We’ll Get You There
Meet our leadership team
Rick Dennen: Founder, President & CEO
Rick Dennen is President and CEO of First Commercial Finance, a division of First Financial Bank, which operates under the brands of Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital Corporation. As founder of Oak Street Funding, Rick led the specialty lending company from a business concept in 2003 to the nation’s top insurance lender. Since then Oak Street expanded its lending offerings to registered investment advisors (RIAs), certified public accountants (CPAs) and indirect auto finance companies. In addition, Oak Street offers third-party loan servicing to multinational bank portfolios and backup servicing to securitized portfolios. After Oak Street Funding was purchased by First Financial Bank in 2015, Rick took on the additional role of President of First Franchise Capital Corporation, a business providing commercial lending to restaurant franchisees. Through Rick’s leadership, First Commercial Finance has experienced exponential growth resulting in a portfolio that exceeds $1B.
Before founding Oak Street, Rick was a partner in a venture capital firm serving various capacities for portfolio companies within the fund. He was also a Senior Manager at Deloitte serving public and private companies in the financial services and manufacturing industries.
Rick earned both a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Indiana, as well as a licensed agent for Life, Accident and Health products in Indiana and holds one or more of these licenses in 45 other states. Rick has authored and been featured in numerous articles in leading publications. He is an adjunct professor of venture capital and entrepreneurial finance at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and has spoken at conferences, universities, seminars and other events.
Telephone: (317) 428-3800
Fax: (317) 428-5000
Alicia Mitchell Chandler: Chief Counsel
As Chief Counsel, Alicia is a member of the management team and is responsible for managing all aspects of legal services for Oak Street and First Franchise Capital, including, but not limited to, negotiations, contracts, loan documentation, collections, litigation, and direction of work with outside law firms. Alicia developed and advanced Oak Street’s legal department during extensive company growth. Prior to joining Oak Street, Alicia was first an associate, and then became a partner, at a mid-size Indianapolis firm where she handled much of Oak Street’s legal work. Alicia holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati and her Juris Doctor from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Alicia is a member of the bar in Indiana, United States District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana, United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern and Northern District of Indiana.
Telephone: (317) 428-3847
Fax: (317) 428-5197
Kathy Yeary: Executive Director Customer Service and Human Resources
Kathy Yeary is responsible for the customer service and compliance department, which includes portfolio performance and customer satisfaction, as well as the human resources department for both Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital. Kathy is responsible for managing an over $1B loan portfolio as well as third party servicing. Kathy’s depth of knowledge and expertise is as a result of having achieved success in the insurance and financial services industries since 1995. Prior to joining Oak Street, she served as the Vice President Asset Management at a specialty finance company and in several financial and operating capacities at Conseco and GTE. Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
Telephone: (317) 428-3838
Fax: (317) 805-2714
Bill Nicholson: Executive Director of Sales
Bill Nicholson is the Executive Director of Sales with Oak Street Funding & First Franchise Capital. Bill currently drives the strategic development & growth of our Restaurant Franchise business line and has been an integral part of driving disciplined execution over multiple business verticals since joining Oak Street Funding in 2009. Bill is a US Marine Corp veteran & has been in financial service management since 1999.
Telephone: (317) 428-3835
Fax: (317) 428-5195
David Christman: Chief Information Officer
David Christman has been focused on computer programming and data analysis since his graduation in 2000, most of this time was primarily focused on the insurance commission asset stream. At Oak Street and now with First Franchise Capital, he built our proprietary software that supports all aspects of the business from marketing contact management through underwriting, servicing, and accounting. Prior to joining Oak Street Funding, David developed a web based asset management system which was used to monitor the performance of insurance commission assets and to evaluate new acquisitions. David holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Computer Science from DePauw University.
Telephone: (317) 428-3811
Fax: (317) 428-5111
Sharon Robbins: Chief Marketing Officer
As Chief Marketing Officer, Sharon oversees all marketing, advertising and branding for both Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital. Her responsibilities include developing and implementing strategies and tactics to drive brand and engagement across all business lines. Prior to joining Oak Street, Sharon was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for a mortgage company where she successfully rebranded the company, created marketing structure and tactics to support sustainable revenue growth. Throughout her career, Sharon has founded and owned her own marketing firm, managed the brand and public relations at mid-sized entrepreneurial and financial services companies, and led marketing efforts for key divisions of large corporations. She was a Director of Marketing for a division of AT&T that marketed to 45 million consumers, and a Vice President of Marketing for Bank One/Chase in Columbus, Ohio.
Sharon has served on the boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations. Her diverse experience, master’s degree with honors in industrial and consumer psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J., and business expertise have made her a highly sought-after speaker/advisor at many marketing forums.
Telephone: (317) 428-3804
Kirsten Petras: Executive Director of Sales
Kirsten Petras has worked in the banking and financial services industry since 1994 and with Oak Street since 2011. As Executive Director of Sales, Kirsten leverages her strong understanding of and leads her sales teams in providing a client-focused business development approach and customized commercial loans for Oak Street’s targeted verticals. Her diverse background includes roles in business development and sales management, loan advising, compliance, as well as organizational and strategic planning. The depth and breadth of her experience has enabled her to gain extensive knowledge of all aspects of the loan process.
Kirsten has a Bachelor of Business Administration and Management from Marian University. She has received several sales leadership awards throughout her career including most recently being named to the list of 2016 & 2017 Elite Women by Insurance Business America magazine.
Telephone: (317) 428-5156
Fax: (317) 805-2551
Barry Kehl: Executive Director of Underwriting
Barry Kehl oversees Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital’s commercial underwriting efforts by managing the credit approval process, determining lending policies, risk management, and helping with strategic decisions and planning. With 25 plus years of experience and prior executive level leadership positions for banking and investment companies, Kehl has a rich financial services background.
Barry has successfully managed the performance, risk and monitoring of a $1 Billion plus commercial loan portfolio, managed commercial credit underwriting, and worked with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance. Barry is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Finance and a Master’s degree in Accounting.
Telephone: (317) 428-3805
Fax: (317) 805-2769
Alan Paterson: Chief Credit Officer, First Franchise Capital
Alan Paterson manages the First Franchise Capital Corporation commercial portfolio by setting credit policy, supervising the underwriting and approval processes, monitoring the portfolio with an emphasis on risk management, and helping determine the strategies and tactics for the Franchise group.
Alan is a commercial lending professional with over 35 years of experience and has served in a number of leadership roles over this period, having led teams engaged in client relationship management, credit underwriting and approval for portfolios exceeding $3 Billion, organizational risk supervision and interaction with regulators. Alan is a graduate of Oakland University and a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Telephone: (513) 979-5791
Mobile: (614) 296-2879
Brian Henson: Director of Underwriting, Strategic Markets
As the Director of Underwriting for Strategic Markets, Brian Henson specializes in underwriting and structuring large loan transactions, mergers and acquisitions. Brian also assists in managing large borrower and specialty business relationships to enhance the credit strength of the loan portfolio.
Brian started his lending career in 2002 and has since held positions in credit, sales and portfolio management at several regional banks. Prior to joining Oak Street, he managed a $200MM national real estate loan portfolio. Brian has a Bachelor of Science in Management from Purdue University.
Telephone: (317) 428-3843
Fax: (317) 428-5183
Maranda Stars: Controller
Maranda Stars is responsible for the accounting, finance and treasury functions at Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital. Prior to joining Oak Street, Maranda was a Senior Auditor at Ernst & Young where she performed audits and quarterly reviews for SEC and Non-SEC clients in the retail, consumer products and utilities industries. She also developed client-specific audit programs to improve the audit efficiency and managed staff associates. A Certified Public Accountant, Maranda is a cum laude graduate of Butler University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting.
Telephone: (317) 428-3845
Fax: (317) 805-2765