2020-2022 APRO Vendor Advisory Committee Nominees Are Announced
We are proud to announce the nominations for the 2020-2022 APRO Vendor Advisory Committee. VAC members serve a critical function in representing suppliers within the association framework. The committee helps with many of the specifics of APRO’s annual events while providing an essential 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.
John Blair, Vice President of Sales for PTS Financial and Benefit Services, has been serving and supporting the industry for 30 years and has also served on the APRO Vendor Committee for several years.
John began his career in the RTO Industry as Executive Director of the TRIB Group from 1985 – 1999. He joined PTS Financial and Benefit Services based out of Calhoun, Georgia, more than 25 years ago and is their current Vice President of Sales.
He has also served on several RTO state association boards and was awarded the Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award in 2009. This year, TRIB renamed their TRIB Group Hall of Honor, to the John D. Blair Hall of Honor at their Meeting of the Minds in Atlanta, Georgia.
John is a United States Marine Corps veteran and served in the Vietnam War 1967-1968 during the Siege of Khe Sanh and Tet Offensive in 1968, in which he was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
Blair certainly understands this industry and the importance of serving as your representative on the APRO Vendor Committee. He is constantly suggesting new ideas to help provide additional exposure with the RTO Dealers during APRO conventions and functions. John Blair is also willing to listen to vendors on ways to improve communications and continued support with dealers.
Keven Dalke has been part of the rent-to-own industry since 1988 where his career with Rent-A-Center began. In July of 2019, Nationwide Marketing Group announced that Keven Dalke had been named the Director of Nationwide RentDirect.
Dalke most recently served as Director of Operations for Rent-A-Center Franchising, Inc., where he supported franchise operations for Rent-A-Center, ColorTyme and RimTyme franchisees across the country. He also spent 10 years as a regional director for both Rent-A-Center and Acceptance Now.
With almost 30 years of experience in the rent-to-own field, Keven brings incredible insight into RTO operations and the industry’s multiple business lines.
Bill French has shown great passion and leadership within the rent-to-own division of O’Rourke Sales Company for more than 12 years. Well known among the RTO industry, Bill is a strong supporter of APRO with participation in many of the state RTO organizations, as well as the annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
His active support and dedication to the rental industry has garnered him many honors over the years, including the Lowry Shrader People’s Choice Award, TRIB Vendor of the Year and the Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award. Additionally, he has been bestowed with numerous awards from individual dealerships.
Prior to joining the O’Rourke Sales Company team, Bill was a Regional Vice President at LG Electronics/Zenith. He was responsible for all sales activities within the 17 states encompassing the southeast region. His 16-year tenure with LG/Zenith provided him with many opportunities to learn and grow within the consumer electronics industry.
Bill started his consumer electronics and major appliance career in 1971 with the Frank Lyon Company, selling Whirlpool appliances and RCA televisions. In 1978, he moved into management and spent the next seven years managing distributors in Kansas City, Dallas, and Houston.
Bill states, “This business gets into your blood and for me has become a passion. My priorities are the good Lord, my family, my profession and golf.”
O’Rourke Sales Company is a national wholesale distributor with over 40 years of distribution successes in consumer electronics, white goods, high-end appliances, computers, and smartphones. With ten strategically placed warehousing facilities across the nation, O’Rourke Sales Company is poised for continued growth within the industry.
Michael Helton is a tax shareholder at Rivero, Gordimer & Company, P.A. and has been with the firm since 1999. Helton’s areas of concentration include tax preparation, planning and consultation for individuals, businesses, estates and trusts, business owner succession planning, and other tax-related topics. He has over 15 years of experience with clients in the rent-to-own business.
Helton is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a member of the Tampa Bay Estate Planning Council, a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning by the National Institute for Excellence in Professional Education, LLC and is also a past board member of Tampa Connection, a non-profit leadership development organization. Currently, he serves on the vendor advisory board at APRO.
Mike graduated from Shawnee State University in Ohio in 1995. During his time, he was a member of the men’s basketball team and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Helton obtained his CPA license in Kentucky shortly thereafter. Mike currently resides in Tampa, Florida with his wife and four kids.
James MacAlpine began his career in RTO in 1985 with Rent-A-Center, during which, he managed stores and markets in Texas, Louisiana, and New York. After leaving Rent-A-Center in 1999, he partnered with a small RTO business and helped grow the company from three locations to 27 before selling to Aaron’s.
In 2005, he was tapped to start a new RTO industry buying group by Nationwide Marketing Group, an opportunity which eventually led him to oversee the organization’s RTO and retail membership. In 2018, MacAlpine joined Aon Benefit Marketing Solutions as Senior Vice President of Business Development.
James has held Board positions with multiple RTO state associations and RTO companies and has been a member or associate member of APRO for more than 20 years. In 2012 he was honored with the Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award. James lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife of 36 years.
For over three decades, Marty has served and observed the rent-to-own industry in varied capacities. This experience provides him with an insightful perspective on what drives the RTO industry from an operations perspective and from the vendor perspective. Marty had the privilege of serving on the TRIB vendor relations board and as a member of the APRO public relations committee.
Smith began his service to the industry as a sales representative for Pioneer Electronics. Through his presentation of high-value electronics to the rent-to-own industry, he was introduced to Rent One of Mt. Vernon, Illinois.
From 1992 to 1999, he held the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Rent One. Smith later transitioned to managing partner at Imagery Marketing Group of St Louis, Missouri. Marty currently holds the position of Vice President of Sales for Noctova RTO Sleep Solutions of St Louis, Missouri. In 2013 he was inducted to the TRIB Vendor Hall of Fame and in 2017 was honored with the Norm Smith Vendor of the Year Award. Marty currently serves on the APRO vendor advisory committee.
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.