Mr. Song has a diverse background with over 30 years in principal investments, investment banking and operational experience. Mr. Song is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Prodos Capital (“PC”), an investment firm focused on investments in the lower middle market. Prior to PC, Mr. Song was the head of investments and corporate finance for Verus International, a boutique merchant banking firm that was co-founded by Citigroup. At Verus, Mr. Song led investments in both private and public companies in the emerging growth and middle market. Prior to Verus, Mr. Song was SVP of Corporate Development at On2 Technologies. At On2, Mr. Song led all aspects of strategic planning, financial analysis, mergers & acquisitions, financings and the capital markets. Prior to joining On2, Song was a Managing Director at Bluestone Capital Partners, where he was a senior banker and a manager in that firm's Corporate Finance Department. At BlueStone, Mr. Song was responsible for the execution of public offerings and private placements as well as merger and acquisition transactions. Mr. Song was a member of BlueStone's Management Committee and Commitment Committee. Previously, he held positions as an investment banker at Smith Barney in the Global Energy and Power Group and Chase Manhattan Bank in the Workout and M&A Groups. During his career as an investment banker, Mr. Song has executed over a billion dollars in public offerings, private placements, cross border mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings transactions. Mr. Song received a B.S. Degree from the School of Management at Boston University
Ira co-founded Long Point Capital in 1998 after serving as a general partner of MLGA, an M&A advisory firm and private equity firm. He has served as a general partner of funds with private equity investments of over $400 million and has advised on transactions with total values of over $5 billion.
Prior to MLGA, Ira served as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, and as a strategy consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Ira is a recognized expert and frequent speaker on private equity investments in ESOP, building products, and engineering transactions. Ira earned a BSE in Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Evan R. Gallinson, Managing Director, joined Merit in 2005. Evan previously worked in Investment Banking with BMO Capital, William Blair & Company, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions advisor work for middle market companies in a variety of industries.
Evan received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 2002 with a concentration in finance. In 1997, he received a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan with a concentration in finance and accounting.
Evan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Choice Slocum Holdings, LLC, Elgen Manufacturing Company, Glunt Industries Inc., Storage Solutions, Inc. and TGR Industrial Services.
He is a native of New Jersey, but has lived in the Chicago area for over twenty years, and is currently residing in Northbrook, IL with his wife and two daughters. Evan’s non-work activities involve coaching his daughters’ softball, basketball, soccer and any other sporting activity that involves a ball as well as playing platform tennis.
Christian Albert is the founder and managing partner of Bowside Capital, a private investment firm that specializes in the private equity, small buyout market. Bowside Capital manages private equity funds formed to make direct investments by co-investing with independent sponsors.
Mr. Albert manages the firm and its investment activities and serves on numerous investment-related committees. He earned a M.St. from the University of Oxford and an A.B. from Brown University.
John Huhn brings a 25-year track record of success in private equity, entrepreneurism and strategic consulting to his leadership of Compass Group. Over the course of his career, he has been involved in more than 50 transactions representing over $1 billion in revenue.
Prior to founding Compass Group, John launched and led HBM Holdings, a family office focused on diversifying its core holdings. Earlier in his career, he served as Senior Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development for Aegion (NASDAQ: AEGN), where he was responsible for corporate strategy, mergers & acquisitions, joint-ventures and strategic alliances. His earlier experience also includes serving as Managing Principal of an international consulting firm, where he provided strategic and organizational consulting to Global 1000 customers.
John is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he received degrees in Engineering and Business Administration.
Rob Bauer is a Managing Member at Bassett Creek Capital, a Minnesota based private equity firm focused on making direct investments in private companies in partnership with management and operating executives. Partnership is a key word for Bassett Creek because we strive to create a culture where management teaches us their craft (e.g. the operations of the business) and we teach management our craft (e.g. the private equity business). This partnership approach creates a “win-win” scenario for all stakeholders including owners, management, employees, customers and suppliers.
Mr. Bauer has been involved in making direct investments for the past ten years and currently is Chairman of Bassett Creek Services, a national provider of property restoration and renovation services. Over the course of his career, Mr. Bauer has 20 years of private equity experience and has completed over 40 M&A transactions worth over $3.0 billion in transaction value. Prior to founding Bassett Creek Capital, Mr. Bauer was a member of the private equity teams at Goense & Co, New Stream Capital, Sterling Investment Partners and Piper Jaffray & Co.
Education & Designations:
Claudine M. Cohen is a principal and leads CohnReznick’s Advisory Group’s Northeast Transactional Advisory Practice (TAS). With more than 25 years of business experience, Claudine has developed an expertise in providing transactional advisory services, serving as an adviser to public and private companies, both domestically and internationally. She works with private equity investors, family offices alternative investment funds, lenders, family offices and strategic investors.
Claudine’s specific advisory activities include: strategic advisory, quality of earnings analyses, identifying revenue sources and profitability drivers, examining operating cost structure and sustainability factors, investigating business models including cash flow and financial projections, reviewing quality and realization of assets and liabilities, identifying working capital requirements and negotiating positions, post-close working capital verification, and adjustment mechanisms. Claudine has advised on a number of different buy - and sell-side transactions, including standalone platforms; carve-out of business segments, product line, or facility; bankruptcy auction processes; mergers; and industry consolidations.
Claudine was named to Mergers and Acquisitions 2019 list of the most influential women in mid-market M&A, and Crains NY 2018 most notable women in consulting. She has authored several articles and Thought Leadership, The Deal and other publications focusing on buy and sell-side due diligence, working capital and purchase price allocation.
Nanette C. Heide is a partner in Duane Morris’ Corporate Practice Group, Co-Chair of its Private Equity Division and team lead of the firmwide Private Equity Industry Group. Ms. Heide has significant experience handling complex transactions and providing general corporate counseling. She regularly represents private equity and venture capital investors, multinational and domestic corporations (public and private) in a wide spectrum of corporate finance transactions, including private equity and venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, institutional private placements, cross-border transactions, debt and equity structuring transactions, joint ventures and strategic alliances. She also has formed and structured private equity and hedge funds. She is the Senior Advisory Partner to the firm's Fashion/Retail/Consumer Branded Products Group, and a member of the firm's Partners Board. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Mergers & Acquisitions named Ms. Heide one of the Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A.
Ms. Heide serves as outside counsel for many mid-sized companies on issues of corporate governance, securities law compliance, general commercial transactions and disclosure issues. Her clients span a wide variety of industries, from consumer products to cannabis, medical and personal wellness devices, communications, media and Internet-based businesses.
Ms. Heide previously served as general counsel and chief financial officer of two technology companies. She is a graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law, where she was editor in chief of Washington and Lee Law News, and is a graduate of West Virginia University.
Michael is a member of Fox’s Corporate practice. For more than 35 years, he has represented clients ranging from sole proprietorships to publicly held corporations in a wide variety of industries pursuing transactions including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and commercial arrangements. With a particular focus on mergers and acquisitions, Michael has represented both buyers and sellers (strategic and financial) in many platform and add-on transactions. A former co-chair of the Firm’s Emerging Companies Practice Group, Michael also has advised a variety of early stage technology-oriented businesses on capital formation, where he has an extensive background handling private placements, venture capital transactions and public offerings.
He has acted as securities counsel for companies subject to the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Michael often fills the role of an “outside general counsel” for early stage and middle market companies, providing advice on business formation, shareholders, partnership and operating agreements, as well as employment agreements and a wide range of commercial agreements, including licensing, supply and distribution agreements. Beyond Fox Rothschild, Michael currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the New Jersey Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), is chair of ACG-New Jersey at Princeton, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Save Ellis Island.
Sylvie Gadant is a partner with Citrin Cooperman’s Private Equity and Capital Markets Practice and is the Transaction Advisory Services (TAS) practice leader. She leads buy-side and sell-side due diligence engagements for private equity firms, independent sponsors, family offices, and strategic buyers.
Prior to joining Citrin Cooperman, Sylvie was the principal-in-charge of the TAS practice at a top-20 national accounting firm, where she also spent more than 10 years with its audit and advisory practices. Previously, she served middle-market private companies across several industries for another public accounting firm.
Sylvie has advised clients on over 300 transactions valued between $5 million and $300 million, including platform investments, add-on acquisitions, leveraged recapitalizations, carve-outs, and minority investments. Her areas of expertise include analyzing an acquisition target’s quality of earnings, understanding key performance indicators, assessing working capital requirements, and identifying key deal issues and risk areas. She also provides her clients with guidance on accounting for mergers and acquisitions.
Sylvie is a frequent speaker, panelist, and moderator for various industry forums including the Kayo Private Equity Conference, the iGlobal Forum, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), the Exit Planning Exchange (XPX), and Expert Webcasts. She has been featured in business and industry publications, including Inc. Magazine, Forbes, PE Hub, Buyouts Magazine, Crain’s New York Business, and Accounting Today.
Sylvie is the recipient of several prestigious industry awards, including the "2020 Crain's Notable Women in Accounting" (Crain's New York Business) and the "2019 USA Women Dealmakers" (Global M&A Network), which singularly honors and spotlights an A-List of the most accomplished and respected women dealmakers from the private equity, lending, restructuring, M&A financial advisory and legal transactional communities, especially from the middle-market segments. She is also a 2017 "Top 25 Leading Women Intrapreneur" (Leading Women Entrepreneurs) award recipient.
Brett Hickey is the Founder & CEO of Star Mountain Capital, LLC, a specialized U.S. lower middle-market investment firm with over $1.2 billion in assets under management. Star Mountain employs a data-driven approach to provide value-added debt and equity capital to established small and medium-sized private companies leveraging its scale-driven resources, and longstanding relationships. Star Mountain also has a secondary fund investment business providing early liquidity for investors in lower middle-market private credit and private equity funds. Brett has been investing in this end of the market for over 15 years and began his career as an investment banker at Citigroup / Salomon Smith Barney nearly 20 years ago.
Mr. Hickey graduated from McGill University with a finance and accounting degree. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School via its Owner/President Management executive leadership program.
He Chair’s Star Mountain’s Charitable Foundation which supports the career development of women, veterans and athletes as well as health & wellness initiatives including cancer research. He is a member of YPO and on the global boards of Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs and Help for Children. Additionally, Brett is a former Canadian national gold medalist speed skater. Mr. Hickey is the proud father of two children.
Thomas Kesoglou is the Office Managing Partner of Ice Miller's New York office, where he leads the Firm’s Private Equity Practice. He is also a member of the Firm's Board of Directors. Mr. Kesoglou represents private equity funds, mezzanine funds, SBICs, BDCs, family offices and independent sponsors providing strategic and legal advice in their investment strategies, including leveraged buyouts, mezzanine financings, growth capital transactions, early and late stage private equity investments and secondary transactions. Mr. Kesoglou also advises these investors in connection with the management of their portfolio companies, including acquisitions, dispositions, follow-on debt or equity investments, bridge loans, restructurings, recapitalizations, employment matters, stock plans and other general corporate matters.
Mr. Kesoglou serves as outside general corporate counsel to a number of privately held and emerging growth companies in connection with growth capital transactions, acquisitions and other general corporate matters. Mr. Kesoglou represents privately held companies in connection with the sale of their business to strategic or financial investors. He also represents large U.S. and foreign corporations in connection with their investment and M&A activities in the United States.
In addition to advising his clients, Mr. Kesoglou actively seeks transaction opportunities to refer to financial investors in order to facilitate introductions and transaction opportunities.
Mr. Kesoglou is a frequent public speaker on corporate legal matters and has authored several articles published in leading magazines, including Buyouts, Financier Worldwide, and The Deal. He was named 2014 AM&AA Conference Chair of the Year and AM&AA Chapter Leader of the Year in January 2013 by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors and was appointed as Chairman of its 2013 summer conference and 2014 winter conference.
Prior to joining Ice Miller, Mr. Kesoglou practiced in the private equity group at McCarter & English LLP and Goodwin Procter LLP in New York. Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Kesoglou worked as an investment banker in the Real Estate Finance and Securitization Group of CIBC World Markets in New York.
As President, Mark oversees all aspects of EGI. He focuses on maximizing and sustaining the value of the firm’s investment portfolio, and on optimizing Sam’s network. With nearly 20 years of board and CEO experience, Mark employs his leadership inside and outside our firm. He manages and develops our corporate investment team and deploys Sam’s active-ownership approach by engaging with portfolio company management to improve business strategies and operating structures, aligning all toward achieving optimum shareholder value. In addition, Mark is a Chief Operating Officer of Chai Trust Company, LLC (corporate trustee for the Zell family trusts). He also serves on the boards of EGI investment companies. Mark is the Executive Chairman of Exterran Corporation, a systems and processes company for oil, gas, water, and power. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Ardent Health Services, a provider of hospital and healthcare services, and as Chairman of Lanter Delivery Systems, an asset-light dedicated delivery service provider. Mark is also on the board of Able Freight Services, a provider of airfreight forwarding services focused on time-sensitive perishable goods.
Mark joined EGI in 2006 as a Managing Director. He has overseen a range of investments, serving in the ownership representative role of strategic advisor to portfolio company management teams. Mark has served on temporary in-house assignments within select EGI portfolio companies to accelerate and increase the effectiveness of turnarounds. He performed this role as President of Tribune Interactive from 2007 to 2008, and again more recently within Exterran Holdings, Inc.
Before joining EGI, Mark was the Chief Executive Officer of Sunburst Technology Corporation and served on the company’s board of directors. Previously, he was the President of Budget Group, Inc. (Budget Rent A Car and Ryder Truck Rental) and served on that company’s board as well. Mark’s earlier career also included senior brand management and sales roles at The Coca-Cola Company. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Amherst College. Outside of the office, Mark invests time mentoring young parents of children with special needs.
Mr. Bergschneider is a Managing Member and co-founder of Starboard Capital Partners. Marc currently serves as a Director of JPC Holdings, LLC, chairs the Board of Managers of CV Properties, LLC and is observing director of Apothecare, LLC. Marc was a past Chairman of WHI Solutions, Inc. and Vice Chairman of Jan-Pro Holdings, LLC. Prior to co-founding Starboard, Marc was Chairman and CEO of National Fairways, LLC. Earlier in his career, Marc was a Managing Director at Drexel Burnham, Lehman Brothers, and Kidder Peabody. Marc graduated with a BA from Brown University and has an MBA from The University of Chicago. He is a steward for the Brown University Crew, and a past Director for both the Brown University Sports Foundation and the National Rowing Foundation.
Steve McGrath founded Level Capital Partners and is responsible for originating and evaluating investment opportunities, structuring and negotiating transactions, managing portfolio investments, and investor relations.
Prior to forming LCP, Mr. McGrath served key roles within three lower middle market private equity initiatives, inclusive of Harbert Management Corporation’s private equity practice, Atlanta Equity Investors, and Liberty Lane Partners. Before his private equity career, Mr. McGrath worked at the Royal Bank of Canada within its M&A advisory group and a lower middle market mezzanine investment firm. Mr. McGrath also gained valuable management consulting and operational experience as a part of Andersen Consulting and multiple technology startup companies. Mr. McGrath has sat in board positions throughout his investment management career and currently sits on the boards of CarePlus Anesthesia Management, S&S Healthcare, and Affirmative Technologies.
Mr. McGrath holds a MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, where he graduated with Beta Gama Sigma honors, and a BA in Economics from the Miami University.
Previously Jeffrey was a Managing Director of the Private Investments Group at Ramius, which he joined in 2005. Jeffrey has over eighteen years of private equity and direct lending experience at Ramius and prior to Ramius, Sandler Capital and LLJ Capital (an affiliate of DB Zwirn & Co.). Currently Jeffrey serves as Co-Vice Chairman of Linkem SpA and as a director of Calder Group Holdings Limited. Previously, Jeffrey was an investment banker (both corporate finance and M&A) at Salomon Brothers and Lazard Freres. Jeffrey has a BS in Engineering from Cornell (with honors) and an MBA from Wharton. Throughout his career Jeffrey has served on a number of corporate and non-profit boards of directors.
Strategic advisor. Merchant banker. M&A expert. Financier. Seasoned board member. Repeat entrepreneur, founder, and general partner. Trusted Consigliere to single family offices, founders, boards, CEOs.
Adam Smith is an experienced investor, advisor, and builder of tens of startup, venture and private equity-backed companies in the U.S., and abroad, since the mid-1990s. Through private equity partnerships he has led and/or sponsored since 2002, Adam has invested in over a dozen privately-held companies (including seven acquisitions) with a combined $600 million in sales and over $250 million of contributed equity invested capital, while also forming and serving on the Board of Directors, or Advisory Boards, of each company.
Adam is the founder and manager of alternative investing holding company, RAS Capital Partners LLC. In 2002, Adam founded Circle Peak Capital LLC, a private investment merchant banking partnership based in NYC he still manages today and which has served tens of limited partners with over $50 million of invested capital over time.
Earlier in his career, Adam served as a principal at two leading private equity firms based in New York City, Caxton-Iseman Capital, an affiliate of Caxton Associates, one of the world’s legendary alternative investment organizations (founded 1993), and Castle Harlan, Inc. (founded 1987) each holding over $2 billion in aggregate managed equity capital.
Adam was the first employee and instrumental in the success of a global emerging markets (half a billion dollar) hedge fund formed in 1996, Columbus Advisors LLC by the heads of Merrill Lynch emerging markets. Adam started his career on Wall Street in 1993, holding positions at top firms including Salomon Brothers Inc., J.P. Morgan, and Lehman Brothers Inc. After Salomon Brothers, Adam earned an MBA in 1998 with high honors (Beta Gamma Sigma) from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University (CBSGSB), and a BA cum laude in International Relations and Economics from Boston University.
Adam is an active alumnus of CBSGSB, a founding board member of the CBSGSB Private Equity Advisory Board, and a founder in 1996 of the school’s now legendary Investment Management Conference. In addition to his role as Founder and CEO of his three primary holdings, Circle Peak Capital LLC, Big Sky Partners LLC, and Family Office Private Advisors LLC, Adam is a founding special advisor to hedge fund platform, Stride Capital LLC (since 2010), and was appointed in 2016 to the Advisory Board of the NY Tech Fashion Lab, a collaboration with global incubator, Springboard Enterprises and leading fashion and technology organizations.
Adam is the sole founder of Wisdom Board Inc, founded 2020, a pioneering strategic advisory firm providing multi-faceted and thoughtful advice to Boards and their company directors, members, CEOs, and investors. Wisdom Board empowers private company Board of Directors to optimize, inform, fortify, and modernize their governance to ensure best-practices, optimize shareholder value, and mitigate conflict and related liability.
Adam is an expert in the branded space with a focus on all matters related to the consumer, including luxury, accessories, retail, apparel, beauty, art and design, digital & media, food & beverages, wellness, real estate and wealth management.
Adam is married and a proud father of three children, is active in foreign affairs, the arts, design, and is an avid collector. Adam has been a host, patron and / or sponsor of numerous arts related events including the International Fine Art and Antique Show, Weill Carnegie Recital Hall, The Avenue Show, and has been an amateur classical pianist since the age of 5. Frequent speaker, host and/or sponsor at conferences, including Columbia Business School, Buyouts Insider, ACG, YJP, iGlobal Forum, Marcus Evans.
Adam is an active patron, innovator, and philanthropist, including his roles as Founder of Caring Capitalism, Co-Founder of Leukemia Fighters at Weill Cornell College (one of the leading oncology non-profits affiliated with a top U.S. hospital), board member of the Musicians Treatment Foundation (the leading national injury treatment non-profit for musicians), a current board trustee of VentureCapital.org; and previously, on the founding Board of Directors of National Sawdust (aka,Original Music Workshop) in Brooklyn, advisor to the leading museum of innovation in craft, art, and design (founded 1956), the Museum of Arts and Design, a special advisor to the Tanenbaum Center, and founding member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies of Boston University.
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