Association of Progressive Rental Organizations | America’s Champion for Rent-to-Own

RTO World 2022 | Education

Welcome to the RTO World™ Experience!

For information requests about RTO World this year, please contact us at


Speaker Line-Up Announced


Tom Ripley

The Future Lies Beneath Your Hat:
Leadership Perspectives from a Retail CEO

Tom Ripley
Chairman & CEO, Lids Sports Group

While others were running from retail, Tom Ripley ran toward it. After acquiring Lids in 2018, Ripley, Chairman and CEO of Lids Sporting Group, has led the company through a remarkable turnaround. Lids now sells 30 million hats yearly and are synonymous with headwear and licensed sports. Since the acquisition, Lids has improved its online experience while leveraging its brick-and-mortar stores for in-store customer experiences.

Named a ‘CEO You Need to Know’ by iHeartRadio, Ripley’s career began as an infantry and special operations officer in the United States Marine Corps. Over the past 18 years, he has developed extensive operating experience across more than two dozen different companies.

As a fellow entrepreneur and retailer, Ripley will talk about the evolving role brick-and-mortar stores play and the hurdles we must overcome to reach our professional and personal goals. He will also share his philosophy on investing in young leaders in his own organization and through the Lids Foundation.


General Session

Jeff Lebakken Russ Moserowitz Jerry Marshall Chad Fosdick

From the Bar to the Stage:
A Candid Conversation

Jeff Lebakken, President/CEO, Lebakkens Inc. of Wisconsin
Russ Moserowitz, President, Passaic Ventures LLC,
Jerry Marshall, President, KAPPA Investments LLC
Chad Fosdick, Owner, CR Fosdick Ent. Inc. (facilitator)

One of the benefits of industry events like RTO World is the rich conversation that happens between peers; that honest, unfiltered sharing we all have at the hotel bar – sharing operational challenges, how the business is changing, what’s working, and what’s not.
We’re taking the conversation from the bar to the stage to share insights from dealers who represent a cross-section of our industry – urban, rural, independent, franchisees, and various store counts. So, belly up and join our dealers for lively, unfiltered discussion about the operational challenges and changes we’re all experiencing.

Jeff has been in the RTO business for over 40 years starting as a part-time sales, delivery and service and climbing the ranks to President and CEO of Lebbakens, Inc of Wisconsin. Jeff has been an active supporter of the RTO industry and has received a variety of awards for his service including Rental Dealer of the Year Award from APRO in 2018. Jeff is a proud and decorated Army veteran who served overseas defending our country. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse.

Russ is President of Passaic Ventures, LLC, an Aaron’s franchisee since 2004, operating two urban stores in northern NJ. Prior to founding Passaic Ventures, Russ founded and operated Franchise Insights, LLC, offering franchise consulting services with expertise in maximizing franchisee return on investment, franchise start-ups and franchise agreement evaluation and negotiation. Prior to that, Russ was Senior Vice President of Franchise Relations for the Hotel Division of Cendant Corporation. Over its 18+ years, Passaic Ventures stores experienced strong growth in their challenging urban markets but have also experienced declines that began before the pandemic. Russ has also had the privilege of serving on the Aaron’s Franchise Association Board with multiple terms at different times during his tenure.

Jerry began his career with RentWay as a Manager In Training and was quickly promoted to Store Manager. He was a Store Manager for 4 years before being promoted to a Regional Manager managing 8 stores throughout Virginia. Jerry found a new opportunity with EasyHome and opened his first store in October 2010 and hasn’t looked back since. In August 2016, Jerry became a Buddy's 4-store franchisee and now currently operates 6 stores in VA with plans to open 3 more in the next 18 months. Jerry loves spending time with his family, attending sporting events, vacationing, playing pickup basketball at local gyms, and riding ATVs.

Chad worked his way through the rent-to-own ranks from 2005 thru 2014, finding his calling in the RTO industry. Fosdick opened his first franchise, a Premier Rental-Purchase located in North Platte, Nebraska. After a successful opening, Fosdick expanded locally with the opening of his second franchise business, Mr. Appliance. When not working to grow new businesses, Fosdick enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and giving back to his community.

Regional & Store Managers Track

Tom Ripley

Tom Ripley

Tom Ripley

Star Store Managers Panel

Richie Baker, Store Manager, Countryside Rentals Inc.
Lendy DeSantiago, Store Manager, CPL Group Inc.
David Lewis, Store Manager, Eagle Rental-Purchase

    A wise person says you should have a running list of three people that you’re following:
  • A leader you want to imitate
  • A respected colleague who you think is better at the job than you are
  • A colleague who’s doing the job you used to do, but even better

  • If you are constantly learning from these three people, then you’re going to be better, period. Come learn from the three RTO stars we’re following today!

    Richie has been a Retail Manager since 2002. He is currently in his 10th year at Rent 2 Own. Richie’s belief and motto of putting the “Team First” has taken his Zanesville, Ohio store to record heights. Aside from his dog Apollo, he loves golf, DDP yoga, and Cleveland sports.

    After 15 years with Rent King, Lendy, the store manager in Wauchula, Florida, holds the record for the most consecutive “Store of the Month” awards because she pours her heart and soul into her work. She enjoys coloring, baking cupcakes, and loves spending time with her husband, 4 kids, and granddaughter.

    David started working at Eagle in 2008 while he was attending college at Youngstown State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. As a store manager, he’s produced over $1million+ in revenue the last 5 years. In his free time, he loves watching sports and spending time with his wife and their two children.

    Tom Ripley Tom Ripley Tom Ripley

    How to Reach (and Exceed) a $2 Million Store

    Raymond Adames, 2022’s $2 million Store Manager, MAJIK Rent-to-Own
    Dan Fisher, President, MAJIK Rent-to-Own
    Patric Hartman, District Manager, MAJIK Rent-to-Own

      The MAJIK team recently shared their story about the journey to their first $2 million store. Three members of the MAJIK team will dive deeper into the subject to explore the topics you’re most interested in learning about including:
  • Building the ideal team
  • Challenging the ideal team for results
  • Surviving and thriving in the face of adversity

  • Raymond is a store manager for MAJIK Rent to Own in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, who began in 2014 as an entry-level associate. Raymond enjoys his time at MAJIK because they are very family and customer-oriented and focus on helping others. He says joining the MAJIK team has been one of the best choices he made in his young career and loves helping employees, customers, and the community at large!

    Dan is the owner of MAJIK Rent to Own based in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Dan joined his father’s video movie rental business in 1984, and over the next 6-8 years led the transformation of the company from the highly competitive movie rental business into the rent-to-own business. Dan has served on the APRO Board of Directors, and currently serves on the TRIB Group Board of Directors.

    Pat started in the industry with MAJIK Rent to Own in 2013 as a Manager in Training and became the store manager for the Lebanon store. Pat was the leader for the 2015 Store of the Year team. In 2018, he officially moved into the role of District Manager and now oversees 6 MAJIK stores with over $12 million in yearly revenue.

    Owners/Dealers Tracks

    Tom Ripley

    Managing in a Post-Pandy World.

    Danny Lastra, Regional Manager, Impact RTO Holdings

    It’s critical to understand the concept of depreciation and how it effects your bottom line. This workshop follows the story of a sale (names have been changed to protect the innocent!) from start to finish and serves as a cautionary tale about what happens when things go very, very wrong. We will learn about depreciation, the importance of a proper agreement, product protection, and the effect of refurbishment. The story highlights what not to do and shows you how to teach the concepts to newer employees and managers in a fun, funny, and informative way.

    Jason began his career in RTO as a Customer Account Representative at Rent-A-Center in Port Charlotte, Florida in May of 2000. He ran 9 different locations including opening 2 brand new locations as a Store Manager in the southwest Florida area before being promoted to District Manager in 2006. He has had 10 of his managers promoted to District Manager which is his favorite accomplishment. He currently resides in Daytona Beach with his wife, Danielle, and son, Ethan. His older son Jacob is a VIP tour guide at Universal Studios. He runs a region of 9 locations in the Jacksonville area with average revenue of $1 million per store.

    APRO Legal and Legislative Update

    Ed Winn, III, General Counsel, APRO

    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 including ACH payments and auto-renewal statutes, rules for pricing used product, convenience fee limits, how many collection calls is too many, RTO products pushing the envelope, and changes in RTO theft laws.

    Ed 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.

    Tom Ripley

    How to be a Better Buyer:
    Supply Chain & Product Trends

    Andrew Terry, President, O’Rourke Sales Company

    RTO stores are the heroes of the retail supply chain – bringing maximum value to their customers, while simultaneously managing inventory from a host of wholesalers. And with most stores offering an in-store and virtual inventory, the product knowledge bar just keeps getting higher and higher. Come to learn about the latest trends in products and some real-life hacks to moving the merch in your store!

    Andrew is a husband and proud father of 2 beautiful daughters and a son. He lives in New Albany, OH located near O’Rourke’s Grove City facility. Andrew started his career in actuarial science and transitioned to LG Electronics where he worked in Sales and Management. Andrew then worked as the Senior Vice President of Appliances at H.H. Gregg. Andrew joined O’Rourke Sales Company (OSC) as President in 2017, which is one of the largest national distributors of electronics, appliances, outdoor, and IT products. Andrew serves as a Board Member of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University, and OSC is a founding sponsor of their Tee Off Against Pediatric Brain Cancer Golf Event. He holds a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics from the University of Vermont (UVM).

    Tom Ripley Tom Ripley

    So You’ve Been Sued: Strategies for Handling Claims

    Justin Hosie, Partner, Hudson Cook, LLP
    Zach Miller, Partner, Burr & Forman, LLP
    Bryan Pechersky, Executive VP, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary, Rent-A-Center, Inc

    The pandemic greatly accelerated litigation trends that were already underway over the last decade. The featured speakers will address what to do when a lawsuit is received or threatened including who’s your first call, helpful processes, and procedures, determining the risk level, explaining the lawsuit to your business partners, avoiding expensive attorney's fees, preparing for your deposition, and strategies for resolving cases in a post-COVID landscape. This session is a must for owners and operators!

    Justin is a Hudson Cook partner and chair of the firm's Small Dollar and Alternative Financial Services Practice Group. He focuses his practice on regulatory compliance for alternative financial service providers including fintech providers, consumer lenders, buy-now-pay-later providers, wage advance providers, and virtual rent-to-own providers. Justin provides guidance on new product development, compliance management systems, and consumer disclosures. He provides third-party compliance opinions and day-to-day compliance advice. Justin counsels clients on compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws. Justin is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Financial Services Regulation Law.

    Zach has been representing consumer finance companies in federal and state litigation for fourteen years, including lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and many others. Zach focuses 100% on the issues facing consumer finance and RTO/LTO companies. Zach has managed both class action and individual cases for large institutions. Zach heads a large team of consumer finance lawyers at Burr & Forman and is ready to get back to in-office visits to his clients. When he isn't litigating, Zach enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons, riding trails in their off-road vehicle, and hiking to far-flung spots across the country.

    Bryan has served as Rent-A-Center’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary since June 2020. Mr. Pechersky oversees the company’s legal department and government affairs program and is a member of the executive management team. Prior to joining Rent-A-Center, Mr. Pechersky served from 2010 through 2019 as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Cloud Peak Energy, Inc. Mr. Pechersky has also worked at Harte-Hanks, Inc., Blockbuster Inc., and Unocal Corporation. Mr. Pechersky served as a Law Clerk to the Hon. Loretta A. Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1995 and 1996.

    All Audiences Track

    Marketing Innovation Roundtable

    Lauren Talicska, Director of Marketing, Arona Home Essentials

    Join a fast-moving roundtable discussion about the latest in RTO marketing. We’ll share a couple of innovative ideas to kick off the session and get the conversation rolling, but we want to hear from you and understand what you think really connects with customers. Our goal is to focus on sharing best practices with one another that can be applied by all!

    Lauren is an experienced multi-channel marketing specialist and the Director of Marketing at Arona Home Essentials. She has found her home in the RTO community, supporting stores in branding, growth, and increasing traffic. You may recognize Lauren as a former RTO vendor, including her time as a partner for Nationwide RentDirect, or her previous participation in the APRO Vendor Advisory Committee. Lauren calls Columbus, Ohio home and spends her workday crafting and executing marketing promotions from inception to realization, all while supporting the branding and social media needs of all the Arona stores in 12 states (plus Puerto Rico!).

    Tom Ripley Tom Ripley

    The Customer Journey:
    Identifying, Marketing, and Servicing the Customer

    Chad Fosdick, Owner, CR Fosdick Ent. Inc.
    Jessica Mahon, Marketing Director, Countryside Rentals Inc.

    Our presenters will discuss identifying who your customer is and developing their unique profile to assess where they are along their customer journey. There are a dozen or so recurring customer profiles in RTO, and how we market and service each of these types of customers should be customized. Join us for ideas and methods you can apply in your stores to better acquire and serve your customers.

    • How do you market to each different profile?
    • Have you identified their wants and their needs?
    • How do we keep and service each of these unique customer profiles?

    • After finding his calling in the RTO industry and working his way through the ranks from 2005 thru 2014, Chad opened his first franchise, a Premier Rental-Purchase located in North Platte, Nebraska. After a successful opening, Fosdick expanded locally with the opening of his second franchise business, Mr. Appliance. When not working to grow new businesses, Fosdick enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and giving back to his community.

      Jessica is an idea girl and storyteller who has found a place at Rent-2-Own for over eight years. For the last six years, she has worked in the marketing department as the Marketing Director. She has fine-tuned her skills in social media and digital marketing and shared these skills with others. Meeting new people comes naturally to her and learning new things is one of her favorite things to do, second only to traveling the world. She vows to one day meet Dolly Parton.

      Adam Stark Tracy Hartman

      Solutions for Staffing and Retention Issues

      Adam Stark, District Manager, Happy’s Home Centers, Inc. (facilitator)
      Tricia Fisher, Director of Company Culture, Majik Enterprises International, Inc.
      Tracy Hartman, Business Development Manager, EmployIndy
      Matt Warren, Senior Vice President, RNR Tire Express

      Are you always interviewing? Do you spend more time on personnel issues than on the sales floor? Have you ever been ghosted by a new employee for a job paying $1 more an hour? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then join this session and learn how to tap into some new and existing talent pools. And once you’ve got the talent, you must create an environment that nurtures and values a diversity of experiences and perspectives that ultimately helps you connect with a larger customer base! Let’s talk about how we all win when we invest in our workforce!

      Adam began his career in the rent-to-own industry after graduating from the University of Florida in 2012. Happy’s Home Centers had just opened its second location and was looking to grow. While opening Happy’s third location, Adam continued to improve on his natural skills in collections, expense control, and inventory management. In 2015, Adam got the opportunity to become an equity partner in Happy’s and move to his hometown of Jacksonville, FL, to open Happy’s 7th & 9th locations. Adam has since moved back to Tampa to work as a district manager. He is currently responsible for Happy’s back-end operations including recruiting, training, inventory control, and marketing. Adam spends his time away from work with his wife, daughter, and son.

      Tricia has been with Majik for 7 years and currently serves as the Director of Company Culture. In this role, she helps to promote employee engagement and retention. She is also part of the marketing and leadership teams of Majik. Prior to working for Majik, Tricia was employed in customer service in the healthcare industry for 25 years.

      Tracy currently serves as a Business Consultant for the EmployIndy, the Marion County Workforce Development Board (WDB). The WDB provides guidance and strategic investments to build pipelines of qualified workers for employers. Tracy provides resources, information, and guidance to local businesses in strengthening, retaining, and increasing their human capital assets to meet current and future demands. She grew up in Indianapolis, and she loves racing, basketball, football, and going to the lake.

      Matthew 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, organizing developmental programs, and shaping processes / procedures around diverse learning styles within the educational sector. Currently, Matthew serves as the Senior Vice President of RNR Tire Express Franchisor, located in Tampa, FL. He works to improve cross-departmental efficiencies while streamlining policies throughout RNR's corporate office. Matthew's goal is to lead and assist each department in fostering an atmosphere of growth to further drive RNR's success in serving both the corporate stores and the franchisees.

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