• Douglas Song
  • Evan Gallinson
  • Christian H.M. Albert
  • Claudine M. Cohen
  • Sylvie Gadant
  • Nick Russell
  • Bruce Lipian
  • David Acharya
  • Drew Brantley
  • Richard Baum
  • Christopher Sheeren
  • Jeff Mizrahi
  • Michael Becker
  • Jonathan Saltzman
  • Neel Bhargava
  • R. Whit Matthews
  • John Kim
  • Thomas Ince
  • Melanie Santos Grant
  • Colleen Gurda
  • Matthew Pettit
  • Chase Stuart
  • Thomas Kesoglou
  • Michael Lonergan
  • Patrick Dussault
  • Greg Robinson
  • Joe Licata
  • Carl Riccadonna
  • Bordon Lai
  • William Doran
  • Michael Shein
  • Mick Cochran
  • Brett Hickey
  • Ernest Lyles
  • Richard Petrocelli
  • Ben Rudman

Speaker Profiles

Douglas Song

Co-Founder and Managing Director

Prodos Capital

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

Evan Gallinson

Managing Director

Merit Capital Partners

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 H.M. Albert

Managing Partner

Bowside Capital

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.

Claudine M. Cohen

Managing Principal, Transactions and Turnaround Advisory

CohnReznick LLP

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.

Sylvie Gadant

Partner

Citrin Cooperman

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.

 

Nick Russell

Managing Partner at Tuckerman Capital

Nick Russell is a Managing Partner at Tuckerman Capital where he leads the firm’s efforts to execute buyout investments in partnership with Independent Sponsors and experienced executives. He has over twenty years of experience as an investor, advisor, strategist and operator.  The entirety of his career has been focused on helping engineering-driven product and service businesses across a range of sectors succeed and generate value for stakeholders. 

Nick joined Tuckerman in 2010. He is responsible for all facets of the firm’s efforts including business development and partnership origination, investment execution, portfolio management, investor facing activities, and internal firm operations. He has been a Board Director and has led several Tuckerman investments including Orthofeet, TRS Services, Freedom Communication Technologies, Dauntless Air, and Anser Advisory.

Nick began his career as a strategy consultant focused on growth strategy, corporate venture strategy, operational improvement, and private investment due diligence, and was a founding team member of a boutique private investment advisory firm. For the last fifteen years, Mr. Russell has focused on partnering with middle and lower-middle market companies to analyze and execute buyout investments, working closely with portfolio companies and their leaders to develop and execute growth and other value enhancement initiatives to deliver strong risk-adjusted investment outcomes. 

Nick earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and his MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. As an active contributor to his community and has been a Trustee at the Upper Valley Land Trust, an investment committee member at the Montshire Museum of Science, a Board Advisor at the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences, and serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Tuck School teaching MBA students about the practice of private investments. Nick is married and has three young children. 

Bruce Lipian

Co-Founder of StoneCreek Capital

Bruce N. Lipian is a founding principal and Managing Director of StoneCreek Capital. Founded in 1992, StoneCreek is an independent private equity sponsor focused on investing directly in growth-oriented management buyouts and targets transactions ranging from $10 million to $100 million.  StoneCreek’s most recent acquisitions include Kova International (www.kovaintl.com), Pinnacle Exhibits (www.pinnacle-exhibits.com), Mob Scene (www.mobscene.com), Rio Ranch Market (www.rioranchmarket.com), Montana Silversmiths (www.montanasilversmiths.com) and ACCESS DMC (www.accessdmc.com).    Prior to StoneCreek, Bruce was a Vice President at Kelso & Co., one of the nation’s leading buyout investment firms. Bruce received his BA (Economics) from the University of Washington and his MBA (Finance) from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Bruce is an active member of ACG,  a founding member of both the Orange County Private Equity Connection and the Orange County Transaction Network, and has served as an adjunct professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics (California State University Fullerton) and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Kids Connected.

 




 

David Acharya

Managing Partner of Acharya Capital Partners, LLC

David Acharya is the Managing Partner of ACP where he oversees all aspects of the firm’s investing, management, and strategic activities. He brings over 25 years of investing and transacting experience to ACP. He is a frequent speaker at industry events and is recognized by his peers for his expertise in private equity, capital markets, and portfolio value creation.
 

Before establishing ACP, Mr. Acharya was a partner of AGI Partners, LLC, a private equity firm, and played a key role in the development of the firm including strategy, hiring, and fundraising. He continues to serve on the board of directors for Impact XM, an AGI portfolio company, and will be managing until exit.  Earlier, Mr. Acharya was a Director of an NYC-based private equity firm where he was responsible for investment sourcing and execution. Among other accomplishments, he sourced and executed Revolution Dancewear, co-sponsored with Incline Equity Partners, and was sold to Audax Group.

Previously, Mr. Acharya was a Vice President with Apprise Media, a private equity firm focused on niche media investments, where he worked with the founders of PRIMEDIA, a former KKR founded portfolio company. Mr. Acharya invested over $200 million in niche media companies across digital, events, and print products in North America, Europe, and Asia. He made significant contributions to Apprise Media’s largest portfolio company Canon Communications, a B2B media company. Canon was successfully sold to United Business Media in 2010.  Mr. Acharya spent 10 years as an investment banker in the highly ranked leveraged finance groups of JP Morgan Chase and Toronto Dominion Securities. He advised, structured, and raised over $18 billion of capital for leading financial sponsors, telecommunications, media, and consumer product companies across the globe. He also advised clients on debt tender/consent transactions that affected over $4 billion of debt. While at Toronto Dominion and as part of its merchant banking initiatives, he was involved in numerous equity investments including Rural Cellular Corporation (sold to Verizon), T-Mobile, Bresnan Communications, and Intermedia Communications (Leo Hindery’s Cable Venture).

In 2020, after completing his term as President of the New York Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), Mr. Acharya was elected as Chairperson. Additionally, he was recently elected to the ACG Global Board of Directors. In recognition of his years of leadership and volunteerism, he was honored with the ACG Meritorious Award.

Mr. Acharya is a graduate of St. John’s University and holds B.S. and M.B.A. degrees with honors.

 

Drew Brantley

Managing Director at Frisch Capital Partner

Drew is a Managing Director at Frisch Capital Partners. For the past 25 years, Frisch Capital has specialized in raising debt and equity for value-added Independent Sponsors. 
 
Drew is a serial entrepreneur having started 5 businesses, sold a few and still owns some. He knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. He sees the Independent Sponsor model as the method executives and industry experts can take to own and run already established businesses. He now dedicates his career to helping individuals buy companies, find greater success and live life on their own terms.

Richard Baum

Managing Partner, Consumer Growth Partners

Richard is the Managing Partner of Consumer Growth Partners (CGP), a private equity investment/independent sponsor and advisory firm with an exclusive focus on middle-market specialty retail and non-perishable branded consumer products companies. Prior to co-founding CGP in 2005, Mr. Baum spent more than fifteen years as a sell-side equity research analyst at Sanford Bernstein, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse where he was consistently ranked among the industry leaders in the annual Institutional Investor and Greenwich Associates polls.  Previously, Mr. Baum spent six years in the merchandising organization at Bloomingdale’s.  He began his career as a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group.

 Mr. Baum currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Harris Originals, Inc. and as a Board Director for Factory Connection,  and Rolla Coster, Inc.  He served as a board director of Vera Bradley, Inc. (NASDAQ:  VRA) for nine years.  He is also President of the Retail Marketing Society, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on leading edge topics of interest for the broad retail community

Mr. Baum earned a BA degree in Economics from the University of Michigan where he graduated magna cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa honors and a JD degree from Harvard Law School.  Mr. Baum lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife Robin.  He is the proud father of two young men, Zachary an attorney in Washington, DC and Ross a musical theatre composer and vocal coach in New York City.

Christopher Sheeren

Partner at Longhouse Partners, LLC

​Chris has over 28 years of business experience in M&A, turnaround consulting, public accounting, and sales.  He has worked with Huron Capital, Conway McKenzie, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Revlon.  He has a B.A. in English and Speech Communications from the University of Nebraska, and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, and is a former CPA.

Jeff Mizrahi

Partner, MFG Partners LLC

Prior to founding MFG Partners, Mr. Mizrahi was a partner at Sand Oak Capital.  He also worked at York Capital’s Special Opportunities Fund, where he focused on identifying investment opportunities in founder, family and/or manager-owned businesses.  Prior to York, Mr. Mizrahi worked at Lindsay Goldberg, where he worked on more than a dozen transactions in a variety of industries, including energy services, food manufacturing and distribution, construction materials and natural gas utilities. Mr. Mizrahi currently sits on the board of directors of Alliance Environmental Group, Elgen Manufacturing, LCR Contractors, Mail Communications Group and Storage Solutions.

Mr. Mizrahi holds an AB with concentrations in East Asian Studies and Economics from Brown University.  He holds an MBA with Honors from Columbia Business School, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor.

Michael Becker

Partner, Plexus Capital

Mike is a co-founder and Partner at Plexus Capital. Mike heads the new business origination effort for the firm and serves on the investment committee. He is also active in deal execution and portfolio company oversight.

Mike began his career in 1997 and worked for Townsend Frew and Company, a healthcare focused investment bank in North Carolina. From 1999 to 2002, Mike worked in the capital markets group at RBC Bank (fka “Centura Bank”), where he reported to Bob Anders. After earning his MBA degree, which included a summer job with Lehman Brothers in New York, Mike went to work for Triangle Capital Partners where he focused on new business origination and execution.

Mike is a graduate of the University of North Carolina where he earned both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA.

Jonathan Saltzman

Managing Partner, Torque Capital Group

Jonathan Saltzman is a managing director and co-founder of Torque Capital Group LLC (“Torque”).  At Torque, Mr. Saltzman takes a lead role in the sourcing, structuring, and financing of investments and the management, strategy, and growth of its portfolio companies, all in niche manufacturing.  Together with the firm’s investment team and operating partners, Mr. Saltzman takes a hands-on, operational approach to building value in Torque’s portfolio companies.

Before co-founding Torque, Mr. Saltzman was a senior investment professional focused on manufacturing investments at The Cypress Group, a New York-based private equity firm.

Prior to The Cypress Group, Mr. Saltzman sourced and led transactions at BG Strategic Advisors, a boutique investment bank focused on the supply chain sector, leveraging the supply chain and operations experience and network he developed while working as the corporate finance manager of the Amsterdam-based transportation, logistics, and shipping multinational TNT NV (“TNT”).

Before TNT, Mr. Saltzman worked in the financial institutions group in Salomon Brothers’ investment bank, where he advised on a broad array of capital markets and M&A transactions for banks, specialty lenders, asset managers, and insurers.  Mr. Saltzman began his career as a public auditor in Ernst & Young’s financial services group.

Mr. Saltzman is currently a director of Brake Parts Inc. (automotive parts manufacturing), Remy International and Maval Industries (automotive parts re-manufacturing), and J-Pac Medical (medical outsourced manufacturing).  Mr. Saltzman was a director of various Torque and The Cypress Group portfolio companies, including in the aerospace, building products, and logistics sectors. 

Mr. Saltzman is a CPA and earned an MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA and a BBA with highest distinction from Emory University.  Mr. Saltzman is active in a variety of industry organizations as well as local charitable organizations in Fairfield County, Connecticut where he resides with his wife and three children and enjoys tennis, mountain biking and travel.

Neel Bhargava

Founding Partner, NB Group Investors LLC

Neel is an experienced investor, operator, and advisor. Prior to NB Group, he was a member of the investment team at Berkshire Partners, a corporate development manager at The New York Times, a co-founder of Foodpanda India, and a management consultant at Bain & Company. He is also the founder of NB Advisory, an advisory and consulting firm working with growth stage businesses on corporate development, strategy, and finance.

At Berkshire Partners, a growth-oriented private equity fund with $15+ billion in assets under management, Neel evaluated new investments in the Tech/Telecom and Consumer/Multi-Unit industries. He also worked closely with the teams of several portfolio companies including retailers Aritzia and Party City, where he was a Board Observer. At the New York Times, Neel evaluated investments in ad technology, business intelligence, and mobile. At Bain, Neel advised clients across industries and worked with several leading private equity funds on strategic diligence.

Neel is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

R. Whit Matthews

Senior Investment Director, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Whit Matthews is a Senior Investment Director focused on abrdn’s Private Equity strategies and a member of its US investment committee.   He is responsible for all aspects of the investment process including portfolio construction and the due diligence and ongoing monitoring of existing and prospective fund commitments, co-investments and secondaries.  Whit joined abrdn (then SL Capital Partners) in 2009.  Previously, he was an Investment Analyst at the University of Pennsylvania endowment allocating to private equity, venture capital, and hedge fund opportunities. 

 

Whit has spent the bulk of his career investing in the North American middle and lower-middle market.  He holds (and/or has held) numerous limited partner advisory board seats for various fund commitments and is a regular speaker at industry conferences and events.

Whit earned a BA in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Villanova University School of Business, and holds the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.  Whit also holds Series 7 and 63 licenses with FINRA.

John Kim

Partner, New State Capital Partners

John is the Co-Founder of New State Capital Partners in 2013. Prior to joining, John spent over 14 years in investment banking. Most recently, John was an Executive Director in the Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance Group at UBS Investment Bank, where he was responsible for originating and executing leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and refinancings as well as co-covering middle market private equity firms. Prior to UBS, John was at Credit Suisse First Boston (previously Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette) in the Private Placements Group, where he helped raise over $2 billion for growth companies in a variety of industries. John began his career at Deutsche Bank in the Commercial Real Estate Finance Group.
John graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

Thomas Ince

Managing Director, LP First Capital

Thomas Ince is a Managing Director of LP First Capital and has both finance and operational experience. LP First Capital likes to dream big and pursue strategies where we can deploy 100M in equity and 10x its investment through operational improvements, organic growth and multiple arbitrage.  Before LP First Capital, he has started and sold multiple businesses, founded a national education company with operations in 20 states , and co-founded a healthcare sell-side advisory firm.  Find out more at www.lpfirstcapital.com.

Melanie Santos Grant

Founder & Managing Partner - 2ndGenPartners

Melanie Santos Grant is the Founder and Managing Partner of 2ndGenPartners, a woman-led, private equity independent sponsor firm focused on control and non-control investments in Agribusiness, Healthcare Services, Health & Wellness products.  Her career started with 4 years in fixed Income securities at Goldman Sachs, then 5 years as a transactions attorney at Morgan Lewis followed by serving as Assistant General Counsel for Aramark, a large global food services company.  After Aramark, she moved from legal to the operations at Burlington Coat Factory, a Bain Capital portfolio company.  As Chief Transformation Officer, she was responsible for the strategic growth initiatives from store re-design to supply chain, which resulted in revenue growth from $1 to over $4 Billion.  After leaving Burlington, Melanie owned and operated her own strategic growth and advisory firm.  
 
As a first generation Filipino-American, mother of four with over 25 years of deal and business growth experience, Melanie is excited about 2ndGen's mission which is to partner with founders and family-owned businesses to directly improve the lives of future generations.  Melanie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers College and earned her JD from the University of Virginia.  Melanie is currently a trustee of the Virtua Healthcare Foundation, the largest healthcare network in Southern New Jersey.

Colleen Gurda

Partner, Riveter Capital

Colleen co-founded the firm in 2020 and her responsibilities include deal sourcing, execution, portfolio management, marketing, and investor relations. She has spent her entire career investing in and working with companies in the lower and mid-market. Prior to Riveter Capital, she was a Managing Director with Comvest Partners, a leading middle market private equity and credit investment firm. Before joining Comvest, she worked at Alcentra, a division of BNY Mellon which invested equity and subordinated debt in lower middle market companies. Colleen started her career at Barclays Capital, where she was involved in M&A and corporate finance transactions.

Colleen received an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Colleen lives in New York with her husband, two children, and beloved golden retriever. She enjoys playing tennis and squash and running on the West Side Highway.

Matthew Pettit

Founding Partner, Seven Hills Capital

Matthew Pettit founded Seven Hills Capital in order to bring a unique long-term operating perspective to healthcare services investing

Prior to forming Seven Hills, Matt founded Ascend Dermatology with the goal of creating an organization that provides world-class, compassionate care to dermatology patients and offers a unique succession planning vehicle for dermatology practice owners. Matt served as the CEO of Ascend where he oversaw operations, the construction of a corporate team and associated back office support center, and all financial functions. Additionally, Matt led business development sourcing and the execution of several add-on-acquisitions. Ascend merged into Forefront Dermatology in 2016

Matt developed his passion for healthcare after being involved with several successful ventures as an investor and advisor while at Beecken Petty O’Keefe and Company and Piper Jaffray. He worked with companies in the healthcare information technology, practice management, staffing, infusion and home health sectors. Matt has also made personal investments in the healthcare space, targeting primarily outpatient services and personal wellness. Matt currently serves on the Board of Directors of The VersiCare Group and Reliable Medical Supply. Matt is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) Chicago Chapter.

Matt received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Masters in accounting and B.S. from The Ohio State University with Honors where he received the Presidential Salute and Pacesetter Awards. Matt lives with his wife and two sons in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chase Stuart

Partner- Ice Miller

Chase Stuart is a partner in Ice Miller's Business Group.  He represents a variety of private equity funds, family offices, independent sponsors, mezzanine funds, and privately held businesses.  He provides strategic and legal advice in their investment and general corporate strategies, including leveraged buyouts, mezzanine financings, growth capital transactions, early and late state private equity investments and secondary transactions.  He represents family, founder, and entrepreneur-owned businesses as general corporate counsel and as a sell-side advisor.  He has represented a variety of companies in sectors such as technology, manufacturing, health care aerospace and defense, gaming, and business services.
 

Thomas Kesoglou

Managing Partner, Ice Miller

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.

Michael Lonergan

Managing Partner, Georgia Oak Partners

Michael Lonergan works with Georgia Oak’s partner companies to grow revenue, while also evaluating new investment opportunities. Michael’s Georgia roots helped shape our mission and commitment to promoting economic growth and sustainability throughout the state and the broader Southeast.

Prior to founding Georgia Oak, Michael was Vice President of Private Equity for Strategic Value Partners (SVP), a global hedge fund. Based in London, Michael led the diligence efforts on control buyout transactions and evaluated credit investments for SVP’s “loan to own” strategy.

Before joining SVP, Michael was with Sun European Partners in London and Sun Capital Partners in Boca Raton, Fla. Sun Capital is one of the world’s most active turnaround private equity investors. While at Sun Capital, he evaluated and facilitated control buyout investments.

Early in his career, Michael worked at the Atlanta offices of Houlihan Lokey and Wells Fargo’s asset-based lending group (legacy Wachovia Bank).

Michael is a proud Board member at Families First, a non-profit organization providing adoption and foster care support, family counseling, housing assistance and other empowering services to vulnerable families across metro Atlanta.

Michael received a B.B.A., cum laude, in Finance and Management from the Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia. In 2018, he was selected by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a 40 Under Forty Honoree and by The M&A Advisor as an Emerging Leaders Award Winner. 

Patrick Dussault

Co-Chairman & CEO, Namakor Holdings

Claudine 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.

Greg Robinson

Founder & Managing Partner, RLG Capital

Greg has 36 years of cumulative experience as a management consultant, entrepreneur, wealth advisor, and private equity investor. As a management consultant (e.g., Bain & Co., McKinsey & Co.), he advised corporate clients on matters of strategic and operational significance to improve business performance and profitability. Working directly with CEOs, he helped develop and implement discrete revenue and cost initiatives that substantially increased sustainable earnings. As an entrepreneur (e.g., Staples, EHS Partners), he helped launch and lead companies in business products & services, software, renewable energy, and entertainment. As a wealth advisor (e.g., Wells Fargo Private Bank, Caprock), he helped high net worth clients deploy and diversify their investments.
 
In Nov 2013, Greg co-founded RLG Capital. As of Nov 2021, RLG and it's capital partners have invested $450m into 23 companies (12 platforms, 11 add-ons), with 4 exits and several pending transactions (1 platform, 3 add-ons, 2 recaps). Greg serves on the boards of Quantum IR Technologies, Blue360 Media, Anecare, HealthyYOU Vending, eLearning Brothers, Personalysis, and AGREED. 
 
Throughout his career, Greg has served in church and civic non-profit capacities (e.g., National Finance Committee, Romney For President 2012; BYU Broadcasting Leadership Council). He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Center on Business and Poverty. 
 
Greg earned a BA in English and French with honors from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard University, where he was a LeBaron-McArthur-Ellis Fellow. He has been married for 38 years and is the father of 4 children and 2 grandchildren.

Joe Licata

Managing Partner - Private Equity, BlueArc Capital

Joseph G. Licata, Jr. serves as the Managing Partner of BlueArc Capital Partners, the firm’s private equity group. He brings an operationally focused approach to BlueArc Capital Partners’ portfolio companies with his prior experience as a Chief Executive Officer and investor. Mr. Licata served as the Chairman of Choice Adhesives, and he is currently the Chairman of Brunswick Bowling Products and serves as a board director of Sanmina Corporation (Nasdaq: SANM), a global Fortune 500 electronic manufacturing company. Prior to his tenure at BlueArc, he was the President of Siemens Enterprise Networks, a multi-billion dollar division of Siemens, a global conglomerate. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of SER Solutions, Inc., a global call management and speech analytics software company, which was acquired in 2008. Mr. Licata started his career with ROLM Corporation, which was acquired by IBM, where he held several executive leadership positions. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University.

Carl Riccadonna

Chief U.S. economist - Bloomberg LP

Carl Riccadonna is the Chief U.S. economist at Bloomberg LP, where he analyzes macroeconomic developments in order to better understand the implications for the broader economy and monetary policy. As head of the team of US economists, Mr. Riccadonna contributes in-depth analysis of macroeconomic data and trends for the Bloomberg Professional service, the world's most trusted source for real-time and historical financial data, news, research and analytics.

Prior to Bloomberg, Mr. Riccadonna spent 13 years as a markets economist at Deutsche Bank. He started at Deutsche directly from Princeton University, where he studied both mechanical/aerospace engineering and finance. Shortly after joining Deutsche, Carl transitioned from fixed income strategy to U.S. economics research, ultimately assuming the role of Senior U.S. economist.

Mr. Riccadonna has contributed to numerous research publications, maintained a frequent and visible presence with various media outlets and regularly appears as a guest commentator for Bloomberg TV and radio. While at Deutsche, the U.S. Economics team frequently achieved top 5 rankings in the annual Institutional Investor Survey for economic research.

Bordon Lai

Beach Point Capital Management

Bordon Lai is a Principal focused on private equity and special situation investing.  Mr. Lai has been in the industry since 2002 and was previously at Quilvest Private Equity, a global multi-family office with $5B of AUM.  Prior to Quilvest, he worked at Pegasus Capital Advisors and Vision Capital, where he invested under a flexible mandate in opportunistic investments in the middle market.  He started out his career as an investment banking analyst at Wachovia Securities and Credit Suisse First Boston.  Mr. Lai received a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a MBA from The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.

William Doran

Partner- Benesch

Bill specializes in mergers and acquisitions, general corporate and commercial transactions, private equity, and debt and equity finance.

Bill has been involved with the founding and growth of new ventures, has taken companies public, and has acquired, sold, financed and combined many others along the way. Bill’s transactions have also included cross border elements. His diverse industry experience includes advertising and digital media, wealth management and financial services, technology consulting, business services, cannabis industry, direct marketing, manufacturing, distribution, food, health care services, medical devices, retail and transportation.

Bill is a seasoned deal attorney, who for over thirty years has helped many clients successfully complete a variety of public and private transactions and successfully navigate a variety of business and legal challenges.

Bill regularly provides responsive, thoughtful and effective legal and business advice to the leaders of the Business enterprises in a wide range of sizes and industries, often acting as the client’s principal legal counsel.

 

Michael Shein

Managing Partner, Chartwell Investments

Mike has over 30 years of experience in all facets of private equity investing and has participated in the purchase or sale of businesses with transaction values exceeding $4 billion.  

In the last 24+ months, Mike has closed 2 new platform investments, successfully exited one portfolio company, closed 9 portfolio company add-on acquisitions, while also entering into a Joint Venture with a publicly-traded company, representing approximately $600+ million in total aggregate transaction value.

Mike focuses on deal sourcing, relationship building, strategic planning, recruiting management teams and operating executives, capital raising, and post-closing portfolio company development. As an independent sponsor, Mike supports the management owners he partners with to accelerate growth and realize their visions for their companies.  

Prior to co-founding the predecessor to CHIEF Capital in 1992, Mike worked for Goldman Sachs (mergers & acquisitions department) and was a SVP of a private NYC-based investment firm.

Mike currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors across multiple organizations: TTG Healthcare, LLC, Contract Datascan Holdings, Inc., PPC Holdings, Inc., Effox-Flextor-Mader, Inc. and serves as a Director of: Richard Childress Racing. 

Mike has previously served as a Director of multiple private companies including RQM+, Carey International, Bell Sports, Petro Stopping Centers, and SunPark. Mike graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S.E., summa cum laude.



Mick Cochran

Partner- Kilpatrick Townsend

Mick Cochran’s practice is primarily focused on private equity and venture capital with a concentration on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and distressed transactions. He represents buyers, sellers, and financiers in their investing activities and financing needs. Mick’s private equity and hedge fund practice focuses on fund formation, growth equity, management buyouts, recapitalizations, and spinouts.

Mick also acts as a strategic advisor to clients with respect to a variety of financial, business, and legal issues. His experience crosses a number of industries including life sciences and biotechnology, consumer products, financial services, health care, industrial services, telecommunications, home furnishings, home textiles, and media. Mick’s clients range in size from early-stage companies and private equity firms to large, multi-national corporations.

Mick also has experience in representing financial institutions, including commercial and investment banks, in connection with debt and equity financings. He has particular experience representing non-bank lenders in their lending activities including through the provision of growth capital and mezzanine financings. Mick actively represents troubled companies and their capital providers in complex, distressed financial transactions. He also provides corporate advice to boards of directors and financial advisors in non-judicial workouts.

Mick is actively involved in the community. He serves as Chairman of the Board of First Step Staffing – a (501(c)(3) staffing company that provides employment for individuals who have recently experienced homelessness and for returning citizens. Mick acts as outside general counsel for the Westside Future Fund – a 501(c)(3) fund formed by Atlanta’s public, private, and philanthropic partners who believe in the future of Atlanta’s Westside.

Mick is ranked by Chambers USA as a leading Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions lawyer. He has been recognized each year since 2013 by The Best Lawyers in America® for Mergers & Acquisitions Law, Corporate Law, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights, and Insolvency and Reorganization Law. In addition, Mick has been recommended by Legal 500 US for Mergers & Acquisitions. In addition, the Daily Report recognized him as one of the “Most Effective Dealmakers of the Year” in 2019.

Brett Hickey

Chief Executive Officer - StarMountain Capital

Brett Hickey has been structuring, analyzing and managing private equity, mezzanine and U.S. Government sponsored investment funds for over a decade. Prior to launching Star Mountain Capital, Mr. Hickey was the Co-Founder and President of a multi-manager platform including 4 U.S. state sponsored small business investment funds. Mr. Hickey has extensive experience performing due diligence on, selecting and building small business fund managers and has helped structure over a dozen larger funds representing a few billion dollars in assets.

Mr. Hickey formerly worked as an Investment Banker at Citigroup Global Markets in New York City (fka Salomon Smith Barney) where he covered global Asset Managers and Financial Institutions. In that role he worked on over $8 billion in completed debt and equity capital raising and restructuring transactions for leading financial institutions including BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger-Berman, Nuveen Investments and Eaton Vance. He also served as Senior Analyst on the $16.1 billion public merger of the St. Paul Companies, Inc. and Travelers Property Casualty Corp.

Mr. Hickey attended Mount Royal College in Calgary, Canada, where he studied business and entrepreneurship while training on the national speed skating team. He graduated with Distinction from McGill University in Montreal, Canada with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Owner, President / Manager CEO training and management program for distinguished business owners with a proven track record of successfully building and managing companies. Mr. Hickey is a former Canadian national gold medalist and North American medalist in speed skating. He has completed numerous other business programs including Building Your Business Through Transformational Leadership & Innovation at the Innovatrium on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is a frequent guest lecturer on industry panels and at academic institutions. A selection of interviews can be found on The Lead Left.

Ernest Lyles

Founder & Chief Executive Officer The HiGro Group LLC

Ernest has over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur, working with growing businesses and providing financial service solutions to companies. Prior to founding the HiGro Group in 2016, Ernest was an Executive Director at UBS Investment Bank since 2006. During Ernest's the business services, tech-enabled services and GOVCON industries. Ernest possesses an extensive network of C-level operators, private equity professionals and broader business and government leaders. Ernest dedicates a significant amount of time building community through Board membership of the Boys and Girls Harbor. 

Ernest is a graduate of Shepherd University in West Virginia and Howard University School of Law in Washington DC. 

Richard Petrocelli

Senior Advisor- Saratoga Investment Corp.

Richard A. Petrocelli is a Senior Advisor and is responsible for business development and loan origination.

Mr. Petrocelli has over 20 years of experience with direct lending and private equity. Over the course of his career Mr. Petrocelli has held senior operating positions with the direct lending and CLO platforms at Saratoga, Fifth Street and Flat Rock in addition to playing an active role in origination, execution and portfolio management.  In 2010, he played a leading role in Saratoga’s recapitalization of Saratoga Investment Corp.

Mr. Petrocelli originally joined Saratoga Partners in 1998 from Gabelli Asset Management, where he served as a vice president in the corporate finance department with a primary focus on the company’s alternative investment business. Prior to that, he was a senior accountant at BDO USA. Mr. Petrocelli graduated with a BSBA from Georgetown University in 1990 and earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1999. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

 

Ben Rudman

Partner-Charis Consumer Partners

  • Purpose-driven middle market consumer investor and operator.
  • Founder of Charis Consumer Partners, sourced first investment, led execution and due diligence and recruited value-add independent board member.
  • CEO & Executive Chairman of Western’s Smokehouse, during which time the company expanded capacity and grew revenue and EBITDA meaningfully.
  • As CEO, led all core initiatives of the business, including setting the strategy at the outset, built and executive team, led two capital expansions, led a launch into private label and pet products, and led cost improvement and operational efficiency initiatives.
  • Career long lower middle market investment banker. Staffed on or led 33 closed sell-side or buy-side M&A transactions for companies with $2M to $10M EBITDA.
  • Served as senior advisor to a $150M CPG focused growth equity fund, sourcing maiden investment.