Founder and President
Tommy is the founder and CEO of Essential Lending. Prior to launching Essential Lending and its predecessor Essentia Financial, Tommy was president of NetBank Payment Systems, Inc. and founder and CEO of Financial Technologies, Inc. (FTI), NetBank’s predecessor. During his time with FTI, they became one of the largest ATM networks in the US and were featured in several magazines including Inc. Magazine in 2000 and 2001 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.
Tommy holds a BA in Psychology from Mississippi State University and an MA in Counseling from Regent University.
In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, Tommy enjoys time with his family, is the father of two, and an avid reader. Tommy has several philanthropic pursuits, one of which is working with the social enterprise initiatives at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Tarrant County.
Dan Brandon is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Essential Lending. Dan has more than 25 years of experience, providing software solutions to companies around the world. Prior to Essential, Dan served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of SAF USA, Inc., a Swiss based company that provides demand-forecasting software. Before SAF, he was Vice President/General Manager of supply chain, planning, and optimization for the retail software company, Retek. He also worked as Vice President for Retail Business Development at SSA Global/EXE Technologies/Dallas Systems, a provider of software that drives supply chain execution processes.
Dan attended Oklahoma State University and Central State University.
Dan is a father and grandfather who loves spending time outdoors, working in his yard and garden, a day at the beach or hiking in the mountains. He also enjoys doing service projects helping others with repairs and restoration, which is a good excuse to buy new tools.
Technology and Operations
Revenue and Analytics
Shane served as Director of Analytics at Ace Cash Express and EZ Corp as well as being founder of Analytics Affiliates, a specialty finance consulting company with numerous clients in the online lending space.
Shane leads all data science functions for Essential Lending. He has 20+ years of professional experience providing analytical decision support to retailers, restaurants, health care providers, and governments as well as financial service companies.
He holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon as well as an MS in Operations Research and a BS in Management Science from SMU. While working in the corporate world, he simultaneously spent 10 years as an adjunct Professor of Finance at Tarleton State University.
As a Fort Worth native with longstanding ties to the community, Shane enjoys live theater and takes advantage of the other historical and cultural offerings of his hometown with his wife and two sons. He’s also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys with the added dimension that he enjoys playing as the Cowboys in the Madden football video game. The quintessential strategist, Shane enjoys creating playbooks and using analytics to give his team an advantage in the game.
Paul leads all accounting and finance functions for Essential Lending. Paul has more than 25 years of experience leading both public and private companies as CFO, COO, Corporate Controller, BDO, SVP and interim executive.
In 2009, Paul formed an independent consulting practice, PJW Financial LLC through which he has advised companies ranging from start-up to $60 million in revenue. Prior to PJW Financial, Paul worked 15 years in the commercial lending industry with companies including FINOVA Capital, Capitalsource and Surge Capital. Prior to lending, Paul managed a 71 store retailer and served at Montgomery Ward as the Corporate Centralized Accounting Manager.
Paul received a BBA with a concentration in finance and accounting from North Texas State University. Paul also attended Graduate School at University of Dallas with a concentration in e-commerce and Internet Technology.
In his spare time, Paul enjoys time with his family. He also has many creative endeavors including art, singing and playing the trumpet. Additionally, Paul is very active in the Prestonwood Baptist Church.
Finance and Accounting