Back Country Capital
Our Team...
Managing Director

Brandon Giles

Brandon is the founder and Managing Director of BackCountry Capital and has extensive experience working closely with owners of middle market companies. Prior to founding BackCountry Capital, Brandon advised clients on leveraged buyouts, equity and debt capital raising activities and mergers and acquisitions in the leveraged finance division of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Brandon was also an investment banker in the restructuring group of the Royal Bank of Scotland, working with multiple stakeholders to facilitate business transformations through implementation of restructuring initiatives. In addition to his investment experience, Brandon spent time managing the growth of a business process outsourcing company located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In this role Brandon relocated 300 employees into a new state-of-the-art facility, recruited independent board members and developed an incentive compensation program. Through his diverse experience, Brandon gained a deep understanding of the many strategic, operational, and financial challenges faced by middle market businesses and their owners.

Brandon was born and raised in Wausau Wisconsin and has had the opportunity to travel extensively around the US and the world. Brandon is a fitness enthusiast and has completed multiple marathons and triathlons. He is an avid alpine and water-skier, enjoys playing competitive basketball and all things outdoors.

Brandon earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Finance and International Business magna Cum Laude from Marquette University. He became a CFA charterholder in April 2011.

Richard Augustyn
    

Richard Augustyn is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the NIP Group Inc., one of the top 100 largest U.S. insurance intermediaries. Mr. Augustyn has been a successful entrepreneur and innovative commercial insurance executive for more than 20 years. In addition to founding NIP Group, Mr. Augustyn has founded and directs a portfolio of several highly successful ventures in the commercial insurance and financial services industries. His business success led to being named in 2003 to NJBIZ’s Forty Under 40, a program that honors young men and women who have made outstanding contributions to their fields.

Mr. Augustyn is a nationally recognized commercial insurance expert. His television appearances include interviews on CNN/FN, WABC, and public television’s PBS and NJN. He has been quoted in publications such as the New York Times and the Newark Star-Ledger and speaks on insurance-related topics throughout the country.

Tom Cassutt

Mr. Cassutt is the Co-President of Nelson Nameplate, a rapid prototyping and engineering support company based in Los Angeles, California. Prior to joining Nelson, Mr. Cassutt functioned as the Controller of Bristol Corporation from 1978-1984. He currently sits on the board of American Security Products and Columbia Sanitary Products. Mr. Cassutt received his Bachelors degree in Physics from the University of California, Irvine and his M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Bob Dahl

Bob Dahl is a founding Member of Arrowhawk Capital Partners, an investment management firm which manages a multi-strategy, institutionally-focused fund. From April 1999 until June 2006, Mr. Dahl served as the head of Global Healthcare for the Carlyle Group, a leading private equity firm with over $50 billion of equity under management, where he was responsible for the firm’s investments in the healthcare field. During his tenure at Carlyle, Mr. Dahl served on the investment committee of the U.S. buyout funds, including the $7.9 billion Carlyle Partners IV and the $3.9 billion Carlyle Partners III funds. Mr. Dahl also served on the investment committee of the $430 million Carlyle Mezzanine Partners.

Prior to Carlyle, Mr. Dahl served as co-head of healthcare investment banking in North America at Credit Suisse First Boston. Earlier in his career Mr. Dahl was a CPA for Price Waterhouse. Mr. Dahl is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he was elected a Baker Scholar and received a Loeb Rhodes fellowship. He received a B.A. from Middlebury College. Mr. Dahl is a director of Amkai LLC, Ika Systems Corporation and Slate Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Jim Ellis

In 1995, Mr. Ellis co-founded Asurion with Kevin Taweel to provide value-added solutions for the wireless communications industry, and was previously responsible for the company’s sales, marketing and client relationships. He is a recipient of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. Prior to founding the company, Mr. Ellis held positions as a research associate at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and as a consultant with IMG and Cresap, McCormick, and Paget. Mr. Ellis is currently a Lecturer in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a member of a number of Boards of Directors including BUILD, Asurion, Service Source Inc., Memento Press, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, and Southern California Risk Management Associates. Mr. Ellis holds an MBA from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College.

Peter Francis

Peter Francis was board chair, president and CEO of J. M. Huber Corporation, a diversified, multinational supplier of engineered materials, natural resources, and technology-based services. Mr. Francis joined the company in 1992 as vice chairman. In 1993, he became board chair of Huber and president of its largest division, AVEX Electronics, which he led in a major turnaround to profitability. He became CEO and president of the parent corporation in 1994, which he has since grown to over $2.5 billion in revenues. In 2004, the company completed the largest acquisition in its history when it acquired CP Kelco, a global leader in the hydrocolloids industry.

Before joining Huber, Mr. Francis was CEO of a leveraged buyout in the wood products industry. He also designed and managed the development of a high-technology oceanographic instrument for the oil and gas industry. He and his wife circumnavigated the world by sailboat, visiting 38 countries, covering 55,000 miles, and spending 558 days at sea.

Mr. Francis served on the Board of Overseers of the New Jersey Institute of Technology for five years, where he chaired its strategic planning committee. He is a trustee of the Rumson Country Day School and chair of its long-range planning committee. Mr. Francis graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with his BA from Middlebury College and received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar.

Dave Lazier

Mr. Lazier is the Co-President of Nelson Nameplate, a rapid prototyping and engineering support company based in Los Angeles, California. Prior to joining Nelson, Mr. Lazier functioned as an Engineer with IBM Corporation from 1982-1984. He is currently on the board of American Security Products, Columbia Sanitary Products, Glendale Memorial Hospital Foundation and the San Gabriel Valley Habitat for Humanity. Mr. Lazier received his Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.

Ali Rastegar
Gerald Risk

Gerald Risk is the President of Asurion, the world’s leading provider of handset protection and other value added services to the wireless industry. Prior to serving as President, Mr. Risk was Asurion’s CFO. Since joining Asurion in 1999, Mr. Risk has been a key member of a management team that has grown the business 200fold. Today, Asurion’s 5,000 team members serve over 110 million subscribers globally.

Prior to joining Asurion, Mr. Risk helped a wide variety of clients, from Fortune 500 firms to early stage start-ups, execute their strategic and financial plans as an investment banker with Goldman, Sachs & Co. in San Francisco, Hong Kong and New York. Mr. Risk has also worked for Hambrecht and Quist and the private investment arm of Toronto Dominion Capital.

Mr. Risk is an active mentor of entrepreneurial leaders in the for-profit and non-profit worlds. In this capacity, Mr. Risk is an active private investor and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Carillon Assisted Living (provider of assisted living services in the Southeast), HealthCPA (provider of medical expense management services for consumers), and QMC Telecom (cell tower operator in Brazil).

Mr. Risk holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar and where he served as a case writer for Jack McDonald, the Stanford Investors Professor of Finance. Mr. Risk also holds a Bachelor's Degree in Commerce with honors from Queen’s University in Canada where he was on the Dean’s List.

Jim Sharpe

Mr. Sharpe spent the early part of his career at General Electric, where he eventually had P&L responsibility for $15 million in sales and 100 employees. Jim then joined Hoover Universal, where he had P&L responsibility for $30 million in sales and unionized plant sites with over 400 employees. From there he served as president for Brown Machine Company, a subsidiary of John Brown, Inc., and then for a larger company within the same group.

Jim currently is a Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School where he teaches an elective Turnaround course in the Fall and a required Entrepreneurship course in the Spring and works with students interested in entrepreneurial ventures.

Rafael Somoza

Mr. Somoza is currently Co-CEO and Co-Founder of QMC Telecom, LLC, a wireless infrastructure provider. Prior to that he was the CEO and Co-founder of VIU Media until the sale of the company to Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR) in 2006. At the time of the sale, VIU Media was Puerto Rico’s largest locally owned outdoor advertising company. Prior to becoming CEO of VIU Media, Mr. Somoza was the CEO and Co-founder of Quest Management Corporation, a private equity investment company formed to identify, acquire, and later operate a desirable going concern in Puerto Rico. Previously, Mr. Somoza worked at the Chase Manhattan Bank and at CS First Boston where he was actively involved in structuring over $1.2 billion in lead managed bond and asset backed financings for both government and private issuers in varied industries. Throughout the years he has also been directly involved in the development of several successful residential and tourism real estate projects, including the Rincon Beach Resort, a 120-room beach front hotel on the west coast of Puerto Rico. From August 2006 to February 2007, Mr. Somoza was Senior Executive Vice President at Westernbank PR. Along with his business partner, Mr. Somoza is the recipient of the 2004 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Puerto Rico. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of EM Assist, LLC. Mr. Somoza holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Jose Stella

Mr. Stella is currently Co-CEO and Co-Founder of QMC Telecom, LLC, a wireless infrastructure provider. Prior to that he was the Co-Founder and President of VIU Media, Puerto Rico’s largest locally owned outdoor advertising company, until the sale of the company to Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR). Prior to becoming President of VIU Media, he was the Co-Founder and President of Quest Management Corporation, a private equity group formed to identify, acquire, and operate a company in Puerto Rico. Previously, Mr. Stella worked at KPMG Peat Marwick in the middle-market Mergers & Acquisitions Advisory Group. He also worked for UBS and Chase Manhattan Bank and received, along with his partner, the 2004 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Puerto Rico. Currently he serves as a director of Rocket Learning, LLC , Penn Warranty, and New Media Learning. Mr. Stella graduated with high honors, with a B.A. in Economics, Finance and Investments from Babson College and graduated cum laude with an MBA from The University of Michigan.

Kevin Taweel

Since co-founding Asurion in 1994, the company has grown from a small 40 person operation to become the leading global provider of technology protection products with over 10,000 employees worldwide, partnering with many of the world’s top companies and brands. Prior to founding Asurion, Kevin served as Chairman of Mill River Corporation, an investment company. He also worked with many Fortune 500 companies to develop and execute corporate strategies and financial plans while working in Mergers & Acquisitions for the investment bank Salomon Brothers. He earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and holds a Bachelor`s degree in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University. Kevin currently serves on the board of ResponseLink. Kevin is also a former recipient of the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Kent Weaver

Kent Weaver is currently Chairman and CEO of Progressive Home Care. Previously, Mr. Weaver held executive positions in marketing and product management for KnowledgeLINK, a venture-backed technology services company. Prior to this, Mr. Weaver served as a regional CFO and business analyst in Pepsico's Pizza Hut Division.

Mr. Weaver began his career with Ernst & Young, where he led engagement teams in the areas of strategic formation, valuation, restructuring, and corporate finance. Mr. Weaver received his MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BS in finance from the University of Southern California.

Anacapa Partners

www.anacapapartners.com

Jeff Stevens

Jeff Stevens has 20 years of experience structuring, operating and investing in search fund companies. Jeff has managed three funded searches during the period from 1990-2005, each one culminating in the acquisition of a lower middle market company. Jeff understands the elements of the search fund model that drive success. In addition, Jeff’s relationships with other experienced, successful search fund investors and current search fund principals allows Anacapa Partners access to invest in concert with a group that has been participating in this business model for over 20 years.

Prior to founding Anacapa Partners, Jeff was the CEO of three venture-backed buyouts – Balkin Cable Holdings (cable television system operator), Ancora Capital (mail presort), and Liberty Fitness (women’s fitness centers). Following these three buyouts, Jeff founded Deeelish! (manufacturer/retailer of ready-to-cook gourmet meals). In each of Jeff’s four ventures he has maintained responsibility for all aspects of sourcing acquisition/start-up opportunities, including identifying potential targets, industry analysis, company specific due diligence, and fundraising (debt and equity) to complete the transaction. Following the completion of each acquisition Jeff became the senior executive of the acquired company with direct reporting responsibility to a shareholder group and Board of Directors. Prior to beginning his entrepreneurial path Jeff was an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company. Jeff received his Bachelor of Arts and MBA from Stanford University, and remains actively involved in the Stanford community. He participates in classroom case discussion for entrepreneurship courses at the Graduate School of Business, serves as a mentor for students participating in a two-quarter business planning course, and volunteers in numerous capacities for the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Jeff is a member of the Board of Directors of Midwest Supplies.

HV Capital Investors

www.hvcapitalinvestors.com

HV Capital Investors is a private investment company that provides debt financing to lower middle market companies. HVCI was formed in 2003 and has completed a dozen transactions in which it invested $80 million. The firm provides both senior and subordinated debt. HVCI targets companies that have the capacity to generate predictable cash flow from operations. The transaction size range is $5 million to $20 million.

HVCI also makes search fund investments and minority equity investments in operating companies through its affiliate, RHV Capital, LLC. RHV Capital has made 27 such investments over the last three years.


Glenn Healey

Mr. Healey joined HVCI in 2003 and is a Managing Director. He was a successful entrepreneur, manager and investor for 20 years prior to joining HVCI. During that time he was a principal in six different operating companies. He has also participated in several subordinated debt and equity investments as an investor, and he has provided management turnaround and consulting services to several private equity firms. Mr. Healey was the CFO of a division of a large, public company, and he has worked in both the investment banking and public accounting industries. Mr. Healey earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Journalism degrees from the University of Missouri. He was certified in the state of Missouri as a Certified Public Accountant.


Paul Rogers

Mr. Rogers joined HVCI in 2008 and is a Managing Director. Prior to joining HVCI, Mr. Rogers was the Chairman and CEO of CIBC World Markets Corp. in New York where he had direct responsibility for equity origination, M&A, Loan, High Yield and Structured Finance products with a focus on middle market companies. He had a 22 year career with CIBC and Wood Gundy (which was acquired by CIBC), and he worked in New York, Toronto and Tokyo during that time. Mr. Rogers has direct experience in a wide variety of investment banking disciplines including corporate finance, global currency and interest rate derivatives, M&A and loan origination and administration. Mr. Rogers earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School with High Distinction where he was also a Baker Scholar and Knox Fellow. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from Royal Military College of Canada where he was the winner of Governor’s General of Canada Bronze and Silver Medals for academic excellence. Mr. Rogers recently earned a Master of Science in Applied Physics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology as a first step to achieving his PhD in Applied Physics.

Paul Rogers

www.hvcapitalinvestors.com

Mr. Rogers joined HVCI in 2008 and is a Managing Director. Prior to joining HVCI, Mr. Rogers was the Chairman and CEO of CIBC World Markets Corp. in New York where he had direct responsibility for equity origination, M&A, Loan, High Yield and Structured Finance products with a focus on middle market companies. He had a 22 year career with CIBC and Wood Gundy (which was acquired by CIBC), and he worked in New York, Toronto and Tokyo during that time. Mr. Rogers has direct experience in a wide variety of investment banking disciplines including corporate finance, global currency and interest rate derivatives, M&A and loan origination and administration. Mr. Rogers earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School with High Distinction where he was also a Baker Scholar and Knox Fellow. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from Royal Military College of Canada where he was the winner of Governor’s General of Canada Bronze and Silver Medals for academic excellence. Mr. Rogers recently earned a Master of Science in Applied Physics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology as a first step to achieving his PhD in Applied Physics.

Glenn Healey

www.hvcapitalinvestors.com

Mr. Healey joined HVCI in 2003 and is a Managing Director. He was a successful entrepreneur, manager and investor for 20 years prior to joining HVCI. During that time he was a principal in six different operating companies. He has also participated in several subordinated debt and equity investments as an investor, and he has provided management turnaround and consulting services to several private equity firms. Mr. Healey was the CFO of a division of a large, public company, and he has worked in both the investment banking and public accounting industries. Mr. Healey earned a Master in Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Journalism degrees from the University of Missouri. He was certified in the state of Missouri as a Certified Public Accountant.

Housatonic Partners


Will Thorndike

Mr. Thorndike founded Housatonic Partners in Boston in 1994 and has been Managing Director since that time. Prior to that, Mr. Thorndike worked with T. Rowe Price Associates where he did investment research in the nascent field of business services and Walker & Company where he was named to the Board of Directors.

Mr. Thorndike is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a Director of Access Information Management; Alta Colleges; Continental Fire & Safety Services, LLC, Carillon Assisted Living, LLC; Liberty Towers, LLC; OASIS Group Ltd.; White Flower Farm, Inc., and a Trustee of Groton School and the College of the Atlantic.

 


Joe Niehaus

Mr. Niehaus was a Managing Director at Hellman & Friedman before joining Housatonic Partners in 2001. During his twelve-year career at Hellman & Friedman, he was involved in several of the firm’s recurring services, media and communications investments including Eller Media, Falcon Cable, and Mitchell International. Earlier in his career, Mr. Niehaus was employed in the Merchant Banking and Mergers and Acquisitions departments at Morgan Stanley & Co.

Mr. Niehaus is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard Business School. He is a Director of Aircraft Fasteners International, LLC; California Communications, LLC; Continental Fire & Safety Services, LLC; Convergent Broadcasting, LLC; HemaSource, Inc.; ResponseLink, LLC and South Florida Media Group, LLC.

Will Thorndike

Mr. Thorndike founded Housatonic Partners in Boston in 1994 and has been Managing Director since that time. Prior to that, Mr. Thorndike worked with T. Rowe Price Associates where he did investment research in the nascent field of business services and Walker & Company where he was named to the Board of Directors.

Mr. Thorndike is a graduate of Harvard College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a Director of Access Information Management; Alta Colleges; Continental Fire & Safety Services, LLC, Carillon Assisted Living, LLC; Liberty Towers, LLC; OASIS Group Ltd.; White Flower Farm, Inc., and a Trustee of Groton School and the College of the Atlantic.

Joe Niehaus

Mr. Niehaus was a Managing Director at Hellman & Friedman before joining Housatonic Partners in 2001. During his twelve-year career at Hellman & Friedman, he was involved in several of the firm’s recurring services, media and communications investments including Eller Media, Falcon Cable, and Mitchell International. Earlier in his career, Mr. Niehaus was employed in the Merchant Banking and Mergers and Acquisitions departments at Morgan Stanley & Co.

Mr. Niehaus is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Harvard Business School. He is a Director of Aircraft Fasteners International, LLC; California Communications, LLC; Continental Fire & Safety Services, LLC; Convergent Broadcasting, LLC; HemaSource, Inc.; ResponseLink, LLC and South Florida Media Group, LLC.

Edward Einboden

Ed is an M.B.A. candidate at the University of Colorado-Denver. Previously, Ed was a Senior Research Analyst with Wm Smith & Co. and Associate Research Analyst with RBC Capital Markets. Ed began his career in finance with Oppenheimer Funds where he held several positions in both New York and Colorado. During his sell-side experience, Ed evaluated companies in a variety of industries including, clean energy, consumer products, specialty retail, technology and industrials.

Ed has a B.S. in Finance from the University of Northern Colorado and became a CMA charterholder in August 2011. He is also a member the CFA Society of Colorado, Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and an affiliate of the Market Technicians Association (MTA). While he is not working on his education and certification pursuits, Ed is a passionate sports fan and optimistic golfer.

Dapo Fadeyi

Dapo joins Back Country Capital after spending the last three years working at a top Denver bankruptcy firm. During this time he specialized in the preparation and execution of Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings and managed an office of ten employees. Prior to his legal work, Dapo spent four years as a professional poker player as well as being actively involved with the gaming start up Prop Clothing.

Dapo attended the University of Colorado and graduated with a degree in Finance. Following graduation, he lived abroad and traveled extensively. Dapo is an entrepreneur at heart and enjoys staying in shape, sports, and culture.

Marlon Hewitt

Marlon is an M.B.A. candidate at the University of Denver. He is focusing his studies on financial strategy and analysis. Marlon has spent over five years working in operations and supply chain management within operating businesses and in a consultative capacity. While consulting, his engagements focused on process improvement, supplier management, inventory planning and waste reduction. His roles and responsibilities have included procurement manger for a solar development firm and continuous improvement manager for manufacturing and service businesses around the country. He brings a broad range of industry experience to BackCountry, focusing on the enhancement of operational practices.

Marlon received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in Supply Chain Management. He is actively involved in local professional and academic communities and enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and fly fishing.

© 2011 BackCountry Capital