LeaderOne Financial Corporation
LeaderOne Financial started in Kansas in 1992 as a local mortgage lender with a staff of one. LeaderOne founder and CEO A.W. Pickel gathered the best mortgage professionals across the country to cultivate the company into a full service mortgage banking operation. LeaderOne’s highly qualified mortgage bankers are currently underwriting and servicing over $350 million in conventional and government loans.
A.W. Pickel, III
Chief Executive Officer
A.W. Pickel, III founded LeaderOne Financial in 1992 as a local mortgage brokerage. As CEO, he has grown the corporation into a full service mortgage bank, with the distinctive capability since 1995 to underwrite conventional, VA and FHA loans in house throughout the United States. A.W. has assembled a team of top mortgage professionals from around the country, establishing LeaderOne‘s unparalleled ability to provide each client with the right loan and direct, personalized service through every step of the process. LeaderOne Financial currently services over $350 million in loans, meeting the needs of clients for the life of the loan. That commitment to clients will not change with A.W.’s vision to grow LeaderOne to $1 billion in loans with 40 regional offices around the country. From 1999 to 2006, A.W. was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, serving as President from 2003 to 2004. He has testified before Congress about protecting homeowners from abusive lending practices. He served as a member of the Fannie Mae Housing Impact Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005. He has served on the Freddie Mac Loan Prospector Advisory Committee since 2004. As a respected voice in the mortgage industry, A.W. has been quoted in the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, CNNfn, and the Washington Post. A.W. continues to lend his knowledge of the inner workings of the mortgage industry as an expert for both the legal community and the media. A.W. received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and attended Wheaton Graduate School. A.W. has been married since 1981, successfully raising four daughters. He holds the rank of Major in the New Century Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol flying search and rescue missions for an Auxiliary Unit of the United States Air Force.
Chief Financial Officer
As the Chief Financial Officer for LeaderOne, Adam Schwartz is responsible for direct management of the accounting department. He plays an integral role in banking relationships and cash management for LeaderOne Financial, maintaining the company’s distinctive role in the mortgage markets. Adam is a member of the Executive Management Team, playing an essential part in LeaderOne’s critical decision making, risk management and business growth analysis. Adam is responsible for not only hiring, but also staff development through mentoring and evaluation. His oversight includes expense management, financial reporting and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, as well as the day-to-day accounting operations. Adam brings a solid accounting background to LeaderOne, having started his career in New York City as the senior staff accountant for the International Council of Shopping Centers. From there he spent 13 years as the division controller and accounting manager for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in Overland Park, Kansas. Adam graduated with a bachelor’s of science in Accounting from York College of the City University of New York. He is a member of the AICPA and the Kansas Society of CPAs. Adam is married with three children and enjoys baseball, golf and fishing.
Chief Information Officer
LeaderOne Financial tapped the diverse background of Michael Brady to be the Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales. Michael started his professional career in pharmaceutical sales and then transitioned into the logistical management of time-sensitive shipments for several large air carriers. An opportunity to run the Midwest installation division of a national satellite company gave Michael several years of invaluable management experience. When the demands of traveling for work began to compete with the demands of raising a family, Michael moved into mortgage banking. Michael uses the knowledge he gained in his ten years of working in the mortgage industry for his current focus of supporting the LeaderOne Loan Production Offices throughout the country. LeaderOne has the distinct position of being both a mortgage broker and banker, with Michael as an integral part of the unparalleled resources LeaderOne has to efficiently offer the lowest rates with the highest quality service. In addition to his extensive professional experience, Michael has a BS from Boise State University and played AA baseball in the San Francisco Giants organization. He has been married for seventeen years and enjoys watching his son, play sports.
Chief Strategy Officer
Steven Light is Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, at LeaderOne Financial and is responsible for production support, marketing, corporate communications and strategic growth. Steven has over 20 years of mortgage banking experience and has held executive positions with Countrywide Financial, Saxon Capital and HSBC. Prior to LeaderOne, he was senior vice president of retail sales for American Equity, where he managed three regional vice presidents and their retail branch networks. Steven’s experience and talents in coordinating interdepartmental initiatives further support LeaderOne Financial’s commitment to being the company of choice for the industry’s top mortgage banking professionals. Steven is a graduate of Boston College, where his courses of study resulted in sessions at the Irish Institute of European Affairs in Leuven, Belgium, and the Collegium Palatinum in Heidelberg, Germany. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys spending time with his wife and sons in the great outdoors.