arrow_web2015 FORUM

Thank you to all who attended the 2015 Small Business Lending Forum. Mark your calendars for the 2016 forum & golf tournament, August 15th & 16th and check back this spring to register.

The 2015 Small Business Lending Forum took place August 10th and 11th, beginning with the forum, held at the Foss Waterway Seaport, on Monday August 10th at 5:00 pm. Industry leaders shared their unique perspectives and success stories from the small business lending marketplace.

Following the Forum, we invited everyone to cruise the South Sound with us aboard the Emerald Star for cocktails and conversation.

On Tuesday August 11th we headed out to the beautiful Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club for our annual golf scramble, benefiting the YMCA.


Monday, August 10

1:00 pm

Small Business Lending Forum held at the Foss Waterway Seaport

5:00 pm Cast Off

Boat cruise and cocktail reception aboard Waterways Cruises “Emerald Star” casting off from the Foss Waterway Seaport Dock. Yacht to arrive at dock at 4:30 pm.

Tuesday, August 11

ymca_grn_rgb_50x39Annual Golf Tournament to benefit the YMCA
Trophy Lake Golf and Casting Club  
7:30 – 8:30 am

Registration at Trophy Lake Golf Club

8:30 am

Shotgun Start – Lunch to follow tournament


Monday, August 10

The small business lending marketplace is ever changing. As it experiences the saturation of new lenders, it also sees new products, technologies and innovations which are dramatically changing the the determining factors of success and profitability.

Alternative lenders are fine tuning their strategies. Equipment finance companies are expanding their product offerings. Banks are considering alternative funding avenues and alliances with other funding companies. Private investors and venture capitalists are deploying assets into companies expecting growth and profitability.

Our discussion will focus on these topics, the market itself, new and old challenges we’re facing and how we might best navigate, respond and adapt to this dynamic environment.

Our goal: To provide you with ideas, concepts and an enhanced perspective on how best to optimize your current and future model to maximize capitalization of the small business lending market.

Forum Schedule

» 1:00pm – 1:15pm – Opening Remarks
Dave Schaefer, CEO, Orion First Financial

» 1:15pm – 1:30pm – Congressional Update
Congressman Derek Kilmer (WA-06)

» 1:30pm – 1:45pm – View from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Ralph Petta, CEO, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association

» 1:45pm – 2:45pm – Keynote: But Why Can’t Things Just Stay the Same?
Bill Stainton, Executive Producer

» 2:45pm – 3:00 – Break

» 3:00pm – 4:00pm – The Future of Small Business Lending Panel Discussion

» 4:00pm – 4:15pm – Closing Remarks
Dave Schaefer, CEO, Orion First Financial

» 4:30pm – Boarding for Emerald Star Boat Cruise

» 5:00pm – 7:00pm – Emerald Star Boat Cruise

Keynote Speaker

Bill Stainton

Bill Stainton is a multiple Emmy Award-winning TV producer, writer, and performer, an author, a business humorist and an internationally-recognized Beatles expert. He blends the business smarts he learned from twenty years in corporate management with the showbiz sparks he gleaned from working with celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jay Leno to create entertaining and enlightening presentations enjoyed by audiences around the world!

As the executive producer of Seattle’s legendary comedy TV show, Almost Live!, Bill led a talented and highly creative team to unparalleled success with a #1 rating for ten straight years, and over 100 Emmy Awards (29 of which went to Bill). At the same time, he also owned his own corporate training company, authoring nine training programs in subjects ranging from Office Politics to Customer Service to Team Motivation.

Opening Remarks

Dave Schaefer

Dave is the founder and CEO of Orion First Financial, which provides contract servicing and collection services to alternative lenders, banks and independent financial institutions. Dave is also the founder and CEO of Mintaka Financial, a commercial finance company specializing in serving the needs of small businesses across the United States through an exclusive network of originators that share ownership in Mintaka.

Dave is active with the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) currently serving as Vice Chairman of the ELFA Board of Directors and past Chairman of LeasePAC (the industry’s federal political action committee).

Congressional Update

Derek Kilmer

Derek Kilmer serves as the United States Representative of Washington’s 6th Congressional District and is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Prior to his service in Congress, he worked for global consulting firm McKinsey & Company and then for the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, working to grow jobs in our region.

Congressman Kilmer has focused on getting our economy and our Congress back to work. Understanding that Washington is the most trade dependent state in our nation, Derek’s focus has been to empower our workers, their businesses and the laws governing them. He is pushing to ensure that small businesses have access to the types of capital which supports their growth and creates jobs.

View from the ELFA

Ralph Petta

Ralph Petta serves as Chief Operating Officer for the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), the premier trade association representing 550+ member organizations in the $903 billion equipment finance sector. As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Petta is responsible for providing coordination, direction and oversight of ELFA programs and services designed to add value to the association’s member organizations.
Mr. Petta, an authority in the business of equipment finance, has been with the association since 1987.

Panel Moderator

Bob Rinaldi

Bob Rinaldi is the CEO of Commercial Industrial Finance. Formerly, Bob was senior vice president of CSI Leasing, president of National City Commercial Capital (NC4) Canada, and executive vice president of NC4 in the USA. Bob is a veteran of the equipment leasing industry. He was a founding partner of Information Leasing Corp., which he helped grow to the fifth largest bank owned leasing company in the U.S. He is Chairman of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association, a past Chairman of its LeasePAC, and a past Trustee of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation. Bob writes and speaks extensively on the industry.


  • Robert Peterson

    Senior Vice President at Route 66 Ventures, LLC., which is an investment firm focused on growth stories applied to business models experiencing long term trend changes in financial services.

  • Tabitha Creighton

    Co-Founder and CEO at InvestNextDoor - the first community-focused online peer to business investment marketplace that gives control back to investors and borrowers.

  • Brij Patel

    President at Alliance Funding Group, Brij has created innovative outlets for companies to maximize their purchasing options and expand in growing their businesses.