Vernon Leake, CEO, has nearly 25 years of experience in the automotive finance and insurance (F&I) and reinsurance industries. He is responsible for the strategic sales and financial direction of SouthWest Dealer Services Holdings and Southwest Dealer Services (SWDS), comprised of more than 330 employees and a network of 1100 active dealers across 16 states.
Under his leadership, the company’s mandate is to grow through organic sales and the strategic acquisition of agencies, to create a nation-wide footprint and best-in-class solutions portfolio.
Prior to joining SWDS Mr. Leake was CEO and co-founder of Century Automotive Service Corporation. Subsequent to the MAPFRE Group’s acquisition of Century in 2012, he served as its Head of Specialty Risk. In the earlier part of his career, Mr. Leake was Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of DAC Insurance Company, Rated A- by AM Best.
He is widely recognized as an industry leader, igniting sales growth within companies and has a diverse understanding of captive reinsurance, marketing, product development and the underwriting of F&I programs.
Larry Pomarico, President of SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS), has 28 years of automotive industry experience. Mr. Pomarico leads the company’s national sales force and revenue development and boasts a long-term history of successful Dealership Finance department profit development.
He maintains extensive knowledge in dealership operations and the marketing, administration and reinsurance of automotive products.
Mr. Pomarico is a Colorado Native and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from the University of Northern Colorado.
Michael Okada, Chief Financial Officer for SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS), has more than 25 years of executive financial management experience in high growth companies. As a Big 4 CPA, Mr. Okada has previously held senior management roles with publicly-traded and private companies in a broad range of industries, including; manufacturing, natural resources, technology, semiconductors, professional services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and health care services.
Mr. Okada possesses expertise in SEC financial reporting, board and investor relations and establishing infrastructure for rapidly expanding organizations.
Prior to joining SWDS, Mr. Okada served as Chief Financial Officer for Rocky Mountain Resources, a publicly-traded bio-plastic resin manufacturer, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Cereplast, a publicly-traded bio-plastic resin manufacturer. Preceding his corporate management positions, Mr. Okada began his career with Coopers & Lybrand (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in San Jose, CA.
Mr. Okada earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Santa Clara University and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in the State of California.
Dennis Drent, Chief Operating Officer of SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS), is responsible for driving corporate initiatives to ensure greater accountability over required results for executive level team members. This includes supporting corporate initiatives such as the integration of new corporate processes and the analysis and reporting of company results at the executive level. He also plays a critical role in analyzing the business case for M&A activity including conducting due diligence, purchase negotiations and the assimilation process, all of which help to facilitate the increased probability of success and topline growth for SWDS.
He has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry and started his career in Chicago as a Certified Public Accountant. His first major client was Pat Ryan & Associates. Dennis has served as a partner at Ernst & Young LLP, Senior Vice President at Nationwide Insurance, and President & CEO of Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (VPI). VPI was the largest and oldest pet health insurance company in the U.S. protecting approximately 500,000 dogs and cats at the time.
Mr. Drent graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign with both a Bachelor’s of Science and Masters in Business Administration.
Aaron Lodge, SVP of Operations, has been an integral member of the SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS) family for more than 20 years. He leads operations, which includes dispatch, warehouse management and anti-theft product development and customer service across all divisions.
Throughout his career he has served in a myriad of positions with increasing responsibility within the company. More importantly, he has gained a comprehensive view of SWDS and the industry from the various departments and roles he served in, and as a result, today is recognized internally and externally as an innovator and subject matter expert. He has also led the development of many of the company’s proprietary products, advancements and operational efficiencies.
Mr. Lodge’s drive and passion for finding opportunity amongst challenge will continue to play a role in the company’s continued growth and development.
Bob has over 10 years of experience in equity capital markets and corporate finance. Prior to joining SWDS, Bob worked as a Senior Investment Analyst at a $20 billion investment firm where he focused on the consumer discretionary, staples, and media sectors for the company's U.S. Growth, Convertible, and Alternative strategies. He is a CFA Charterholder.
Jill Zack, VP of Marketing, leads a critical role within SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS), serving to solidify the organization’s visual and verbal brand among dealer clients and retail consumers, and communicate the benefits of new partnerships and acquisitions. In addition, Ms. Zack is responsible for the development of innovative strategic sales and client growth initiatives.
Her understanding of the automotive business has been catalyst for her success. Jill began her career in 2002 as a founding National Marketing Manager at a reinsurance company serving the automotive industry.
Throughout her career Ms. Zack has served in a variety of executive level marketing positions including, AVP of Marketing and Communication for the University of New Mexico Foundation, Senior Director of Marketing for Globalinks Learning Abroad, and founding Website News Producer for KRQE, a CBS affiliate. She also built her own marketing consulting firm, where she specialized in brand strategy and organizational business development plans for complex private, government and non-profit organizations.
Ms. Zack has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication & Fine Art from the University of New Mexico.
Bill Wilson, VP of Sales at SouthWest Dealer Services (SWDS) is responsible for organic and new business development, working with each division to ensure customer satisfaction and advancement. He is also charged with vetting new sales programs and products. During his tenue at SWDS, he has also lead many dealer client technology enhancements such as our MenuMax program.
Mr. Wilson has 27 years of experience in the automotive industry and started with SWDS in 1999 as the founding partner for the Kansas City division.
He holds a B.S. in Finance from University of Nebraska.
With 25+ years of automotive F&I and Sales experience, Mr. Velau worked at Pat Ryan & Associates (Resource Automotive Group) for 9 years. First as a field rep, followed by 5 years as a trainer. After his departure from Pat Ryan/Resource, he became AutoNation’s National Finance & Insurance Training Manager. In 1999, Mr. Velau became a partner at SWDS. As the leader of their F&I and Sales training division, he is responsible for the development and implementation of all F&I and Variable Operations training solutions for SWDS’s dealer clients.
His duties also include F&I software development and implementation.
Mr. Velau is AFIP Master Certified and holds a B.A. in Economics from UCLA.