members of their decision.
Best of luck to you in the future and I know that it would surely be a benefit to the association and especially its brokers' members to have you actively involved as we discussed.
My start in equipment leasing came in October 1982 when I joined The Wrigley Group Ltd., a family owned leasing company started by my father after he took early retirement from Girard Bank in Philadelphia, PA. My Dad had started and managed their leasing division for over 10 years.
At the time I joined my dad, I was traveling full time for ARAMARK (formerly ARA Food Services) supervising a team of individuals who trained local ARA management how to maximize profits and minimize labor costs through a newly designed computerized menu system/food production program. I had been with ARA since graduating from college in 1969 as an Assistant Director, then Director of Food Services for several colleges and universities until 1977. I then accepted a position as an operations auditor for one year before becoming a trainer for the new systems and traveling from coast to coast. I revamped the menus and production programs of schools, colleges, hospitals and industrial sites. My most exciting trip was to Boeing in Seattle, where shaving just one cent off the cost of the menus saved millions of dollars.
The world of leasing and finance was new to me. I learned the ropes hands on from my Dad and by reading Sudhir Amembal's book, " The Handbook of Equipment Leasing." It became my encyclopedia!
In addition to brokering transactions brought to us by local corporations, we consulted with banks and provided them with back of the house lease capabilities. Early in 1983, we started a new equipment leasing limited partnership with a local corporation to lease equipment manufactured by their diverse subsidiaries nationwide. Our company, in its role as general partner, both managed the portfolio and invested in the leases.
In 1988 my father was ready to "really" retire, my husband Bob, who had been a consultant and traveled as much as I had, and I bought him out and continued to grow the company.
By 1989 we had added four more manufacturing subsidiaries to our original limited partnership and continued to manage the portfolios in-house. Our staff had expanded to a total of three and a half. We continued to build and expand our bank and vendor relationships, including two more limited partnerships and added municipal leasing to our services with the assistance of a municipal leasing "guru", Bill Bachman.
Because of our close relationship with the vendors in our limited partnerships, we became very familiar with their product and helped them design programs to market the lease to their customers. We designed it to specifically meet the needs of their customers and as many brokers do, we participated in many of their industry shows.
The products we represented were as diverse as large vacuum trucks to clean up oil spills or utility plants; airport & malls kiosks; ultrasonic bonding equipment to make body bags; injection blow molding equipment and pay telephones provided us with fascinating marketing and financial challenges.
An exciting part of being a leasing broker is not only building new relationships (This is truly a relationship business!) but also learning all about the many diverse products manufactured and sold in our country today. You are constantly learning about a new widget you had never heard about before but without that particular widget an industry would be in dire straights. This potpourri of products, marketing and financial challenges was intoxicating and kept us going for 16 years!
In 1990 I was working on a transaction with a broker in Albany, NY, Gerry Oestreich, who later became President of the NAELB. He told me about a brand new association called the NAELB just getting underway in Atlanta. I was so excited to hear about this new group and also to hear that their dues were affordable for our small company, that I flew down for their second meeting that same weekend. My company signed up and became one of the Charter members in 1991. The networking with other brokers and funders and education we received from the NAELB helped us to grow and expand our business.
Shortly after joining the association, I was asked by Tom Madonna, at the time president of Omni Leasing, and who was on the NAELB Board, to help solicit leasing brokers to join and attend the meetings. In 1994, Tom's term on the Board was up and I was elected to replace him. In 1995, I assumed responsibility for our Annual Conference in Washington, DC. With my background in food management, the meeting planning was a natural fit. I had the best of both worlds, being able to combine my two careers! From 1996 to 1998 I served as Secretary of the Board of Directors.
In 1998, the NAELB decided it was ready to hire its first full time employee. The timing was right for me to consider applying for the new full time position. So I assumed the position as the first Executive Director of the NAELB in 1998 and took over the management of the entire association, except the books, and all of the conferences and meetings for two years.
Then in April 2000, the NAELB made the decision to contract with an outside association management company to run the association. Which brings me to my two new positions today. I was also approached by one of our former vendors who has asked that we work with their sales force once again to provide leasing to their customers.
I have met a lot of people over the past eighteen years in this industry and I want to thank all of them for their support, guidance and most of all their friendship. I look forward to continuing to serve the equipment leasing industry in my new capacities.
This industry has indeed been very good to me.
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