Arnaldo Rodriguez Video Interview – BEYOND THE USA

Arnaldo Rodriguez - Video Interview with Arnaldo Rodriguez, a trailblazer in opening up new leasing markets in Latin America.  Arnaldo is President of CSI Leasing the largest independent technology equipment lessor of its kind.

One of the objectives of Leasing Avenues is to bring you real-time interviews with fascinating people that through sheer force of will, passion and intellect defy the status quo and create something new!  Arnaldo Rodriguez is one of those people.  Arnaldo dramatically expanded the FMV technology leasing market into Mexico and throughout almost all of Latin America.

Part 1:  Introduction to Arnaldo Rodriguez, President of CSI Leasing

Arnaldo provides us with a prelude to how this whole thing started in the first place, from a US business start to Mexico.

Part 2:  State of FMV leasing in Mexico

Part 3:  After Mexico?

Part 4: Challenges along the way & Conclusion


Arnaldo Rodriguez

Arnaldo Rodriguez Bio

August 2019 - Keynote at Asobancaria in Bogota, Colombia

Video of Bob Rinaldi delivering the Keynote speech at Asobancaria's 3rd Leasing Encounter in Bogota, Colombia

Optimal Enterprise Value = Luck

Article as published in NEFA's July/August 2019 Issue of Newsline

Rinaldi Newsline Article Extract

Terence Reilly - Aganorsa Leaf

Aganorsa Leaf Cigar Company visits a “world class” cigar lounge in Houston, aptly named,

Stogies World Class Cigars

(BTW: Jorge has a special offer from Stogies at the end)

Aganorsa Leaf is well known as a very significant tobacco leaf supplier to many great cigar companies but will soon be as well known for their newest branded cigar lineup. Terence Reilly, the VP Sales for Aganorsa Leaf Cigars held a very educational and entertaining session, called the Aganorsa Experience at Stogies in early June. Aganorsa Leaf grows two seed varietals on their estate. The Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 varietals are very different in their own right. Terence provided us each with a small taste of each leaf rolled solely by itself in a rough twig shaped cigar. The Corojo 99 has a subtle, sweet, and nutty flavor while the Criollo has a more distinctive earthy profile. However, when Terence had his audience put them both in their mouth at the same time and draw the smoke together, the combination was more distinguishing and complex than either by themselves. Aganorsa Leaf cigars blended each of their brands with various combinations of each varietal, giving each cigar a completely different flavor profile. Such is the experience of tasting their many fine cigar blends. You cannot help but find one or two that you will find enjoyable.

Part 1: Bob introduces you to Terence Reilly, VP Sales & Marketing of Aganorsa Leaf


Part 2: Featuring – Aganorsa Leaf Corojo

Terence discusses his Aganorsa Leaf Corojo cigar line. Its flavor profile both sweet and earthy as Aganorsa uses both a Corojo binder and wrapper with a criollo filler.


Part 3: Featuring – Aganorsa Leaf Maduro

Aganorsa Maduro is a fuller more flavorful blend that is both distinctive and memorable. The flavor profile is a rich depth of flavor that Terence describes as like a milkshake!

Part 4: Featuring – Aganorsa Leaf Habano

Up next, Aganorsa Leaf Habano, which is for those that like a spicy or peppery flavor in their cigar.

Special Treat From Stogies World Class Cigars

Jorge, Terence, and Jenny

Jorge and Jenny are providing “Diversion” viewers 10% off your purchase of Aganorsa Leaf cigars from their website PLUS free shipping!


Stogies (click here)


How Technology is Changing One of the Oldest Professions

An interview with Michael Levison, CEO ALS Resolvion Skip Trace & Repossession Management Services.

This video series is about how technology is remaking the historically fractured market of repossession services.  Technology in this series is more of an overriding term for several capabilities that have come of age from the conceptual drawing board to tangible, useful, and paradigm changing applications.  The use of this technology was paramount to moving what has traditionally been an industry of many small regional repossession companies into an industrial strength set of capabilities that allow a participant to scale dramatically.

Michael Levison, CEO – Introduction

Michael talks about its genesis from the typical small family-owned repossession company to a national force operating at scale.

Part 1: Compliance played a pivotal role for technology advancement of skip trace & repossession capabilities 

Some of the technology was a requirement to comply while other technologies like big data, data mining, and AI was a requirement to achieve scale. Real-time data communication, however, is required to reduce the potential for “wrongful repossession” and you cannot afford to screw that up!

Part 2: Is it data mining or artificial intelligence?

Michael discusses the use of big data and data mining tools to find linkages in diverse data sets that only these tools can provide in providing actionable data to find missing assets. Michael also discusses the impact of GPS data (again, yet another separate data source).

Part 3: License plate recognition technology

Michael discusses what LPR technology is, how it works as well as the hundreds of millions of new scans each month it adds to an already enormous database from which to mine and amalgamate with other data to increase the likelihood of finding vehicles.

Part 4: Conclusion & what’s next!

Michael discusses what he sees as the next big thing. As opposed to entirely new technologies, Michael feels that improvements in data mining and AI will be the most impactful.

Michael Levison

Michael Levison's Bio

Harry Kaplun Interview - Industry Leader and past CEO Frost Bank Equipment Finance

Harry Kaplun - An Interview with an industry leader with deep expertise in starting and building a significant and successful bank equipment leasing and finance business.

This video series is a must for banks wanting to add a significant commercial asset generation business and specifically, doing so by starting an Equipment leasing and finance lending vertical.  Harry Kaplun, who very recently retired as President of Frost Bank Equipment Finance, has deep expertise in green-fielding the business at a 150-year-old Texas-based bank. Harry describes what works, what does not work, and some of the pitfalls along the way.  Bob and Harry discuss the national vs. footprint models as well as middle and large ticket sectors vs. small ticket (small business).  Harry has been there and seen it all.  Harry has also been a longtime contributor of time, talent, and treasure to the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association.  It was Harry’s idea to create the ELFA Guest Lecture Program to evangelize the industry at colleges and universities across the USA.

Harry Kaplun – Introduction

Part 1: A discussion around equipment leasing & finance banking models

Harry and Bob discuss the two types of models for a bank equipment leasing and finance business unit.

Part 2: A discussion around equipment leasing & finance banking models

Harry discusses the “characteristics of success.”  One such requirement is a well thought out strategic approach with buy-in with all stakeholders at the bank.

Challenges to starting a new bank leasing & finance model

Harry discusses a couple of the more significant challenges, such as the need for transaction speed and receptivity to change.

Addressing the Cost of entry concern

One false perception by the bank is usually that the cost of entry will be high, but the reality can be very different.  Understanding the banking metric of efficiency ratio is a must.

The role of the bank’s CEO and culture

How does a bank usually get started in entering the equipment leasing & finance business?  The role of the Bank CEO, which is where the impetus all must begin, has to build consensus across the bank executive team.  Harry discusses the two models of “footprint” vs. “national approach.”  Assessing whether the bank’s culture can tolerate the change requires objective and frankly brutal honesty.

Harry Kaplun

Harry Kaplun's Full Bio

Michael Giannini - Ventura Cigar Company

What could be revolutionary in Cigars?  

Michael Giannini that’s what!  

This video series is less about cigars but rather, rebranding and rethinking old products.  Michael Giannini, the head of Ventura Cigar Company, explains his way of envisioning cigars that will appeal to the next generation. As they say, this is not your father’s Buick!  Michael’s Ventura Cigar Company is nothing like what you would expect of the old-line cigar manufacturers that we 50+ somethings are familiar.  Well, there is a whole new group behind us that is accumulating some wealth and discretionary spending capability.  They are looking for something different in their purchases – they want an experience!  Yes, even in cigars!  Enter Michael Giannini and Ventura Cigars to fill that vacuum.

Part 1: Bob introduces you to Michael Giannini of Ventura Cigars

Michael talks about how a first-generation American kid, from an Italian family, washing pots in an Italian restaurant ends up in the tobacco industry.  He is one of the most colorful interesting individuals I have ever met!

Part 2: From Philly, to Miami, to LA.

Michael’s entrepreneurial spirit leads him to Miami and mentor under hall of fame cigar master, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, of La Gloria Cubana and then head of innovation for General Cigars. Then Michael takes a year off that accidentally led him to his newest opportunity – Ventura Cigars.

Part 3: Michael talks about his blending & branding philosophy

Michael talks about what his blending philosophy is all about and how he envisioned his new award-winning lineup – Archetype. He tells about combining a story, a great product, and branding.

Part 4: Michael, being a chef, talks about the similarities of flavor profiles he used in blending his Archetype cigars with those used in cooking.

Envisioning a product includes a story, a great product, great artwork/branding to create an experience.

Michael talks about flavor profiles and how he combines them to create the Archetype cigar brands – Dream State, Sage Advice, Strange Passage, and Axis Mundi.  Each of these cigars combines a flavor profile that matches its name, includes a story, and artwork & branding that ties it all together.  That is DIFFERENT!    Archetype cigars are widely available, comes in multiple sizes, and are very affordable at under $12 per cigar.

Part 5: Blaze Cigar Lounge & Bar in the Cincinnati area – is a must visit location when you visit Cincinnati.

Michael and I give kudos to Blaze Cigar Lounge and Bar located across the river from downtown Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky for hosting us.  He also talks about a young woman, Indiana Cortez, who is a rising cigar master in the cigar industry and her blend – PSyko Seven Nicaragua.

Heritage Distilling Company - Award Winning Craft Distillery in Seattle

Craft Distilling? Meet Heritage Distilling Company

During a recent business trip to visit Mintaka Financial and Orion First in Seattle, I stayed at an Inn next to a very interesting and surprising craft distillery, the Heritage Distilling Company.  Heritage Distilling is located in the quaint bucolic neighborhood of Gig Harbor, Washington. My curiosity compelled me to make a visit.  Talk about a surprise. Sure, I have heard of craft distilleries but not that many and even fewer have I visited.  Keep in mind, I consider myself a bit of a bourbon snob where only real bourbon is made in Kentucky and aged a considerable amount of time in oak barrels. But I am open-minded enough to at least listen and sample.  Good thing, since Heritage Distilling Company is one of the most highly awarded craft distilleries in the nation, which is especially notable given, they are less than 10 years in existence and started by a young entrepreneurial and dedicated couple.

Part 1: Bob meets with Max Gorman, the head distiller of Heritage Distilling Company, in the Seattle suburb of Gig Harbor

Max describes the history of Heritage from a startup to a distillery that has won many awards already and creating a lot of buzz in a short 7 years.

Part 2: Max explains the impetus for allowing craft distilling to emerge.

This is a short discussion about the methods that Heritage Distilling played the distilling game a bit differently.

Part 3: Not only is Heritage young, so are its employees which is completely contra to the whole distilling business

Passion and Commitment trumps age even in a century-old industry.  Listen up to see a real-world example of the application of this new paradigm. I think every organization can relate to or learn something from this example.

Part 4: The tortured wait is over, time to taste the goods!  Up first, Elk Rider Bourbon

Bob’s Review of

Elk Rider Bourbon – This is a very light yet tasty bourbon. I enjoyed the complex flavor with no burn making it even, well, refreshing. This is a great bourbon for those that are just starting out or serious bourbon drinkers who do not want something too heavy later in the evening.  Great floral notes combined with a little smokiness reminiscent of a light scotch. Bottom line – Get a bottle! Well worth the $45.

Part 5: Up next! The internationally, award-winning BSB (brown sugar bourbon), a surprise, and BSB 103

The BSB bourbons make a phenomenal after dinner cordial or to use in baking.  The BSB 103 is a higher proof of the base BSB and would be for those traditional bourbon drinkers looking for that strength of character for which bourbon is known.  BSB and BSB 103 are very accessible as they are both under $40 a bottle. So, BSB and BSB 103 are a MUST TRY.  I understand now why Heritage was voted “World’s Best Flavoured Whisky” for the second consecutive year at 2019 Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards in London

Part 6: Wrapping up! So if you want to check out where to get some of Heritage Distilling Company’s award-winning bourbons, you will want to watch this!

Willy Herrara

An interview with Master Blender Willy Herrera

Meet world-famous master blender of fine cigars, Willy Herrera. The interview took place at my favorite cigar lounge in the US, Stogies World Famous Cigars in Houston, Texas run by proprietor Jorge Ahued. Willy and his team were at Stogies for a special evening event featuring Willy’s own new blend, Herrera Esteli from Nicaragua. Jorge, and I catch some private time with Willy on this busy evening to hear about Willy’s start and his eventual attachment to Drew Estates, one of the world’s largest fine cigar producers.

Willy Herrera Part 1: From Banking to Cigars

In this video, Willy explains how he ended up in the cigar industry from an improbable start in banking.

Willy Herrera Part 2: How Willy made it to the pinnacle of the premium cigar industry

From a start in a small family owned cigar factory to the top of the industry.

Willy Herrera Part 3: The role of a Master Blender

Willy explains what it takes to be a master blender

Willy Herrera Part 4: Where to find Willy Herrera

How to learn more about Willy

Paul Gass Interview - Founder of Eaton Financial est. 1974

Paul Gass - An Interview with a true pioneer of the equipment leasing and finance industry.

Paul, the original founder of Eaton Financial, is one of the most interesting people in our industry. Eaton was one of the very first to pioneer the small ticket leasing business along with creating the unique tools required some 40 years ago.  Paul was and is a tireless advocate for the disadvantaged and for championing many causes, from diversity in the workplace, founding of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation and extensive philanthropy. In this series of short videos, we take a look at just a few of the highlights of Paul Gass’s remarkable career.  Trust me, there could easily be a dozen more segments of the very interesting and engaging life of Paul Gass.  There is much anyone can learn from Paul.

Paul Gass – Introduction

This video will give you a sense for Paul and set the stage for the following segments.

Paul discusses how he started Eaton with an idea to fill a void in the equipment leasing industry

Paul Gass – Starting Eaton Financial

How does one start something from nothing when there wasn’t a roadmap! Paul discusses how he started Eaton with an idea to fill a void in the equipment leasing industry

Without a road map, challenges were expected but what were some of them

Paul Gass – Challenges

Learn about Paul’s philosophy on dealing with challenges

Ever wonder how application only credit decisioning started?

Paul Gass – Innovation

Wonder no longer!

In an era and an industry which was unquestionably male-dominated Paul blazed new territory well ahead of his time.

Paul Gass – Diversity Pioneer

Learn why many of Paul’s key employees were women.

Paul had an idea about leasing education and fostering research in the industry then put his money to work in making it a reality

Paul Gass – Founding the EL&F Foundation

Learn how the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation got its start.

Paul sees another need to help those with disabilities gain entry into the workplace.

Paul Gass – Help For Those With Disabilities

Hear about how Paul engaged with the Advocates, a non-profit that champions people who face developmental, mental health, or other life challenges.

We sum it all up in this segment, but we could have gone on for hours.

Paul Gass – Final Thoughts

Get some parting words of wisdom.  Do you have some questions for Paul, please comment or contact us and we will try to get Paul to answer them.

Paul Gass

Paul's Full Bio