January 8, 2016

Joe Santora

jsantora_LIJoseph (Joe) Santora, ASA
Founder, President/CEO
Irontrax LLC
Phone:  440.552.1369; Fax:  440.237.0801

A veteran of the construction, heavy machinery and transportation industry for more than 30 years, Joe Santora has walked in the shoes of his clients.  He understands the methodology for valuation as well as the equipment itself.  

So in 2003, he launched Irontrax LLC, offering his uniquely qualified professional services — with decades of first-hand experience in all aspects of the trade — to those seeking asset management, consulting, appraisals and remarketing of bank-owned construction, transportation and mining equipment.  The company also handles lease-end negotiations, workouts and litigation consultation.  Today, the former one-man-operation has grown into a team of highly-regarded industry experts servicing North American, Canadian and Caribbean clients.  

Irontrax is an approved appraiser with Master Services Agreements (MSA) for nearly half of America’s Top 50 banks and finance companies as well as a trusted partner for equipment managers and construction professionals.  Joe’s long-standing relationships in the market, coupled with his third-party independent perspective, have yielded consistent spot-on valuations for Fortune 500 and yellow iron clients alike.  His special skill sets – including his sought-after status as an expert crane appraiser — have helped Irontrax develop a reputation as an industry leader.  

It’s no surprise that Joe chose this career path; it was in his DNA since before he was born.  His introduction to the family construction and transportation business began when he was 11, when he worked at his uncle’s trucking company, doing such menial tasks as changing oil and sweeping floors.  During his early teens, he spent several summers working for another uncle whose company laid water and sewer lines for Walt Disney World.  During college summer breaks, he drove dump trucks.  

After graduating in 1995 from the University of Akron with a degree in marketing and a minor in advertising, Joe served as National Accounts Manager at Insight Auctioneers (Sebring, Fla), appraising equipment for financial institutions, contractors and national heavy equipment rental companies.  As Territory Manager (Atlanta and Cleveland) at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers – the world’s largest auctioneer of unused and used heavy equipment and trucks — he petitioned consignors, appraised equipment for financial institutions, contractors and national heavy equipment rental companies.

Having earned widespread industry respect, Joe then was recruited to bring his expertise to a newly created position at First Merit Bank (Akron, Ohio).  As its Asset Manager, he developed the institution’s Asset Management programs and established bank policy for the Equipment & Leasing & Finance Division.  As the bank’s first equipment manager, he was responsible for providing residual analysis, developing an approved appraiser list and negotiating maturing leases.

He eventually returned to his roots, as President of Alton Equipment (Miami Beach), where he bought, sold, brokered and sourced used construction equipment throughout the country for several years before founding Cleveland-based Irontrax, whose core business is machinery and equipment appraisals.

Joe completed his Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), and in 2007, earned his Accredited Senior Appraiser designation from the American Society of Appraisers International (ASA).  He is a member of the organization’s Machinery & Technical Specialties (MTS) Committee, which establishes international appraisal policies, standards and education.  Moreover, in October 2015, he received the society’s prestigious “Jerry F. Larkins Volunteer Service Award” for his pioneering work as Founder/Chairman of the association’s popular annual Equipment Valuation Conference.  The five-year-old continuing education presentation – supported by most of the major appraisal firms and banks – brings parties from both sides of the industry together while teaching appraisers about equipment methodology.  Registration has sold out and almost doubled over the years.  

A member of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association’s (ELFA) Equipment Management Committee, Joe has been a speaker at the trade group’s management conferences in 2012, ‘14-‘15 and is slated to return in 2016 to again address how Dodd/Frank financial legislation impacts the industry.  

Past Vice Chairman for the Ohio Contractors Association (OCA), Joe has also served on a number of its committees.  

He has been published in several financial and construction trade publications including ASA’s MTS Journal (2015), Secured Lender, and Crane and Rigging Hotline.   Meanwhile, he regularly attends continuing education industry courses.

A Phi Sigma Kappa alumnus, he loves to travel and drive his restored classic cars.  Joe’s collection consists of a ’69 Dodge Charger, ’68 Ford Shelby Mustang, ’68 Chevy Camaro convertible and ’66 Cadillac El Dorado convertible.  

A dedicated advocate for his community, Joe has volunteered for organizations including the Catholic Diocese, Providence House, St. Augustine’s Food Bank, Camp Cheerful, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and two children, where he is – sadly – a fan of the city’s professional sports teams.