Cates' new job gives him a bigger role in the sales strategy of the equipment leasing company. He says it won't change much of what he does on a daily basis.

"It really doesn't," said Cates, who's worked as an account manager for Dealers Leasing since the mid-1990s. "I'm still in sales. I'm just a little more involved in the decision-making process."

Cates already had years of sales experience when he joined the company. He'd been a partner in a medical software company selling to clinics in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Dealers Leasing was founded in 1959 as a vehicle leasing company affiliated with an auto dealership. Today it's independently owned by David Urban, lease-financing just about any type of business equipment for clients in 35 states.

"We don't just do automobiles," Cates said. "About half of our business is equipment funding, everything from computers to medical equipment to heavy equipment."

Cates' own specialty is computer software.

"We fund upgrades, new installments, all of that," he said.

Outside the job, Cates enjoys sailing trips with friends and spending time with his wife, Connie, at their second home on Wilson Lake in western Kansas.

"Those are my roots," he said. "That's where I hang out."