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

In addition, The Boston Dealmakers Hall of Fame is recognizing 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're celebrating the accomplishments of the 2024 class of winners March 7 at the Boston Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Together, they provide a strong picture of the Boston business community.


Dealmaker of the Year Award Honorees


Stuart Benton is the former President and CEO of Bradford Soap International, which manufactures solid cleansing products. Benton sold the company to Gemspring Capital last June in an exit transaction that resulted in an LBO. As part of the deal Gemspring injected debt financing in the form of a term loan and a revolving credit line.

Rufus Clark & Mark DeBlois are co-founders and managing partners of Bunker Hill Capital, a private equity firm focused on the industrial sector, business services, and niche consumer products. Over the past few years, the two have made several venture-related investments to build out platform companies and add tuck-ins to existing platform companies. They’ve also had a few exits, including the sale of a portfolio company, Taos Mountain, to IBM.

Lindsay Frey & Dan Paul are co-founders of demandDrive, which provides sales development solutions that include data and demand generation programs. In 2022, they partnered with Everlane Equity Partners in a majority recapitalization transaction. Since then, the company has completed two acquisitions, including Jim Rohn Process last year.

Idit Levine is the Founder and serves as CEO, President and Board Member at She is an Angel Investor. She founded with the idea to create tools that help organizations meaningfully adopt cloud-native technologies alongside their existing IT investments. She has a long history in cloud, infrastructure and open source in management both startup and large enterprise companies. Most recently, in late 2022, Levine participated in an 11-investor $20 million Series A capital round for Dagger, an innovative software development company that is poised to impact programmable back-end services.

David Model is the COO of Triton Systems, which is an engineering product development firm focused on commercializing innovative technologies. Triton has been part of two significant initiatives recently: it secured funds to speed up development of anchoring systems for floating wind and funding for offshore wind anchoring system research. Both have the potential to accelerate growth and commercialization in the industry.

Oliver Patten & Parker Shields are Managing Partners of Sherburne Partners, a private equity firm that invests in specialty distribution, niche manufacturing, industrials, and consumer services. In January, they completed the firm’s first major acquisition, Digital Color Concepts. The New Jersey-based company will serve as a platform for Sherburne and spur a slate of tuck-ins.

David Schneider is a Partner at River Birch Partners, a family office that invests in aerospace, automotive, heavy truck, and engineered industrial components. Schneider and his partners recently acquired Vortex Racing, which manufactures motorcycle racing components, along with a logistics company, General Courier.

Christopher Vickers is the President and CEO of STARC Systems, which designs and manufactures modular wall systems for contractors, health care facilities and building professionals. Last July, the company was acquired by North Branch Capital. The deal injected working capital into the company and positioned it for future growth.

Theodore Wirth is the CEO of Diversified Communications, a media company which produces market-leading events, online communities and print publications. In 2022, Diversified acquired Smart Energy Decisions, a web-based information resource for commercial and industrial electric power customers. This year represents the 75th anniversary of the company, which has grown through more than 30 acquisitions over the years.

Social Impact Dealmakers Award Honorees


Charlie Hipwood is the president and CEO of MassVentures, which is a venture capital firm founded in 1978 that invests in IT, health care, cybersecurity, e-commerce, mobile, manufacturing, and the robotics sector. It also offers an accelerator program to provide additional resources for founders. Over the past 24 months, MassVentures has invested in more than 20 start-up ventures.

Jennifer Neundorfer is general partner at January Ventures, a VC firm that invests in early-stage companies with women and minority founders. January Ventures was founded, itself, primarily by women operators and entrepreneurs-turned-investors who are focused on broadening access to early-stage capital.

Dealmakers Hall of Fame


Chris Caprio is the CEO of Focus Technology Solutions, which provides managed IT services. Caprio joined Focus in 2017, bringing with him 20-plus years of experience in planning, forecasting, and reporting financial data. During his tenure at Focus, Caprio has been a key contributor to the company's modernization, transformation, and record revenue growth. He previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Altran North America at Altran Technologies. Caprio is also recognized as an industry thought leader and serves as Chair for the Financial Executives International (FEI) Boston and the CFO Leadership Council Boston Chapter. Caprio is also a sought-after keynote speaker at industry events nationwide.

Sergey Gribov is a partner at Flint Capital, an early-stage venture fund that invests across Israel, USA, and Europe. Sergey is an investor and board member at Socure, Cyolo,, Quantori, and others. Gribov is a technology entrepreneur and investor with more than 20 years of experience. Over the years, he participated as a founder or top manager in many startups in USA and Israel. Sergey has a lot of experience in IT, across such sectors as software development, cybersecurity, digital health, fintech, and others. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management and B.Sc. in Computer Science, Cum Laude from Beer-Sheva University.

Jeremy Segal is a veteran executive with extensive M&A experience. He currently serves as Executive Vice President, Corporate Development, at Progress Software, where he is responsible for sourcing, executing and integrating Mergers and Acquisitions — essential elements of Progress' Total Growth Strategy. Since joining Progress, Segal has served as the driving force behind building the company's acquisition pipeline and simultaneously leading the close and integration of two significant deals: Chef and Kemp. Each acquisition added complementary technologies and strategic recurring revenue to the Progress portfolio. Prior to joining Progress, Segal spent more than 20 years leading M&A functions in publicly traded technology companies, where he completed more than 35 acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures. These deals had an aggregate value of more than $8 billion.

Special Award

Deatrich Wise Jr.shines brightly as the current Defensive End and Team Captain for the New England Patriots. His journey to becoming a Super Bowl LIII champion is a testament to his exceptional prowess on the football field. He was selected by the New England Patriots in the 2017 NFL Draft, emerging as the 131st overall pick in the 4th round. Since then, he has made significant contributions to the Patriots' defensive lineup, solidifying his position as a key player on the team. Beyond the gridiron, Wise's life takes on another dimension as a nonprofit leader and devoted family man. As the CEO of his family's Wise Up Foundation, Wise provides strategic leadership to the organization's programs that provide resources and opportunities to underserved youth and military veterans.