It would be easy to start this year's Newsletter with a summary of all the difficulties our industry has endured, but I prefer to focus on the good news. And there is lots of good news. First, the worst is over! More and more companies are implementing plans for expansion, both in terms of size as well as new market entrees. Our business has rebounded and we are very confident going forward. We have quite a few new clients with whom we are excited to begin relationships as well as our long-standing clients with whom we have partnered for years and value tremendously. Not only are new companies emerging, existing companies are expanding, and markets that have been ignored for years are starting to regain attention. Of course Healthcare and IT still lead the charge, but recycling, renewable energy, food processing, transportation, and even construction now join them, to name a few. The changes don't stop there, either. New venues within existing businesses are gaining market share, such as EMR in the Healthcare space. For the first time in a very long time, I feel as if our industry is broiling with opportunity, and like a volcano, there is going to be quite an explosion. Even with all of the turmoil the accounting and other technical changes portend, I am confident the leasing and finance industry will emerge as a viable, essential driver within the global economy. It may be different, but it will certainly be vibrant. The founders of the leasing industry were a group of creative thinkers who found ways to turn opportunity into profit. That legacy is still alive, and even with the change in the off balance sheet treatment of FMV leasing products, the smart innovative people who comprise our industry will find a way to work around it, such as approaching their clients with total product bundled solutions rather than just a way in which to pay for capital expenditures. We need to rethink the entire business of doing business as the global economy continues to become more interwoven. I believe every experience offers an opportunity for growth. It will be very interesting to see who reaches out and grabs for it.

There are three significant pieces of news I wanted to share with you about Executive Solutions in 2011. Many of the long standing recruiters well known to our industry have responded to the recession by allocating much of their resources to other industries in order to augment the slack in our own. We have chosen to remain steadfast in our commitment to leasing and finance, and have no intention of diluting our efforts by jumping ship to any degree. We want you all to know that.

I mentioned earlier that our industry has always been defined by words like creativity, innovation, and pioneering spirit, if you will. During the past 18 or so months, lots of leasing companies have downsized, gone out of business, or become part of other companies through acquisition. One of the resulting consequences is that many experienced and successful professionals have found themselves out of work and facing dismal re-employment opportunities within leasing and finance. In keeping with the approach of our founders, I am determined to come up with ways to help these folks while simultaneously preserving and making good use of their vast experience and historical perspective. Ultimately this strategy will strengthen and diversify the opportunities companies will be able to tap into. So many industries serve the leasing and finance world by providing essential services such as insurance, asset management, collections, software, platform augmentation, etc. Service Providers' insight into the leasing world and their contacts and knowledge cross paths in countless ways. By extending our customer base to include leasing and finance Service Providers, we will be able to expand our customer base yet remain consistent in our focus while being able to offer displaced leasing and finance professionals the prospect of continuing to work in a closely related field. Our industry will profit from the long-standing relationships and hard earned knowledge these tenured professionals have acquired. These displaced people will be able to expand their knowledge and begin a new career without having to start at the very beginning. The other side of the coin is that Service Providers will have access to a vast talent pool of "connected" folks who can transfer much of their experience, contacts, and knowledge base easily to a sister industry, resulting in a much higher degree of successful hires for Service Providers and a substantially reduced learning curve. Lessors and banks will obviously be the recipients of tremendous benefits as well. We're very excited about this new avenue and invite Service Providers of all sorts to consider taking advantage of this approach. Executive Solutions looks forward to conducting Talent Searches for Service Providers and we are very eager to expand our own knowledge base in the process!

Many of you have had an opportunity to get to know Jon Gerson over the last number of years by working with him and meeting him at various industry events. This past October he was a panelist on a Break Out session I conducted at the annual ELFA convention. Jon has proven himself to be a very creative thinker. Our firm has benefited from his fresh and strategic approach to executive search. We have incorporated a number of his ideas that have produced very positive outcomes. As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Jon's role on an executive level will continue to expand. Therefore, it seemed appropriate that he join me in writing this annual Newsletter to share some of his thoughts and perspective with you. His comments follow.

Jon's Reflections

I expressed my interest to Teri in participating for the first time in this ESLF tradition because I wanted to share some of my thoughts garnered over a rather tumultuous tenure in leasing and finance. I first joined our industry 7 years ago when I was taking a sabbatical from college. Since then, I have worked during a vibrant economy as well as an uncertain one that led to the Great Recession. Now, I believe we are entering a period of renewed, if hesitant, enthusiasm, and what I hope will be a robust new decade.

Of course each shift in the economy has compelled us, as companies specifically, and as an industry in general, to shift our expectations, goals, and market approach. 2009 and 2010 represented what has perhaps been the greatest shift. Capital became scarce, delinquencies went up, and new business declined, as we are all well aware. Our industry experienced an earthquake that shook the foundations of all companies in varying degrees. All of us, from banks to small brokers, suffered. Some were leveled and some have begun to rebuild with encouraging results. Although some are gone forever, those that withstood the challenges know that the worst is behind them. They are to be congratulated.

But being here now is only half the battle. What I have to come to realize over the last several years, and which has been made even clearer by the recession, is that those companies that fail to adapt fail to thrive. I believe now, more strongly than ever, that the most crucial component of adapting is not planning, but rather, communicating and listening. Without crucial information gathering, we face the danger of having the most well thought out plans take us in the wrong direction. I would like to encourage all companies, to take a long look at how they communicate-with their clients, their clients' customers, their sales people, credit departments, and all levels of management. In other words, throw a broad net and make clear there are no ideas not worthy of floating. It is essential, especially if we are on the upswing, that revised expectations are effectively communicated to our teams. In turn, it is essential to encourage and reward our teams for candidly providing feedback to fine tune expectations, now more than ever.

I look forward to getting to know more of our industry participants and to forging long lasting creative partnerships going forward.

On behalf of myself, Jon Gerson, and Helene Kugit, we wish all of you a successful, challenging, and tremendously rewarding 2011!

P.S. Please don't forget to upload/update your profile through our website under Career


Teri Gerson , President


Executive Solutions for Leasing & Finance, Inc.

181 New Providence Road

Mountainside, NJ 07092-2516

908.654.1550 (f) 908.847.0377

[email protected]