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.
Vistage Group Chair
Dave spent the majority of his career in leadership positions at Ford Motor Company, including President of Southeast Asia & Japan and Vice President, Marketing, Sales & Service for Asia Pacific & Africa. He attributes his career progression to his lifelong learning ethic and growth mindset. After his 32 year career at Ford, Dave decided to challenge himself by taking a role in a startup operation as the head of the commercial efforts of CHEP Automotive Solutions in the Americas. Presently, Dave is a Vistage Chair for two groups of mid-market CEO/Business owners in Southeast Michigan. He works with members to build cultures of employee accountability and engagement. Dave's approach to professional development combines the personal and professional to create meaningful change with his leaders. He balances his professional life by spending time with his wife, four children, and as an avid golfer and car aficionado.
Plymouth Growth Partners
Jeff has been a Partner at Plymouth Growth since 2008 and is involved in all aspects of the firm’s investing activities, from origination to exit. He has led several successful investments in Funds II & III, including IDV Solutions, 365 Retail Markets, Allied Payment Network, and Kinney Group.
Managing Director, Business Restructuring Services
BDO Consulting, LLC
Robert is a Managing Director in BDO's Business Restructuring & Turnaround Services practice. His focus is on middle-market companies, both distressed and healthy, seeking financial financial and operational improvement through interim financial leadership and re-organization. Robert is a seasoned restructuring professional, with significant experience in the manufacturing, distributing, hotels/ hospitality and entertainment industries.
Professor of Finance, Ross School of Business
University of Michigan
David is director of the Office for the Study of Private Equity Finance and a professor of finance at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. His research focuses on pricing of private equity and initial public offerings of common stock and characteristics of the venture capital market. He was the principal investigator on “Prospects for Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century,” a White House Conference on Small Business, and directs The Midwest Growth Capital Symposium.
Co-Founder & General Partner
BELLE Michigan Impact Fund
Ms. Cassin is the co-founder & General Partner of BELLE Michigan Impact Fund. BELLE Michigan Impact Fund is Ms. Cassin’s second venture fund. BELLE provides much needed start-up capital to women owned businesses throughout the US. Her first fund, Belle Michigan Fund, started in 2012 was Michigan’s first venture fund to invest in women owned businesses and seek women as investors.
Ms. Cassin was a nationally recognized healthcare executive and turnaround specialist for almost 30 years in the hospice industry. She has led hospice companies in both the non-profit and for profit sectors. From 1988-98 she led and created Hospice of Michigan by merging 17 hospices into one company. She retired debt and maintained profitability throughout her tenure, growing the company to over $50 million in revenues and 1,000 employees, with seventeen sites which ultimately earned Hospice of Michigan “Best Managed Non Profit” award by Crain’s Detroit. In 1998 she was recruited to VistaCare, a venture capital backed for profit national hospice company, based in Phoenix, Arizona. As VistaCare’s leader, Ms. Cassin purchased hospices throughout the US & started others in critical markets ultimately merging all 48 sites into one company. She built the company from $3 million in revenues to over $200 million with positive EBITDA. VistaCare became a publicly traded company in 2005 and sold in 2009. Ms. Cassin has received numerous national awards from the first National Hospice Organization’s Heart of Hospice Award, to the Founders Award from that same organization. She has served as President of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and chaired its Board. She is now based in Detroit and serves as President & CEO of Michigan Women Forward, an organization that promotes social justice for women through access to capital, developing the next generation of young women leaders & addressing issues that disproportionally affect women. Most recently she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan.
Cendrowski Corporate Advisors
Harry is a founding member of Cendrowski Corporate Advisors and a licensed CPA in Michigan, Illinois and Florida. He is a veteran of the private equity and venture capital industries as an investor, founder and advisor to several funds. He has served as an expert witness in numerous disputes, as court-appointed receiver for multimillion dollar estates and as the accountant to the trustee in high-profile bankruptcy cases.
Senior Vice President - Middle Market Banking
The Huntington National Bank
39 years experience of banking in the Metropolitan Detroit area. Majority of time related to Commercial Middle Market segment, with focus on Relationship Management, Portfolio Management, Credit Approval, Credit Administration, and Special Asset Management. Currently a Senior Relationship Manager in Southfield with added responsibilities in training, marketing, and automotive industry advisor.
President, CEO & Director
ZIVO Bioscience, Inc.
Mr. Dahl was formerly a principal consultant and managing director of Great Northern & Reserve Partners, LLC, a marketing strategy and business planning consultancy focused on the biomed and biotech sectors, since 2005. For the previous 20 years, Mr. Dahl served as President of Dawber & Company, Inc., one of the largest independent marketing & consulting firms in the Midwest, with an extensive Fortune 500 client roster that included GM, Ford, Northwest, Xerox, AT&T and Compuware, among others. He attended the College for Creative Studies and Wayne State University. Mr. Dahl holds three US patents for interactive multimedia and is a named inventor in one recent biotech patent and several biomed patent applications.
Lockton Companies, LLC
Quinn is a Vice President with Lockton specializing in risk management and insurance. Lockton is the world's largest family owned brokerage with over 8,000 Associates. His expertise centers around M&A, construction and manufacturing. He's been with the firm for ten years and is part of the leadership team for Lockton Michigan.
Chairman, Managing Partner & Co-Founder
Brian is the Chairman, Managing Partner & Co-Founder of Huron Capital where he leads the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. Over the past three decades, Brian has established a successful, long-term track record of acquiring, repositioning and growing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced operating executives. Brian began his career at Heller Equity Capital Corp. where he was responsible for sourcing, closing and managing middle-market buyout transactions as well as operational restructurings. In 1996, Brian left to pursue transactions in a more entrepreneurial setting utilizing an operational approach, establishing Huron in 1999. In addition to working with Huron Capital’s portfolio companies, Brian is active in the local community, serving on the boards of numerous industry, community, educational and charitable organizations. Brian earned a B.S. in Accounting from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and passed the CPA exam. He has five kids, four dogs and one wife, and is a die-hard Chicago Bears fan.
PNC Regional President for Detroit and Southeast Michigan
Ric DeVore is executive vice president and regional president of PNC Bank in Detroit and Southeast Michigan. In this role, he is PNCâ€™s lead banker in the region and also chairs the local PNC Foundation. DeVore serves on the board of directors of Business Leaders for Michigan, Oakland University, Cranbrook, Detroit Economic Club and Detroit Regional Chamber.
A masterful speaker, consultant and businessman, Derek Dickow excels at artfully forming and maintaining connections with people who positively impact others – personally and professionally.
Thanks to his extensive background in business, politics and philanthropy, Derek has relationships with some of the country’s top innovators. His formula for cultivating connections is the secret to his success and what led him to create The 5 Pillars of Purpose-Driven Networking.
Derek Dickow connects people with opportunity.
Derek is a world-class networker known for facilitating high-potential introductions. He is a passionate fundraiser, raising millions of dollars for people, projects, political campaigns and charities he’s passionate about.
Today, Derek serves as the founder and president of Steward Media, an event management, fundraising, and political relations firm promoting best-in-class people, organizations and events. Clients include elected leaders, CEOs and some of the most innovative thinkers.
Derek is a highly sought-after professional keynote speaker, sharing his expertise on power connections and his “5 Pillars of Purpose-Driven Networking.” Derek serves on several boards and has been honored with many business and leadership awards.
SVP & Managing Director
Invest Detroit Ventures
Martin Dober is senior vice president at Invest Detroit and managing director of its venture capital arm, Invest Detroit Ventures. He has deep experience in investment, support, and operational roles in early stage ventures, and a background in finance and engineering. He was previously senior vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Prior to this, he held senior positions in several small technology companies, including iRobot, ASTI, and EIP, Inc. His career also includes M&A at Delphi, corporate finance at DaimlerChrysler, and engineering at the Budd Company. Martin received a Bachelor of Science from Kettering University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Grand Sakwa Capital, LLC
Rick is a Managing Director with Grand Sakwa Capital, LLC. Rick previously spent 32 years with JPMorgan Chase as a Managing Director and licensed Investment Banker. Rick managed the SE Michigan Commercial Banking segment for JPMorgan Chase. Rick is also Chairman of the board of directors for Rockford Carving Company, LLC.
Senior Vice President
Commercial banker in Metro Detroit for over 30 years. Currently Senior Vice President at Citizens Bank focusing on Middle Market companies with sales from $25MM - $500MM.
Ovid BP Systems, Inc.
Venture capital professional/entrepreneur with extensive hands-on deal experience on both sides of the negotiation table, across a variety of sectors, valuations, and transaction structures. Expertise throughout the investment process including market research, deal sourcing, technical and financial due diligence, financial analysis, and corporate governance. Innovation addict and analytical thinker with innate ability to quickly assess and understand new technology and its potential impacts. Matthew is currently active Co-Founder of Ovid BP Systems, a revolutionary video-based blood pressure monitoring solution that aims to make blood pressure diagnosis, treatment, and management simple and accessible to everyone.
Barden Brook Capital, LLC
Gerry is president of Barden Brook Capital, an advisory firm to both corporate and private equity clients. Gerry serves private equity firms as an operating executive, executive advisor, industry advisor, board director, and investment partner. Gerry assists with deal sourcing, diligence, execution, and management. In this capacity, Gerry is currently an operating executive for a Covington Capital portfolio company serving defense and industrial markets. Corporate clients engage Barden Brook for sales, business development, market development, and strategy execution.
Founder & Managing Partner
Ajay is a small business owner, investor and advisor. He is the founder and Managing Partner of GMB Capital an investment firm seeking to invest in companies with 2 - 10 million in revenue in manufacturing, IT, SAAS, Energy Solutions and Distribution with the foundation to jump to the next level.
He is also the Co-President of Electro-Technic Products an industrial and scientific equipment manufacturing and distribution company.
John is CEO of AEL-Span LLC, which provides strategic supply chain solutions for the logistics requirements of a diverse base of multinational and regional companies. As a senior executive with strong sales and leadership skills, he offers a unique blend of executive acumen, business management experience and entrepreneurial vision. He has over 35 years of business management experience and has held senior management and board-level positions in banking, venture capital management, manufacturing and contract logistics.
Raj draws on nearly 30 years of experience as an investor, a financial advisor and an entrepreneur. He is the founder and managing director of Cascade Partners where he helps lead divestitures, recapitalizations, acquisitions and other strategic transactions for clients in the healthcare, industrials, business services and technology sectors. He has also co-managed multiple private equity funds and dozens of investments from early stage to buy-out in healthcare, automotive, technology and other industrial companies.
Prior to forming Cascade Partners, Raj co-founded Seneca Partners, Inc., a similar investment banking and private investment firm. While at Seneca Partners, he helped form Seneca Health Partners, a healthcare private equity fund. Prior to establishing Seneca Partners, he was a director at Beringea, a boutique investment-banking and venture capital firm. During this time, he co-managed the firm’s $70 million healthcare private equity fund, InvestCare Partners. Prior to the formation of their own fund, Raj has also served as an investment officer for ProVen Private Equity in London, England, a venture capital affiliate of Beringea.
He began his investment career as a money manager, most prominently for Masco Corporation. He left Masco to co-found Cranbrook Capital Management, a $650 million money management firm, where he was treasurer and director of international investing.
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.
Jack Lawless has been CEO of Belle Tire since 2015. He started his career with a 3-yr stint in Commercial lending. As President/CEO over the past 25+ years, his teams have consistently increased market share with an intense focus on the customer. During his CEO career, he has bought/sold/managed $1.3 Billion of transactions across family owned, private equity and public platforms.
Michigan Market President/Commercial Bank Sales Executive
David Mannarino is Michigan Market President and Commercial Bank Sales for KeyBank. David’s focus is organic growth and collaboration, leading our Commercial Banking team in the market. As Market President, he will be actively involved in the community. He will also serve as the internal senior leader in the market, inspiring employee engagement and cross-business talent development. He will partner closely with Key’s Corporate Responsibility group to develop and implement a community lending and investment strategy that will enable Key to meet its corporate and social responsibilities.
Charles G (Chip) McClure
Michigan Capital Advisors
Chip is managing partner of Michigan Capital Advisors, a private equity firm that invests in Tier 2 and 3 global automotive and transportation suppliers. He sits on the boards of DTE Energy, Penske Corp. and Crane Co., and is chairman of 3D Systems. He is on the board of trustees of Henry Ford Health Systems, board of directors of Invest Detroit and a member of Business Leaders for Michigan.
Janet is the Market President, Metro Detroit for Horizon Bank. She's launched the Troy team for Horizon 3 years ago after 30 years in banking in the community serving healthcare, small business and middle market clients for other organizations. She takes great pride in unraveling the mysteries of banking vernacular for her clients and getting things done with her straightforward approach.
Stephen is CEO of Highgate LLC, a private investment company in Birmingham, Michigan. Throughout his career, he has been highly successful in helping businesses achieve maximum results. Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of R. L. Polk & Co.
Renaissance Venture Capital
Chris is the founder and CEO of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, a first-of-its-kind network fund formed by a consortium of Fortune 1000 corporations. Renaissance works to invest in and strategically connect venture capital funds and start-up companies with major corporations. Chris is also the founder and publisher of SoulTracks.com, America’s most popular soul music online magazine. Prior to Renaissance, Chris was a co-founder and partner in Michigan’s two largest venture capital investors, nanotechnology holding company Ardesta, LLC, and tech fund Avalon Technology Ventures, and received of four consecutive “Deal of the Year” awards by the Michigan Venture Capital Association. Chris was also a senior partner with Dickinson Wright PLLC. He began his career with Coopers & Lybrand.
Steve is co-founder and CEO of Autobooks. Autobooks helps Financial Institutions become a digital destination for small business owners. Previously, he was the technical co-founder and CIO at Billhighway, an integrated payment and accounting solution provider to large membership-based organizations. In 2012, he was invited to the White House to be part of the historic signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startup Act (JOBS) by President Obama through his community involvement with Startup America.
Regional President for Southeast Michigan
Jim's professional knowledge, drive and energy as Regional President of Southeast Michigan for TCF Bank have been key catalysts to the bank breaking into the Southeast Michigan market. With more than 24 years of banking experience and a specialty in commercial lending, Jim is integral in aligning the efforts of a cross-functional leadership team to drive growth and ensure consistent service delivery throughout Southeast Michigan.
Dickinson Wright, PLLC
Bill is a Member of Dickinson Wright PLLC and has been representing buyers and sellers of businesses for over 25 years. As a trusted advisor and experienced negotiator, Bill has successfully closed an extensive list of M&A transactions across a broad spectrum of industries including automotive, snack food, manufactured homes, healthcare and consulting, among others. Typical deal values range in size from a few million dollars to several hundred million dollars.
DocShop Pro, LLC
Dr. Ali Safiedine is the Managing Partner of NEMO Capital Partners, LLC and the Chief Executive Officer of DocShop Pro, LLC. Recently, successfully led an exit of NEMOhealth(EHR/RCM) to Modernizing Medicine/Warburg Pincus.
Founder & CEO
Purple Squirrel Advisors
Carrie is the Founder and CEO of Purple Squirrel Advisors, a boutique retained executive search firm based in Troy, Michigan. With a passion for helping companies grow by creating exceptional leadership teams, she has spent the past 16 years connecting C-level and senior executives with leadership positions in finance, accounting, human resources, operations, sales, and marketing. Carrie and her team work with PE-backed and family owned businesses from coast to coast.
Area Chairman, Michigan
Jay is the Michigan area chairman for Gallagher, a global leader in insurance, risk management & consulting services. He previously served as president and chief executive officer and majority shareholder of LSG Insurance Partners, Michigan’s largest privately held insurance agency until its acquisition by Gallagher in October 2019. Jay leads Gallagher’s local mergers and acquisitions consulting team, which supports private equity firms with diverse portfolios as well as large organizations seeking consistent and cohesive, risk management solutions across various holdings.
Founder, Chairman & Owner
Simon Group Holdings
Sam is founder and chairman of Simon Group Holdings, which he formed in 1985 with the founding of Atlas Oil Company. Simon Group Holdings, directly and through its subsidiaries, has interests and is an active investment manager in a number of industry sectors. In 2007, Sam created Atlas Cares, which supports Detroit organizations and encourages employees to volunteer at charities of their choice.
Managing Director & Portfolio Manager
David is managing director and a portfolio manager for multiple investment strategies at Ancora. Prior to Ancora, he was most recently a portfolio manager at Loomis, Sayles & Co., where he worked since 1998 and held multiple senior positions. At Loomis, David worked directly with institutional clients on asset allocation strategies and multi-product accounts. Earlier in his career, he was a senior portfolio manager for Beacon Investment Management Co.
UHY Corporate Finance
Dan has extensive investment banking and consulting experience and is a FINRA licensed representative, having earned his Series 82, Series 79 and Series 63 licenses. He is a client focused advisor with 14 years of investment banking and consulting experience.
His engagements include sell-side and capital advisory services serving strategic and private equity clients; divestitures and carve-outs; buy-side processes and acquisition strategy; and debt funding.
Dan also has extensive experience with all aspects of a transaction process including strategic positioning to optimize value; identifying potential buyers/ acquisition targets; facilitating management presentations; managing due diligence processes; and reviewing purchase and sales agreements.
Valenti Capital LLC, World Capital Partners, & V5 Partners
Sam is chairman of the board of TriMas Corp., a NYSE $1 billion manufacturer of highly engineered precision products for industry. He is also lead director of the board of American Axle Corp., a $7 billion company. He is the former president of Masco Capital Corp., and a 40-year veteran of the company.
SVP & Managing Director
Kathy is a seasoned strategist with more two decades of experience bringing organizations innovative solutions on two of the most important issues facing them: risk and people. In her current role she leads Michigan’s Business Development team helping clients of all sizes, in every industry. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Northwoods University and holds the Certified Insurance Counselor and Certified Risk Manager designations. In 2019 she was named a Power Broker Finalist in Cyber by Risk & Insurance and in 2018 was named as an Automotive Power Broker Award by Risk & Insurance. She sits on the board and serves as the Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair of Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, whose mission it is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
Tom is President and Founder of EdgePoint Capital. He and his team provide M&A advisory and investment banking services to middle market private held companies across the nation. Tom drives the execution and culture at EdgePoint which can be summarized by their motto of "Results with Integrity".