About Us

Welcome to AILCO, your trusted full-service direct lender since 1997. We specialize in funding A-C+ credit transactions ranging from $10K to $500K, with the flexibility to offer larger amounts on a case-by-case basis. Our creative solutions, commonsense approach to credit underwriting, competitive rates, and unique funding capabilities (including used equipment, corporate-only financing, private party sales, sale-leasebacks, and soft costs) distinguish us from the competition.

We’re committed to helping you achieve your financial goals, whether you’re an established business or a startup with a strong credit profile (675+ FICO), outside income, and a solid personal net worth. We aim to enhance the likelihood of a positive credit decision for every client.

At AILCO, we pride ourselves on delivering fast and efficient service, with most decisions made within 24 hours. Don’t wait to secure the funding you need to achieve your business goals. Contact us today to discover how we can help you succeed.

*We do not help with personal loans, car loans, or personal debt consolidation loans

Equipment Financing Questions Answered

View the Industries We Finance For

Additional Equipment Financing Resources

How Does Equipment Financing Work?

How Does Equipment Financing Work?

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Equipment Financing vs. Leasing

Equipment Financing vs. Leasing

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Choosing the Right Equipment Financing Partner

Choosing the Right Equipment Financing Partner

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Trusted Associations:

Empowering Business with Strategic Alliances

Our Team

Derek Smith headshot

Derek Smith

President / CEO

Derek Smith is the President and CEO of AILCO Equipment Finance, Inc., a leading provider of commercial lending solutions. Prior to joining AILCO, Derek served as the Commercial Banking Executive for Old National Bank (ONB), where he led a team of relationship managers in the dynamic markets of Milwaukee, Madison, and the Fox Valley.

With over 17 years of experience in banking, including stints at TCF Bank and Associated Bank, Derek is a seasoned expert in mergers and acquisitions, small business and mid-market lending, ESOP financing, and traditional commercial and industrial banking. He holds a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in Finance from Walsh College, as well as a Graduate School of Banking certificate from the University of Wisconsin.

But Derek’s impact extends beyond the boardroom. He is an avid supporter of his community, with extensive board and volunteer service that includes serving on the Advisory Board of Best Buddies (as a past Board Chair), Disability:IN Wisconsin (as past Advisory Board Chair), and the Executive Leadership Council of The Ability Center (TAC). Derek is passionate about enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities, and his commitment to this cause has earned him widespread recognition. When he’s not busy running a successful lending business or giving back to the community, Derek indulges his other passions, which include scuba diving, animals, running, and entertaining.

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Mark Sorensen

Senior Vice President, Operations

Mark is a seasoned professional with over 35 years of experience in equipment finance, banking, and insurance agency ownership. At AILCO, he is responsible for credit review, documentation, collections, and equipment management, drawing on his extensive expertise in mid-ticket and small ticket financing.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Mark is a respected authority in his field but his impact extends beyond the boardroom. For over 35 years, he has been a certified high school basketball referee, and has officiated at nine Wisconsin state basketball tournament finals. This commitment to excellence carries over to all aspects of his life, including his passion for travel and golf, which has taken him to many professional golf events. With his vast experience, Mark brings a unique perspective to AILCO and helps ensure the success of the company and its clients.

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Connor Stoming

Portfolio Manager

Since joining AILCO in May of 2021, Connor has been an integral part of the team, responsible for credit review, collections, and portfolio management. As a recent graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Connor brings a fresh perspective and a wealth of knowledge to his role.

During his time at Concordia, Connor was recognized for his academic achievements as a member of the Alpha Chi Academic Honor Society. But his dedication and leadership extended far beyond the classroom. He was a two-year captain of the football team, earning recognition as a three-time Scholar Athlete and receiving Academic All-District honors twice. With his strong work ethic, attention to detail, and commitment to excellence, Connor is poised to make a significant impact at AILCO and help ensure clients success.

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Chris Hatcher


Meet Chris, our accounting expert with over 7 years of invaluable experience in the field. With more than 5 years spent in public accounting, he is a proven leader in his area of expertise. Chris holds a Master’s degree from UW-Whitewater, and he attained his CPA license the following year.

As the leader of our accounting team, Chris takes pride in ensuring that our clients receive complete and timely financial statements. He is also responsible for guiding management in making crucial financial decisions that can make or break a business. His wealth of knowledge and experience has helped many businesses thrive and grow.
When you work with Chris, you can rest assured that your accounting needs are in the hands of an expert. He is passionate about providing personalized solutions that meet your unique business needs, no matter how complex they may be.

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Debbie Vogel

Staff Accountant

Meet Debbie! With over 20 years of extensive accounting experience in various industries, she is a true asset to our team. Debbie is a proud lifelong Wisconsin resident and is passionate about serving her community. She is also an avid cook and enjoys spending time outdoors with her loved ones.Since joining AILCO in February of 2022, Debbie has made a significant impact on our team and our clients. Her vast knowledge and experience in accounting have helped many businesses improve their financial stability and growth.

At AILCO, we understand the importance of having a reliable accounting partner, and that’s why we are excited to have Debbie on board. She is committed to providing personalized solutions that meet your unique business needs, no matter how complex they may be.

When you work with Debbie and our team of accounting professionals, you can rest assured that your financial success is our top priority.

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Brian Alberti

Accounting Manager

We are thrilled to welcome Brian to the AILCO team! With over 20 years of unparalleled accounting experience in the manufacturing sector, he is a true industry expert. Brian first earned his bachelor’s degree in Operations and Materials Management from UW-Eau Claire
and later received his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Lakeland College. His extensive education and expertise in the field make him a valuable asset to our team and our clients.

Since joining AILCO in March of 2022, Brian has made an immediate impact with his unique approach to solving complex accounting issues. He is committed to helping businesses in the manufacturing sector improve their financial stability and achieve their goals.

At AILCO, we understand that every business is unique, and that’s why we take a personalized approach to our services. With Brian and our team of accounting professionals, you can trust that your business is in good hands.

Kathy professional photo

Kathy Nies

Documentation/Sales Support

Meet Kathy, with over 30 years of experience in the industry. Her extensive experience spans across various roles and positions, making her a true industry veteran. Kathy started her professional career in customer service and worked her way up to become a Branch Supervisor and Executive Assistant to the President of a local bank. Her hard work, dedication, and passion for the industry eventually led her to AILCO in 2012, where she now serves as our Sales Support Lead.

In this crucial role, Kathy plays a vital role in our operations, preparing loan documentation and providing essential back-office support. Her commitment to accuracy and efficiency is second to none, making her an indispensable member of our team.

When Kathy is not busy helping businesses achieve their financing goals, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and playing volleyball. Her passion for life and dedication to excellence are reflected in everything she does.

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Jeanne Zeske

Credit Administration

Jeanne, our Credit Manager has over 35 years of experience in commercial banking, Jeanne is an expert in sales, portfolio management, and credit risk management. Jeanne works closely with our relationship managers to structure and approve a variety of credit solutions for our customers, ensuring that they receive the best possible financing options. Her extensive knowledge of the industry and unwavering commitment to excellence make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Jeanne’s qualifications speak for themselves; she holds a BBA in Finance from UW Madison and was a scholarship athlete on the women’s golf team. Her passion for golf still burns brightly, and she enjoys playing with her husband and two sons.
When Jeanne is not busy helping businesses achieve their financing goals, she enjoys biking, spectator sports, volunteering for her church, and recently started mentoring young women through Notre Dame Middle School in Milwaukee. Her dedication to her community and desire to make a positive impact in the world are just a few reasons why she is such a valuable member of our team.

Tom Rude

Tom Rude

Senior Vice President, Sales

Tom is a seasoned expert in the Equipment Finance and Leasing industry, with a career spanning over 40 years since he began in 1981. He partners with your company’s ownership and management to provide customized and innovative equipment finance solutions across a wide range of industries and asset types.

As a resident of Waukesha, WI, Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his role, having successfully worked with equipment dealers/manufacturers, local banks, other finance companies, and centers of influence. He is a trusted partner to those seeking Equipment Finance expertise, providing tailored solutions that meet their unique needs.

Tom’s expertise doesn’t end there; he is also the President of the Wisconsin Equipment Finance Association, serving as a local link to the national group, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association. His dedication to his industry and commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices ensure that he is always ahead of the curve when it comes to Equipment Finance.

So, if you’re looking for a partner who will work closely with you to provide flexible and creative equipment finance solutions, look no further than Tom and AILCO.

Scott professional photo

Scott Woodring

Vice President, Sales

Scott Woodring is a seasoned veteran of the equipment finance industry, with more than two decades of experience in sales, marketing, management, administration, and documentation. His expertise covers a wide range of transaction sizes, from $10,000 to $20,000,000 and beyond, across all credit spectrums and collateral types. Scott’s ability to work with manufacturers, dealers, brokers, and lessors has been instrumental in implementing finance programs that meet the specific needs of their customers. He has served in various capacities for some of the most well-known equipment finance associations, including NEFA, AACFB, and ELFA, and has received numerous awards throughout his career.

In his personal life, Scott is a passionate music enthusiast who has been collecting records since he was 10 years old. He also enjoys staying fit, watching college football (Go Big Red!), indulging in movies, and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Martin Dickson

Martin Dickson

Senior Vice President, Sales

Marty Dickson is a sales and funding expert with over 40 years of experience in the financial industry. He brings a wealth of knowledge to AILCO, with a focus on transaction sizes up to $1,000,000 and experience across all credit grades and collateral types. Prior to joining AILCO, Marty worked for some of the most prestigious banking organizations in the country, including M&I Bank, American Chartered Bank, Busey Bank, and American National Bank. Based in the Chicagoland area, Marty is a proud graduate of Northern Illinois University (BS in Finance) and Illinois Institute of Technology (MBA with a specialization in finance). When he’s not helping clients, Marty enjoys spending time with his two children and one grandchild in his Arlington Heights home.

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Tom Casanova

Vice President, Sales

Tom brings years of experience to AILCO as a key member of the Equipment Finance team. Based out of the AILCO home office in Waukesha, WI, Tom is responsible for developing cutting-edge financing solutions that meet the unique needs of businesses across a wide range of industries. Prior to joining AILCO in 2022, Tom’s expertise involved monetizing Tax Increment Finance projects in Wisconsin, and he was also the Business Development Manager at the Waukesha County Business Alliance. Tom is a passionate follower of the Wisconsin sports scene and is an avid golfer, having played on several of the state’s courses. With a BS in Management Computer Systems from UW-Whitewater and an MS in Education from Concordia University Wisconsin, Tom’s education and experience make him an invaluable resource for any business seeking innovative financing solutions.

Jean Smith - Documentation/Sales Support

Jean Smith

Documentation/Sales Support

Meet Jean Smith, a valuable member of our Documentation/Sales Support team! With 15 years of experience in the banking industry, Jean has worked in various sectors including retail, consumer lending, commercial banking, and marketing as an Executive Assistant. She has also spent 10 years in equipment finance, specializing in credit and administration. Jean has a diverse background and has spent 10 years in the manufacturing industry as an Administrative Assistant, Marketing, and Executive Assistant to the President. Furthermore, she has two years of experience as an Office Manager for a General Contractor’s Office. Her extensive experience in various industries has equipped her with the skills needed to excel in any administrative role. Beyond her professional experience, Jean enjoys spending time with her family and entertaining guests. She has a green thumb and loves gardening, as well as cooking and baking. Jean is also an avid sports fan and enjoys watching games of the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks. Her passion for both her work and personal life makes her an asset to our team.

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