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NEFA Announces Chris Walker Memorial Award & Education Fund

August 07, 2012, 07:14 AM

The National Equipment Finance Association (NEFA) announced that it would rename it’s Member of the Year Award to honor the late Chris Walker, last year’s recipient of the award.  The first presentation of the Chris Walker Memorial Member of the Year Award will be at NEFA’s annual business meeting luncheon to be held during the 2012 Funding Symposium in Washington, DC, September 13-15.  In addition, an education fund has been established in Chris Walker’s name.

NEFA President, Hugh Swandel, of the Alta Group, said “The NEFA Member of the Year Award honors the selfless efforts of members who strive to improve and give back to our industry. Chris Walker embodied the spirit of giving back by actively helping NEFA and its members as a volunteer. It is an honor to recognize NEFA volunteers in Chris’s name and recipients can only aspire to meet the level of dedication constantly provided by Chris Walker.”

Among his many industry related volunteer activities, Chris Walker served on the Board of NEFA.  Past NEFA President, Chris Enbom, of Allegiant Partners, an industry colleague and friend of Chris Walker’s said, "Chris Walker was a dear friend of mine. He loved the equipment finance business and passing on that knowledge to others. Just as importantly he loved music and we would often sneak out for a couple hours to play. He was a great soul and he dedicated countless hours to CLP, NEFA and NAELB. It is an honor for us to recognize other NEFA volunteers in Chris' name."

Education Fund Created in Chris Walker’s Name

“Since Chris Walker passed away last year, many NEFA Members and other industry professionals have asked if there was some way they could make a donation to honor and continue Chris’ great service to this industry”, said Gerry Egan, Executive Director of NEFA.  “As the decision was made to rename the NEFA Member of the Year Award, donations just began to come in.  In response, NEFA has also created the Chris Walker Education Fund.  Chris was a tireless proponent of industry education, as evidenced by his active participation in conferences, classes and committees of a range of industry groups.”

In the spirit of Chris Walker’s passion for education and his embrace of all efforts and opportunities that supported it, the Chris Walker Education Fund will be used to further the education and professional development mission of NEFA both within the Association and beyond it.  Donations may be made to the fund by clearly marking them as being for the Chris Walker Education Fund and mailing them to NEFA or online through the NEFA website.
Doug Olson, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Risk Officer, of GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation, where Chris Walker was Vice President of Sales, said “Chris Walker was a champion for education both within our company and within the industry. He would undoubtedly be very honored that his influence on the professionalism and expertise of our industry will continue well beyond his lifetime through this education fund.”

Rosanne Wilson, President of the CLP Foundation, said “The CLP Foundation was so blessed to have had the outstanding leadership of Chris Walker as President in 2010 and 2011. Chris was truly devoted to advancing education in the equipment financing industry. We still feel his presence at the Foundation. Chris fought hard to encourage others to become CLPs and I am sure he is smiling from heaven looking at this year's increase in new CLP applicants. Chris gave so much of himself and his time to promote the importance of education and involvement in the industry. He has left behind a great legacy with his years of service and friendship to so many whose lives he touched.”

For more information about the presentation of the Chris Walker Memorial Member of the Year Award, the Chris Walker Education Fund, or the 2012 Funding Symposium, please call NEFA at: 847-380-5050, or go online to:

The National Equipment Finance Association (NEFA) is a national association serving small to mid-sized independent equipment finance companies, lessors and brokers.  NEFA is a strong association offering enhanced educational programs and premium networking opportunities with broad geographic and industry segment diversity.  The mission of NEFA is to provide a forum for members to pursue personal and professional growth and promote ethical business practices through advocacy, networking and industry involvement.  For more information, visit: or call: 847-380-5050.

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