8:00 am - REGISTRATION & NETWORKING BREAKFAST
9:00 am - CHAIRPERSON WELCOME & OPENING REMARKS
9:15 am - ROUNDTABLES / THINK TANKS
Get to know your peers - join us for interactive smaller targeted discussions and be part of the conversation.
Mr. Koeppel is a Partner and the Team Leader of the firm’s Private Equity Practice. He is a corporate lawyer who has successfully structured, negotiated and closed over 250 transactions in the past two decades, which typically involve mergers and acquisitions, fund formations and investments, and various private equity transactions (including co-investments, venture financings and cross-border deals). He also works with clients on reviewing / structuring their Qualified Opportunity Zone and Qualified Small Business Stock investments.
Mr. Koeppel acts as counsel to a number of leading funds, independent sponsors, middle market companies, institutional investors, and high net worth investors focused on buy-out, growth, venture, real estate, intellectual property, fund-of-funds, co-investments, secondaries and other strategies. He also often acts as US counsel to non-US clients on their US private equity and investment fund transactions. He also serves as a director for several private equity-backed companies.
On the M&A / private equity transactions side, Mr. Koeppel has advised on deals from $5 million to $250 million+ in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, technology, consumer goods, food, distribution, business services, cleantech and medical / health care.
He is a frequent speaker at a number of leading private equity and M&A events. Mr. Koeppel and his team take a pro-active and practical approach to helping clients make connections and successfully navigating the various legal challenges in any private equity transaction. Prior to joining Lippes, he was a partner in the private equity and investment funds group of an AmLaw 100 firm.
Managing Director Private Capital Markets
11:00 am - MORNING NETWORKING BREAK
11:30 am - INDEPENDENT SPONSOR ACTIVITY AMID RECESSION RUMORS AND REALITY IN 2023
Independent sponsors are currently facing a multitude of challenges, including rising interest rates, a difficult fundraising environment, financial market turmoil due to recent isolated bank issues, persistent inflation, and labor issues. However, leading dealmakers have successfully navigated these challenges and continue to get deals done. Gain insights from these experts on how they are managing to navigate the current economic climate and maintain a strong deal flow.
Claudine oversees an integrated team of transaction, valuation, restructuring, project finance, and dispute resolution professionals serving clients throughout the lifecycles of their businesses. With specific expertise in managing opportunities and roadblocks that can impact a business moving forward, Claudine and her team help clients achieve optimal outcomes in protecting and growing stakeholder value.
Claudine serves as an adviser to public and private companies, both domestically and internationally. Her clients comprise the full gamut of financial sponsors including private equity investors, independent sponsors, family offices, alternative investment funds, lenders, and strategic investors. Her areas of knowledge 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 was named to Mergers and Acquisitions 2019 list of the most influential women in mid-market M&A, and Crain’s NY 2018 most notable women in consulting.
Prodos Capital Management LLC
Matthew R. Cohen is a Principal at Prodos Capital LLC (“PC”), a private investment firm based in Nashville, TN and West Palm Beach, FL. Matthew leads the West Palm Beach office for the firm. At PC, Mr. Cohen is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, underwriting, and financing investments across industry sectors. He is also involved in the overall management of portfolio companies and execution of the investment thesis, from acquisition through exit. He serves as a director of Sail Energy, New England Applied Products, Unified Logistics, Century Box Inc., and Cord King International, Ltd.
Having spent seven years in Washington, DC, Mr. Cohen has been actively engaged in Republican political activity for over a decade. He is a commentator, speaker and campaign operative, having served as an integral part of three Presidential Campaigns. In 2016, he was under final consideration for a senior role at The United States Department of the Treasury.
Prior to joining PC, Mr. Cohen led the acquisitions team at AlphaTerra Partners, an affiliate of KAR Properties, pursuing a multi-asset class real estate investment strategy in U.S. gateway cities. He began his career as an analyst in the mergers & acquisitions group at UBS Investment Bank based in New York City.
Mr. Cohen earned an MBA with honors and a BBA from The George Washington University. He maintains Emeritus status as the youngest member of the Board of Directors of The George Washington University School of Business, is a trustee Emeritus of the Cape Eleuthera Foundation and is a volunteer pilot for Mercy Flight Southeast (an organization that leverages pilots and their aircraft to transport patients from rural areas to leading medical centers for treatment) among other organizations. **
In his spare time, he is an avid outdoorsman, slalom course water-skier, tennis player and boater. He loves to cook and ride his motorcycle but above all enjoys his passion for aviation. Matt is a Federal Aviation Administration certificated Private Pilot with an Instrument Rating. He is currently working toward his Commercial Pilot license.
Founder & CEO
Star Mountain 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.
Sadis & Goldberg LLP
Paul Marino is a partner in the Financial Services and Corporate Groups. Paul focuses his practice in matters concerning financial services, corporate law and corporate finance. Paul provides counsel in the areas of private equity funds and mergers and acquisitions for private equity firms and public and private companies and private equity fund and hedge fund formation.
Paul works on a variety of M&A transactions, including leveraged acquisitions, divestitures of business divisions, going-private transactions, and other strategic acquisitions and dispositions, in the following industries: manufacturing, telecommunications, consumer products, hospitality, healthcare, and technology, among others. His practice also includes joint ventures and general company representation matters.
Paul has represented national and multinational corporations, ranging from telecoms to tech companies, as well as real estate syndication and financial investors and investment advisors. He has also negotiated and structured a number of U.S. domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures.
Founder, CEO & CIO
Eric Taylor is the Founder, CEO and CIO of Trident and oversees all day to day operations. He also leads the firm’s Investment Committee and makes final decisions on all additions to the portfolio. Mr. Taylor began his career at Goldman Sachs, where he spent four years in the Special Situations Group, focused primarily on lower and middle market companies. After Goldman and prior to Trident, Mr. Taylor was a Portfolio Manager (credit) and Originator (equity) at Brightwood Capital, a lower-middle market asset manager that invests debt and equity primarily in companies with $5 million to $75 million of EBITDA. Mr. Taylor holds an AB from Harvard University with Honors and is a CFA Charterholder.
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.
12:30 pm - NAVIGATING THE CURRENT CREDIT TIGHTENING IN SPONSOR FINANCE AND PRIVATE CREDIT MARKETS
President & CEO
Edge Capital Lending
Meredith Carter is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Edge Capital Lending, LLC (“Edge”). Meredith leads the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the business. She is also a member of the firm’s Credit Committee. Edge is a family-office backed specialty finance company, free from the layers of approvals, one-size-fits-all-approach, inventory caps, industry prohibitions, and regulations of other commercial lending institutions. Edge seeks to be at the forefront of modernizing asset-based lending through building technology-driven efficiencies, data-driven decision-making tools, and more comprehensive systematic risk mitigation measures. The Firm’s mission is to question and improve long-held industry practices, maximize flexibility for the companies they work with and partner with their borrowers through transitions, both expected and unexpected. Under Meredith’s leadership over the past 5 years, Edge grew from a portfolio of two loans to a portfolio nearing $1/2 Billion in Commitments.
Edge has been recognized by the ABF Journal as one of the Most Innovative Companies in Commercial Finance for the last two consecutive years and last year was highlighted as one of the Best Places to Work by The Secured Lender Magazine. Meredith is a past recipient of SFNet’s 40 Under 40 Award, was recently awarded the WE Hatch Kathleen Siegfried Leadership Award at the University of Delaware and was recognized by Villanova Law as part of their Leaders of the Law Initiative, which recognizes distinguished alumni who are accomplished leaders in their respective fields.
Prior to joining Edge, Meredith was Managing Director of Business Development for a family office-backed committed capital fund focused on financing high-stakes patent and commercial litigation. In that role, she helped grow the litigation funding business from inception, originating the majority of the fund’s investment opportunities and evaluating the merits of various legal claims for potential investment. Meredith played a lead role in helping to sell that business to a UK based litigation funder looking to expand to the US market.
Meredith began her career as a corporate litigator at a Wilmington, DE based firm and then spent the majority of her years in private practice as a corporate transactional lawyer representing growth companies and investors. She also spent three years leading the firm’s Business Development and Marketing group, creating strategic business development plans for the firm and all practice groups and overseeing a national team of people.
Meredith is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Overbrook School for the Blind and a Barrister of the Villanova Law J. Willard O’Brien American Inn of Court. She previously was a member of the finance committee of The Gladwyne Montessori School and has held multiple Board and Management positions for the Junior League of Philadelphia. While Meredith was in private practice, for seven and a half years, Meredith served as a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of children in proceedings in the Delaware Family Court. Meredith is an alumna of Villanova University School of Law and the University of Delaware.
Managing Director of Originations
Great Rock Capital
Stephen joined Great Rock Capital in 2022 and is responsible for building lender and sponsor relationships to source new investment opportunities across the New York metropolitan area, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
Stephen has been in middle market lending for over 30 years. For much of his career, he held senior-origination and portfolio management positions with commercial lenders including PNC Business Credit, UMB Bank, BBVA Compass, and Bank of America. Most recently, as a Managing Director at B. Riley Advisory Services, Stephen was responsible for business development across the New York Metro and Mid-Atlantic regions. He earned his B.B.A. in Accounting from Baylor University and is an active member of the Secured Finance Network, the Association for Corporate Growth, and Turnaround Management Association.
Ryan Ochs leads all underwriting and origination activities for Lafayette Square’s credit products and sits on the investment committee for its investment advisor. Ryan has over a decade of experience in credit markets and principal investing across the capital structure, working on deal teams that have directly invested in and/or raised capital for approximately 50 companies totaling over $5B. Prior to joining Lafayette, Ryan held investment professional roles at Brightwood Capital Advisors, Star Mountain Capital, and American Capital. He started his career at RBC Capital Markets in its investment banking division.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Ryan holds a BSc from Georgetown University.
Corbel Capital Partners
Brian joined Corbel Capital Partners in 2017 and is a Managing Director on the investment team. Prior to Corbel, Brian was a Managing Director at Deerpath Capital Management in Los Angeles. While at Deerpath, Brian led the firm’s West Coast origination and underwriting efforts of lower middle-market direct lending transactions. During his tenure, Brian successfully established the West Coast office for Deerpath and led the investment of over $250 million of debt and equity securities across a variety of industries. Brian began his career as an investment banker having worked for Goldman Sachs, UBS and Bank of America. Brian earned his B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, going on to earn an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles.
1:00pm - 2:00pm NETWORKING LUNCHEON
Designed to foster meaningful connections. Strike up a conversation with someone new, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity to expand your network and forge lasting connections.
Today’s ESG assessments and ratings focus heavily on current environmental issues for companies. But what of future environmental risks to companies from ever-changing regulatory and litigation-driven factors? While these factors may not impact the “ESG now” ratings and risk analysis, looking to “future E” risks is the best way to ensure strong long-term ESG portfolios and investments. Key topics of this discussion will include:
John Gardella is a Shareholder and recognized thought leader on PFAS issues. He is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Tennessee.
A seasoned trial attorney with over 75 verdicts, John is the Chair of the firm’s PFAS, Environmental, Risk Management & Consulting, and ESG practice groups. His thought leadership and predictive risk abilities with respect to PFAS earned him the honor of being the only person in the country that was recognized as a thought leader on PFAS in 2020 and 2021 by the esteemed National Law Review. John is regularly interviewed by media on the subject of PFAS and other emerging chemicals of concern, and he consistently publishes his own thought leadership in several nationally syndicated resources, including Bloomberg Law, AM Best, and National Law Review. Private equity firms, the financial world, insurance companies, and corporations regularly seek John’s opinions on forward-looking environmental and chemical substances risk issues.
In his environmental and toxic torts practice, John represents companies ranging in size from small mom-and-pop businesses to Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. Companies seek John’s expertise on matters ranging from compliance planning and audits to litigation of pending cases.
John also Chairs the firm’s CMBG3 Cares charitable program; is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth and sits on its Industrials and Manufacturing Committee, ASTM’s PFAS committees, the USA 500 Clubs, and the Personal Care Products Council; and actively participates in and supports the firm’s DEI initiatives.
Outside of work, John is committed to supporting various charitable organizations, specifically through raising money for them through marathon and triathlon participation. Through these efforts, John has raised over $30,000 for the Martin Richard Foundation and Autism Speaks.
2:00pm - 5:00pm BUSINESS BUILDING 1X1 NETWORKING MEETINGS
5:00pm - 6:00pm WELCOME COCKTAIL RECEPTION
6:30pm - 8:30pm INVITATION ONLY POST-CONFERENCE DINNER
8:00 am - NETWORKING BREAKFAST
9:00 am - DAY 1 RECAP AND WELCOME REMARKS
9:15 am - NON-TRADITIONAL CAPITAL SOURCES: SECONDARY MARKET OPTIONS AND STRATEGIES
Learn about and deep dive into a discussion about the non-traditional sources of capital through secondary market options and debt financing.
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.
Tail End Capital
Paul is a successful private equity professional with over thirty years of experience. Paul has worked in all facets of private equity and venture capital as a secondary investor, limited partnership investor, co-investor, direct investor and leveraged buyout lender.
Prior to founding Tail End Capital Partners, was a Managing Director and a member of the Investment Committee of Fort Washington Capital Partners (“FWCP”). FWCP manages more than $3.8 billion in private equity commitments across more than a dozen funds with three exclusively focused on secondary investing.
Prior to leaving FWCP in 2018, Paul led all efforts focused on investments in GP-led Secondaries, including deal sourcing, deal execution and post investment management. Paul was on the boards or advisory boards of nine Secondary related investments. Additionally, while at FWCP, Paul served on the board of advisors of eleven additional private equity limited partnerships.
Previously, Paul founded and managed a boutique investment consulting organization called Navigation Capital Partners. Earlier in his career, Paul was a Partner with Mellon Ventures, Mellon Bank’s private equity affiliate. Paul was a founding team member and by the time he left, Mellon Ventures had $1.3 billion invested and committed to over 100 portfolio companies and over 70 funds. Paul started his career and was an Investment Manager at Westinghouse Credit Corporation acting as a lender into leveraged buyouts.
10:00 am - BUILDING THE DESIRED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR AN INDEPENDENT SPONSOR FIRM
Partner and Practice Leader
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.
Sr. Risk Consultant
Brad is a Senior Risk Consultant at Virtus where he works with private equity firms in a consultative capacity focusing on business insurance and the procurement of representation and warranties policies. Brad is responsible for overseeing due diligence opportunities and helping transition target companies to Virtus clients on an ongoing basis.
Prior to joining Virtus in December of 2021, Brad was a member of the private equity team at Lockton for several years focused on producing property and casualty due diligence reports. Thereafter, he switched roles to become a Client Advocate for one of the top performing producers in the private equity realm at the firm. Brad facilitated all new deals while overseeing all scopes of work and helped maintain relationships for the current book of business.
Brad attended Rockhurst University where he received his undergraduate degree in Accounting as well as his MBA.
Torque Capital Group
Jonathan Saltzman is the Managing Partner of Torque Capital Group. 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 in and around automotive and transportation related markets. 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 Cablecraft Motion Controls (transportation related actuation devices), Netform (automotive powertrain components), Maval Industries (automotive steering remanufacturing), Spektrum (automotive braking products), and XLD (automotive braking components) and was a director of various Torque and 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.
Tim founded Altacrest Capital to focus on investing and growing lower middle market companies in branded consumer products. At Altacrest, he is responsible for deal origination, operations and fund-raising activities. Prior to Altacrest, Tim spent 15 years at Prudential Private Capital, the private investment arm of Prudential Financial, investing private debt and equity across various industries. Prior to Prudential, Tim was a management consultant for PwC. He began his career in the audit practice of EY.
Tim holds a BSBA in Accounting and an MBA in Finance both from Washington University in St. Louis.
Tim has been married for over 20 years and has three boys. In his spare time, Tim watches his son’s athletic events and enjoys playing golf and tennis. He is active in the community, including work with the Exchange Club of East Dallas and various Washington University alumni groups.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Jessica co-founded Rellevant Partners with Janice Meyer in 2019. Jessica has a unique hybrid background that combines over 10 years of private equity experience with 8 years of C-level operating and management experience. Prior to co-founding Rellevant, Jessica was a Partner in TriSpan’s Rising Stars fund, a dedicated restaurant private equity fund. Earlier in her career, Jessica was the CEO of Eddie Borgo, a luxury accessories brand, and CFO of Folica, an online-consumer products retailer. Jessica began her private equity career at Catterton Partners, where she worked before business school. Jessica is from Montreal originally, and moved to New York in 2000 to work as an investment banking analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (later Credit Suisse First Boston).
Jessica holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BCom with Great Distinction/Dean’s Honor List from McGill University. Jessica serves on the Board of the Harvard Business School Women’s Association of New York, and she is a past Board Member of Rosa Mexicano, Yardbird, and Stacked.
10:45 am - MORNING NETWORKING BREAK
Pick the sessions most relevant for you.
11:15am - 12:00pm SYNDICATING VS A SINGLE CAPITAL PARTNER - PROS AND CONS
Holland & Knight
Kevin Christmas is a corporate partner in Holland & Knight's Charlotte office, where he focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, financing matters, search fund transactions and general corporate advisory work. Mr. Christmas leads Holland & Knight's Search Funds practice and has substantial experience representing domestic and international search funds in connection with capital raising, acquisition transactions and related matters.
Mr. Christmas has more than 15 years of experience advising clients on the full life cycle of business issues, from company formation and capital raising to exit strategies. He serves a portfolio of clients across various industry sectors, including healthcare, life sciences, financial services, distribution, software, retail, manufacturing, and mining and minerals. Mr. Christmas' practice includes representation of private equity funds, family offices, search funds, independent sponsors, entrepreneurs, family-owned businesses, and public and private companies.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Christmas was a corporate partner at an international law firm based in Charlotte, N.C.
New State Capital Partners
John co-founded 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.
Greyrock Capital Group
Paul has over thirteen years of leveraged finance and private equity investing experience. A member of Greyrock’s investment committee, he joined the firm in 2015 and is responsible for sourcing and executing transactions as well as portfolio management. Prior to joining Greyrock, Paul spent three years at Prostar Capital, an energy-focused private equity firm. He began his career as a member of GE Capital’s Energy Finance Division.
Valley Ridge Investment Partners
Mark Tedford is Co-Founder and Managing Director at Valley Ridge Investment Partners, an independent sponsor private equity firm. He is responsible for all phases of deal origination, due diligence, financing, closing and portfolio company performance management. Mark has twenty-five years of experience developing and implementing strategic growth initiatives for lower middle market, mid-market and large (F500) corporations as an internal executive and external consultant. Prior to founding Valley Ridge, Mark served in senior executive corporate strategy roles in large global financial services firms including Prudential, TIAA, Citibank and Fidelity Investments. Prior to that, he led strategy engagements for The Boston Consulting Group for industrial products, telecommunications, data storage and retail apparel clients. Prior to BCG, Mark led operations improvement engagements for lower middle market manufacturing clients at Coopers & Lybrand Consulting. Mark is a military veteran, having served two tours as a Naval officer, managing industrial operations for the Marine Corps on bases in Japan and Quantico, VA. He has been a principal investor for years and has experience serving on and supporting corporate and non-profit boards of directors.
Mark holds an MBA from The Fuqua School at Duke University where he was a Fuqua Fellow. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Industrial Management from Tufts University, while on a Navy R.O.T.C. scholarship at M.I.T.
11:15am - 12:00pm INDEPENDENT SPONSORS TRANSITIONING TO RAISING FUNDS
Corporate & Securities Practice Group, Benesch Law
Peter focuses his practice on transactional and corporate work.
Peter has significant experience in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as private debt and equity financings. In addition, he counsels clients with respect to general contract drafting and negotiation matters, joint ventures, partnership agreements, shareholder agreements and other day-to-day corporate matters.
Christian MacCarron is a Co-Founder/Managing Director at Taubman Capital Management (“TC”), a private equity investment firm for the Taubman family.
Over the last 73 years, the Taubman family has built Taubman Centers into a leading global owner and operator of regional and super-regional malls (Taubman Centers was acquired by Simon Property Group in December 2020). Through TC, the family is building an investment portfolio of world-class businesses led by exceptional management teams outside of its core real estate holdings. The firm’s flexible, long-term capital base offers sellers closing certainty, while also providing management teams with the ability to focus on building larger, more valuable enterprises without time constraints or exit pressures. TC focuses on making control/minority equity investments as generalists in companies with $1-15m EBITDA on a national basis (including independent sponsor transactions).
Since 2015, TC has led/invested in 25+ lower middle market platforms across industrial, SaaS/software, consumer, healthcare services and business services end markets.
Prior to co-founding TC, Christian MacCarron worked in private equity and private credit investing at Capitala Group, Windjammer Capital Investors and Platinum Equity. Christian started his career at Merrill Lynch in their global investment banking group.
Christian graduated from UCLA with a BA in Economics and is a member of the UCLA Economics Department Board of Visitors.
Columbia River Partners
Nathan has been in private equity/finance for over 15 years. Nathan holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Bowdoin College.
Prior to starting CRP, Nathan spent over ten years at a NY-based middle market private equity firm with $2.0 billion of assets under management. Nathan was a board member of numerous companies, including Lift Brands, The Dwyer Group (now called Neighborly), DLT Solutions, and BQ Resorts. Earlier in his career, Nathan spent several years at Merrill Lynch in the media and telecom investment banking division, as a telecom strategy consultant at inCode Wireless (now a subsidiary of Ericsson) and started his career as a business analyst at Deloitte Consulting.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Mark co-founded Clarendon in 1998. He has over 30 years’ experience as a principal investor, board member, C-level executive, and management consultant focused exclusively on the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution sectors. Mark proprietarily sourced seven Clarendon investments and has served as Chairman and a Director on the boards of several companies in the Transportation, Logistics and Distribution sectors.
In 1998, Mark conceived RoadLink (now RoadOne), an intermodal logistics consolidation vehicle, as Clarendon’s first investment and worked with his Clarendon partners to organize and co-found the company in 2000. Following RoadLink’s formation, he guided the investment as a RoadLink board member and shareholder representative and served as CFO/SVP Finance & Acquisitions, Secretary/Treasurer and Chief Strategy Officer. Following a sale to a leading private equity firm in 2006, Mark continued in senior finance, M&A and strategic development roles, helping grow RoadLink to over $400 million in revenue. Over the course of his decade of RoadLink involvement, Mark executed over 25 acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and debt/equity financings comprising over $350 million of transaction value.
Before launching Clarendon, Mark was a senior manager in the Transportation/Logistics Management Consulting Practice of A.T. Kearney, where he led engagements in strategic development, M&A and profit improvement for transportation and private equity clients. Prior to A.T. Kearney, Mark was part of the team that launched Princeton Transportation Group (later sold to Manhattan Associates), where he led engagements applying university research from Princeton and M.I.T. to improve the profitability of transportation clients.
Mark received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar. He received a BS in Operations Research and BA in Economics from Cornell University where he graduated with highest honors. Mark serves on the national board of the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which empowers children of low-income communities across the U.S. to achieve a college education.
12:00pm - TRACK A : MANAGING AND GROW PORTFOLIO COMPANIES
David M. Abner is a practicing attorney with over 20 years of experience representing Fortune 500 and emerging companies in mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions and business litigation matters. Mr. Abner is currently based in Los Angeles, California, and his practice focuses on helping clients manage risks associated with a variety of private equity transactions, as well as commercial and complex litigation matters. Mr. Abner has considerable experience dealing with matters involving ownership and valuation of shares in privately owned companies. As in-house counsel for Ashland Inc., Mr. Abner worked daily with business leaders to assess, manage and prevent a variety of legal risks that threatened the viability and profitability of products, services and customer relationships. His efforts produced results that included settling a $700M anti-trust class action lawsuit for less than $7M; assisting in closing the sale of the company’s joint venture interests in an oil and gas subsidiary; assessing and quantifying the liabilities associated with the acquisition of other businesses; and supervising Ashland’s responses to DOJ, FBI and EPA investigations. In addition, he has tried nearly a dozen cases in private practice, including cases involving breach of contract, products liability, fraud, and personal injury issues. Mr. Abner has been licensed to practice law in Texas since 1993, and in California since 2012. Mr. Abner obtained his Juris Doctorate from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University in 1993, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina in 1990.
Broadgate Capital LLC
Raji is the Founder & President of Broadgate Capital based in Dallas, TX. Prior to Broadgate, Raji was the CEO & President of Impex, a private-label & branded manufacturer with offices and joint-venture factories throughout North America and Asia. Raji is deeply involved in the global economy, and is experienced in all facets of management, including accounting & finance, marketing, manufacturing, negotiation, and strategy. Raji earned his BA from Pepperdine University and is a graduate of the Owner, President Management Program (OPM) at the Harvard Business School.
Bassett Creek Capital
Rob Bauer is the Founder and Managing Member of Bassett Creek Capital. Bassett Creek makes equity investments in lower-middle market companies, typically at a critical inflection point in the business. Bassett Creek has completed seven acquisitions since its founding in 2016.
We are a private capital partner for business owners who want to harness the power of cultural connectivity and entrepreneurial grit to reach the next level of growth. We are a trusted partner, ally and advisor for management teams who are passionate about meaningful growth achieved through low-ego collaboration.
Essex Bay Capital
Franklin has led direct investments into private companies for the last 18 years, and has been in the finance industry for over 25 years. Prior to founding Essex Bay, Franklin was a Managing Director at Audax Private Equity, a leading middle market investment firm with over $9 billion of capital under management. At Audax, he led investments in the industrial, business services, healthcare and technology markets, among others, completing over 60 acquisitions. Representative investments include Aavid Thermalloy (sold to Boyd), Astrodyne TDI (sold to Tinicum), Gabriel Performance Products (sold to Huntsman), Northern Digital (sold to Roper) and Winchester Electronics (sold to Snow Phipps). In addition to leading investments for the bulk of his career at Audax, Franklin also was a member of the Business Development team, maintaining relationships with a variety of deal intermediaries.
Prior to Audax, Franklin was Interim CFO and VP of Corporate Development at Coast Crane Company, then an Audax portfolio company. Earlier, Franklin worked in investment banking in New York, London and Providence.
Queens Court Capital
Azhar is a successful entrepreneur, operator and investor with over 20 years of experience investing and building businesses. Azhar has a track record of success in private equity and special situations investing and his experience spans the gamut from sourcing, transaction execution, value creation and exit. Prior to founding Queens Court, Azhar worked at firms such as Advent Capital, Perry Capital, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Throughout his career Azhar has been a successful private markets investor across a variety of industries. Azhar served as Chairman of the HairCuttery Family of Brands, VCG Holdings, and is currently the Chairman of Pet Resort Hospitality Group. Azhar was also part of the founding team of Convene, an Inc 500 real estate services business.
Azhar is a graduate of Columbia University where he received a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics as well as Columbia Business School where he received his M.B.A.
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.
12:00pm - TRACK B : TALENT MANAGEMENT AND CHALLENGES IN A TIGHT LABOR MARKET
Tamarix Capital Partners
Doug Lancey is a Director at Tamarix Capital Partners (TCP) where he focuses on deal origination, execution and portfolio management. TCP is a lower middle market focused SBIC fund that provides debt and minority equity investments in support of growing U.S. businesses that generate between $3 - $15 million of EBITDA. TCP supports private equity firms, family offices, independent sponsors, owners and management teams with a variety of transaction types including recapitalizations, leverage buyouts, growth capital financings and acquisitions.
Doug has over 15 years of experience in commercial and investment banking, private credit, and private equity. Most recently he served as a Vice President in TD Bank’s middle market group focused on sponsor and direct lending. Prior to that he worked at Harvest Capital Credit, a lower middle market-focused Business Development Company (BDC) providing cash flow loans and minority equity investments to companies nationwide. He previously spent time working at Evolution Media Capital, an investment banking firm providing M&A advisory services to the professional sports, media, and entertainment industries. Earlier in his career Doug worked at Boston-based lower middle market focused credit funds HighPoint Capital (d/b/a Crescent Direct Lending) and NewStar Financial. He is a CFA Charterholder.
Lenora joined IMB in 2022 as the Chief Operating Officer, leading strategy, operations and community impact work for the firm and its portfolio companies. She brings 16 years of diverse experience from prior roles in operations, private equity, and investment banking.
Prior to joining IMB Partners, Lenora was the Chief Operating Officer at the DC Public Charter School Board (DC PCSB) for seven years. There, she managed DC PCSB’s internal operations, finance, talent, organizational development and culture, data/IT systems, and strategic initiatives. Mrs. Mills also served as the Chief Operating Officer at Harlem Village Academies, a network of five public charter schools in New York City, where she led all operations, including data and technology, facilities, budgeting, HR, legal / compliance, strategic planning, and organizational culture. Mrs. Mills began her career in investment banking, at UBS Investment Bank, and private equity, at ICV Partners, in New York.
Lenora has a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business/Finance from Howard University and her MBA and Master of Education from Stanford University. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Equity Lab and E. L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.
Steinbeck Investment Company
Megan Horvath has nearly 20 years of experience in private equity, investment banking, and consulting. Her responsibilities at Steinbeck Investment Company include investment thesis creation, deal sourcing, investment evaluation, due diligence, deal execution, financing and portfolio oversight.
Megan previously was a Principal on the investment team at Resilience Capital Partners, which manages in excess of $600 million for a global base of institutional investors. Megan closed numerous deals in the capital equipment, aerospace, plastics, consumer goods, building products, minerals, business services and industrial manufacturing industries. Megan led the transaction of Diversified Global Graphics, the Industrials Deal of the Year at the M&A Advisor Annual Turnaround Awards in 2016. Megan served on several boards of directors of Resilience’s portfolio companies.
Megan also was a Director of Business Development at INSIGHT2PROFIT, an analytics, technology, and strategic advisory firm focused on pricing and commercial excellence. Megan fostered relationships with private equity firms and their portfolio companies to identify value creation initiatives.
Megan began her career in corporate and investment banking at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Luncheon Workshop:Mastering Corporate Culture & Governance in the IS Model
Alongside the networking luncheon, the event will be holding an interactive luncheon workshop to allow you to drill deep into a specific issue, network with executives facing similar challenges and connect with industry experts. (Pre-registration is required to attend this session)
12:30 pm - NETWORKING LUNCH
Designed to foster meaningful connections. Strike up a conversation with someone new, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity to expand your network and forge lasting connections.
12:45 pm - LUNCHEON WORKSHOP: RAISING CAPITAL AS AN INDEPENDENT SPONSOR (by invitation)
1:30pm - 3:30pm BUSINESS BUILDING 1X1 NETWORKING MEETINGS
Sector-specific 1x1 networking meetings (10 meetings, 15 minutes each) between senior-level capital providers and independent sponsor executives. These meetings will be dedicated to developing partnerships unique to your business model and will provide you with the opportunity to meet exclusively with those independent sponsors or capital providers specializing in investments in the same sector and market as you are. We will provide you with a full list of participating capital providers and independent sponsors before the event - you will have the chance then to evaluate the potential for future business opportunities and make the most of your time. Join today to meet and network directly with leading industry professionals and decision-makers all under one roof such as Independent Sponsors (Fundless Sponsors), Private Equity Firms, Family Offices, Mezzanine Lenders, Hedge Funds, Institutional Investors, HNWIs (High Net Worth Individuals) and M&A Intermediaries/Advisors.
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