Keith Kreps, who founded fleet lessor ULTEA in the mid-1990s, has died following a three-year illness. He was 59.

Kreps died Aug. 19 at his Madison, Wis., home surrounded by family and friends.

Kreps is best known for founding ULTEA, a mid-size fleet management company headquartered in Madison, in 1996. By early 2007 with Kreps as president and CEO, ULTEA managed 4,200 vehicles as the 14th largest fleet management company in the U.S. Kreps also founded Velcor Leasing.

ULTEA owner Heartland Financial USA sold the company to ALD Automotive in February of 2007. ALD, a global fleet leasing and management unit of Societe Generale, later sold the business to Wheels, Inc.

In 2008, after the sale of ULTEA, Kreps and his wife Wendy Kreps Peterson started Pro-Techs Dealers Services LLC, an ancillary insurance business.

Kreps was born on Dec. 4, 1954, in Milwaukee. He grew up in nearby Mauston and graduated from Mauston High School in 1973. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with degrees in finance and accounting in 1979. Following graduation, he entered the automotive industry.

Kreps leaves behind his wife Wendy, daughters Nicole and McKenzie, and other relatives. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.