William Cockrum

Businessman, Educator, and Philanthropist
Adjunct Professor of Finance, UCLA


Professor Bill Cockrum has won numerous teaching awards, including recognition as the top entrepreneurial professor in the nation in a survey conducted by Business Week in 1996. He has become a legend for a case-study entrepreneurial finance class he has taught for more than 30 years, in which students learn the ins and outs of acquiring and sustaining the financing for organizations.


Prior to joining the UCLA faculty, Cockrum spent 25 years in financial services, initially as a marketer and last as CFO/CAO and one of the top senior officers at Becker Paribas Inc., a 3,000-employee investment banking firm. When the company was sold to Merrill Lynch in 1984, Cockrum began his second career as a consultant to chief executive officers. He serves as a consultant in a variety of industries on issues such as organization structure, strategy, marketing, finance and administration.


Shortly after starting consulting, Cockrum joined UCLA Anderson and, in 1988, became a full-time professor, teaching students the business and finance skills needed to succeed as entrepreneurs. Cockrum has taught at UCLA Anderson for 36 years. He currently teaches Entrepreneurial Finance, Leadership and Business Ethics; Real-World Challenges Leaders Face; and Investment Management. More than 7,000 students have passed through his classroom for these courses. He also is a member of the school’s Board of Advisors, the Anderson alumni board, the advisory board of the Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation and the advisory board of the Fink Center for Investment. He is a former member of the UCLA Foundation investment committee and a governor of the Foundation.


Cockrum was until 2019 a member of the advisory board of the Graduate School of Management of Cranfield University in Cranfield, England, as well as a visiting professor and a member of the advisory board of the Betteny Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies at Cranfield. From 2004 to 2013, Cockrum was a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Management at Warwick University in Coventry, England, where he won teaching awards each year from 2005 to 2012. Currently, Cockrum is a professor and member of the advisory board at the business school of Trinity College Dublin University, where he was awarded the top teaching award from students in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Cockrum is a trustee of Educational Housing Services in New York City, a not-for-profit providing 4,400 beds to university students in the New York City area. He is chairman of the board’s nominating, governance and compensation committee.


Thursday, Feb 17th

Opening Reception

› 6:30 pm  | JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort

Friday, Feb 18th

8:00 am

Small Business Lending Forum held at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort. Our forum this year includes notable presentations and multiple breakout sessions focused on current issues facing our industry.

6:00 – 8:30 pm

Closing Reception  |  TBD

Saturday, Feb 19th

Annual Charity Golf Tournament —  Wildfire Golf Club

› 9:00 am  | Optional Charity Golf Tournament – 9am shotgun start

Registration for the 2022 Forum is now open

More details about the Forum, including breakout sessions, speakers, and sponsorship opportunities, will be posted here as soon as the information becomes available.


Monday, July 22

The small business lending marketplace is ever-changing. Shifts in legislation, the economic landscape and technology dramatically alter the determining factors of success and profitability for our industry. In the coming years, the competitive advantage will be had by those who prepare for disruption and adapt where necessary.

This year’s forum aims to prepare business leaders for unfavorable lending conditions; help identify hidden opportunity through a focus on diversity within company culture; ready organizations to implement incoming regulatory standards; and highlight the importance of active political advocacy for the small business lending as a whole.

The Keynote speaker, extreme climber, author and entrepreneur Steve House will inspire with tales of triumph and failure from his 30 years performing at the highest level of the world’s most dangerous sport.  

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.

Don’t forget to join us as we wrap up the 2019 Forum in unforgettable and entertaining fashion with an evening social event at TopGolf! Catered food and drinks will be provided by Mintaka Financial, so join us to say your goodbyes and hit some golf balls under the neon glow!

» 7:30 am – 8:30 am – Breakfast
Sponsored by Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato, L.C.

» 8:00 am – Registration

» 8:30 am – 8:45 am – Opening Remarks
Dave Schaefer, CEO, Orion First Financial

» 8:45 am – 10:00 am – Keynote: Steve House
Risk and Reward: Lessons from the World’s Greatest Mountains

» 10:00 am – 10:30 am – Networking Break

» 10:30 am – 11:30 am – Breakout Session One

CECL: Testing and Implementing the New Current Expected Credit Loss Standard Practices

Town Hall – Orion’s Product Roadmap and the Future Ahead

» 11:30 am – Lunch
Sponsored by Lending Science DM

» 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm – Breakout Session Two

Preparing for the Downturn

What Makes a Company Culture Great?

» 2:15 pm – 2:45 pm – Networking Break

» 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm – Breakout Session Three

Credit Scoring’s Place in Underwriting

Reshape or React: Political Advocacy and Small Business Lending

» 4:00 pm – Closing Remarks

» 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm – Top Golf Evening Event

Opening Remarks

Dave Schaefer

CEO, Orion First

Mr. Schaefer is the founder and chief executive officer of Orion First and of its subsidiary, Mintaka Financial, LLC. His focus is on growing Orion to become the leading loan and lease servicing company in the United States. He is a strong advocate for capital formation focused on the small and medium business.

With a career spanning forty years in the commercial finance industry, Dave’s
leadership experience has been influenced by a broad range of roles including business development, treasury, operations, technology, accounting and portfolio management. He has been involved in both prime and sub-prime markets. Prior to establishing Orion, he was President, and a member of the Board of Directors of Financial Pacific Leasing Company. Dave also founded Checkmate Certified Collections in 1975, a consumer and commercial collection agency.

An active leader and advocate for the industry, Dave is the immediate past chairman of the board of directors for the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Dave has served on the board of the ELFA since 2009 and became an officer in 2014. He has served as the chairman of LeasePAC, the industry’s federal political action
committee and the Small Ticket Business Council. Dave is also on the board of the Innovative Lenders Platform Association (ILPA). The ILPA was formed to advocate for lenders that serve the small business community. He formerly served on the board of directors of the United Association of Equipment Lessors (now the National Equipment Finance Association). He obtained his Certified Leasing and Finance Professional certification in 1996, making him one of the industry’s earliest CLFP’s.

Breakout Session One

10:30 – 11:30 am

CECL: Testing and Implementing the New Current Expected Credit Loss Standard Practices

Lenders and finance companies need to consider how they will adapt to the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) Standards. As we near the upcoming implementation deadline, understanding best practices around data gathering, modeling, testing and application are crucial to ensure a smooth transition for all organizations.

Shawn Halladay, Managing Director, The Alta Group
Christie Bakker, Partner, RSM US LLP
Zack Marsh, CFO, Mintaka Financial
Erik Cook, Director of Sales – Strategic Accounts, PayNet, Inc.

Town Hall – Orion’s Product Roadmap and the Future Ahead

This session will focus on current projects and future plans for Orion and solicit input from the audience on what service enhancements they would like to see and products to consider.

Dave Schaefer, CEO, Orion First
Paul Marcoe, CTO, Orion First
Jenny Wood, SVP, Client Services, Orion First

Breakout Session Two

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Preparing for the Downturn

Are you prepared for the next downturn? Many economists project the later part of 2020 for the next recession. This session will focus on experiences from the past recession, lessons learned, best practices, and ways to prepare for the next one.

Joe Collins, SVP, Business Development, Orion First

John Sinodis, Managing Partner, Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, LLP
Jourdan Saegusa, COO, Midland Equipment Finance
Nick Gibbens, VP, Business Development, Wintrust Specialty Finance
Tony Sedlacek, SVP, Portfolio Management, Orion First

What Makes a Company Culture Great?

Successful organizations understand that a key component to success is taking pride in the definition and execution of company core culture across all parts of the business. In times of stress and downturns, culture can often be overshadowed by day to day business and survival. Join us in discussing how leaders in the industry define a successful culture and how they employ others in the company to take pride in ensuring the culture is met at all times.

Jenny Wood, SVP, Client Services, Orion First

Lorie Frasier, SVP, Strategy and Performance Management, Key Equipment Finance
Ken Schneider, SVP, Business Development and Underwriting, Great American Insurance Company
Mike Smith, President, RTR Services, Inc

Breakout Session Three

2:45 – 3:45 pm

Credit Scoring’s Place in Underwriting

This session will focus on the role credit scoring plays in the underwriting process, efficiencies it can bring and the balance of scoring and human touch. The use of Orion’s SAIPHTM Score will be discussed.

Kim Riggs, Business Development, Orion First

Barry Ripes, Managing Director, PayNet, Inc
Karen Brown, VP and General Manager, Risk Analytics, Lending Science DM
Bill Fogarty, COO, Mintaka Financial

Reshape or React: Political Advocacy and Small Business Lending

Advocating for small business lending and the equipment finance industry is a responsibility we all share because our efforts fuel the engine of the U.S. economy; small business. Through events like Capitol Connections from the ILPA, ELFA and LeasPAC, we can interact with U.S. Representatives and Senators in Washington, D.C. and legislators and administrators at the state level, to make our collective voice heard.This session will cover current advocacy efforts and the factors influencing the legislative and regulatory landscape, showcasing the need for industry engagement in order to represent the best interests of American small business.

Quentin Cote, President, Mintaka Financial

Andy Alper, Attorney, Frandzel Robins Bloom & Csato, L.C.
Scott Riehl, Vice President, State Government Relations, ELFA
Scott Stewart, CEO, Innovative Lending Platform Association