Our Team

Our Team

SMART Financial, and their team of experienced financial services and human resources professionals, specializes in the acquisition and operation of pawn store operating groups. We currently operate stores in the United States and Canada. New store expansions are actively being pursued. Through the philosophy and practice of focusing on recruiting, training, and incenting world class talent, SMART Financial is able to provide a gratifying customer experience that is not commonly found the pawn industry.

John Thedford

John Thedford

Founder

John Thedford has proven to be an incredible leader in the creation, development, and proven growth of companies, since 1994. In fact, the Gallup Organization has recognized “Thedford-led companies” as being world-class, based on unprecedented ratings in customer and employee engagement.

In 1994, Thedfor founded Rent-Rite, a South Florida rent-to-own company, that was recognized by INC Magazine as one of the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in North America. After growing this company to a 90-store chain, he sold the company to a strategic buyer for significant investor returns.
  
In the same year, he also founded Value Financial Services, doing business as Value Pawn & Jewelry, in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, and Mexico. This company was also recognized by INC Magazine as one of the 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in North America, as well as “Best in Class” as the most profitable, on a per store basis, in the pawn industry. In December of 2008, Thedford headed the team that successfully negotiated the merger of Value Financial Services with EZCORP, for $110 million.
  
Currently, John holds several positions, outside of SMART Financial. In 2009, Thedford founded FFI Holdings, currently doing business as La Familia Pawn & Jewelry, in Florida and Puerto Rico. In 2012, he founded and is currently the CEO of Premier Financial Group, based out of Winter Park, FL. He is also a partner in Initiative Consulting Group. John is a tremendous leader and asset to SMART Financial, with a proven record of rapid growth and financial success.

Jeff Archer

Jeff Archer

Chief Information Officer

Jeff has over 25 years of IT experience as a skilled business partner and IT executive, aligning IT to achieve strategic business goals, increasing productivity, quality, and revenues while managing budgets and expenses. His career has given him the opportunity to be responsible for billions of dollars of revenue flowing into Walt Disney World through over 4,000+ Point of Sale Terminals (PoS). This experience also includes mastering the knowledge needed to implement the latest payment systems, including EMV. He also worked in Food and Beverage industry as an executive leader for Tijuana Flats Tex Mex with multiple stores across 5 states. He brought this experience to his current role as CIO for Smart Financial.

Jeff is a military veteran of 9 years in the US Army with a technology focus and proud to have served his country.

He is an advisory board member of BWG Strategy which is an invite-only network for senior executives across technology, media and telecom. He also is a member of Society of Information Management (SIM) Central Florida which is dedicated to shaping and influencing the management and use of information technology throughout the greater Orlando region.

David Johns

David Johns

Executive Vice President

Since 1964, David has been active in the retail and pawn industries and has served as an officer for three successful pawn chains: Value Pawn, La Familia Pawn and Premier Pawn. The first twenty five years of his career were spent as a Director of Human Resources for Sears, working in several Southeastern Divisions and Sears Headquarters, in Chicago. He is a founding partner of Initiative Consulting, a Winter Park, FL based firm, that specializes in performance engineering for a wide range of businesses and industries. The firm currently has clients throughout the US, Canada and the Caribbean Islands.
  
David was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Pawnbrokers Association (NPA) for many years and served on legislative committees with that organization, throughout his 20 year tenure as a board member. He has been a guest speaker at NPA national conventions, as well as several regional pawnbroker association conventions. Additionally, he has been a guest speaker at numerous law enforcement conventions, in Florida, regarding cooperation between law enforcement and pawnbrokers. He holds multiple degrees, including a BS in Banking & Finance from Mississippi State University.

Joe Willard

Joe Willard

Vice President

Joe Willard, our new Director of Operations, has an extensive background in the pawn industry and adds even more industry experience to the SMART team. In fact, Joe’s middle name is “Pawn” and he is a second-generation pawnbroker! Joe grew up working in the pawn business with his father in Texas, so to put it simply, “Joe knows pawn!”
  
Previously, Joe held Director positions with EZ Pawn, Value Pawn, American Pawn and Pawn Plus. He has managed pawn stores in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Tennessee and Texas. Joe is a graduate from the University of Texas and is very excited to be part of the SMART Team.