An email with access to an online ballot for the 2020-2022 APRO Board of Directors and information on additional voting methods was sent Monday, August 3. If you have not received the email, be sure to check your junk mail to participate. Ballots are due no later than Friday, August 26.
The APRO Nominating Committee is pleased to present the slate of candidates for the 2020-2022 APRO Board of Directors.
Trent Agin is the President of St. Louis-based Rent One. Rent One operates more than 100 locations in eight states. Beginning his career with Rent One over 30 years ago, Trent has been a part of the company’s growth and development on its journey from five stores. Trent has held positions in various state associations, served on committees with the TRIB Group, and currently serves on the Executive Committee for the APRO board of directors. Trent fosters an environment of growth and learning in the company’s culture as well as a progressive approach to innovative ideas and opportunities.
Mark Connelly served our country as a Marine Corps officer and then began his career in RTO in September 1989. He started as a manager trainee — “another name for an account manager, which made you feel important,” Connelly says — with Remco in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Remco was the first monthly business model developed by RTO pioneer Chuck Sims. Connelly worked his way up to become Remco’s regional manager in the Cincinnati/Louisville/Indianapolis area, then a divisional manager in the Chicago/Milwaukee area.
He left Remco in 1994 and became Vice President of Operations for a 14-store ColorTyme franchise, Trans Texas Capital, based in Austin, Texas. Renters Choice bought Trans Texas Capital in 1995, then bought Rent-A-Center in 1998.
Connelly was a Regional Vice President for Renters Choice/Rent-A-Center in the Cincinnati area, then was promoted to Senior Vice President working in Dallas. As a Senior Vice President at Rent-A-Center, Connelly was responsible for more than 300 stores, first in the Midwest then in the Northeast. Connelly left Rent-A-Center in 2003 and joined forces with Tom Bernau, who owned a six-store Aaron’s franchise, Arona Corp., based in Des Moines, Iowa. Arona Corp. is now the largest Aaron’s franchise with 53 locations in seven states: Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Missouri.
Connelly was elected to the APRO board in 2013 and proudly served as your APRO President in 2016-2017. He has also served as Vice President of the Iowa Rental Dealers Association; has served on the board for both the Florida Rental Dealers Association and the Missouri Rental Dealers Association; and has attended many APRO Legislative Conferences in Washington, D.C. Because of his experience in the rent-to-own industry — ranging from a small six-store chain to the largest chains in the RTO industry, Rent-A-Center and Aaron’s — Connelly feels he can relate to all APRO members who need to be served.
In 1981, Full-O-Pep opened its first rental store in Bloomington, Indiana. Today, the American Rental family is 54 stores strong with 300 employees. David P. David, American Rental/Full-O-Pep Appliances’ President, has been with the company for 39 years.
An APRO board member for 31 years, David has served as the APRO President, APRO Past President, secretary, treasurer, chairman of the education committee and a member of the APRO government relations, ethics, public relations and communications committees. He is currently the chairman for the APRO membership committee and a board liaison to the Vendor Advisory Committee. David has been very active in securing legislative protection for the industry at the state and federal levels.
He served as President of the Indiana Rental Dealers Association and Trade Show for 12 years. In 1991, he received the APRO State Association of the Year award, was named APRO Rental Dealer of the Year in 2000, and in 2009, was the recipient of the APRO President’s Award of Excellence. In 2019, David was presented with the Ernie Talley Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chris Kale joined Tampa-based RTO pioneer Buddy Bi-Rite straight out of college in 1983. He began his career as a Market Manager, earning $180 a week and free personal use of a Buddy Bi-Rite van. The next year, Chris was promoted to a store manager, and within a year, he became a Buddy’s district manager. Over the final 10 years of Chris’ career with Buddy’s, he served as their Director of Operations and worked directly for RTO legend Norman “Slats” Slatton.
Chris was instrumental in helping Buddy’s grow from a small six-store company into a profitable 28-store chain. “Working for Mr. Slatton at Buddy’s was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I consider ‘Slats’ to be the wisest, hardest working man I’ve ever known, and my time spent working with him was truly a blessing and an honor.”
In 1996, Chris teamed up with his two partners, Larry Pividal and Paul Schaller, to open their first Rent King store in Lake Wales, Florida. Ten years later, Rent King had grown into a successful chain with 18 locations.
Over the past 37 years, Chris has attended “all but three” APRO conventions, has attended more than a dozen APRO Legislative Conferences, served five years as the President of the Florida Rental Dealers Association, has attended every annual FRDA Legislative Conference over the past 14 years, and has served on the APRO board for the past four years. Chris currently serves as the APRO president.
Chris is an active partner in 18 Rent King locations, 14 Happy’s locations, and five Great Rooms stores. Chris has five children, including a nine-year-old, Charlie, and a 15-year-old, Camille, with his longtime partner, Luciann. He also has two beautiful grandchildren, Caroline and James, and a third due this year! “APRO is invaluable to the independent RTO dealer. This industry would absolutely not exist today without the dedicated efforts of the APRO leadership team over the past 40 years. I would be honored to continue serving on the APRO board and help continue growing and improving our industry in the many years to come.”
Shirin Kanji is the President of Impact RTO Holdings, a Tampa, Florida based rent-to-own dealer operating 75 Rent-A-Center locations across eight states within the southeastern US. Impact RTO is part of the retail division within the long-standing family business of Impact Properties. He has owned and operated hotels, restaurants and commercial real estate for over 30 years. Shirin Kanji was elected to the APRO board of directors in 2018, and is up for his first re-election.
A first-generation American and native Floridian, he spent his childhood in Central Florida, then launched his finance career on Wall Street. His family came to America from the UK. His father, Dilip, was from Africa, and his mother was from India; they met and married in Leicester, England. Kanji earned his B.S. in Finance & Political Science in 2002, from NYU. Then he got a “grind-and-hustle” job on Wall Street, first as an equity trader, then as an investment analyst.
Kanji channels his active, athletic nature nowadays into morning runs, tennis with friends and the occasional pick-up game. To feed his active mind, this lifelong learner remains a voracious reader – particularly on the subjects of business and leadership. Kanji met his wife, Swathi, at NYU and together they have a daughter, Serena.
Jonathan Rose is a graduate of the Business School at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. He is 54 years old, an avid sports fan, and lives in Virginia Beach with his wife of 32 years, Sara (a middle school teacher). He has two daughters, Emily, a recent graduate of James Madison University, and Olivia, a sophomore at East Carolina University.
Rose supports a variety of charitable causes – many are children-oriented – and has continuously dedicated time to coaching and leading girls in youth sports for more than 15 years.
He has more than 35 years of RTO industry experience, Jonathan began on the ground floor at BestWay RTO making deliveries and collections. He rose into managing stores, multi-unit management, and currently, has been a senior executive for more than 25 years. Jonathan Rose is highly qualified to bring a broad perspective, experience, energy and enthusiasm to the APRO board.
Rose also has experience developing a rapidly rising software start-up, as well as his own advertising publications business he started from scratch. He is currently responsible for eight RNR Tire Express stores, and a fast tax preparation service operation. Until recently, he was the operator of 18 furniture, appliance and electronics RTO stores.
Rose has enjoyed the opportunities to step up and give back to our industry, this great association, and its tremendous, varied membership by serving on the APRO Board. He has served on the APRO Board for the past six years, including three years as your APRO secretary and membership committee chairman. Jonathan Rose humbly seeks your support and vote once again to continue his family’s service and dedication to APRO. The Roses have been very active APRO members and supporters since 1984. Jonathan is an annual participant in the APRO federal legislative efforts and currently serves as President of the Virginia Rental Dealers Association.
“Change is constant – we each face new and different challenges each and every week, and our industry continues to evolve and faces new and different obstacles and opportunities. My experience and ability to creatively think, problem-solve, and work together with the APRO board and staff to find ways to foster a climate for us to thrive and grow our businesses is what I bring to the table. Finding ways to work together effectively, innovate and seek new ways to expand our customer base for the next generations is vital. If you entrust me with your vote, I will diligently work hard and in the best interests of everyone, large and small. I would appreciate your vote.”
Adam Sutton was literally born into the rent-to-own industry. His father, Larry Sutton, A.K.A. “The Reverend of RTO,” was President of Champion RTO and later founded Rent-n-Roll Custom Wheels & Tires, now RNR Tire Express. Adam traveled often with his dad during store visits and credits these trips to his ability to read a P&L at an early age, but more importantly for teaching him about the greatest asset of the RTO industry — it’s people.
He credits this upbringing for helping shape who he is today and believes that the RTO industry has more opportunity than any other to become the greatest and most prosperous industry in the world.
He began his early career in advertising and when Larry created RNR in 2000, Adam came on board as Marketing Director. In 2004 he married his high school sweetheart and they started their own creative agency Red Letter Studios (RLS). They worked with top brands and many RTO companies, winning national awards and dozens of APRO Rental Advertising Excellence Awards.
In 2012, Adam partnered RLS with Thuzi, a top digital advertising company, and became their Chief Experience Officer where he led hundreds of projects every year for global brands such as Microsoft, Disney and Oprah.
In 2017, Adam fulfilled a childhood dream by coming back to work for his father at RNR Tire Express as his right-hand man. He became the franchise’s Executive Vice President. He hopes to continue his father’s legacy of focusing on the most important thing in the industry — it’s people.
Adam B. Sutton lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and three children.
Terah Vail is Vice President of Best Tire Concepts, LLC, an RNR Tire Express franchise based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After receiving a Master’s in Theology in History at the University of Edinburgh, Terah returned home and began working for FAN, a company her father started in 1996. Since then, she has gained experience in accounting, sales, credit management and small business startups.
She currently serves as treasurer for APRO and is looking forward to serving another term. She is a board member of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas, a nonprofit that provide scholarships for single parents who are working to be financially independent. She served two terms as President of the Arkansas Rental Dealers Association. Terah is passionate about traveling and spends most of her free time with friends and family, and recently became engaged.