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

In addition, The Pittsburgh 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 February 29 at the Pittsburgh Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Together, they provide a strong picture of the Pittsburgh business community.

Dealmaker of the Year Award Honorees


Dan Broudy is the CEO of Clayton Kendall, a company that manages one-stop-shop programs for customers with a product offering that includes apparel, uniforms, marketing materials, promotional products and signage, all provided through custom white label websites. This past December, Broudy and his brother sold the company to PNC Riverarch in a deal facilitated by Confluence Advisors, which provided additional growth capital for the company. Broudy and his brother retained equity and will continue to lead the business into its next chapter of growth.

Joe Cardosi is the CEO of Free Market Health, a care-driven marketplace designed to streamline the complex and opaque specialty medication fulfillment process. He most recently raised $20 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Questa Capital back in November.

Bill Delaney is the CEO of Distributor Service Inc. DSI manufactures architectural wood and specialized building products for the woodworking industry. DSI was acquired by Hood Industries for an undisclosed amount in December of 2023 in a deal facilitated by Metz Lewis and Confluence Advisors.

Sree Gadde is the executive director of BlueTreeVC, a venture capital firm that invests in promising technology companies. During the past two years, Gadde and his team have invested in numerous companies, including an $11.79 million seed round, a $10 million later-stage Series A1, and a $10.42 million seed round into a trio of companies.

Meredith Meyer is the Co-Founder of Wigle Whiskey Distillery and Threadbare Cider & Meads. Together with her husband, their company produced inventive, high-quality American whiskey, spirits, ciders and mead. Wigle Whiskey was Pennsylvania’s first direct-to-consumer spirits company since Prohibition and grew into the top 10 percent of craft spirits producers nationally with distribution reaching into more than a dozen states. In January 2023, the duo sold the company to Nutting Company Ventures.

Kevin Miller is the CEO of LegalSifter, a combined intelligence legal platform designed to understand and negotiate contracts. Carrick Capital Partners acquired LegalSifter in March of 2023. The transaction represented a profitable exit of a well-known local technology company with roots in CMU and in which numerous local prominent angel investors and VC funds were investors.

George Pilafas is the managing partner and Henry Watson is the president of Continuim Private Equity. The firm focuses on acquiring and supporting the transformative growth of successful family and founder-owned manufacturing and industrial businesses. Last August, the firm sold one of its portfolio companies, Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions, to Safe Fleet.

Social Impact Dealmakers Award Honorees


Joel Burnstein is the Co-Founder and CEO of BEAM Collective. BEAM creates strategic partnerships between large regional institutions and small minority owned businesses that generate job creation and regional growth. The past few years have been exceptionally active for BEAM, as it worked to build businesses that match anchor needs, expand existing businesses to meet growing demand, attract businesses to the region and merge or acquire businesses going through transition.

Doris Carson Williams is the CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania. She leads an organization that provides access and opportunity to more than 500 African American business owners and professionals in the region. Over the past few years, her organization has expanded to include other minority groups and nonprofit organizations. Under Williams’ leadership, the chamber is in the nexus of economic growth and working to ensure its members are key partners in the regional M&A ecosystem.

Dealmakers Hall of Fame Honorees


Bill Baker is the President and CEO of Irwin Car and Equipment. Under his leadership, the heavy-duty material handling equipment leader is known around the world for delivering exceptional quality and customized precision in the metals, mining, tunneling, energy, and transportation industries. Baker has built the company through targeted M&A and strategic acquisitions. He has spearheaded more than 60 deals over his career. Today, the company’s numerous divisions include Irwin Car, Atlas Car Products, A.L. Lee Corporation, Mine & Tunneling Supply, Phillips Group, Wisdom Mine Lights, UKM Transit Products, and Gray Manufacturing Industries.

Bob Dagostino is the founder and president of Dagostino Electronic Services (DES), which provides communication systems for voice, data, security, surveillance, multimedia and structured cabling. With a lifelong passion for connectivity, Dagostino has steered DES since 1973 in bringing quality and innovative technology solutions to businesses across the region. World-class health care institutions, top universities, local governments, the federal government and countless school districts have benefited from DES’ wide range of solutions, including networking, security, audiovisual, lighting and AI.

Tom Hosack is President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, The Preferred Realty, a real estate brokerage services company. Prior to Hosack’s current, long-standing career in real estate, he was principal of a general contracting company. Six years later, Hosack transitioned into the real estate industry. He became President of Century 21 West Penn, LLC which was at the time one of the largest Century 21 companies in the country. Five years later when Century 21 merged with Northwood Realty, Hosack began his long run with Northwood being named Chief Operating Officer of the company. In January 2007, he was promoted to President and CEO of Northwood Realty Services. In August 2018, Northwood Realty Services acquired Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, The Preferred Realty, which now includes 1,800 agents, and 54 offices in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, making them No. 1 in market share in the region, where Hosack continues to hold the position of President and CEO.