The APRO Vendor Advisory Committee serves a critical function in addressing APRO suppliers’ needs and issues. The committee sets the direction and helps with many of the specifics of RTO World while providing an important link between vendors and dealers.
Vendor Advisory Committee members serve two-year terms, and one-half of the committee is elected or re-elected by the membership vote each year. During the APRO Annual Vendor Advisory Committee Election at this year’s RTO World, an important part of trade association business is conducted in the election of seven positions.
This year’s nominees are:
Al Benson, Central File Marketing Vice President of Sales, has always been an avid supporter of the rent-to-own industry. Benson started his career in RTO in 1981 as a partner in a ColorTyme franchise. Shortly after that, he went to work for ColorTyme corporate, where he remained until 1989. Benson left RTO to pursue his passion in the golfing industry, where he opened and operated three golf stores in Milwaukee. In 1999, he joined his former ColorTyme franchisee partner, who had started his own company, Milwaukee-based Central File Marketing. Benson has served on the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee since 2006 and has received the APRO 2015 Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award.
“It has been an honor to serve on the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee, and I hope to continue to serve and support the RTO Industry,” shares Benson. “From the Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. to attending as many regional RTO meetings as possible, I believe we all strive for the same purpose, and that is to not only provide for our families but to serve our communities and our customers’ wellbeing and quality of life.”
Donna DiTrani, Account Executive of High Touch Technologies, has been working in the RTO client division for more than 15 years and brings more than 25 years of customer service to the industry. She is the primary contact for sales and account management and serves more than 130 clients. Before joining High Touch, DiTrani spent seven years in the aircraft industry in Wichita, Kansas, and several years as a professional bowler. She received Gold and Silver medals representing the USA in the World Bowling Championships and was inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the long-term relationships I’ve fostered over the years at High Touch and will most likely keep these relationships into my retirement years!” says DiTrani.
Rob Feliciano, Gemini Sound Director of RTO Sales, brings 18 years of consumer electronics experience in B2C and B2B environments in the RTO industry. In his career as a passionate salesman, Feliciano has achieved a well-rounded blend of experience rooted from wholesale, retail and manufacturing aspects of the rent-to-own business. In his present role at Gemini Sound, he has seen exponential growth every year since joining the company in 2016 and was recognized with TRIB Group’s 2017 Soaring Eagle. Feliciano grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in Bergen County, New Jersey, with his wife Maria of 13 years and their three children: Giuliana, ten years old; Luca & Antonia, twins, five years old; and nephew, Nicholas, 12 years old.
Gary Jones, Vice President of Sales for Ashley Furniture Industries, has been involved in the rent-to-own industry for 24 years, having spent the past 18 years at Ashley and, before that, as a director of merchandising for an 86-store RTO chain. At Ashley, he handles one group of clients exclusively: rent-to-own dealers. He attends all of the major RTO industry trade shows and is an avid believer in APRO and its efforts to protect and enhance the business. Jones has served on the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee since 2007 and was recognized with the 2014 APRO Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award. He and his wife, Tami, have three grown children: Daniel, Anna and Ben, along with a chocolate lab, Sadie.
Kelly McClellan, L2 Corporation Director of Specialty Channel Sales, brings more than 17 years of experience in the RTO Industry. McClellan was introduced to RTO in 2003 working for BDI Laguna, now known as Archbrook Laguna. During his time at Laguna, he gained knowledge about the industry and developed a passion that led him to evolve in his career. Since then, he has had the opportunity to work with several RTO vendors and has remained loyal to industry. McClellan is a well-respected associate member with a solid reputation for customer service, honesty, and assisting with a smile. He is a two-time Rent One Vendor of the Year recipient and has also been recognized as TRIB Group Vendor of the Year. He has served on the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee since 2015. “I have enjoyed my time on the committee and hope to serve for APRO again for another term,” says McClellan.
McClellan and his wife, Lulu, have two children: Marley, 13 years old; and Jack, 11 years old. When he isn’t working, McClellan enjoys spending time with his family, golf and following his beloved Tennessee Volunteers no matter the sport or season.
Greg Skinner, Leopard Mobility Chief Operating Officer, started in the RTO industry in 1994 as an Account Manager with Talley Leasing in Dallas, Texas. Skinner gained a solid foundation working for industry veterans Ernie Talley and Mike Talley that gave him an understanding of the RTO business that would be drawn on for years to come. Before joining Leopard Mobility, he worked as a Rentway Store Manager, District Manager, and Regional Market Manager over the span of nine years. From 2001 to 2008, Skinner was owner and operator of M.S. Computer Leasing before joining Leopard as Director of Inventory Management at Flexi Compras.
“I would love to serve APRO in the capacity of the Vendor Advisory Committee and understand the importance of the relationships formed,” says Skinner.
Skinner lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Lynn, and their two dogs. He is an avid golfer and fan of the Cowboys, Mavericks, and Rangers. He and wife have two children in college and one that graduated from college last year: Kourtney, 26 years old; Kara, 24 years old; and Jeremy, 22 years old.
Lauren Talicska, wowbrands Director of RTO Client Services, has been creating and executing marketing plans for RTO dealers for over a decade and has been an advocate for the industry for just as long. Talicska’s love affair with RTO began as Vice President of Marketing at Advertising Made Easy, where she was directly involved in the creation and launch of custom RTO marketing programs and was later a marketing liaison for RentDirect Nationwide. In her current role of Director of RTO Client Services at wowbrands, she guides her clients to digital success through lead generation and management, complete website solutions, and comprehensive digital marketing plans. Talicska lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, Matthew, her two sons, C.J. and Miles, and their big lovable dog, Otto.
The Vendor Advisory Committee meets two times a year—once at the conclusion of the convention, and again at the APRO fall board meeting. All committee members participate voluntarily and assume responsibility for their expenses for travel and accommodations.