Dealmakers Awards Presentation
We recognize the 2022 Smart Business Dealmakers Dealmaker of the Year Award Winners!
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.
Danny is the CEO and co-founder of SkySpecs. He splits his time between strategy, partnerships, acquisitions, fundraising, team growth, and key account sales. He has a BSE and MSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is an Endeavor Entrepreneur, Techstars alum and mentor, and the recipient of the Forbes' "30 under 30" award in 2016.
Patrick G. Fenton is the Managing Principal of the Fenton Development Group, a family office that controls assets focused on real estate development, construction, digital educational content distribution, composite molding, and marine products. Patrick was the Chief Executive Officer and President of Rainbow Child Care Center (Rainbow) until its sale to Kinder Care in 2018. Before founding Rainbow, Patrick worked at Price Water House where he utilized and enhanced his management and accounting skills.
Since 2011, Patrick has been a member of the Board of Directors for RedShelf, Inc., a cloud-based eReader technology company based in Chicago, IL. Patrick is a managing partner of 814 CRE, a real estate development and investment firm as well as National Composites, a composite plastics component solutions roll-up comprising companies in Owosso and Holt Michigan, Joplin Missouri, and Wyoming Minnesota. He held the position of Managing Partner of Crest Marine, a pontoon boat manufacturer, from 2010 until its sale in October 2018, and he is a partner in Covington Partners, a private equity investment firm. Patrick serves as a board member on two of Covington Partners’ portfolio companies: Grand Traverse Plastics Corp., a high precision plastic molding company; and, Onodi Tool & Engineering, Inc., a manufacturer of large metal assemblies to defense sector prime contractors.
Pat serves as a Board Member on The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation and has been an active member of The Distinguished Clown Corp. for the past 20 years.
Patrick earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Western Michigan University.
President & CEO
Airspace Link, Inc.
As Co-Founder, President & CEO of Airspace Link, Michael Healander grew Airspace Link from a PowerPoint, and an idea in 2018 to a leading FAA Approved UAS Service Supplier. Airspace Link’s award-winning AirHub® Platform is used by stakeholders across the industry to enable safer, scalable drone solutions. Headquartered in Detroit, Airspace Link raised a total of $37m.
Founder & CEO
Dr. Hines is a pediatric critical care physician and scientist who is internationally recognized for his efforts to develop and validate a gold standard for the assessment of red blood cell health in clinical practice, work that grew out of patient care challenges he experienced as a pediatric intensivist.
In 2014, Dr. Hines founded Functional Fluidics, a Michigan-based biotech company spun out of the Wayne State School of Medicine, developing red blood cell health diagnostic platforms that are currently being used by the majority of pharmaceutical companies developing red blood cell-modifying therapies, including Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Forma, Agios, Global Blood Therapeutics, and Takeda, and entities developing curative therapies such as Graphite Bio (gene editing) and National institutes of Health (stem cell transplantation). Functional Fluidics diagnostic testing has also been adopted by medical centers in Michigan, Florida, Mississippi, Washington, D.C, Maryland, and Virginia. Dr. Hines will be leading an A round to fund the expansion of Functional Fluidics diagnostic testing throughout the United States. In recognition of his work, Dr. Hines was selected as an Aspen Health Innovation Fellow within the Aspen Global Leadership Network, chosen as a Crain’s Healthcare Hero, and received the Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 award. He completed both his fellowship in critical care medicine and pediatrics residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He received his M.D. degree and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the UNC-Chapel Hill, and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Hampton University.
Co-Founder & CEO
Kyle is the CEO & Co-Founder at Floyd, a direct-to-consumer furniture brand based in Detroit. Floyd was founded in 2014 when Kyle and his co-founder Alex O’Dell, set out to solve a problem around the disposability of furniture. Floyd focuses on being as thoughtful as possible about the design and experience around the essential furniture pieces of the home.They currently offer a sofa, bed frame, table and shelving system manufactured with partners across the US. Floyd products are currently in more than 50,000 homes. The company has 50+ employees and has raised more than $25M in venture funding to date.
Orbion Space Technology
Brad’s two decades in the space field and many professional awards recognize his research contributions in propulsion. He holds a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, has served on numerous NASA, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community advisory panels, and has published more than 100 papers on space propulsion systems. Brad is a past recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award from President George W. Bush “for innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and for the exceptional potential to shape the future.” In 2002, Brad founded Aerophysics Inc. This closely held company has delivered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions to government customers from multiple agencies. He is currently principal investigator on three satellite missions.
TrialAssure; MMS Holdings
Prasad M. Koppolu has 25+ years of experience across a diverse group of industries, including transportation, energy, technology, and professional services.
Prasad earned his Masters’ degrees in Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson and the Indian Institute of Technology.
Co-CEO & Co-Founder
Robin is Workit Health’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO. She is an experienced designer & entrepreneur. She has founded multiple companies, and has worked in health and consumer tech over the past ten years.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Lisa is a social entrepreneur, researcher, and Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health who holds Masters of both Social Work and Information from the University of Michigan. She’s laid the groundwork in Michigan and the greater U.S. for effective strategies for on-demand substance use disorder treatment and prevention resources for health plans, employers, and individuals. As Principal Investigator on Workit Health’s initiatives with the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she’s developed digital interventions to solve for social determinants of health and algorithms to measure and predict substance use recovery. In 2019 she was named Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and winner of the Lyfebulb and United Healthcare Innovation Challenge.
Passionate leader with a focus on big data, SaaS, FinTech, and media. Global business experience with track record in P&L growth, business development, operations management, information technology, complex project management, and data protection and privacy. Highly experienced, media-savvy brand builder. Quoted regularly by CNN, WSJ, the New York Times, CNBC, the FT, Reuters and the BBC.
TrialAssure; MMS Holdings
Dr. Uma Sharma has 25+ years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in late-stage drug development. Dr. Sharma has successfully led several global applications, including rare disease and orphan drug approvals. Uma is a visionary drug developer who along with her team at MMS has pioneered several new data and submission strategies, including the use of RWE in new drug applications.
Dr. Sharma earned her Doctorate in Pharmacology from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Linzie is the President at Ideal Group. She oversees marketing, finance and human resources for all of the Ideal Group of companies. Located in Southwest Detroit, The Ideal Group is an innovative manufacturing company founded by Frank Venegas in 1979. The Ideal Group operates seven different companies with over 450 employees.