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Session A

Positioning Your Company for a Strong Valuation

Presented By: Citizens Bank / Blank Rome LLP

Despite continued uncertainty, there doesn’t appear to be much slowdown in deal flow. That’s put the onus on more stringent deal preparation before you go to market for any type of M&A transaction. So what can you do to better position your company to capitalize on current market trends and secure a high valuation? Join a group of active dealmakers as they share best practices for gaining the upper hand in a highly competitive environment that looks to be here to stay.


Daniel K. Fitzpatrick
President, Mid-Atlantic

Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, CFA, is a banking and corporate finance executive with more than 30 years of experience and is President of Citizens Mid-Atlantic Region. Fitzpatrick is a native of Northeast Philadelphia and is a former chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on its Executive Committee.  Fitzpatrick is also a member of the Board of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in Pittsburgh.  Fitzpatrick serves as Chairman of Philadelphia Works, Inc., Philadelphia’s workforce development corporation.  Fitzpatrick earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from LaSalle University and an MBA from Drexel University.  He is a CPA and a Chartered Financial Analyst.


David Dunstan
Managing Director
Citizens Bank M&A Advisory

David co-founded Western Reserve Partners in 2004, which was acquired by Citizens in 2017, and has more than 25 years of experience advising middle market companies in mergers and acquisitions and capital raising across a wide range of industries. Prior to co-founding Western Reserve Partners, he was a Managing Director at KeyBanc Capital Markets and Manager of Consumer Investment Banking at McDonald Investments. David started his career at Ernst & Young, where he provided financial consulting and audit services to middle market companies.

Leo Helmers
Mereo Capital Partners

Leo Helmers is the co-Founder of Mereo Capital Partners (“Mereo”), a private equity and special situations investment firm focused on the lower middle market. Prior to founding Mereo, Leo served as co-Founder of Susquehanna Private Capital (“SPC”), a private equity fund backed by Susquehanna International Group, and Founder of LMZ Partners, a personal private equity entity focused on lower middle market buyouts. Leo had previously served as Managing Director, Partner and Fund Head at The Carlyle Group (“Carlyle”), where he co-founded Carlyle’s mezzanine investment strategy, raising two funds, Carlyle Mezzanine Partners I, LP, a $436 million partnership in May 2006, and Carlyle Mezzanine Partners II, LP, a $554 million partnership in February 2009.

Leo currently serves on the boards of Swish Dental, LLC, Luna Labs, Inc. and Integrated Foot and Ankle Specialists, LLC. He most recently served on the boards of Long Island Veterinary Specialists, Plews Edelmann, Sunrise Transportation and LeverPoint Management, which have been successfully sold or recapitalized.

Leo is currently on the Board of Trustees of Lafayette College, where he serves on the Executive Committee and Investment Committee and chairs the Grounds and Property Committee. He is also on the Board of Visitors of the Fox School of Business at Temple University.

Brad Messinger
Founder; CEO
Avonwood Partners; Elevate EyeCare

Brad Messinger is the founder Elevate Eyecare, a group of optometric eye care practices that began as one location in South Carolina. Elevate Eyecare has now expanded to 5 states with over 40 locations. In his role of CEO at Elevate, Brad, focuses on business growth initiatives and team member development. While growing Elevate, Brad also began Avonwood Capital Partners, a private equity group that invests and grows medical practices and micro-cap healthcare businesses.


Louis Rappaport
Partner, Co-Chair, Corporate, M&A and Securities Practice Group
Blank Rome LLP

Louis is Co-Chair, Corporate, M&A and Securities Practice at Blank Rome LLP. He concentrates his practice on business and corporate matters, with specific emphasis on mergers and acquisitions for middle-market companies in a wide range of industries. He has over 20 years of experience advising on hundreds of strategic and private equity M&A transactions.

Conference Location

1201 Market Street, (guest entrance at 1200 Filbert Street)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Tel: (215) 625-2900