Scott discusses the pandemic, main company differentiators, and future growth in a Q&A with the Star Tribune.
By Todd Nelson
(This article appeared in the September 31, 2020 issue of the Star Tribune)
Scott Nelson, newly named chief digital officer of Tamarack Consulting, is leading integration of digital technologies and data from connected equipment — from bulldozers to medical imaging systems — to expand products and services for its equipment-finance customers.
Nelson has more than three decades of product development, product management and entrepreneurial experience as a technology and business leader. He had advised Tamarack — a leading provider of independent software solutions for the equipment-finance industry — for more than a decade before joining the company that his brother, CEO Daniel Nelson, founded in 2001.
Scott Nelson is part of a new leadership team that also includes Sid Overbey as vice president of corporate development. Tamarack announced the additions last month along with a strategy the company said centered on investing in digital technologies and incorporating real-time operational data from equipment into lease accounting platforms to help lessors protect their investments and improve business performance.
“Finance runs primarily on historical data,” Nelson said. “Once you move into real-time data you have the ability to build models that allow you to look into the future.”
Tamarack, which has been working remotely during the pandemic, has 15 employees and expects to reach 20 by year’s end, Nelson said. It plans to move into offices in St. Paul in October.
Nelson, who earned a doctoral degree in applied physics from Cornell University, most recently was chief product officer and vice president of product at Digi International. He began his career at Honeywell and spent 15 years at Logic PD as chief technology officer and executive vice president. He’s also a mentor with the Alchemist Accelerator in Silicon Valley.
Q: How has the pandemic affected Tamarack’s business?
A: When it first happened, we had customers that pulled on the brakes. But if you read in equipment finance, you’ll find that originations, which is new leases, have been up month over month over month. The people that still have opportunity in the market are interested in pursuing the business but not spending their cash. They move toward equipment finance so we’ve had additional work to do.
Q: What are Tamarack’s main differentiators?
A: One is the brand that Dan and his team have created, which speaks integrity and trust. The other is our team. A lot of competitors are 100% equipment finance or 100% accounting. We have people who have spent their lives in [semiconductor fabrication], networking [operation] centers so we have a diversity of technology and business proposition in our leadership team that allows us to create things that others might not see and engage people that others won’t be able to engage.
Q: What is Tamarack’s growth potential?
A: Productivity and automation is a lot of what we build in our professional services. We’ve hired some people to help with those types of changes. Now that we’re executing strategy, we’re going to invest in things that we believe are going to create new business and create new partnerships that continue to grow. We will grow headcount-wise as a professional-services organization but we are simultaneously trying to scale in an exponential fashion. We’re going to try to scale our product and our software sales. We’ll always be a professional-services organization but we’ll have more focus on product management, product development and R & D.