Steve Arkon ’14 Executive MBA
Regional Vice President of Business Development, LeasePlan USA
Steve Arkon is regional vice president of business development for LeasePlan USA, a fleet management company with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, global headquarters in Amsterdam and a presence in 32 countries. LeasePlan assists companies with acquisition, funding, disposal, safety, compliance and telematics support for their fleet as well as their drivers. As fleet management transforms into mobility management and CAAS (car as a service industry), LeasePlan is integrating mobility solutions that tie into ride hailing (Lyft/Uber) as well as subscription and reimbursement services, which help companies identify their total cost of transportation. The company’s international partners are focused on CO₂ emission reduction programs, so LeasePlan is seeing an increase in electric vehicles there. Connected car technologies and the management of autonomous vehicles are also on the horizon. “Data is becoming a very big part of our business!” Steve said.
How did your Bellarmine education help prepare you for what you are doing today?
In the 2014 executive MBA class, I was surrounded by very talented local business professionals and entrepreneurs. The professors were terrific to work with. Their support, positive reinforcement and respect really made an impact on me. I often felt in over my head with our workload and assignments; however, this is where my personal growth accelerated! I value these relationships to this day and know that my classmates and professors are still there to support me if I need them. Networking has been outstanding, and several of my classmates were instrumental in helping me develop an award-winning small start-up that supports the work that I do today. In addition, our 10-day trip to Paris exposed me to European thought leaders who really broadened my view on the bigger picture of international business.
What advice do you have for alumni or students interested in pursuing your profession?
I have always been interested in entrepreneurial, as well as international, projects. Bellarmine gives you a track to follow in both areas. One of our last assignments was to solve a problem for your employer that they may not necessarily be aware of. I had an idea stemming from some work I was doing with one of my clients. We had the design for a solution, but the process involved technology that I was not familiar with. Dr. [David] Collins put me in touch with Bellarmine’s IT Department, and a week later shared a tip with me to check out a software program involving an IOT service. These connections helped us create the first renderings of our start-up. During the same period, I had the opportunity to travel with Bellarmine to Paris and sit in on lectures at ESCP—Europe, Brown Forman and Renault. These visits, along with conversations with my classmates, helped me create strategies to put to work. My advice is to take advantage of all the opportunities to explore everything that Bellarmine puts you in front of, and build on those relationships with your classmates and professors. Your skill set is as valuable to them as their skill sets are to you.
What career accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’d say that taking an opportunity to relocate from Atlanta to Louisville in 2005 and building a business covering Kentucky and Southern Indiana was a risk that really paid off. However, completing my executive MBA in 2014, a lifelong goal, put me in a position to become the national sales trainer for my current company, and I am honored to have this opportunity.
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