Meet the EFG executive team
EFG has been leading the way in consumer protection products for more than 30 years. And today, our executive team continues to bring both client and consumer insights to the table to make EFG Companies an invaluable business partner.
John Pappanastos — CEO and President
John Pappanastos joined EFG Companies’ board of directors in February 2006 and became chief executive officer and president in February 2007. His evangelistic spirit and vision breathes life into the organization every day. John oversees and provides leadership, direction, and guidance for all business activities at EFG. He acts as the chief strategy officer to develop and implement the strategy and vision for the organization to advance its long-term business goals, as well as promote profitability, growth, and increasing service discipline. Prior to joining the EFG senior team, he served in multiple senior capacities for BellSouth Corporation, including strategy, finance, product development, and operations.
Paul Budvitis — President, Business Development
Paul Budvitis brings to EFG Companies over 20 years of experience in all aspects of automotive retailing. As president of business development at EFG, Paul is responsible for all sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada. Paul’s commanding and determined personality makes him uniquely qualified to handle the highly competitive environment of business development. He truly believes in transforming his clients’ business through the implementation of unique and innovative solutions surrounded by targeted training, recruiting, and go-to-market strategies. Paul also served as president of WALKAWAY® USA, launching the award-winning Hyundai Assurance Vehicle Return Program. Paul has extensive experience as a general manager, general sales manager, and F&I director in domestic, import, and luxury product environments. In addition, Paul spent nearly seven years with Resource Automotive/Aon in various leadership roles. Just prior to joining EFG, he successfully launched and built an automotive internet company, DriveChicago.com, from concept to profitability.
Barry Carter — Chief Operating Officer
Barry Carter joined EFG in 2012, where he quickly transitioned into the company’s chief operating officer. He is responsible for day-to-day, post-sale contract servicing operations, as well as the development and implementation of technology platforms that facilitate EFG’s relationship with its strategic partners, clients and customer base, placing the company among the easiest to conduct business within the industry. He infuses his compelling, analytical and motivational skills into creative solutions that drive growth, advance teamwork, and boost productivity. Barry came to EFG from TMX Finance in Atlanta where he managed a team of 225 IT professionals and a budget of $50 million. TMX provides short-term consumer loans via a footprint of over 1,300 retail locations. Prior to TMX, Barry served as the EVP of outsourcing at Fujitsu America for two years and as CIO for five years at Alliance Data Systems, a company that provides private-label credit card financing and processing as well as database and direct marketing services to about 900 businesses. He also served as CIO for CapitalOne Auto Finance and Airtran Airlines. Barry holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Sciences, with a minor in Math, from East Carolina University and an MBA from Syracuse University.
Cliff Eller — Executive Vice President, Product Commercialization
Over his 25-year career with EFG Companies, Cliff’s experience facilitates EFG’s agility in product innovation and customization. He has been responsible for virtually every area of the business, from product development to sales and marketing to claims administration. Cliff’s long history at EFG makes him a cornerstone of the organization as he sets the company’s product strategy, and develops the roadmap to create and commercialize the products. As a result, EFG continually stays ahead of the curve and captures maximum market opportunity for the company’s clients. With an enthusiasm for sports statistics that borders on the fanatical, Cliff’s attention to detail manifests itself in high-caliber efficiency of his direction in the development of our consumer protection products. Cliff’s current duties include underwriting analysis and negotiation with our back-stop underwriters, workflow process definition, contract/forms development, and filing and maintenance of regulatory compliance. He brings over 32 years of experience in the automotive industry, including extensive dealership fixed operations management, to his job.
Robert Green — Chief Financial Officer
Robert (Bob) Green joined EFG in 2012 as its chief financial officer, where he leads all financial policy and administration, business planning and budgeting functions. Bob follows a personal mantra of Servant Leadership, which drives a culture within his team of service, counsel and stewardship; ultimately measured by the company's ongoing ability to evolve and the overall condition of the company's financial and capital resources. Prior to EFG, he was most recently CFO with Dallas-based Associa, a private equity-held homeowners association management business with over 8,000 employees. In Bob’s six years with Associa, he drove annual revenue growth from $150 million to $350 million through an aggressive business acquisition model. Prior to Associa, he served as managing director for Outsource Partners International, a business process outsourcing firm where he managed over 120 employees who performed Finance and Accounting functions for a publicly-traded $2.2 billion diversified industrial growth company. From 1998-2003, Bob worked for Trinity Industries as CFO for its Rail Group. Trinity is the world’s largest manufacturer of rail cars, barges, and propane tanks. Prior to 1998, Bob gained experience at Ernst & Young and the FDIC. Bob graduated from the University of Texas with a BBA in Accounting and holds a CPA.
Susan Jewell — Human Resources Director
With over 25 years of experience in human resources, Susan brings hands-on experience in recruiting, personnel selection, employee relations, benefits and compensation administration, workplace learning, and diversity initiatives to her role as human resources director. Every employee at EFG Companies has at some point been captured by Susan's camera. The passion she puts into all endeavors is what drives her to make sure every employee feels empowered as a member of the team. With years of training and insight into recruiting and retaining top performers, Susan plays a leadership role in creating an employee-centric, high-performance culture.
Mark Rappaport — President, Simplicity Division
Mark brings over 25 years of business acumen to his role as the President of EFG’s Simplicity Division. Simplicity opens new revenue streams for affinity partners through value-driven consumer protection products and market- differentiating programs that significantly enhance customer loyalty, increase retention and stimulate customer activation levels. He is responsible for the development of new channels to deliver EFG’s existing product portfolio to market, as well as innovating new, needs-driven and customized products that enable clients to capture greater marketshare at lower cost per customer acquisition. Mark started his career with The Richards Group, and has led market development initiatives for blue chip brands, such as Fleet Boston Financial, Pizza Inn, TXU, Mrs. Baird’s, Grupo Bimbo, Jack Daniels, HCA Hospitals, Verizon and Motel 6. Mark holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University.
Jennifer A. Rappaport — Chief Marketing Officer
Jennifer is a 20-year marketing veteran with experience spanning both national and global organizations such as Shell Global Solutions, Sprint Retail, and the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Her quick wit and extensive factoid knowledge makes it easy for Jenny to stay on the cutting edge of market trends. As the chief marketing officer of EFG Companies, she develops go-to-market strategies and turnkey marketing programs for the organization’s clients as a means of differentiating and driving their business. Her team pairs traditional marketing services with online contact strategies designed to boost customer traffic and enhance customer loyalty. Prior to her tenure with EFG Companies, Jenny served as president and chief operating officer of The Point Group for almost 10 years, where she helped drive more than $60 million in capitalized billings and served clients globally through an integrated marketing communications model which included branding, research, digital marketing, interactive design and development, search engine optimization, advertising, and public relations.
Senior Management Team
Gabe Aldrete — Vice President, Dealer Services
As the vice president of Dealer Services, Gabe Aldrete is responsible for all blocks of business managed by EFG representatives. He ensures that each dealership client is performing at benchmark levels while staying compliant with state laws. Because of his team’s strategic management, two of their dealership clients have been finalists as industry award recipients within the last two years. Gabe joined EFG in 2008 and after distinguishing himself at the account executive level, Gabe moved up to regional manager of business development. In this capacity, he conducted store assessments and set three-year forecasts for dealerships who applied EFG’s recommended processes to increase sales and F&I production. Gabe’s unique combination of competition and compassion has helped Gabe maintain top-level performance throughout his entire career. In all his previous positions, Gabe continuously increased production levels, starting with Don Davis Ford as a finance manager. At Southwest Ford, he increased PRV production by 45% while growing VSC and GAP production to 70%.
Jeff Beaver — Senior Vice President, Product Development and Initiative Execution
Jeff Beaver began working with EFG Companies in 2004 and has provided leadership in marketing as well as managed lines of business. In his current capacity, Jeff directs the development of new products and solutions as well as program launches with clients across all of EFG’s core business channels. Jeff is EFG’s angel for the details, and his intense scrutiny and excellence has helped EFG maintain its professional reputation for flawless execution and implementation. Jeff has been instrumental in the national rollouts of programs like WALKAWAY®, SalesEDGE®, DentZone®, and Hyundai Assurance. He has more than 20 years of experience in marketing leadership, most recently at MCI.
Todd Cooper — Vice President, Specialty Channels
With a background in sales, business management, field operations and dealer finance, Todd brings over 21 years of industry experience to his role at EFG Companies. As the vice president of Specialty Channels, he is responsible for performance management and business analytics for the organization. Todd views the world with a cool and steady eye which enables him to evaluate every situation for the greatest possible insight. His steadfast direction allows him to continually seek new and better opportunities for clients and business partners alike. Todd worked with General Motors dealers in 24 states during periods of growth and consolidation, where he consulted with dealer principals on performance metrics, profitability and business growth and managed network consolidation. Prior to General Motors, he worked with Saturn Corporation, where he managed field staff operations for the Northeast Region. Todd was also an F&I consultant for GMAC, where he analyzed F&I operations and prepared profit center analyses to drive for improvements in department profitability and performance.
Burt Copeland — Vice President, Operations
Burt Copeland joined EFG in 2012 and serves as the vice president of operations, where he is responsible for all claims administration and customer service. After nearly 30 years of operations and finance experience, his strengths include operational execution, strategic planning, and financial and operational analysis. Although his background began in the finance area, Burt has successfully held general manager (GM) as well as president responsibilities, where he was accountable for end-to-end business profitability. He is a decisive operational leader with strong analytical skills and exceptional people development and management capabilities. Burt strongly embraces the Golden Rule and encourages his team to treat everyone as they would want to be treated, increasing team engagement and ensuring that every customer is treated with courtesy and respect. He has an undergraduate degree in Accounting from East Texas State University and an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Burt was most recently with Montgomery, Coscia Grelich as a financial consultant to mid-market companies. He began his career at Cooper & Lybrand before moving to PepsiCo. He then grew professionally through multiple opportunities in sales and manufacturing businesses.
Jack M. Estes, III — Vice President, Dealer Services
As the vice president of Dealer Services, Jack Estes leads his team in acquiring new accounts and service contracts outside of DFW. Because of his leadership and direction, his team has experienced 100% organic growth through solid action, planning, training and the hiring of proper personnel. Jack strongly believes in delivering best-in-class servicing through all client channels by pushing new frontiers. Prior to EFG, he managed distribution to general agents in seven states as the central regional manager at Great American Insurance. In this position, he maintained an annual average of $1,260,000 in administration fees and maintained an annual growth of 11% per year. As the divisional sales manager at Phoenix American Insurance Group, Jack supervised service contract sales in 27 states in auto, RV and marine, where he reversed a -19% trend in 2004 into a +5% increase in 2005 through agent relations. Jack has experience in all aspects of the dealership. He served as the finance director at Goodson Acura, the general sales manager at Doran Chevrolet, and the new car sales manager at Grubbs Nissan, Inc. In his spare time, Jack enjoys flying and pilots his own plane.
Eric Fifield — Vice President, Agency Services
Eric Fifield brings over 20 years of automotive industry experience to EFG Companies. As the vice president of the company’s Agency Services division, he is responsible for dealer development through a distribution network of top-tier agents. Eric’s veracious attitude holds the team accountable for setting continuously higher standards and providing our clients with the highest level of expertise and engagement. Prior to EFG, Eric served as the regional sales manager and vice president of sales for Great American Insurance. His career began 20 years ago with the Penske Corporation as an ASE Certified Technician, where he worked in many capacities including the director of training. Eric’s clients have included organizations such as AutoNation, Ford Motor Company, Honda Motor Company, Chicago Automobile Trade Association, and hundreds of agents and dealers across the country.
Brien Joyce — Vice President, Specialty Channels
Brien Joyce is an accomplished, forward-thinking field executive with over 20 years of strong multi-disciplinary experience. At EFG Companies, he uses creative problem-solving and honed vision to drive bottom-line results as the vice president of specialty channels. Brien's humble attitude and broad view perspective allow him to effectively maintain EFG's client relationships and expand the organization's efforts to better support his clients' business goals. Prior to EFG, Brien worked at Saturn Corporation as the zone manager in the Southeast region of the country, where he served as the primary retailer contact for 48 Saturn facilities in eight states. Brien has also served as the assistant director of the UAW-GM quality network process at General Motors, where he implemented a total quality management system in over 40 assembly plants. At GM, Brien's zone had the most Summit Award-winning retailers and he received the GM Achievement Award in 2006. Brien received his Masters of Education, Counseling & Student Personnel from Mankato State University.
Steve Klees — Senior Vice President, Specialty Channels
Steve Klees brings a wealth of knowledge in lending, F&I, sales, and product management expertise to EFG Companies. Steve’s strategic creativity has enabled him to greatly extend EFG Companies’ product innovation and administration capabilities into new markets. On the lending side, Steve has secured and maintained successful, strategic partnerships with SWBC and Santander. Steve started at EFG as a national sales manager, where he increased WALKAWAY® business to $1.5 million. Steve played a key role on the team that closed Hyundai Assurance and a leadership role in the launch to Hyundai’s 780 dealerships across the nation. Prior to EFG, Klees was the vice president of sales for GE Capital, where he managed a 140-person sales force. Steve also directed the national training program for Resource Automotive and served as a trainer for new dealers at the NADA Dealer Academy. Steve was instrumental in many game-changing programs for Volkswagen America, including the development of national brand standards and the implementation of the VSC and GAP programs for VW Credit. Steve is considered a subject matter expert and is a frequent panelist at the NADA conference, the F&I conference, and other finance and insurance conferences.
Chuck McGraw — Senior Vice President, Professional Services
As vice president of Professional Services, Chuck is responsible for managing new professional service solutions across multiple channels. Chuck’s electric energy manifests itself in everything that he does, and his quick pace allows him to take on a myriad of challenges every day. He has more than 25 years of industry experience encompassing a broad spectrum of sales, program development, training, executive-level consulting, and technology development. As a VP of program development at Resource Automotive, Chuck began consulting with Chrysler Corporation and was brought on to join the team responsible for developing and launching Chrysler’s successful Five Star Program. He later worked with a fraction of this team to develop, pilot, and launch salesperson, management, and dealer training for all of its 4,500 stores. Chuck started one of the first CRMs applicable to the retail automotive industry which was acquired by EFG in 2004.
Stephen Roennau — Vice President, Training
Steve Roennau joined EFG Companies in 2007 and currently serves as the vice president of Training. With a voice like Steve’s, it’s no wonder EFG’s training solutions are an industry best; his audience can’t help but be captivated. In his time at EFG, he has significantly upgraded the organization’s training capabilities and continues to bring innovative training solutions to the organization’s extensive client roster. Steve came to EFG from Chrysler’s Five Star initiative, where he developed training curriculum, conducted program pilots, and certified instructors. Steve has developed and delivered national training for Hyundai, General Motors, Ford, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, and numerous dealer groups throughout the country. He has also held the position of national head of training for the Quiznos Corporation. Steve holds certifications in the Guided Discovery training process, the Inductive Training Method, and Adult Learning Techniques.
John Sopocy — Vice President, Risk Management and Service Activation
John Sopocy leads the Risk Management & Service Activation division of EFG. He brings extensive experience in creating risk mitigation processes and procedures to reduce claims expense in addition to improving the effectiveness and efficiencies of claims departments. As a dedicated and authentic leader, John stresses the importance of trust within his team, ensuring the best in customer service for EFG’s clients and their customers. He has over 18 years’ experience in the Vehicle Service Contract industry and has spent over a seven years running risk management for Assurant in Tampa, Florida, where he partnered with third party administrators to instill best practices. This included auditing their claims adjudication processes and team performance. John holds a B.S. in Applied Technology with a minor in Business from Southern Illinois University.
John Stephens — Senior Vice President, Dealer Services
As the senior vice president of Dealer Services at EFG Companies, John directs the company’s direct sales and service channel, providing EFG’s solutions and engagement to auto dealers. John serves as a strategic copilot in guiding his clients’ businesses to greater profitability, and they will tell you that they rely upon his recommendations and leadership as a trusted partner. John is responsible for leading the Dealer Services team in optimizing the profitability of EFG’s direct dealer partners and supporting the use of EFG products and services. In his 22 years in the automotive industry, John has held many positions, from F&I contractor and director to a general sales manager. When working for Mac Haik, his store ranked number seven in the nation for unit sales.
Glenice Wilder — Vice President, Recruiting and Workforce Solutions
Glenice Wilder leads the Recruiting and Workforce Solutions team at EFG Companies. If anyone at EFG could be said to have gravitas, it would be Glenice. Her presence brings a sense of empowerment to everyone around her. Glenice guides her team, using a proprietary Top Performer profile, a rigorous interview process, and scientific behavioral scoring to sift through thousands of applicants every month to identify and place top performers for our clients. Glenice also partners with our clients’ management teams to assess their processes, people, and technologies to develop a plan to increase the performance of their teams. Her team provides insight on how to increase our clients’ productivity by ensuring the right people are in the right positions, identifying communications styles of staff and management to improve performance, and developing leadership skills for improved execution of business.