Private Equity Panel Topics
Bon French '76, CEO of Adams Street Partners
The Opportunistic Investing Panel will focus on funds that have adopted the strategy of providing diversification to their Limited Partners in a variety of fashions including: investing in different levels of the capital chain, taking positions in liquid and illiquid securities, and providing investors with a suite of fund options under one roof.
Glen Vasel Professor of Finance
Kellogg School of Management
Mitchell Petersen is the Glen Vasel Professor of Finance at the Kellogg School of Management. Professor Petersen is also Chair of Finance Department and Director of the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital. He has published widely in finance and economics. Professor Petersen's research is in the area of empirical corporate finance-the questions of how firms evaluate potential investment projects and how they fund such projects. Professor Petersen was awarded the Sidney J. Levy Teaching Award in 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010 and was voted the Kellogg Professor of the Year in 2000, the Executive MBA Outstanding Professor in 2008 and 2010, and Kellogg Alumni Professor of the Year in 2010.
Professor Petersen earned his AB in Economics from Princeton University and received his PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Christopher J. Ackerman ‘99
Christopher J. Ackerman is a Principal of Flexpoint Ford focused on identifying, evaluating and executing investment opportunities in the financial services sector. He currently serves on the boards of Financial Pacific Leasing, T&H Global Holdings and Safe Harbour Holdings. Prior to joining Flexpoint Ford in 2006, Mr. Ackerman spent 10 years in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley, most recently as an Executive Director focusing on mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance related transactions.
Mr. Ackerman holds a B.A. in mathematical economics from Colgate University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Partner / Co-founder
Brendan Carroll is a Partner and Co-founder of Victory Park. Mr. Carroll serves on the Board of Directors of Victory Park Resources, Energy Maintenance Services Group I, LLC and Best Buddies Illinois. Mr. Carroll is also on the Leadership Advisory Board of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago, Illinois and is a member of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Previously, Mr. Carroll was a member of the Solutions Group at Magnetar Capital. Prior to joining Magnetar Capital, Mr. Carroll held various investment banking positions at William Blair and Company and Robertson Stephens, where he specialized in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. He also worked in various capacities for United States Senator Joseph Lieberman.
Mr. Carroll earned a B.A with Honors in Government from Georgetown University and received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Michael Gross ‘87
CEO, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors
Solar Capital Ltd
Michael Gross is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Solar Capital Ltd. and Solar Senior Capital Ltd., both publicly traded business development companies, which he founded, focused on making loans to middle market companies owned by private equity firms. He has 25 years of experience in the private equity, distressed debt, and mezzanine lending businesses. Between 2004 and 2006, Mr. Gross was President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Apollo Investment Corporation, a publicly traded business development company that he founded.
Mr. Gross earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Michigan and an M.M. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The Fundraising Panel will focus on a variety of topics related to fundraising in the post-recession environment, including: continued attractiveness of the category, greater demands from Limited Partners, and what truly separates the funds that have been able to raise capital from those that have not.
Margaret A. Gibson
Kirkland & Ellis
Margaret Gibson is a partner in Kirkland & Ellis’ corporate group concentrating on business transactions and counseling, with particular focus on private equity, mergers & acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, restructurings and private fund formations. Her clients include Alvarez & Marsal, Bank of America Corporation, Black & Veatch Company, BNP Paribas, CHANNEL Medical Partners, CIVC Partners, Convergent Capital Management, Conversus Capital, Frontenac Company, GTCR, Maxcom Telecomunicaciones, Prairie Capital, Resource Land Holdings, Ridgemont Equity Partners, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Seaport Capital, Sterling Stamos and Woodbury Strategic Partners. Ms. Gibson has been a moderator for several years at the Kellogg Private Equity Conference and frequently speaks at a number of other private equity- and M&A-related conferences.
Ms. Gibson earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Michigan, with class honors, and graduated cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law.
Mr. Donnini is co-head of the Financial Services & Technology Group at GTCR. He is currently a Director of AssuredPartners, Boomerang Media, Ironshore, Protection 1, Sterigenics and Wallace Theater. Prior to joining GTCR, Mr. Donnini worked as an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company.
Mr. Donnini earned a B.A. in Economics summa cum laude from Yale University and holds an M.B.A. from Stanford University, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar and Robichek Finance Award winner.
Silver Oak Services Partners
Mr. Gill is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Silver Oak. He currently serves on the board of directors of Physicians Endoscopy, Convergent Resources, CompuPay, Education Corporation of America, Merit Health Systems Corporation, Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, and Directravel. Prior to the formation of Silver Oak, Mr. Gill was a Founding Partner and Managing Director of Willis Stein & Partners. He and four other partners formed the firm in 1995 after successful careers together at CIVC.
Mr. Gill earned a B.A. in Economics from Bucknell University and received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business.
Chris Killackey has over twelve years of private equity experience in addition to his seven years of middle market lending experience. Mr. Killackey is a Partner at Prairie Capital and is currently a director for six Prairie Capital portfolio companies, including ProVest, Titanium Solutions, Plastimayd, Navman, Double E and StatLab. Prior to joining Prairie Capital in 1999, Mr. Killackey was a Director of Chicago-based Banc One Mezzanine Corporation and a Vice President with American National Bank where he worked on a range of functions including financing leveraged buyouts and financial restructurings and managing an asset-based lending portfolio of middle market companies.
Mr. Killackey earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois and received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Reeve Waud ‘89
Waud Capital Partners
Mr. Waud is the Founder and Managing Partner of Waud Capital Partners. Currently, Mr. Waud serves as the controlling shareholder and/or Chairman of the Board of Acadia Healthcare, Adreima, CarePoint Partners, Maxum Petroleum, Revenue Cycle Solutions, True Partners Consulting, and Whitehall Products. Prior to founding Waud Capital Partners in 1993, Mr. Waud was an investment professional at GTCR and helped found the Venture Capital Group at Salomon Brothers.
Mr. Waud earned a B.A. in Economics from Middlebury College and received an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
The Operational Expertise Panel will highlight funds that focus on adding value by providing operational expertise to their portfolio companies. Which strategies are successful and how do funds clearly demonstrate the benefits of those strategies to generate superior returns and win deals at attractive prices?
Winston & Strawn
Brian Schafer is a partner in the Corporate Department of Winston & Strawn LLP who concentrates his practice in mergers and acquisitions and securities transactions. He has represented a wide range of private equity and public company clients in a variety of mergers, acquisitions, investments and dispositions, including leveraged buyouts of public and private companies. Mr. Schafer joined Winston & Strawn in 1996 and has been a partner since 2004.
Mr. Schafer earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown University and recieved his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
Vista Equity Partners
Michael Fosnaugh joined Vista Equity Partners in 2005. He currently works with the firm’s investments in MRI Software and SirsiDynix, and sits on the boards of Sunquest, Vitera, and Zywave. Prior to joining Vista, Mr. Fosnaugh worked in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group at SG Cowen & Co., where he focused on the software, services, and financial technology sectors. While at SG Cowen, Mr. Fosnaugh advised clients on buy-side and sell-side transactions, public and private equity financings, and other strategic advisory initiatives.
Mr. Fosnaugh earned his AB in Economics from Harvard College.
Anthony K. Kesman ‘88
Anthony (Tony) Kesman is an Operating partner at Linden with more than thirty years of experience in healthcare distribution, medical device and provider operations. Mr. Kesman began his career with American Hospital Supply Corporation’s distribution division, holding positions of increasing responsibility at successor companies Baxter International, Allegiance Healthcare, and Cardinal Health. Prior to joining Linden, he served as an independent consultant and advisor to both public and privately held medical device, healthcare service and private equity firms. Mr. Kesman currently serves on the boards of directors of Drayer Physical Therapy Institute and Scrip Products Corporation. He previously served on the boards of directors of Focused Health Solutions, Suture Express, and BarrierSafe Solutions International.
Mr. Kesman earned a bachelor of business administration from the University of Iowa and received his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Kim Vender Moffat ‘06
Kim Vender Moffat originally joined Sterling Partners in 1999 and is currently a Principal. Ms. Vender Moffat is a member of the Investment Team at Sterling, focused primarily on education investments, participates on the firm’s Investment and Operating Committees and also leads Sterling's internal strategy and investor relations functions. Ms. Vender Moffat left Sterling to attend graduate school, after which she worked at McKinsey & Co. and rejoined the firm in 2008.
Ms. Vender Moffat earned an AB from Harvard University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and a JD from the Northwestern University School of Law.
PwC - Brazil
Alexandre Pierantoni is a PwC Corporate Finance Partner based in Sao Paulo/ Brazil. He has more than 20 years of experience in mergers & acquisitions, economic valuations and viability studies. Mr. Pierantoni’s experience includes acquisitions in Brazil and Latin America, representing national and multinational companies and financial investors in cross border transactions, representing investors such as Amaggi Group, Apax Partners, Bacardi-Martini, BTG Pactual, Bunge Group, Damovo Group, Diebold Inc., Ericsson, IDB/International Development Bank, Kikkoman, Mars Inc., NEC, Rakuten and Unilever. Mr. Pierantoni currently leads Corporate Finance efforts of PwC Brazil in the Private Equity industry, Agribusiness sector (Americas Corporate Finance Leader) and specific opportunities within Capital Projects and Investments and Private Company Services groups.
Mr. Pierantoni earned bachelor degrees in Germany (Business Administration) and Brazil (Economics) and received his MBA from Fundação Getúlio Vargas - FGV in Brazil.
RoundTable Healthcare Partners
James (Jim) Utts is an Operating Partner of RoundTable and joined the Firm in August 2006 as an Operating Principal. Mr. Utts focuses on RoundTable’s pharmaceutical endeavors, identifying new investment opportunities and working with existing portfolio companies on their respective operating initiatives. He is currently the nonexecutive Chairman of the Board of Directors for Excelsior and Renaissance Pharma. Mr. Utts has more than 35 years of domestic and international healthcare industry operating experience, most recently as Corporate Vice President of Baxter International and President of Baxter Europe.
Mr. Utts earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland and received his MBA from Pepperdine University.
Venture Capital Panel Topics
Peter Barris, Managing General Partner, New Enterprise Associates
The Social Impact Panel will center around investors with a focus beyond just profits, emphasizing environmental and social consciousness in their investment decisions. The panel will discuss ways in which VCs can generate profits while producing a positive social impact.
Jamie N. Jones ‘09
Social Enterprise at Kellogg Program
Jamie Jones is the Assistant Director of the Social Enterprise at Kellogg (SEEK) Program, where she works with students, alumni and members of the community to apply business principles to affect social change. Ms. Jones has launched the International Impact Investing Challenge, conducted research in collaboration with the US Dept. of State, co-hosted the Impact Investing Summit and facilitated the creation of the NUvention Innovate for Impact course. Ms. Jones is also the co-founder of ImpactEngine, a Chicago-based impact venture accelerator.
Ms. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Jones received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Elizabeth E. Cadwallader
Elizabeth (Betsy) Cadwallader is a former managing director responsible for U.S. origination and portfolio management of JP Morgan Mezzanine Capital. Ms. Cadwallader is currently forming a leveraged Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), specifically targeting growth Small Medium-Sized Enterprises engaged in activities promoting US job recovery, social impact and environmental sustainability. The fund will seek market-based returns while accomplishing sustainable social impact investing. Ms. Cadwallader was previously Head of Middle Market Risk at Bank One Corporation, Head of Middle Market Risk at Bank of America, and Credit Risk Executive for Constellation Energy.
Ms. Cadwallader earned her bachlelor’s degree in finance from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and received her MBA from University of Cincinnati.
Uday Garg is currently Managing Director of Mandala Capital, an established fund with a dedicated focus in the agribusiness space in India. Prior to this, he was a Portfolio Manager at London based, $2 billion Duet Asset Management, where he was responsible for making public and private investments globally, with a focus in Emerging Markets. Mr. Garg was also a Portfolio Manager at London Based, $4 billion Altima Partners, an investment fund that invests in special opportunities globally, focusing on private equity investments within the portfolio.
Mr. Garg earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. LeClercq has over 26 years of experience within the investment industry. He began his career in corporate finance helping clients structure balance sheets, raise capital for acquisitions, and develop creative solutions for interest rate, currency and other risk exposures. He joined the SEI Corporation in 1990 as a consultant to institutional investors. Mr. LeClercq went on to manage and advise institutional clients first at Merrill Lynch in 1995, then at UBS Global Asset Management where he also served as an advisor on new investment strategies, bringing institutional client needs and objectives to bear on product development.
Mr. LeClercq earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and received his MBA from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Wilhelm founded Woodland Venture Management in 1999 with a vision of bringing investment capital to traditionally underserved areas of the country. Hopewell Ventures was founded shortly thereafter to focus on the Midwest and was licensed by the US Small Business Administration to operate as a Small Business Investment Corporation in 2004. Mr. Wilhelm has received numerous accolades for his commitment to Appalachia including the Appalachian New Economy Partnership (ANEP) Entrepreneurship Award from the Voinovich Center at Ohio University and honorary doctorates from Ohio University and the University of Charleston (West Virginia).
Mr. Wilhelm earned his Bachelors Degree from Ohio University and his Masters of Public Policy from Harvard.
The Mobile Technology Panel will highlight the influence of mobile consumers’ emerging “local” mindset and the influence this trend will have on future VC investing. As the usage of mobile devices and applications increases, developers are looking for ways to connect people with the immediate world around them.
Professor of Finance
Kellogg School of Management
Professor Yeal Hochberg's research and teaching interests are in the area of corporate finance as it pertains to young, entrepreneurial firms and the financial intermediaries who fund them. Her research focuses on venture capital, financial networks and corporate governance and compensation policies. Prior to arriving at Kellogg, Professor Hochberg was an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and was employed in the technology industry in both larger and startup companies. She holds a teaching affiliation with the Kellogg School’s Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital.
Professor Hochberg earned a BS in Industrial Engineering, Management from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, an MA in Economics from Stanford University, and a PhD in Business Administration from Stanford University.
Head of Corporate Development
Steven Fifita is the Head of the Corporate Development Group at Best Buy. Mr. Fifita leads corporate M&A and strategy to support Best Buy enterprise and business unit growth initiatives. His focus is on building, buying or partnering to ensure Best Buy’s future growth in the areas of eCommerce, International, Services and Mobile. Prior to Best Buy, Mr. Fifita was at Cisco Systems, where he advised the C-Suite, Executive Business Council and New Business Incubator on the global economic landscape and financial markets for strategic planning, portfolio management and global investment. Specifically, he focused on Emerging Global Markets and early stage development in the Infrastructure, Media, Telecommunications, and eCommerce spaces. Mr. Fifita also currently serves as the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Board for the Stanford Project on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Mr. Fifita earned an MA in International Management from Thunderbird and received his MBA and MSc in Information Management from Arizona State University.
Tom Hawkins ‘99
Tom Hawkins has more than 24 years of venture capital, entrepreneurial and operational experience. He recently co-founded Forte Ventures, a stage-agnostic venture capital firm investing with corporate partners in Information Technology and Industrial Technology companies throughout North America. Previously, Mr. Hawkins co-founded the Venture Capital line of business at Arcaptia Bank in 2005. Prior to Arcaptia, he was an Investment Partner with the Corporate Fund of Siemens Venture Capital. Mr. Hawkins served as a General Partner with Cordova Ventures before joining Siemens. Prior to Cordova, he managed Strategic Business Development at Radiant Systems. Mr. Hawkins has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Intelleflex, Navini Networks, Digital Envoy, DemandPoint, Arisdyne, Qcept Technologies, ManageSoft, SmartSynch and Quellan.
Mr. Hawkins earned his bachelor of arts degree from Duke University and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Adam Koopersmith ‘00
New World Ventures
Adam Koopersmith joined New World Ventures in 2004 and focuses on identifying opportunities and building successful companies dedicated to bringing to market novel SaaS applications, interactive marketing solutions or interactive health applications. Prior to joining New World Ventures, Mr. Koopersmith held various senior operating and business development roles at Sportvision, helping the company grow from the “business plan” stage to eight figures in annual revenue. Prior to Sportvision, Mr. Koopersmith worked at Berkshire Partners, a leading private equity investment firm with $6 billion of capital under management. Mr. Koopersmith currently serves on the boards of Advantage Optics, Alliance Health Networks, Firm58, HyperQuest, Kontiki and Sittercity. He also serves on the Investment Committee for the Illinois Innovation Accelerator Fund (i2A) and on the Board of Excelerate.
Mr. Koopersmith earned a Bachelor of Science in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
Tony Palcheck is a managing director at Motorola Solutions Venture Capital. He is responsible for identifying and executing strategic minority-equity investments in start-up firms to accelerate access to new technologies, new markets and new talent for all Motorola Solutions businesses. Mr. Palcheck brings more than a decade of experience in venture capital and strategy experience, and actively participates in strategy development for various Motorola Solutions business sectors. Previously, Mr. Palcheck was a director in the Corporate Business Intelligence group at Motorola. He joined the Intelligence group from Motorola's Cellular Infrastructure Group, where he led the next generation cellular market requirements research, forecasting and segmentation efforts.
Mr. Palcheck earned his undergraduate degree from Depaul University in Chicago and received his MBA from DePaul University as well, where he graduated with honors.
The Investing in Clean Technology Panel will cover issues in the clean technology sector, from renewable sources of energy to the development of the smart grid. Many players are vying for premier status within these nascent fields, and our panelists will provide a glimpse into the thought process of clean tech VCs.
Theodore W. Wern
Theodore (Ted) Wern is a partner in Perkins Coie’s Business group and the vice chair of the firm’s Private Equity subgroup. Mr. Wern regularly represents public and private companies, start-up ventures, private equity finds and investor groups in a variety of complex transactions, including mergers & acquisitions, recapitalizations, early and late stage equity financings, joint ventures, strategic alliances and general corporate counseling. His transactional experience encompasses numerous industries and market segments, including manufacturing, distribution, technology, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, consumer products, energy, transportation and general service businesses. Mr. Wern earned his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Miami University and received his Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
David Chen ‘84
Co-Founder & Principal
Equilibrium Capital Group
David (Dave) Chen is a co-founder and Principal at Equilibrium Capital Group, a holding company building a portfolio of asset managers in key sustainability sectors. Each fund management company is charged with executing a unique investment strategy in a targeted area: water, energy, agriculture, land, transportation and human habitat/built environment. Previously, Mr. Chen was a general partner at OVP Venture Partners. His investments at OVP include @once, Ambric, Intelligent Results, Net6, Tzero and UXComm. Prior to OVP, Dave founded GeoTrust and The Ascent Group; was Vice President Marketing Mentor Graphics; was an associate at McKinsey & Company; and was an early team member at Solectron (1978-1985). Mr. Chen served on the boards of @mobile, prior to its acquisition by Software.com, and HNC Software until it was merged with FICO in 2002. Mr. Chen currently serves as a board member of GED, Biological Capital, United Streetcar, the National Collegiate Inventors & innovators Alliance (NCIIA), The Freshwater Trust, and B Corps/B LAB.
Dave earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of California, Berkeley and received an M.M. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Vincent J. Cushing
Co-Founder & CTO
Clean Urban Energy
Vincent (Vince) Cushing has 40 years of experience encompassing all facets of the electricity business. In addition to Clean Urban Energy, Mr. Cushing co-founded two demand response service companies, Metropolitan Energy and EnergyConnect, which engage large ubran commercial buildings in regional electric grid operations and markets. Mr. Cushing has served on the Operating Committee of the North American Electric Reliability Council, on executive committees of regional power pools and reliability coordinating councils, as Chairman of the Interconnection Arrangements Committee of the Edison Electric Institute, and as a utility industry liaison to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Mr. Cushing earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Univerisy of Notre Dame and received his master’s degree in engineering administration from George Washington University.
Rob Day ‘01
Black Coral Capital
As a Partner at Black Coral Capital, Mr. Day has taken an active role in management and governance in multiple companies in the energy tech and related sectors, currently including Digital Lumens, Next Step Living, Powerit Solutions, and Zeta Communities. He serves as the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Clean Economy Network Education Fund, and also is the Chairman of the Cleantech Open – Northeast Region. Mr. Day was previously a co-founder of the Renewable Energy Business Network, a non-profit organization which was acquired in 2009 by the Clean Economy Network. Since 2005 he has also authored the website Cleantech Investing, which currently appears on GreentechMedia.com.
Mr. Day earned his BA at Swarthmore College and received his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Siemens Venture Capital
As a partner at Siemens, Mr. Goette specializes in investments in energy, communications and industrial solutions. He manages SVC’s investments in BPL Global, G2 Microsystems, ISE Corporation, GenBand Prenova, Reactive Nano Technologies, SmartSynch, and Zolo Technologies. Prior to joining Siemens in September 2000, Mr. Goette held the position of Vice President and Head of CableTV Solutions in Siemens Information and Communication Networks.
Mr. Goette received a master’s degree in electrical engineering (Dipl. Ing.) from Technical University Darmstadt, Germany.