President & CEO
Smart Business Network
Fred co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has built the company into a leading multimedia and content marketing business providing print and digital marketing services to a national client base.
Chairman & CEO
Burke is the Chairman and CEO of Fortium Partners and responsible for the strategic growth and evolution of the firm. His 25+-year career includes serving as the Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President of Technology for companies in a variety of industries and market segments as well as consulting roles in 2 of the Big Four. He has extensive experience in consulting, Interim/fractional executive roles, and technology assessment/due diligence.
Prior to Fortium, Burke's career included roles at the global consulting companies of Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Partner in the Technology Leadership practice of Tatum, as well as direct technology leadership roles with The Walt Disney Company, SOURCECORP, Ristken Software, and others. Burke has a Master of Business Administration in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Noze Best
Christy Brown is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and exited 4 companies. She is currently a co-founder and CEO at Dr. Noze Best, a babytech company headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Christy has spent 20 years focusing on professional services, digital commerce, and technology. As an executive leader, investor, and founder, she has led as a senior executive in multiple public companies but steered her interest back towards early-stage capital in 2010 as an early-stage Angel Investor focusing solely on female founders. In 2018, as a General Partner in the launch of a venture fund in Atlanta, Christy led the creation, launch, and replication of the venture studio model beyond its formation in Atlanta across the United States.
Christy’s love of pairing venture capital with underserved founders and scaling companies was equivalent. In mid-2020, Christy’s passion took her into the day-to-day role of President & CEO of Launchpad2X, a not-for-profit accelerator she supported for years prior. Launchpad2X focused on scaling female founders via education and community. In 2022, however, she returned to the driver’s seat and became the CEO at Dr. Noze Best. Dr. Noze Best is a scaling baby tech company that is focused on products to enhance health and wellness in the modern nursery.
Christy also supports, mentors, guides, and invests in female founders and founders of color through her residency as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Emory University, a Venture Partner in multiple venture funds, a Lead of the Emory University Startup Accelerator, and serves on multiple Boards for non-profit organizations and early-stage companies
President, CBI, M&AMI, FIBBA, CM&AP
Walden Businesses, Inc.
Sara specializes in owner representation in the small to middle market with light manufacturing, distribution and select service companies primarily in the southeast. She is heavily involved in the firm’s valuation services. Sara’s M&A expertise has led her to be a guest speaker for talk radio shows, M&A Source and IBBA Conference as both speaker and trainer.
Shila Nieves Burney
Founder & Managing Partner
Zane Venture Fund
Shila Nieves Burney, an award-winning project manager, is the Founding and Managing Partner of Zane Venture Fund. Shila spent her 20+ year career advocating for marginalized groups. She has worked closely with leading organizations and exceptional talent to create solutions that address disparities through investment in human capital.
Shila founded Zane Venture Fund, a seed fund that invests in underrepresented founders with the goal of closing the funding gap while generating high returns for investors. Shila also founded Zane Access which provides early-stage companies led by diverse teams access to cross-functional experts, resources, best practices and customized content critical to accelerating growth.
As the regional executive for Alex. Brown’s Atlanta office, Eric acts as an advocate for the area’s financial advisory teams, ensuring they have access to the breadth of valuable resources offered by Alex. Brown, a division of Raymond James. With more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, he lends his knowledgeable insight to help financial advisors better serve the needs of their clients while addressing their business goals.
Eric is proud to be a member of the Alex. Brown team and works to uphold the firm’s legacy of boutique service backed by corporate capabilities. Further, he actively strives to nurture a culture of collegiality for the client advisors he works with.
Before joining Alex. Brown, Eric was the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager for Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, where he was also a member of the operating committee. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Eric worked in wealth management at Goldman Sachs and held both advisory and management positions at Bank of America's Private Bank.
Senior Vice President and Market Executive, Atlanta Metro Business Banking
Bank of America
Danielle has over two decades of experience in financial services and currently leads a commercial banking sales team that brings strategic advice and innovative solutions to companies across diversified industries. She is a member of the Bank's Atlanta Leadership team, which focuses on setting business and community engagement strategies across Metro Atlanta. Danielle is passionate about giving back to her community with a focus on economic mobility and supporting small business growth. Danielle is the 2023 Board Chair of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and sits on the board of directors of the Greater Women's Business Council.
Mr. Dangar is responsible for the origination, underwriting and management of mezzanine and equity investments from the Atlanta office. Prior to joining Stonehenge, Mr. Dangar led business development for transaction services for Aprio, LLC, a regional tax and accounting advisory firm focused on growing, middle market companies. Prior to that, Mr. Dangar was the National Deals Sales Leader for PwC, responsible for driving M&A conversations and advice with the firm’s U.S. clients. Prior to that, Mr. Dangar worked for 20 years in the investment banking field, providing buy-side M&A and financing advice to privately-held, growing companies in the US and abroad for Westminster Securities, Wachovia Securities and E&Y. Mr. Dangar earned a BS in Building Construction and a Minor in Economics from The Georgia Institute of Technology and his MBA at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
Mr. Falconer is Co-founder and Managing Member of ScanTech Holdings LLC. A 2007 graduate of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), ScanTech is an electron beam and X-ray technology holdings company.
Mr. Falconer is responsible for all corporate operations and has led the company to numerous local and national awards including the Best New Emerging Homeland Technology Company, the Top Ten Most Innovative Technology Company in Georgia, Finalist for Georgia’s International Deal of the Year and Runner-up at the Global Security Challenge.
Mr. Falconer has also played a key role in securing investment capital to fund the successful spin-off of ScanTech’s technology into a homeland security company, ScanTech Identification Beam Systems, LLC (www.scantechibs.com) and a food safety company, Reveam, Inc. (www.reveam.com).
Mr. Falconer still plays an active role in both spin-offs serving as founding President and Chief Executive Officer at ScanTech Identification Beam Systems and Chairman of the Board and a senior technical advisor at Reveam.
SouthPointe Ventures, LLC
Since 2003, Ed has been co-founder and managing partner of SouthPointe Ventures, LLC, an Atlanta-based lower middle market control buy-out fund. SouthPointe focuses on the industrial manufacturing, distribution, and business services sectors, typically in the Southeast and Central U.S.
Prior to SouthPointe, Ed held senior management and operations roles in a family-owned equipment distribution business, and as CFO for the 3rd largest Wendy's franchisee. Ed started his career in leveraged lending at successor banks to Bank of America and Wells Fargo.
Ed serves on the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Georgia, on the Investment Committee for Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, as FP&A committee chair for the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and on the Host Committee for the Beloved event. Ed graduated with a B.B.A degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame.
Founder & CEO
Jon is an Executive Producer and Financier of Film and TV who develops and co-finances media projects. He is the founder of FilmHedge, a fintech company providing financing of up to $10 million per Film or TV production.
He is the Founder/Owner of Southbox Literary (publishing), Southbox Capital (private equity), and Southbox Entertainment (Film/TV production).
Before his work in film, Jon spent ten years in venture capital and tech. His 2014 TED Talk about ethical innovation has been viewed millions of times.
Jon Gosier is the Founder and former CEO of Audigent, recently named one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the country by INC5000 and Deloitte. He was named one of 'the new faces of Black Leadership' by TIME Magazine in 2015.
CEO, Founding Managing Partner
Loki Group, Inc.
Alok Gupta brings over 22 years of executive professional experience in over 15 countries, leading teams and advising the C-Suite of Fortune 1000, mid-market, and small companies. Throughout his career, he has led deals creating over $125B in total transaction value. He is the Founding Managing Partner of Loki Group, Inc. which is a strategy, corporate development as a service, and a transactions (M&A) advisory firm.
MSouth Equity Partners
Mr. Hauser re-joined MSouth as a Vice President in 2017. Prior to re-joining MSouth, Mr. Hauser was most recently Chief Financial Officer at OmniTrail Technologies, a venture-backed telecommunications start-up. Prior to OmniTrail, Mr. Hauser was employed by MSouth where he worked for four years. Before joining MSouth in 2011, Mr. Hauser was an Associate at Genstar Capital, a middle market private equity firm with $3.0 billion of capital. Prior to joining Genstar Capital, Mr. Hauser was an Analyst in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at JP Morgan.
Carr, Riggs & Ingram
Jeff Hawkins, CPA, is the Transaction Advisory Services Director at Carr, Riggs & Ingram. He has worked in public accounting for 18 years and has worked on over 100 transactions during his career. Jeff helps to guide buyers and sellers through the M&A process.
Managing Principal - Georgia
Jamie Henkemeyer, CPA has over 20 years with CLA serving the owners of privately held business owners and private equity supporting audit, tax, due diligence and other transaction services.
Michael is co-head of the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Group and its Investment Management Group. He focuses on middle-market corporate transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and joint ventures. He also serves on the firm's Executive Committee, the governing body of seven partners who oversee firm standing committees, strategic initiatives, and firm operations.
As a District Manager at Insperity, I oversee a team of Business Performance Advisors. We are passionate about partnering with business owners to generate revenue, relieve administrative burden, and provide compliance support for net profit protection.
Garden City Companies
Nick currently serves as a Vice President at Garden City Companies. He focuses primarily on sourcing and evaluating new investment opportunities, structuring & closing transactions, and monitoring & growing portfolio companies. Prior to joining Garden City, Nick worked in corporate development and investor relations at SPX Corporation, a publicly-traded diversified industrial company.
During his tenure, the company made 7 acquisitions and completed a transformational divestiture. His corporate development responsibilities included the evaluation and execution of inorganic growth opportunities focused on building products, testing, inspection, compliance & certification, and aerospace & defense. In investor relations, he supported the executive team in communications with investor and analyst communities relating to company financial performance and forward-looking strategy.
Before SPX, Nick worked at FMI Capital Advisors, providing sell-side merger and acquisition advisory to middle market business services companies across the engineering & construction, environmental, and facilities management sectors. Nick holds a B.S.B.A in Finance from Drexel University, a J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, and an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.
Rob Kissling is a Principal at Source Capital, an Atlanta-based private investment firm focused on providing flexible equity and debt capital to lower middle-market companies across a range of industries. Prior to Source, Rob worked in the Credit Advisory group at Antares Capital, where he executed on complex restructurings and turnarounds. Before that, he was with Chatham Capital, where he originated, structured, and executed lower middle market loans. Rob began his career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, spending time in both the Corporate Bond Sales & Trading group and the Leveraged Finance group.
Lee M. Koury
Smart Business Network Inc.
Lee is managing partner of Smart Business Network Inc., a national events, media and marketing company founded in 1989, primarily responsible for expanding the company’s Aspire deal-making conference throughout the U.S. He plays a key role in establishing corporate policies and developing long-term strategy and growth plans. Previously, he founded and chaired the Growth Group at national law firm Arter & Hadden LLP (now Tucker, Ellis & West), which focused on working with middle-market and high-growth technology companies.
Hartman Simons & Wood LLP
Whalen J. Kuller is a partner at Hartman Simons & Wood LLP. He leads the firm's corporate practice group. He has an earned a reputation as an expert in representation of corporate clients for a wide range of transactions, including acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures, private equity and venture capital, public offerings and private placements of debt and equity capital. He is also adept at advising clients on a range of corporate issues, such as employment contracts, corporate governance, organization and formation of business entities and licensing and supply and distribution agreements.
Palmares Capital Partners
Andy is a Partner and Co-founder of Palmares Capital Partners, an investment firm that makes non-control investments in middle market companies.
Prior to founding Palmares Capital Partners, Andy was a Managing Director and a co-founder of VRA Partners, an investment banking firm focused on providing M&A and capital raising advisory services to middle market companies and private equity firms. Prior to founding VRA Partners, Andy was a Managing Director, Co-Head of the Private Markets Group and a senior member of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group of The Robinson-Humphrey Company and its successor, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. Andy’s responsibilities included the management of merger & acquisition and private placement assignments as well as managing the firm’s activities with all sources of private capital. Andy was also a member of the Investment Committee of SunTrust Equity Partners, the private equity vehicle for SunTrust Bank.
Prior to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Andy worked in the private equity industry as a professional with River Capital, Inc. and Trivest, Inc. (private equity firms focused on the acquisition of middle market companies) where he was responsible for sourcing, structuring, closing and managing control equity investments. Andy began his career in corporate finance with GE Capital, Corporate Finance Group, where he was engaged in financing, and investing in, leveraged transactions.
Andy received a B.S. degree in Accounting from Auburn University and an MBA from Emory University.
Chief Growth Officer
Jane (Karwoski) McCracken has spent her career working with fast growth tech companies in the US and Europe as an entrepreneur, investor, board member, and advisor. She currently is the Chief Growth Officer at Corps Team, a nationwide talent advisory and recruitment firm supporting startups to the Fortune 500 with a variety of talent needs. In addition, Jane is a member of the board of directors at Edinburgh Worldwide Investment Trust plc and Radyus Research LLC.
As the Southeast Region Head for Commercial Banking, my focus is to effectively grow our business, which provides customized lending solutions to mid-sized, public and private companies, primarily in the Southeast.
Leveraging over two decades experience, I’m able to make use of the Bank’s global suite of capabilities for our valued clients, providing for a differentiated experience. Creating brand awareness, my deep-seated commitment, and an ability to foster pertinent connections both internally and externally, are all strategic assets I bring to the table.
I lead by example, using an accessible, hands-on approach to mentor a team of dedicated thought leaders who create unique, value-added ideas in our market. Working with our partners across all of BMO’s specialties allows clients to access a host of services in addition to commercial lending, including treasury management, equipment financing, interest rate protection, foreign exchange, trade finance, wealth management, asset management, cross-border solutions, and the broader Debt Capital Markets and M&A advisory in conjunction with BMO Capital Markets. What distinguishes us most is our dedication to understanding our clients, their industry, and ultimately, providing innovative solutions to finance their vision for growth.
Level Capital Partners, LLC
Steve McGrath founded Level Capital Partners and is responsible for originating and evaluating investment opportunities, structuring and negotiating transactions, managing portfolio investments, and investor relations. Prior to forming LCP, Mr. McGrath served key roles within three lower middle market private equity initiatives, inclusive of Harbert Management Corporation’s private equity practice, Atlanta Equity Investors, and Liberty Lane Partners.
Before his private equity career, Mr. McGrath worked at the Royal Bank of Canada within its M&A advisory group and a lower middle market mezzanine investment firm. Mr. McGrath also gained valuable management consulting and operational experience as a part of Andersen Consulting and multiple technology startup companies. Mr. McGrath has sat in board positions throughout his investment management career and currently sits on the boards of CarePlus Anesthesia Management, S&S Health, Affirmative Technologies, and Suburban Orthopaedics.
Mr. McGrath holds a MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, where he graduated with Beta Gama Sigma honors, and a BA in Economics from the Miami University.
Neil is the President of Lockton Atlanta, Partner of Lockton Partners and a member of the Executive Committee for the Southeast Operations of Lockton Companies. As a Partner and Producer of Property & Casualty and People Solutions business for Lockton, Neil focuses on leading Lockton's account teams to deliver the best total cost of risk, program coverage, and service to help achieve sustainable risk management strategies. Prior to joining Lockton in 2004, Neil began his career as an underwriter at AIG.
Dan Miller is the Southeastern Commercial Director for S&P Global Market Intelligence, the leading Capital Markets data provider helping businesses make more informed decisions with conviction. He has helped 100s of companies navigate the complex market data industry and has led various sales teams in Dallas, New York and now Georgia. He has been with S&P Global since 2005.
Silicon Road Ventures
Sid Mookerji is Managing Partner of Silicon Road Ventures, a family of US funds with over $100M under management, investing in early-stage tech startups disrupting retail and e-commerce. Sid is also a General Partner in Bengaluru-based fund StartupXseed, Founding Partner of the Atlanta chapter of the Creative Destruction Labs, and President of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE Atlanta). He was inducted into the Kennesaw State’s Coles College Hall of Fame for 2019 and recognized as an Entrepreneurial Leader for Southeast USA by TechBridge in 2019.
Burr & Forman LLP
Jennifer Moseley is a corporate and securities partner at Burr & Forman LLP, where she counsels public and private companies on an array of transactional, regulatory, capital raising, financing strategies and corporate governance matters. She enjoys assisting clients in her role as counselor and helping clients navigate the intricacies of securities laws with practical solutions to meet their goals.
Sig Mosley is the Managing Partner of Mosley Ventures, a venture fund investing in early stage technology startups in the Southeast and a Venture Partner in Zane Venture Fund. He is also an advisor to Silicon Road Ventures. Widely regarded as “The Godfather of Angel Investing”, a title Sig Mosley earned as president of Imlay Investments, Inc.
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
Stephen Opler concentrates his practice on the distinctive characteristics of liquidity transactions by and with entrepreneurs. Stephen helps private equity funds, strategic acquirers and entrepreneurial buyers and sellers achieve their goals by leveraging his three decades as an M&A lawyer, entrepreneur, business founder, investment banker, in-house lawyer and CPA.
Vice President, Corporate Development
Applied Technical Services LLC
George has over 30 years experience with investment banking, private equity, c-level operations management and corporate development. Currently George leads the efforts of Applied Technical Services, a PE-backed platform that has completed over 30 acquisitions in the past eight years.
Stephen Roseman is Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of 1970 Group. Previously, Mr. Roseman held leadership positions across multiple organizations, including President of Spencer Capital Holdings, SVP at Calamos Advisors, Managing Member at Thesis Capital Group, and CEO of Spy Optic, in addition to roles at Kern Capital Management and Oppenheimer Funds. Mr. Roseman is a CFA® charterholder.
o15 Capital Partners
Kenneth Saffold is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner of o15 Capital Partners, a lower middle market, impact focused private credit investment firm. Prior to founding o15, Kenneth Saffold was a Managing Director and a member of BlackRock's Global Credit Platform and served as an Investment Committee Member for the BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund. Prior to BlackRock, Kenneth held roles with GE Capital and Goldman Sachs. Kenneth currently serves on the UNICEF Southeast Board and is a Member of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Investment Committee. He also serves as the President of the Board of Directors for Northside Youth Organization (NYO) and formerly served as Chair of the Emory Board of Visitors. Kenneth received his MBA from The Wharton School and his BA from Morehouse College. Kenneth lives in Atlanta with his wife Akilah and two kids, KJ and Eva, age 14 and 9.
Managing Director, Senior Resident Director
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
Tom has spent the last 22 years at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch where he considers himself an “Intra-Preneur”. He is the founder of a 9 person boutique within the company called Singh & Associates.
He and his team specialize in pre-exit planning for business owners looking to sell their company in 12-36 months. By using their Proprietary financial Modeling Process, they run various simulations and prescribe strategies to help owners maximize their desired outcome.
He also oversees the Avalon location of Merrill Lynch managing 9 Billion of client assets and has been named the top 13 “Best in State Wealth Advisors” list by Forbes Magazine – 4 years in a row.
Area Managing Partner
Paul Sparrow joined Chief Outsiders in 2015 and serves as an Area Managing Partner and CMO, overseeing all fractional CMOs in GA, SC, NC, and TN. He is a business growth expert with over 25 years of strategic development and execution in a variety of industries and organizational settings including Fortune 50, startups, turnarounds, and emerging growth.
Founder & Managing Partner
Phoenix Capital Ventures
Area President, Georgia
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
As Area President of Gallagher’s Georgia Property & Casualty operations, Chris is responsible for the leadership, execution of business initiatives and overall growth of the market.
Chris' professional experience includes more than 25 years of expertise in both property & casualty insurance and employee benefits working with both public and private companies.
Using Gallagher CORE360™ our unique comprehensive approach of evaluating your risk management program, his team works to reduce your total cost of risk, determine your organizations optimal risk management program and improve overall profitability.
Ascent Advisory Partners
Gordon Watt is a Managing Director and Co-Founder of Ascent Advisory Partners, which provides M&A advisory services to family and founder-owned companies in the lower middle-market. Gordon has over 30 years of M&A and investment banking experience.
Previously, he worked at SunTrust Robinson-Humphrey, The Robinson-Humphrey Company (a division of Citigroup) and Chemical Bank (now JPMorgan). He has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Chief of New Revenue Streams, The Coca-Cola Company
General Partner, Venture 53
WaterStar Capital LLC
Yigang Yang is the Founding and Managing Partner of WaterStar Capital, an Atlanta based venture capital. Prior to founding WaterStar Capital in 2016, he was the CEO of the largest Agricultural and Food Investment Fund in Asia - COFCO Agricultural Industry Investment Fund. He also worked for Credit Suisse First Boston in China and New York. Currently Mr. Yang serves on the board for four American startups. Previously he also served on the board of directors of Buderim Group Limited, an Australian public company.
Georgia Oak Partners
James Zhu is responsible for due diligence, investment evaluation and transaction execution. He is also responsible for sourcing and developing strategic partnerships with the local business community.
Prior to joining Georgia Oak, James was with JP Morgan Chase, starting in their investment banking division in New York. James worked with private equity sponsors on control buyout transactions in the industrials, food & beverage, and healthcare sector. In addition, he worked with corporate and middle-market clients to facilitate M&A transactions and capital raises.
Before joining JP Morgan, James was with Hewlett-Packard and Informatica as a software engineer/consultant. He worked with start-ups and corporations across the US through big data analytics to improve operational efficiencies and uncover new revenue opportunities.