– Featuring presentations on such wide-ranging topics as hybrid vehicles, the stock market, and bankruptcy laws, the American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA) board of governors held its 2005 winter meeting at Orlando’s Ritz Carlton Grand Lakes facility. Keynote speaker Jim Padilla, president and COO of Ford Motor Company, outlined the company’s positioning in the industry and its dedication to product quality.Other speakers and topics included John Montgomery, chief investment officer for Montgomery Brothers, Inc., on “A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” and auto industry analyst Maryann Keller on “Fleet Sales and the Changing Economics of the Auto Industry.”Two panel discussions were also held. Exploring the opportunities and obstacles that hybrid vehicles present for fleet management companies were Alan Starling, president, Holiday Chevrolet Oldsmobile; Gail Kunkle, national fleet/commercial vehicle operations manager, Toyota Motor Sales USA; Gerald Koss, North America fleet marketing manager, Ford; John Gaydash, marketing director, GM Fleet & Commercial Operations; Walter McManus, president McManus Analytics; and panel moderator Paul Smith, AALA environmental counsel. Panel members discussing “Real World Bankruptcy Issues” and the financial implications for commercial fleet leasing companies included attorneys Jeffrey Wegner, Rutak Rock, LLP; Frank Peretore, Peretore & Peretore, P.C.; Ed Huddleson, AALA general counsel; Wanda Borges, Borges & Assoc., LLC; and moderator Brock Austin, senior VP and general counsel, GE Commercial Finance Fleet Services. Sherb Brown (left), VP/group publisher, Bobit Business Media, and John Gaydash, marketing director, General Motors Fleet & Commercial Operations, enjoy a free moment at the AALA board of directors meeting.Pam Sederholm (left), American Automotive Leasing Association executive director, visits with board of directors meeting attendees (l-r) Bill McKee, president, ARI; Joseph Weikel, senior VP legal, PHH; and Dave Dahm, president/CEO, LeasePlan USA.Attending the AALA’s board of directors meeting were (foreground, l-r) Hal Feder, executive director, Ford North American Fleet, Lease & Remarketing Operations (NAFLRO); Kathy Marinello, president/CEO, GE Commercial Finance Fleet Services; and Jerry Frick, director, commercial and government operations, Ford NAFLRO.