The Smart Business Dealmakers Dealmaker of the Year Awards recognize exceptional individuals who are shaping the landscape of business and innovation in Atlanta.

In addition, The Atlanta Dealmakers Hall of Fame recognized a class of dealmakers that has made an often-groundbreaking impact on their organizations, industries and the region over the course of decades in business.

We celebrated the accomplishments of the 2024 class of winners May 16 at the Atlanta Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Together, they provide a strong picture of the Atlanta business community.


Dealmaker Of The Year Honorees


Matt Anderson is the founder and CEO of FPD Solutions, an insur-tech company that helps carriers, adjuster, and service providers simplify the claims process by eliminating inefficiencies. Anderson has led the company through its growth, including acquisitions of the Bridgewater Group in March 2021 and Dineley Claims Services in May 2022.


Tony Bash is an operating partner at The MacArthur Companies; Todd Boren is the firm’s managing partner. The pair spearheaded the November 2023 acquisition of cosmetic brand Uoma Beauty, which counts among its client base JC Penney, Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom, and Target. Uoma faced financial challenges earlier in 2023. Bash, Boren, and the team at The MacArthur Companies are now in the midst of stabilizing Uoma and turning it around to set it back on a path of growth.


Lisa Calhoun is the managing partner of Valor VC, a venture capital firm that invests in seed-stage companies which operate in the B2B SaaS space. Gary Peat is a general partner at the firm. Over the past 12 months, Calhoun, Peat, and the Valor VC team have completed 10 investments in nascent tech firms, providing critical working capital to owners and entrepreneurs building the next great SaaS companies.


Dr. Baratunde Cola is the founder and CEO of Carbice Corporation, which develops carbon nanomaterial-based thermal interface materials which lower device temperatures and dissipate heat away from product packaging. Dr. Cola has led the company from a small lab at George Tech to a 20,000-square-foot headquarters and global production facility in Atlanta. Carbice’s materials have flown on several satellites and have numerous applications related to heat transfer from electronic components. As he’s grown Carbice, Dr. Cola has attracted more than $18 million in venture funds.


Nwanyinma Dike is the managing director of Startup Runway Foundation, a 501(c)3 that introduces investors to startups. Dike and her team plug investors into startups led by underrepresented founders. They hold showcase introduction events and run an active Angel investor network. Over the past few years, finalists have had rounds led by firms from Canaan Partners to Microsoft, Techstars, Valor VC, Floodgate, and more.


Josh Dundon serves as CEO of AT-PAC, which manufactures engineered scaffolding systems used in such facilities as chemical plants, refineries, and other large-scale industrial facilities. Harley Karseboom is the company’s CFO. Last July, the duo sold the company to Doka, an Austrian-based global supplier with which Dundon and Karseboom initially partnered in 2020. The deal positions AT-PAC for additional grown within the Doka umbrella.


Linnea Geiss is COO of PDI Technologies; Jay Warner is the company’s VP of Corporate Development. PDI develops enterprise-class retail automation software systems and employs more than 1,500 people worldwide. Together, Geiss and Warner have identified and executed numerous organic and acquisitional initiatives over the past few years which have driven significant growth and strategically positioned the company across its industry.


Josh Levy is the co-founder and CEO of Document Crunch, a construction contract compliance and intelligence software platform. In December, Levy raised $9 million in Series A venture funding in a deal led by Navitas. The funds will be used to deepen the company’s AI platform, which enables contractors up and down the value chain to reduce risk, increase compliance, and grow their own bottom lines.


Maria Toler is the founding and managing partner of SteelSky Ventures. SteelSky is a venture capital firm that invests in women’s health care companies across a wide range of consumer health, digital health, and health care infrastructure sectors. Over the past 24 months, Toler and her team have been extremely active — they’ve invested in 17 companies, including Midi Health, Bend Health, and TwentyEight Health.


Jeremiah Wilson and Nathaniel Wilson are co-founders of AKA Tree Service, a tree removal services company. The two built the business, owned it, and co-led it until it was acquired by CPS Capital in June of last year.

Dealmakers Hall of Fame


Daniel Dorfman and Larry Dorfman are co-founders of the Roots Investment Community, a real estate investment community that they created to make real estate investing more accessible and equitable. They believe anyone should be able to invest in and build wealth through real estate, so they develop a unique investing ecosystem where commerce meets community.


Lori Brewer is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology leader who has manifested her forward-thinking visions into the development of award-winning fintech applications, including CompenSafe, the premier incentive compensation management platform, and LimeGear, a revolutionary business intelligence platform. As an officer in the U.S. Air Force, Brewer designed an inaugural website for the C-130 Hercules, organizing and presenting crucial information for troops around the globe. As a civilian software developer, she was hired by a mortgage lender and found similar challenges: disorganized and disparate data, a clear need for improved processes, and the opportunity to show high returns on technology investments. Today, Brewer is an indispensable technology leader in the industry, and the founder and CEO of LBA Ware, an Inc. 5000 company, and recipient of the prestigious Tech All-Star award by the Mortgage Bankers Association.


Fred Lee is chairman of the board and co-founder, along with his father, of Progressive Lighting, a lighting manufacturer that’s been in business for more than 50 years. Lee is a graduate of Georgia State University. He started his career as a developer and custom home builder in Atlanta and found that there was little or no selection of home lighting at that time. He recognized the need and identified an opportunity to open a lighting showroom. In 1965, Lee and his father opened the doors to Progressive Lighting and began building the brand, which includes subsidiary companies Lee Lighting, Savoy House, and Today, under Lee’s leadership as board chairman, Progressive Lighting is the largest chain of family-owned and operated residential lighting showrooms in the Southeast.