70 Years of Growth – One Relationship at a Time
On Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, Motorlease Corporation of Farmington, Conn. — a pioneer in the fleet leasing industry — commemorated its 70th anniversary with clients, colleagues, employees, and friends at Lime Rock Race Way in Lakeville, Conn. The celebration included a day of world-class racing, preview and test drives of new vehicles with a dozen auto manufacturers, and guests had the opportunity to ride along with professional drivers for autocross hot laps. CEO Beth Kandrysawtz spoke briefly at the celebration, saying, “I am pleased to be joined today by so many of our valued clients, employees, retirees, and business partners. I have been with Motorlease for 31 years, and a lot has changed during my tenure, not to mention during the 70 years since we began. But there is one common thread that has never changed — in fact it has grown stronger over the years — and that is the relationships we build.” A highlight of the event included a milestone recognition ceremony for three of Motorlease’s long-standing clients: ABCO Refrigeration of Long Island City, N.Y., received a 40-year award; and QIAGEN of Germantown, Md. and Hardware Specialty of Long Island City, N.Y., received 25-year awards.
Three Generations of Family Business
Founded in 1946 by Daniel Leary Sr., Motorlease filled a niche supplying individual lease transactions to the marketplace. As the company transitioned to serving the small and medium fleet market, Dan Leary Jr., joined Motorlease in 1960. In 1976, Dan Jr.’s son Jack Leary began his career at Motorlease, and nine years later Jack’s sister Beth Kandrysawtz was named controller, together the third generation of Learys to run the company. Dan Leary Jr. retired in 1993, and remained on the company’s Board of Directors until his death in 2011. Upon Jack’s death in 2015, Beth assumed responsibility for the company and now serves as chief executive officer.
Relationships – the Key to Success
Motorlease’s longest-standing client relationship is 52 years; more than 10% of clients have been doing business with Motorlease for 30 years or more, and another 25% for over 20 years. Brad Lutz, vice president at Motorlease who oversees technology and client support commented, “We’ve built our business on ‘concierge service’ — it’s at the core of everything we do. So much can be lost or misinterpreted in a text or an e-mail, and, while we certainly couldn’t get through a day without either, we also understand that sometimes, the best approach is to pick up the phone, or go visit your client.” “Our focus on the client relationship is our most important key to success,” said Joe Pelehach, vice president. “Each of our employees contributes in a meaningful way every day, both to the success of the client relationship and the success of Motorlease. This is one of the main reasons we’ve been able to retain our clients for as long as we have.”
The Importance of Family
Since its founding, Motorlease has always been a family business, “but we define family in many ways,” said Kandrysawtz. “The close, personal relationship is organic. Many of our employees have been with Motorlease for decades — in fact our average tenure is over 10 years, and our senior-leadership team has been with us an average of 25 years. So our employees truly feel like a family.” Longevity at all levels of the company leads to more in-depth knowledge of multiple aspects of the business, greater understanding of the nuances of the client relationship, and nurturing of ideas for how to improve it. This was echoed by guests attending the anniversary celebration. “It may sound trite, but Motorlease is, by every definition, a family business,” said Rick Nicoletti, vice president and general manager of Napleton Fleet Group, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., who has worked supplying cars to Motorlease for more than 40 years. “I’ve worked with Motorlease literally for my entire career, and it’s always been a pleasure. They are simply great people to work with. They’re nice, they’re friendly, and they’re fun — every single employee. Over 40 years, as you can imagine, sometimes we’ve had unexpected delays, or small mistakes — but there’s never been a problem, never any unpleasantness. There’s an attitude of ‘let’s do what we need to do to get the job done.’ It’s at the heart of everything they do.”
What’s Next for Motorlease?
“A benefit of being in this business for as long as we have been is we truly understand the business cycles, so we have been able to anticipate and adapt,” said Kandrysawtz. “We have a strong, mature management team in place and have positioned ourselves for future growth with a product line that focuses on serving our clients. In short, Motorlease is poised and excited for the next decade of partnering with clients to serve their fleet management needs.”