RTO World 2021 | Education

Thank You for an Amazing RTO World Experience!

For information requests from RTO World this year, please contact us at info@rtohq.org.

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These RTO leaders and subject matter experts will deliver the most relevant and top-notch content to RTO World attendees during the education sessions as we return to an IN-PERSON event this August 23-25 in Tampa, Florida.

Plan your sessions with this RTO Brochure.

Keynote Speaker

Derrick Brooks 
Retired Pro-Football Player
National Football League

Brooks joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, where he remained to play his 14-season career. Throughout his decorated time, Brooks played in 11 Pro Bowls and gained honors such as 2002’s AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, nine-time All-Pro, Super Bowl ring holder from Super Bowl XXXVII, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, and the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame. 

Brooks also founded Derrick Brooks Charities in 2003. The charity aims to ensure that young people have every chance to develop into the strong, productive leaders of tomorrow through participation in its multiple programs. While still actively running his charities, today, Brooks serves as an appeals officer for the National Football League and the Executive Vice President of Corporate and Community Development at the Amalie Area.


All Audiences Track

Develop Excellence: Become More than a Boss

Rick Gallegos
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dale Carnegie Tampa Bay

Employees stay when a company meets their needs. Learn how to develop your leadership excellence to build a world-class team through key developmental steps — creating a clear team vision, onboarding for success, and correcting poor behaviors as a coach.

Rick Gallegos is a master trainer specializing in developing action plans for a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations committed to growth in a competitive economy. Gallegos’ leadership at Dale Carnegie Tampa Bay has facilitated international client successes and earned the business multiple awards, including Tampa Small Business of the Year and the Dale Carnegie Millennium Club Award. He is the Past Chairman of the CEO Council of Tampa Bay, and currently serves as a board member for the Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

Simplify and Optimize Your Digital Advertising

Emily Goret
Digital Advertising Advisor
Retailer Web Services — in partnership with Nationwide RentDirect

Understanding digital advertising strategies adds leverage for any rent-to-own company. Get the latest new strategies to succeed in the current digital battleground. Walk away ready to make dynamic choices to refine your customized advertising portfolio and insights on ad types, bidding strategies, and evaluation best practices.

Emily Goret brings many years of media, management, and administration experience to her current work in digital advertising, where she is responsible for implementing inbound marketing strategies that help clients increase brand awareness, generate leads, and acquire new customers. Goret’s passion for and expertise in branding, storytelling, and targeted messaging has led to innovative and effective content for many businesses.

Andy Polito offers 20+ years of advertising sales expertise, but began his career selling retail furniture, appliances, and electronics. He spent more than a decade working in learning and development, where he trained more than 1,000 sales professionals. Prior to joining Retailer Web Services, Polito had served as a Corporate Training Manager and a District Sales Manager for a Fortune 500 company, training and managing many highly successful professionals in advertising and marketing. He also holds relationships with top executives at some of the country’s largest buying groups.

Social Media Fundamentals and How to Grow Your Business

Jessica Mahon
Marketing Director
Countryside Rentals Inc., dba Rent-2-Own

With constant platform updates, shifting advertising best practices, and new analytics to dive into, the digital landscape can feel a lot like the wild west. In this session, let Jess show you the lay of the virtual land. Expect to learn about planning and creating content, using creative ads for web traffic and sales, understanding analytics, and the importance of online engagement.

Jessica Mahon is an idea girl and storyteller with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has found a place at Rent-2-Own for over five years as the Marketing Director. She has learned digital marketing and how to share and implement her ideas through Google and Facebook and is certified in both. Meeting new people comes naturally to her and learning new things is one of her favorite things to do. She loves spending time with friends, family, and her dog Apollo, and traveling the world.

Take Back Company Healthcare Expenditure

David Huerta
Co-Founder
Cost Plus Advisors & Principal, One Digital

Health insurance costs are in the top five expenses for businesses. David will pull back the broken healthcare system’s curtain and teach common-sense solutions. Reduce coverage costs for employees while simultaneously improving benefits and member experiences. You and your employees deserve better.

David Huerta is a veteran benefit consultant who has worked in the insurance industry for more than 30 years. Early in his career, Huerta was a wholesaler for two Fortune 100 insurers, where he placed many national accounts and learned the dynamics of underwriting, managed care, and self-funding. He knows where the system is broken. A recognized expert on reference-based pricing, he has guest-lectured at Florida colleges, and is a frequent speaker at conferences nationwide on cost control and healthcare reform. Through Huerta’s career, he developed a detailed familiarity with rent-to-own, retail, and service industries.

People Before Profits: Create a Culture for Growth

Recognition is key to retaining your best employees. Shift your focus to your people and increase effectiveness in communicating with your employees. In this session, you will learn how to create company programs with measurable cultural impact.

Kelly Martin has spent the past decade involved in diverse roles within St. Louis-based Rent One – from operations basics to critical marketing to corporate decision-making strategy. She has helped create a more engaged culture at the company, improved employees’ recruiting and onboarding experiences, and developed more than 25 new employee-benefit programs. Using her knowledge and experience, Martin has also become a well-sought speaker within the rent-to-own industry, producing countless presentations on timely and relevant topics for her audiences.

Matthew Warren helps cultivate company growth strategies, training initiatives, and company culture centered around RNR’s purpose statement: Serving our customers, not just providing customer service. Previously, he spent over ten years training individuals, building developmental programs, and shaping learning objectives around diverse learning styles for multiple county educational districts. Warren currently serves as Director of Corporate Development for RNR Tire Express where he works on cross-departmental efficiencies, streamlining policies throughout RNR’s corporate office, and guiding professional results within each department that serves both the corporate stores as well as the franchisees.

Level Up Your Local Politics

Paul Davis
President and Owner
Nations Rent-To-Own Sales & Leasing LLC

The pandemic opened our eyes to the importance of having political involvement at a local level. Existing relationships sometimes made the difference in how executive orders were perceived and in whether stores were allowed to remain open. Paul brings his experience in local politics and rent-to-own ownership to share how and why your company can impact local politics. Examine strategies for how best to interact with your government to protect your company and the RTO transaction. All politics are local; it starts with us.

Paul Davis founded Nations 23 years ago, and with his leadership, this inland Southern California company has excelled, with multiple locations and a successful e-commerce presence. Davis also heads Davis Consulting, where he conducts audits, performs training, and manages governmental affairs for organizations in Arizona, California, and Nevada. Additionally, Davis is the Founder and President of the California Association of Progressive Rental Organizations, where he has represented rental dealers on the local, state, and national levels.


Regional and Store Managers Track

Turn Sales Associates in Sales Assailants

Chip Guy
Vice President of Operations
Buddy Mac Holdings LLC, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings

Stop waiting for sales to walk through the door. Is your staff ready to embrace the return of face-to-face interaction post-pandemic? Learn about ways to find new customers, outreach strategies, and how to prepare your staff to take advantage of the slow days. There are too many prospective customers out there that still aren’t aware of the valuable services offered by rent-to-own — let’s get the word out and increase sales in the meantime.

Clifford “Chip” Guy is a 20+-year veteran in the RTO industry all within the Buddy’s Home Furnishings organization, beginning as a delivery technician and quickly rising within the ranks of Buddy Mac. He was promoted to General Manager within his first five years, has worked as Director of Operational Training, Regional Director for stores in central and northeast Oklahoma, and as a direct franchise owner. He is the current President of the Oklahoma Rental Dealers Association, a TRIB committee member, and is one of only six members of the elite Buddy’s Advisory Board.

Use Changing Customer Habits to Increase Sales

Angie Brubaker
Director of Traning
SKC Enterprises Inc., dba Rent One

The pandemic left a lot of lasting changes in our world, especially with customer shopping habits. Is your store actively addressing and embracing these changes? As we return to the new normal, learn how to build new sales and marketing habits into your store — like social media and online community engagement. Join this session for new ideas to implement proven tactics, including digital customer communications, customer celebrations, reference verifications, and referral program conversations.

Angie Brubaker is a 30+-year RTO veteran specializing in employee learning. An Ohio native, Brubaker has worked with companies like Colortyme, Rent-A-Center, Renters Choice, and now, St. Louis-based Rent One, where she is responsible for educating more than 800 employees through online and instructor-led training. Additionally, she is a skilled training designer and developer with technical expertise in webinar platforms and eLearning tools such as Articulate 360, Captivate, and Storyline.

Improve Customer Conversations to Capture Lost Sales

Randy Rivers
Director of Operations
Fairway Leasing LLC, dba Aaron’s Inc.

Store management is a whirlwind. Randy Rivers of Fairway Leasing will share lessons he has learned about focus and discipline in execution to think beyond the day-to-day and store break-even numbers. Is there a chance you are missing out on closing sales that are already walking in your door? Prepare for those conversations in this session — learn how to recognize customer needs and identify lost opportunities.

Randy Rivers came to rent-to-own in 1999 as an account manager. Learning quickly and full of passion for the RTO business, he has held pivotal roles as store manager, multi-unit manager, and regional manager. Since joining Kentucky-based Fairway in 2011 and becoming the company’s Director of Operations in 2015, Rivers has helped almost double the number of stores, and increased the average store base by more than 450 customers.

Managers: Why Would Anyone Want to Work for You?

Mike Tissot
Owner
Countryside rentals Inc., dba Rent-2-Own

Dive into the cultural pillars that must align for people to want to come to and stay at a company. Rent-to-own is already at a disadvantage with a job that is not very sexy. We must do all we can as leaders, managers, and teammates, to make our stores a desirable and fulfilling workplace. Tissot will share some of his company’s practices in creating a great place to work, specifically for store managers and regional/district managers

Mike Tissot grew up in the rent-to-own business under the tutelage of his father, former APRO President and RTO legend Darrell Tissot. Mike’s innovative thought-leadership over the past almost-quarter-century has helped not only grow the family business to 39 stores throughout Ohio and Kentucky, but also guide the industry as a whole; he has served as President of the Ohio Rental Dealers Association for years, has served as an APRO board member and as APRO Treasurer, has served on the TRIB board as Treasurer and currently as the Vice President and has received the APRO President’s Award of Excellence and been named APRO Rental Dealer of the Year. 


Owners/Dealers Track

Exit Strategies for RTO: Discussion and Panel

Preparation to exit your RTO career in triumph takes careful planning. Mike Helton, will advise us on exit strategies including structural, financial, and tax perspectives. In the second half of the session, Helton will lead a panel discussion with Trent Agin of SKC Enterprises Inc. and Michael Bennett of Buddy’s Home Furnishings, for an experienced perspective of preparing for acquisition. Brett Cooper of Rivero, Gordimer & Company will add his valuation expertise to the panel.

Mike Helton offers more than 15 years of experience working with rent-to-own clients and over two decades of expertise in tax preparation, planning, and consultation for individuals, businesses, estates, and trusts, as well as business-owner succession planning and other tax-related topics. Helton earned his Business Administration degree at Ohio’s Shawnee State University, and his CPA license in Florida and Kentucky. He has been with RGCO since 1999.

Brett Cooper has more than 20 years of experience as a business consultant and more than 35 years of experience in the CPA profession, including a period of time as the CFO of a light manufacturing concern. He has been retained as a business appraiser, expert witness, and financial consultant by business owners and attorneys to provide services in the following disciplines: Appraisal & Valuation, Litigation Support, Transaction Advisory, Forensic Accounting, and ESOPs. Cooper also has direct experience with transaction advisory and litigation in the RTO industry and is one of a select few individuals within the American Society of Appraisers who has earned the specialty credential of “ASA in Intangible Asset Valuation.”

Trent Agin began his career with St. Louis-based Rent One 30 years ago, and has played an integral role in the company’s growth and development from 5 stores to more than 100 locations in 8 states. Agin has held leadership positions in several state associations and worked on several committees serving the rent-to-own industry. Agin is well-known for the culture of growth and learning he has developed within his company, as well as his progressive approach to innovative ideas and opportunities.

Michael Bennett brings over 28 years of experience in the RTO industry encompassing both franchise and corporate operations. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Buddy’s Home Furnishings. Prior to joining Buddy’s, he held a number of titles for several rent-to-own companies and divisions such as; Regional Director for Acceptance Now; Vice President of Great Lakes Operations for Aaron’s Inc., which he also served on the National Advertising Advisory and Strategic Budgeting Committees; Director of Operations and Minority Equity Partner of Rosey Rentals LP, dba Aaron’s Inc.; Divisional Vice President and Regional Manager of RentWay Inc.; and Regional Manager at Rent-A-Center, where his career began. Bennett has been fortunate to serve on the boards for the Illinois Rental Dealers Association and the Florida Rental Dealers Association and currently serves on the APRO board of directors. 

Owners: Why Would Anyone Want to Work for You?

Mike Tissot
Owner
Countryside rentals Inc., dba Rent-2-Own

Dive into the cultural pillars that must align for people to want to come to and stay at a company. Rent-to-own is already at a disadvantage with a job that is not very sexy. We must do all we can as leaders, owners, managers, and teammates, to make our stores a desirable and fulfilling workplace. Tissot will share some of his company’s practices in creating a great place to work.

Mike Tissot grew up in the rent-to-own business under the tutelage of his father, former APRO President and RTO legend Darrell Tissot. Mike’s innovative thought-leadership over the past almost-quarter-century has helped not only grow the family business to 39 stores throughout Ohio and Kentucky, but also guide the industry as a whole; he has served as President of the Ohio Rental Dealers Association for years, has served as an APRO board member and as APRO Treasurer, has served on the TRIB board as Treasurer and currently as the Vice President and has received the APRO President’s Award of Excellence and been named APRO Rental Dealer of the Year. 

APRO Legal and Legislative Update

Ed Winn III
APRO General Counsel
Partner at Martinec, Winn, & Vickers P.C.

You may not be interested in the government, but the government is interested in you: increased scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission, state attorney generals, and a few quasi-governmental consumer protection/advocacy groups. Learn what’s new in RTO e-commerce and what “dark practices” to avoid as you develop a compelling virtual presence. Lastly, get the scoop on who’s getting sued and why, what regulators are most interested in these days, the kinds of “other fees” being scrutinized, and more rumblings in the legal weeds.

Ed Winn III helped found the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) in 1980, and his knowledge of the rent-to-own industry is unsurpassed. He is a member of the Texas and North Carolina state bars, having earned his B.A. from Davidson College and his J.D. with Honors from the University of North Carolina, and has been in private practice in Austin, Texas, since 1980. Winn is a regular contributor to RTOHQ: The Magazine, and has presented hundreds of RTO-related seminars over the years.