This year, we are pleased to present the Transaction World Magazine
2007 ‘Movers & Shakers’ Awards. These peer-nominated winners are the industry leaders of today and may be heralded as key ‘Movers and Shakers’ in our industry. They are as follows:
Jaffe, Raitt, Heuer & Weiss, P.C.
Holli Targan began in the electronic transactions industry when she served as staff counsel for Michigan National Bank in the mid-90s and provided the legal support for Michigan Bankcard Services, which at that time was an active merchant acquirer.
“The Michigan National business people (many of whom are still in the
industry) taught me first hand the ins and outs of the acquiring and ATM business,” explains Targan. “I could see that most industry companies were underrepresented by lawyers who did not understand the business. I decided to specialize my law practice in electronic banking and payments, and joined a law firm so that companies could utilize a lawyer who both knew the law and could apply it to the very unique business concerns of acquiring, ACH and stored value.”
Targan is quite proud of her efforts in building the Jaffe law practice and has thus created a reputation that is nationally recognized and respected in the business. She highlights her achieved actions as assisting clients through legal and business advice in growing their companies and helping them succeed.
“There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a client’s dreams come true,” explains Targan.
She also is proud of her influence on the industry through participation as a Board member and officer of the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) for the past 6 years. Her work with the organization includes advocating on behalf of the entire industry as Chair of the ETA Government Relations Committee.
She also founded and serves as President of Women Networking in Electronic Transactions (W.net). She feels that bringing together, mentoring, encouraging and advocating for the amazingly talented women in this industry, and building with them the force that W.net will become, is truly inspiring.
Among the strengths and attributes that set her apart in this industry are her depth and breadth of experience, while maintaining the highest professional standards.
“I have a unique perspective, having worked at a bank regulatory agency (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), a bank (Michigan
National) and with both very large and very small industry players as clients,” she explains. “I bring a down-to-earth business sense to every transaction and piece of advice I give.”
For Targan, the industry’s road ahead includes managing the economic affects upon companies from the retrenchment of the industry through consolidation, and the expansion of the industry through non- traditional entrants into the business. Targan also feels there is and will be increased governmental scrutiny.
Giuseppe A. Caltabiano
Giuseppe Caltabiano entered the industry inadvertently in November 1984, while studying for his Doctorate. He joined SIXCOM, an Italian Company, part of the Olivetti group, which was developing the first POS system for Italy.
“And I mean, the whole system,” Caltabiano says. “Terminals, concentrators, front-end—and Italian debit back-end!”
He worked there until 1988, and, as he puts it, “I was hooked!”
“Since then, I have always worked in the payments industry, worldwide,” he explains. “I have helped VeriFone incorporate in Italy in 1992, I have managed business development for VeriFone Europe, Middle East and Africa out of London, until 1995, moved to Singapore to run VeriFone’s Asia/Pacific business development and then took over operations until we sold to HP. I later developed private labels in Australia, and then joined CyberNet as President of International, I moved to Italy for three years and then on to the United States.”
Two years ago, he came in touch with NXGEN, a company that he fell in love with because of the core values that were important to him. “I agreed to take the challenge to bring this already successful MSP from the USA to the rest of the world, and, within one
year, our Canadian company is profitable,” he explains. “Now we are
looking at Europe and Asia.
He is most proud of seeing VeriFone Korea blossom from “nothing to a
$5 million operation,” and describes it as a memory dear to his heart. But he also adds that “to see Cybernet soar to the top 5 vendors in The Nielson Report makes me proud.”
“Most of all” he says, “ I am proud and thankful to have managed the NXGEN team (internally called the dream team) to profitable growth outside of the country, while keeping our leadership position here and, most importantly, without having to compromise on our core values of: Integrity, Ethics, Respect and Excellence.”
Caltabiano is certain that the payments industry will never perish.
“Payments have always been in the fabric of countries’ developments and of world growth,” he points out. “I have no major concerns for this industry but that all the players perform ethically and honestly. When I address the NXGEN team, I call the merchant or business we serve: ‘our bosses’. They hire us when they decide to process with us, and they fire us when they leave us. We will be successful if our ‘bosses’ are successful. Since this is an extremely rational proposition, there is no reason, nor is there room for, deceit or dishonesty.”
Says Caltabiano, “I came to this industry 23 years ago, and I still find [there’s] a lot to learn. I still love it!”
The Aegenis Group
Heather Mark entered the electronic transactions industry indirectly. While completing graduate work in public policy and working in a variety of fields, she saw an opportunity to use her education and experience in the electronic transactions industry.
“The increased legislative focus on consumer privacy and data security (coupled with a timely round of lay-offs by a former
employer) afforded me an opportunity to enter the field,” she explains. “In 2003, I founded one of the first Qualified Security Assessment firms. A larger company then acquired the firm, which is still very successful in the industry. I am now a partner in another firm that provides training, risk management solutions and similar strategic consulting services in the electronic transactions industry.”
Looking back at her career and accomplishments, one of which she is particularly proud is completing her PhD in Public Administration and Public Policy. “Though it may seem tangential to our industry, it has allowed me a unique perspective on the challenges that face our industry as we continue to evolve,” she explains. “In terms of the industry, I am most proud of being involved in the advancement of the dialog on issues of privacy and security. Though it can be a dry subject to some, these concerns are vital to our business. I am always struck by the level of creativity and innovation with which I have seen companies address complex security issues.”
Also of note in her career, stands her participation in W.Net. “It’s a great group that empowers women in the industry to reach their full potential through networking, encouragement, and mentoring,” says Mark. “ I am proud of the women in this industry, their creativity and their willingness to lend their experience and expertise to one another.”
Mark believes that her firm has a unique position in the industry.
“Though we do work specifically with issues of PCI compliance, risk management and general data security, we are not a Qualified Security Assessor or an Approved Scan Vendor. Because we have no agenda in that regard, we are uniquely able to advocate for our customers,” she explains.
Looking forward, her concerns for the industry center around increased government regulation.
“Both state and federal legislators have set their sights on the electronic transactions industry as being in need of government
regulation to ensure consumer privacy and data security,” she says.
“Certainly, these issues are only a small aspect of the ways in which the government has sought, and continues to seek, purview over the industry. The challenge that it provides is that the government has little understanding of the complexities with which we deal every day. Without a comprehensive understanding of our industry, the measures they’re likely to adopt will throttle growth and innovation.”
Harold Montgomery’s entry into the industry came almost by accident as he explains.
“I started a company in 1987 which maintained the database of people who did not return video tapes,” says Montgomery. “We catered to the video rental industry, and used the Verifone Zon Jr. Plus as our countertop device to access the database.
This venture was very successful and gave them a footprint at the
POS. The company then added services over the years, acquiring a
check guarantee company in 1993, a debit company in 1998, and became
a notable credit card processing ISO in 1999.
“In 2001, we started Calpian which provides financing to ISO’s,”
explains Montgomery. “We try to support the ISO’s business plan needs and goals with the right financial structure. So far we’ve done over $50 million in financing and we’re seeing more opportunity every day.”
But Montgomery says that his greatest accomplishment is surviving as an independent businessperson for 20 years. “Growing all our companies to their potential, and, most of all, seeing the opportunity to provide financing to the ISO community to really create a lot of growth and prosperity there is very rewarding,” he says. “Calpian has been a huge success for us and our ISO partners, and I am really proud of that.”
Montgomery emphasizes that his firm’s ability to provide creative financing is their biggest asset.
“Banks really do not get our business and there are a lot of very fine business- people in our industry who know how to grow companies and create value,” he says. “We’re in business to support them and make their goals a reality.”
Making their goals a reality is what it is all about Montgomery believes and he is careful not to introduce any approach that could be viewed as adversarial. “So many financial people who participate in our industry are adversarial in their approach and we don’t do it that way,” says Montgomery. “Perhaps it’s because we’ve been in the business ourselves, [and] we understand how hard it can be to grow a company.”
In the future, Montgomery feels that the industry is entering a period where competition is going to become more intense. “Prices and margins have been falling for quite a while now, and show no sign of stopping,” he explains. “I think that means that there will be consolidation coming in the business. I think ISO’s need to have a plan for growing aggressively in this environment.”
Linda Perry began on the ground floor of the financial services industry. She worked as a teller at a bank branch within walking distance of her apartment after graduating from the University of Michigan.
“There were few teaching jobs at the bank, and the bank was close and seemed like a good idea at the time,” says Perry. “I was always seeking a new challenge and so I got experience in internal audit, checking operations, DDA product management, wholesale banking product management and sales, sales training and finally ended up in cards. My first card related job was as sales manager for national accounts at Michigan National Bank. I spent 5 years doing that then moved to Citibank and then to Visa 15 years ago.”
Perry credits many of her accomplishments to her ability to network and build relationships.
She has worked with key industry players over the last 20 years and maintains many of those relationships today. “I am proud of the team I have built at Visa and the positive way we are perceived by our clients,” says Perry. “We understand acquiring and are always looking for ways to build new business for Visa and for our clients.”
Linda Perry is also proud of her service to the ETA, having spent over 11 years as an advisor to the Board. She recently helped found W.net, a networking group for women in the electronic transactions industry. “It is great to see women helping women with programs like mentoring and to see everyone come together at our meetings in April and September,” she explains. Linda, interestingly, has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the women chefs and restaurateurs association for 4 years. I had a chance to help women in business directly with marketing and card acceptance. When I left they gave me my own chef jacket with my name embroidered on it.”
Looking ahead, Linda Perry has a strong conviction that trust is a critical factor in the choices consumers make today. “Consumers increasingly want to do business with companies that are going to protect them,” she says, “and nothing threatens the trust in our
business like fraud.” This is of great concern to her and her
“It’s an issue that extends beyond any single entity,” she adds. “We need to do everything we can to ensure secure commerce for all participants in the payments system.”
Gerry Wagner began his career in the check guarantee business with JBS Associates in the late seventies and stayed until 1983. After working for Telecredit, he learned that Sears was starting a new credit card and building its own network. He was referred to Mike Levitt , then Executive Vice President of Discover Financial Services.
He was hired. The rest is history.
“I am most proud of leading our business model change for acquiring small merchants,” says Wagner. “It started with the introduction of EASI and RAP programs around 2000 and has resulted in the dramatic increase of Discover Network card acceptance throughout the U.S., as well as the boarding of more than one million outlets in 2004 alone.”
Wagner believes that growth to this level of outlets for a U.S.
acquiring is an industry record. He points out that they are now “leading the continuation of that change to more of a third-party acquiring model for small merchants.”
Wagner says that they differentiate themselves by their client relationships.
His future concerns in the industry include consolidation. He points out that five acquirers/processors control more than 90% of the market. He also takes note of the wide array of emerging technologies that offer many choices, and you have to know which to choose. In addition, he believes that PCI compliance is a definite challenge looking forward. One must accelerate rollout while minimizing costs to merchants and acquirers, and assure consumers that their data is secure.
“It’s been a ton of fun and very rewarding,” says Wagner.
As a banker who comes from a banking family, Dennis was attracted to the opportunity to bring his passion for education to bear in an industry that had been an integral part of his life and that of his family. His involvement as part of a non-profit association also allows him to “give back” to the industry.
“First, I was privileged to lead NACHA’s Electronic Check Council through the development and deployment of the POP, ARC and BOC applications,” says Simmons. “POP and ARC accounted for over 2.4 billion transactions in 2006, which was volume that didn’t exist just
7 to 8 years ago and expectations are high for the BOC application, which was designed to complement remote deposit capture applications. Second, receiving two public service awards from the FBI on behalf of our association for our work in fraud reduction and education was certainly a high point for me.”
Simmons believes that his staff of dedicated and committed payments professionals helps set his organization apart from the crowd. His associations’s member satisfaction surveys show time and time again that the one thing they most appreciate about SWACHA is the prompt, friendly service that they receive from the staff.
Looking forward Simmons has two concerns: “First, because of the volume and velocity that are enabled by electronic processing, the potential for widespread fraudulent transactions is much greater than in the paper and physical world,” he explains. “The industry must remain very diligent in not allowing these transactions to migrate from one payment channel to another. Second, I am concerned that SWACHA’s core constituency of small and mid-sized community based financial institutions may not have the necessary resources to effectively compete in this fast paced environment. We remain committed to helping all financial institutions overcome both of these concerns.”
First National Merchant Solutions
“My first job in the industry was 20 years ago in Texas as a sales manager for First National Bank of Omaha - so I guess you could say my career has come full circle now that I am back home at First National. During my first years, the sales aspect of the industry intrigued me, and First National was a good fit. I felt a connection to the bank’s Midwest roots and values, and they have served me well as my career took me to other companies, and then back home to First National,” says Mehochko.
But of all her accomplishments and achievements, Mehochko is most proud of her family. “I married my high school sweetheart and have a
beautiful 8-year old daughter and am very proud of the family we’ve
become,” says Mehochko. “From a community perspective, I am very proud of my involvement here in Omaha, serving as president-elect of the Omaha Children’s Theatre and a board member of the YWCA. These organizations accomplish great things within our community.”
From an industry perspective, Mehochko feels that it has been a pleasure and privilege to be a part of dramatic evolution of merchant acquiring during the last 20 years.
Says Mehochko, “through collaboration with the many outstanding leaders in our industry and serving on such groups as W.net and the ETA’s Strategic Leadership & Networking Forum Program Planning and the Industry Relations Committees, there have been many milestones, too many to mention.”
She feels that the people of First National Merchant Solutions set her organization apart from others in the industry.
“Their expertise, professionalism and commitment to our customers are unparalleled. Their commitment also keeps them here,” she says. “As a result we have one of the most tenured staffs in the marketplace, and a rich history of personalized service.”
Mehochko adds that her organization’s in-house processing contributes
greatly to its success. “Having our own processing center allows us
to control our destiny and respond more quickly to our customers’
needs,” she says.
Looking ahead, she places importance on maintaining strong security and keeping fraud at bay. “The evolution of standards such as PCI and the various committees created to focus on this issue are helping us stay one step ahead,” she says. “We must all remain vigilant.”
Mehochko is concerned about the ever-growing complexity of the business.
She acknowledges that while it can be overwhelming at times, the complexity does offer each of us choices that allow us to focus on building our business.
Concludes Mehochko, “the challenges keep it exciting - which is why I have been doing this for 20 years!”
Linda Rossetti began the climb up the corporate ladder, but later in her career diverted her career path to a road less traveled, but one that has made all the difference. She is the founder and President of her own ISO, Bluestone Payments.
She entered the transactions industry the same way many great leaders found their niche in American enterprise: pure luck. “I was recruited to Citicorp as a Merchant Sales, Account Executive immediately after graduating from college,” she says. “My job was to sign up merchants to accept credit cards. This was before the era of EDC (electronic draft capture); merchants deposited their credit card sales at their local bank, and called a voice authorization center for approvals.”
From Citicorp, she moved onto National Data Corporation and then to several other posts with different firms. She eventually became the President of Global Payments, Inc. and is now the President of Bluestone Payments located in Peachtree City, Georgia.
While she has reached a leadership role in the industry, Linda feels her greatest accomplishments are in her own backyard.
“I am most proud that my husband and I raised three wonderful young adults and while doing this,” she explains. “ I was also fortunate
to have a successful and balanced career in the payments industry.
With both accomplishments, I work each day, to lead by example.”
The electronic transactions industry has many players and competitors, however, Rossetti feels that certain characteristics set her apart from others in the industry.
“I have a strong passion for the payments industry, and love what I do,” she says. “What sets me apart is years of processor, cardholder, and direct merchant experience working for large 'corporate' companies.” Like other ‘Movers and Shakers’, Linda worked her way up the ladder early in her career path and eventually became an entrepreneurial leader in the industry. Her passion fuels her drive for excellence every day.
Looking forward, Rossetti sees challenges in the industry that revolve around an elevated cost structure for point-of-sale vendors due to more burdens placed upon them.
“The cost of servicing merchants may increase due to the continued consolidation at the Association, Bank and Processor levels,” she says. “This coupled with heightened PCI security requirements, at the point of sale, could burden smaller merchants with higher costs, and make their decision to accept payments even more complex.”
Linda Rossetti has seen a lot in her years of experience and applies that to an industry that she loves. Says Rossetti, “I leverage my large corporate experience, and apply the best of lessons learned to an entrepreneurial environment.”
Congratulations to the 2007 Movers and Shakers!