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

RTO World 2023 | Speakers

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& EXHIBITORS

Welcome to the RTO World™ Experience!

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

Speaker Line-Up Announced!

Dale Anderson is a District Manager at Eagle Rental Purchase. Dale has been in the RTO business for 10 years starting as an account manager and quickly moving up the ranks to Store Manager of one of Eagles biggest stores. Early in 2023, Dale was promoted to the position of District Manager and was a member of the first APRO Emerging Leaders Council.

Prior to joining Eagle Dale served in the US Air Force for 8 years serving in the 325th Security Force Squadron out of Tyndall Air Force Base. Dale met his wife while they were both working for Eagle Rental and together, they have three children. He attributes his success and continued development in the industry to his wife and his mentors Joseph Fischer and Randy Lewis, owners of Jaguar Holdings LLC dba Eagle Rental Purchase, who took him under their wings instilling in him their devoted work ethic and leadership.

Michael Atme is a seasoned leader within the financial technology industry, renowned for his ability to devise ingenious and uncomplicated solutions to intricate challenges across diverse sectors worldwide. He possesses a remarkable talent for assisting organizations in automating workflows, streamlining processes, and harnessing technology to optimize performance and amplify revenue. With an impressive tenure of over a decade in technology, Michael has consistently positioned himself as the nexus of technology, business, and finance.

He has held numerous prominent leadership and executive positions throughout his career, spearheading strategic initiatives centered around digital transformation and technology-enabled financial solutions. Presently, Michael serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at Paydit Inc., where he actively contributes to addressing collection issues within the RTO domain.

Michael Bennett brings 30 years of experience in the RTO industry encompassing both franchise and corporate operations. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer for Buddy’s Newco, LLC, dba Buddy’s Home Furnishings, and Buddy’s Franchise and Licensing. 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 in Plano Texas, Vice President of Great Lakes Operations for Aaron’s Inc. while also serving on its 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 he began his career as Regional Manager at Rent-A-Center.

Bennett currently serves as the APRO board president and has been fortunate to have served on the boards of the Illinois Rental Dealers Association and the Florida Rental Dealers Association. He graduated cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Webber College.

A love for all things education and a strong belief that everyone deserves just that led Genevieve Condon into the world of education and human resources. After receiving her master’s degree in forensic psychology and legal studies, she fell into a position that led to her career and calling as a professor and human resources professional. Genevieve has been a senior faculty member at Bay Path University and adjunct at American International College for over a decade where she has taught a variety of courses ranging from psychology and sociology to ethics and career development. She holds an EdS in Organizational Leadership where her passion now focuses on human resources and talent management, ensuring that all individuals are prepared to be successful within their roles.

Most recently, Genevieve was the Director of Learning and Development where she built Nationwide’s entire learning and development model for over 5,000 employees. Genevieve is also a published fiction writer and writes romantic suspense and psychological thrillers.

Dan Fisher is the owner of Majik Rent to Own based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Dan's career in the rental industry started in 1984 when he joined his parents' video movie rental business. In the early 1990's, Dan transformed the small business into Majik Enterprises which now comprises 14 stores in central PA. Dan currently serves on both the APRO and TRIB board of directors and is happy to share all that he has learned from the industry over the years.

Dan and his wife, Tricia, enjoy spending time with their children. They also love to travel with family and friends to experience local culture, especially restaurants. Dan and Tricia appreciate the ongoing support from friends in the industry for their foundation, The Maria Fisher Foundation, honoring their late daughter.

Richard Formoe, the Co-Founder and CEO of Paydit Inc. is a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in the field of RTO. Throughout his career, he has developed a deep understanding of the industry, honing his expertise in various aspects of RTO operations and management. Having worked with leading RTO companies, Richard has gained invaluable insights into the challenges and intricacies of the industry. He has a proven track record of driving growth, optimizing operational efficiency, and delivering exceptional customer experiences. One of Richard’s notable achievements is his role in spearheading the development of a next-generation collections engagement and automation platform.

As a visionary leader in the RTO industry, Richard is actively sharing his knowledge and insights through industry conferences and publications. He has been recognized for his exceptional contributions, receiving accolades for his innovative approach and commitment to driving positive change within the financial technology sector.

Rachel George is Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer, and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at The Aaron’s Company. Rachel’s areas of responsibility include all aspects of legal, compliance, corporate governance, enterprise risk, information security, safety, physical security, government relations, and corporate affairs to all business segments.

When she joined the company in November 2020, Rachel brought with her more than 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. Rachel attended Covenant College and Emory University School of Law. Rachel currently serves as an APRO Board member since 2021.

Pat Hartman 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.

Christine Hesse is a seasoned lawyer-lobbyist who has worked on financial services policy for thirty years. She recently joined Progressive Leasing to head its Government Affairs Department after spending 25 years in Washington, D.C.

Christine served as U.S. Senate Banking Committee counsel where she worked on a wide array of financial services issues, including rent-to-own, before she joined the national law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP, where she represented large financial institutions on legislative and regulatory matters. Christine started her legal and legislative career in the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Attorney's General Office, as well as the Connecticut General Assembly.

Chris Kale, Jr. founded Happy’s Home Centers in 2010 alongside two seasoned industry veterans, his uncle and father. Today, he oversees the day-to-day operation of 12 Happy’s Home Centers locations based in Tampa, Florida.

He currently serves as a board member for TRIB Group and the Florida Rental Dealers Association. Chris is a University of Florida alumni – Go Gators! He enjoys attending Buccaneer games and hitting the beach with his wife Katey and their three wonderful children.

As VP of Rental Sales for Ashley Furniture Industries, Mike Kays spent the last 12 years working with RTO industry veterans helping to build Ashley into the largest RTO dealer/network supplier. In this new role, he is expanding this reach to support all suppliers to RTO to ensure everyone has a fair shake and decisions are made in our best interests. Timing, access to the buyers, and visibility are core to the industry’s continued success and future growth. Michael can leverage a wide breadth of relationships and influence, intimate knowledge of trends in the market, and unique knowledge of what RTO dealers need from a supplier to be successful. The saying goes that a high tide raises all boats, and he’d like to leverage everything in his power to drive the continued growth of the RTO industry and all the suppliers.

Joseph Kopser is a serial entrepreneur and expert in energy and national security issues. Currently, he serves as an Executive-in-Residence at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. In addition, he is President of Grayline after he co-founded and served as CEO of RideScout before it was acquired by Mercedes. He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years earning the Combat Action Badge, Army Ranger Tab and Bronze Star.,/p>

He is a graduate of West Point with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and also received a master’s from the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2013, he was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for his efforts in Energy and Transportation. In 2014, RideScout, won the U.S. DOT Data Innovation Award and co-authored the book, Catalyst. He is the Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Cleantech.

Erik Kosa is a senior associate in Hudson Cook’s Washington, DC office. He advises a range of financial institutions, technology and information companies, and others on compliance with data use and privacy laws. Erik works closely with clients to develop data use and privacy compliance strategies, including in connection with the development of privacy policies, product assessments, consumer relations, vendor management, and due diligence matters.

His practice also includes representing banks, licensed lenders, sales finance companies, auto dealers, and other creditors in regulatory enforcement actions, including actions before the CFPB, FTC, and other federal and state financial regulatory agencies. Erik received his law degree with honors in 2009 from The George Washington University Law School. Erik is admitted in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Jess Mahon is an idea girl and storyteller who has found a place at Countryside Rentals Inc. dba 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.

A native Virginian, Larkin Mott returned to her hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia after residing in Toronto Canada for nearly 20 years. During her time in Toronto Larkin owned and operated restaurants in both the corporate and residential spheres, while also gaining her credentials as a Sommelier. In Larkin's role as the Premier Companies Event Director, she arranges all aspects of the Annual Franchisee Retreats, Corporate Conventions, and Celebrations. Larkin co-directed Premier’s recent rebrand and assists Franchisees enhance their visual marketing techniques with product selection and planning. The merchandising analytics and online strategies implemented by Larkin have proven to greatly enhance sales and the overall store aesthetic. Larkin continues to find additional outlets for her customer service, and food industry experience by playing a key role on the board of her alma mater, Randolph Macon Woman’s College and hosting unforgettable meals with friends and family. She can be found painting and adventuring abroad when not surrounded by her three children and beloved golden retrievers.

Pam Nemec is a brand culture expert and speaker. Her thought leadership around Brand Culture via HR and Brand Communications has led to recruiting, retaining, and caring for over 50,000 employees and connecting with millions of customers over the course of her 20-year career, where she ultimately served as a Senior Vice-President of a multi-billion-dollar restaurant brand. She has been widely recognized for blazing a trail in social media, public relations, employee communications, and human resources- merging them in ways that are innovative, resulting in high employee engagement, increased retention, and admired brand culture. Under her tutelage, her team successfully connected brand sentiment with immense ROI, engaging hundreds of millions of customers and tens of thousands of employees.

Jeraud Norman was working on aircraft carriers & submarines for over 10 years at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. In May 2012, Jeraud and his 2-year-old son were hit by an 18-wheeler truck. This caused him to lose his job, his house in foreclosure and accumulate mounds of debts while being a single father of two boys. Along the journey, he tried many things to take care of his family and each venture that he tried led back to...marketing.

In 2017, he started Jeraud Marketing Group where "They Turn Strangers Into Customers Using Paid Ads on Social Networks.” He’s worked with businesses in different industries across the world including being hired to help the United States Air Force increase their recruitment efforts. Over the past 6 years, his organization has generated over $50million in revenue for their clients.

Bryan Pechersky has served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Upbound Group, Inc. since June 2020 and is a current APRO board member and chair of the APRO Government Affairs Committee. From 2010 through 2019, Bryan served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Cloud Peak Energy Inc., a public mining and logistics supplier to U.S. and Asian utilities. From 2007 to 2010, Bryan was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary for Harte-Hanks, Inc., a worldwide, direct, and targeted marketing company. Bryan earned his bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan.

Pete Shau is currently a District Manager in Tampa with the CPL Group Inc. dba Rent King. He has been in the Rent to Own industry since the early 2000s with a combined 18 years of rental experience from several companies including Rent-A-Center, Buddy's Home Furnishings, and Renter's Choice. He approaches work with a team effort mentality believing that leadership starts by empowering employees and learning something new about the business daily. Pete is blessed to have a wonderful and understanding family that has helped him through his RTO journey including his beautiful wife and three amazing daughters who join him on bike rides, home renovation projects, and trips to the movies.

Mike Simoncini is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Majik Rent to Own. He has been with Majik for 8 years and started his career with Majik as a District Manager. Prior to working for Majik he worked in the grocery retail industry as Multi Unit Manager. He currently is serving his second term as President of the Pennsylvania Association of Rental Dealers. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 sons, boating, playing guitar and golfing. He also serves as a coach for local youth baseball and football teams.

Charles Smitherman is the newly installed CEO for APRO. Prior to joining the association, Charles served as COO and General Counsel for PTS Financial Services where he played an active role in RTO representing his company with APRO member dealers through PTS’s club program offering. Charles is an attorney with twenty years of experience in a wide variety of areas including RTO, consumer financial services, antitrust, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, franchise law, and privacy law. Following law school at the University of Georgia, Charles earned a Master of Legal Studies and PhD from the University of Oxford in England.

Charles is credentialed as a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) with the International Franchise Association and as a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) and Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM) through the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Charles is an active ultra runner and open water swimmer.

Adam Sutton was literally born into the Rent-To-Own industry. His father, Larry Sutton aka “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 being able 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 began his early career in advertising and when Larry created RNR in 2000, Adam came on board as Marketing Director. After many successful advertising and marketing positions outside of RNR, Adam fulfilled a childhood dream by coming back to work for his father at RNR Tire Express as his right-hand man becoming the franchise Executive Vice President in 2017 and currently serves as President. Adam lives in Tampa with his wife and three children.

Lauren Talicska 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!).

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 40 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.

When he is not renting or collecting or innovating in RTO, Mike enjoys any time he can get with his girlfriend Angela Strong McCool at their lake or Orange Beach, Alabama. He is a rabid Reds fan and watches or listens to as many games as he can with his parents. He also uses any excuse possible to get to Arizona to see his daughter who is currently attending Arizona State University.

Daily Wilson is a senior associate at Hudson Cook’s Tennessee office where she practices federal and state regulatory compliance for alternative financial services providers, including consumer installment lenders, payday lenders, title lenders and rent-to-own providers. Prior to joining Hudson Cook, Dailey was a project attorney at King and Spalding, LLP, where she practiced in tort and environmental litigation, focusing on e-discovery.

Dailey spends her time outside of work with her husband and three daughters and watching Georgia Bulldogs football.

Ed Winn 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.

Jason Winters began his career in RTO as a Customer Account Representative at Rent-A-Center in Port Charlotte, Florida in May of 2000. He ran nine different locations including opening two 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 manages a region of nine locations in the Jacksonville area with an average revenue of $1 million per store. He currently resides in Daytona Beach with his wife and son. His older son is a VIP tour guide at Universal Studios.

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