Mikey Schaefer



The 2023 Small Business Lending Forum is thrilled to welcome as its keynote speaker renowned photographer, filmmaker, and climber Mikey Schaefer. 


Mikey Schaefer is a photographer, filmmaker, and professional climber known for his pioneering climbing endeavors, including first ascents in the Alaska Range, the Cascades, Yosemite, and Patagonia. Some of his most notable climbs include free ascents of El Capitan and the Southeast Ridge of Cerro Torre in Patagonia.


Mikey is possibly best known for his role as the director of photography for the Academy Award-winning documentary Free Solo. His talent in the vertical world, penchant for risky situations, and his eye for composition are apparent in his photographic images, which have been featured in major national magazines such as National Geographic, Outside, and Men’s Journal.  


He has a house in central Oregon, a post office box in Yosemite National Park, and a shack in El Chalten, Argentina. But when not traveling the world or hanging off the side of a cliff, Mikey calls Reno, Nevada home.


Risk & Reward: Lessons from the world’s greatest mountains


SPEAKER: Steve House


Join extreme climber, author, and entrepreneur Steve House as he shares tales—and lessons—from surviving 30 years at the highest level of the world’s most dangerous sport. Managing risk is a business topic attendees are familiar with, but when the risk is to life, do the strategies change? If so, how? And when failure comes, what then?


Steve will take the audience along on his world-record ascent of the biggest, most dangerous mountain wall in the world. Five years on, riding high on a history-making career, and it all came crashing down; 100 feet down. 30 broken bones. Collapsed Lung. A narrow survival.


Rehab and recovery follow, but so do the doubts. What now?


Many of you have climbed your first mountain: Made your own history, captained your own success. But have you asked yourself: What now? What does it mean? If this is all I do in my life, if I were die today, would I be content?


Climbing that second mountain is what Steve does today. Now leading four small businesses, having authored four books, built an instructional video series on the principles of risk, and become a mentor and coach to climbers and athletes worldwide.


This, clearly, is the important work of life. The work that each attendee will find him or herself doing now or in the near future. The work of legacy, building communities, teaching, mentoring, visioning. Sharing lessons learned that are so profound, as you speak them, you surprise even yourself. And you are not alone in this journey. Those that follow Steve’s journey will gain insight into their own.

Registration for the 2023 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. Click the button below to register at Eventbrite.


We can’t wait to welcome you in person.


Schedule of Events

Thursday, Feb 16

Optional Charity Pickleball Tournament

› 9:00 am  | Pickleball Center


Optional Charity Golf Tournament

11:00 am  | Wildfire Golf Club


Welcome Reception

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

Friday, Feb 17

Small Business Lending Forum

8:00 am  | JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort

Our forum this year includes notable presentations and multiple breakout sessions focused on current issues facing our industry.

Evening Event

5:30 pm  | TBD

2023 Platinum Sponsor

great american insurance group

2023 Sponsors


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