Chicago Chapter: February Food & Bev. Summit - Multiple Panels
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
161 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60601
This event starts on Thursday February 20th at 12:45 PM CST.
- Cannabis Panel: The Future of Cannabis in Food and Beverage
- PE Panel: How Investors are Satisfying an Increased Appetite for Food and Beverage Companies
- IB Panel: Selling in a White-Hot Market Not Slowing Down
- Executive Panel: Innovations in the F&B Sector and How New Emerging Brands Are Taking Market Share Away from Legacy Brands.
12:45 PM – 1:15 PM: Registration
1:15 PM – 2:20 PM: Cannabis in Food/Bev Panel
2:30 PM – 3:20 PM: PE Panel
3:30 PM – 3:45 PM: Short Break
3:50 PM – 4:40 PM: IB Panel
4:50 PM – 5:40 PM: Executive Panel
5:40 PM – 7:00 PM: Cocktail Reception
Cannabis Panel Summary: The Future of Cannabis in Food and Beverage
As cannabis becomes mainstream and more states adopt recreational legalization we’ll continue to see a variety of new cannabis related products entering the food and beverage space. This panel will discuss what we should expect to see from start-up cannabis F&B companies as well as discuss what some very large F&B companies have planned around cannabis (you’ll be surprised to learn which major F&B companies are developing cannabis products). We’ll also talk about the science being developed around these products, IE more efficient delivery systems for bio-availability, beverage infusion technology and accompanying economics. The panel consists of representatives from the product development, manufacturing, investing and consulting space around cannabis F&B.
Moderator: Nathan Whigham, President at EN Capital
Thomas Mazarakis, Portfolio Advisor at Salveo Capital
Joyce Cenali, Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Big Rock Partners
Gregg Steinberg, CEO at Belushi's Farm
Patrick Barry, Director & Chief Investment Officer at Granite Hall Partners
PE Panel Summary: How Investors are Satisfying an Increased Appetite for Food and Beverage Companies
Consumer preferences in the food and beverage sector continue to evolve rapidly. Whether it’s bold and exotic flavoring, healthy/clean alternatives, convenient on-the-go meals, or plant-based alternatives, the industry continues to experience disruption by an abundance of different products and offerings that are available through a multitude of channels. While this disruption creates investment opportunities in companies capitalizing on the latest food and beverage trends, private equity firms must evaluate the long-term sustainability of these companies in a dynamic environment that can change overnight. Whether it’s attributes related to the product, R&D investment needed to keep the product refreshed/relevant, or entrance into new channels, private equity firms need to be thoughtful in their due diligence of potential investments for their portfolio.
Hear from some of today’s leading food, beverage and agribusiness private equity investors on their approach, investment criteria and operational matters they consider when making an investment in such specialty food and beverage companies.
Eric Kroll, Partner and Food and Beverage Practice Leader, Baker Tilly
Kevin Overby, Vice President at Keystone Capital
Dewey Turner, Partner at Sole Source Capital LLC
Robert Brown, Managing Director at Encore Consumer Capital
Wayne Carpenter, Managing Partner at Lake Pacific Partners, LLC
IB Panel Summary: Selling in a White-Hot Market Not Slowing Down
The food and beverage sector remains a very hot area for M&A and investment with the last 5 years being particularly robust. Dozens of bidders submit bids for even relatively modest assets and purchase price multiples continue to expand beyond multiples in the last boom in 2006/2007 prior to great recession. Even large $1B+ private equity funds that need to deploy capital fast bid on assets with less than $5M of EBITDA in attractive sectors like food and beverage, just for the opportunity to get money out the door before investment periods expire and LPs start to ask tough questions. How should owners and management think about preparing a company for sale into such frothy markets? Join us as we ask a few experts that advise sellers in the food and beverage sector.
Michael D. Ilagan , Managing Partner at Blackland Capital Partners, LLC
Gian Ricco, Managing Director at Stout
Cathy Jaros, Managing Director at The Peakstone Group
Bob Dekker, Managing Director at Balmoral Advisors
Nathan Aslesen, Managing Director at Craig- Hallum Capital Group LLC
Executive Panel Summary: Innovations in the F&B Sector and How New Emerging Brands Are Taking Market Share Away from Legacy Brands.
With the dawn of a new decade consumers are focused on innovation trends in F&B that are up-and-coming for 2020 and onward. In a recent survey with food industry executives, top motivators for introducing new food products included health and wellness, sustainability, convenience, direct to consumer, private label and ethnic/niche markets. Investing in product innovation and new markets took the top place for both large and small companies. However, differences emerged in the second-place spot: an increase in the talent acquisition was the second priority for smaller emerging brand firms, while increased profitability was number two for large firms. Tune in to our panel of experienced F/B entrepreneurial executives as we dive deeper into the above and lean further into what they think the future holds for innovation trends in this industry and how they’re adapting to accommodate them.
Ketan Mehta, Managing Partner at The Corporate Development Group
Samuel Kestenbaum, Co- Founder & CEO at ParmCrisps and THINSTERS
Dan Klein, CEO at Tiesta Tea Company
Alison Velazquez, Founder & CEO of Skinny Souping
Paul Seeman, Founder & CEO at Boombox Beverage
- Opus Connect Members: No Charge
- Non-Members (On or before February 15th): $395
- Non-Members (On or after February 16th): $495
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As the leader of Baker Tilly’s agribusiness, food and beverage practices, Eric has experience serving both public registrants and private companies in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Prior to joining the firm, Eric gained four years of experience working with a Big Four accounting firm.
Ketan has over 25 years of experience within the food industry encompassing private equity investments, strategic advisory, growth oriented mergers & acquisitions, and operational management. In 1995, he established The Corporate Development Group (“TCDG”) a boutique merchant banking and advisory firm. TCDG’s mission is to invest growth capital and work with middle market food companies through active operational and strategic involvement with the objective of enhancing shareholder value. In the past he has been the President of three food manufacturing companies driving sales and profitability in both growth and turnaround situations. Ketan began his career in corporate development, international business, and technical management with Kraft Foods and Mars, Inc. Subsequently he has applied this experience in the middle market corporate finance division of Merrill Lynch and in private investment banking.
Ketan acquired a troubled $40 million revenue cheese manufacturer. In a short time, through restructuring and organic growth, he positioned the company and sold it to a strategic acquirer for a substantially high multiple of pretax earnings. In the past he was the President of a publicly traded food company. There he worked on strategic partnership with a prominent South American coffee roaster and introduced branded Colombian coffee into Sam’s nationwide. He has worked on corporate acquisition strategies with several food companies. He has brought about strategic alliances among companies such as Cargill, Inc., and Rice Growers Association of California.
He is a frequent presenter of technical papers in the finance and food industries.
Over the years he has been a board member for both profit and nonprofit organizations. Ketan holds M.S. Chemical Engineering-Food major (magna cum laude); M.S. Food Technology (magna cum laude); and B.S. Physics/Chemistry.
Ketan married his high school sweetheart and they have two grown up daughters. Ketan and his wife Ami have a music band and they frequently perform at various events. Both of them are avid international travelers.
Michael D. Ilagan is the founder and Managing Partner of Blackland Capital Partners, a private equity firm investing in food, beverage, waste and water sectors.
For the past 14 years, he led private equity investments in food, manufacturing and services sectors, including the ACG’s Carolina Deal of the Year and Buyouts magazine’s Small Cap Deal of the Year. Previously, he was a consultant at Bain for Sara Lee Bakery, Philip Morris and private equity. Mr. Ilagan also led the turnaround of a health services business and was a private equity and insolvency attorney at Skadden.
Michael served on the Board of Directors for Carolina Beverage, Veritex Bank (NASDAQ: VBTX), Huron and other companies. He also served on the Alumni Board at The University of Chicago and as President of The University of Chicago Club of Dallas-Ft. Worth. Mr. Ilagan currently serves on the board of Chicago-Kent at the Illinois Tech.
Michael earned AB/MBA 5 year joint-degree in Economics and Accounting from The University of Chicago and is an attorney in Illinois, California and the United States Supreme Court.
Nathan Whigham is the Founder and President of EN Capital. Since founding EN Capital in 2017 he has closed numerous cannabis real estate deals and has developed an extensive network of cannabis friendly capital sources. Nathan has been placing debt and equity across all types of commercial real estate since 2006 and has been involved in the origination of over $800M of commercial real estate finance. Prior to founding EN Capital he was the Senior Director of Business Development for CleanFund Commercial PACE Capital for Southern California. Before his tenure as a commercial PACE lender he was Senior Vice President at Nebo Capital, a boutique commercial real estate capital advisory firm. Nathan has also developed over six megawatts of large commercial renewable energy projects and has been involved in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. He holds an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and a BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Arizona.
Alison Velazquez is a wellness expert, founder & CEO of Skinny Souping, and author of “Souping” (DK Publishing, 2015). Both an entrepreneur and thought-leader, her company Skinny Souping has been featured on the TODAY Show and is at the forefront of the new souping trend. With a background in both fitness and culinary arts, her line of healthy drinkable soups is a natural extension of her lifestyle. Her personal and professional mission is to make healthy eating simpler for others through this line of nutrient dense soups, packaged for on-the-go. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a certified Pilates instructor through Power Pilates and received a culinary arts degree from Kendall College in Chicago. Having worked as both a private chef and caterer, her specialty has been upscale healthy cuisine. A vegetarian for 20+ years, Alison’s passion lies in plant-based food & restricted dietary approaches including vegan, vegetarian, paleo, low-carb, gluten-free & allergen friendly meals. Alison lives in the South Loop area of Chicago, is a workout addict and loves kale salad.
Bob is a career capital markets professional and operating executive with extensive experience working with companies ranging from emerging growth to large, publicly traded enterprises. He specializes in developing and implementing creative capital formation strategies and advising clients on alternative approaches for maximizing shareholder value in connection with merger and acquisition activities. Bob has been an advisor to a wide assortment of public and private companies in the food and consumer products industries including independent and franchise restaurants, food retailers and food packaging companies.
Prior to joining Balmoral, Bob co-founded Insight Advisory Partners, a boutique investment banking firm based in Chicago focused on the food and beverage sector. Previously he was a senior banker with ABN AMRO, Inc. and its predecessor, The Chicago Corporation, where he managed the firm’s private placement activities in North America. Bob began his career with Prescott, Ball & Turben, Inc. (an affiliate of Kemper Insurance Company) in Cleveland, OH. During his investment banking career, he has arranged over $2 billion of private market transactions.
Bob is a member of the Association for Corporate Growth where he co-chairs the committee responsible for hosting ACG’s Annual Food Conference. For the past five years, he has served as a Super Mentor to several emerging growth food companies that have been accepted into the Good Food Business Accelerator (part of the 1871 incubator) mentoring program. He is also a faculty member of Financial Poise, a Web-based information platform that provides financial and legal education to individual investors and private business owners. Bob holds a BA in Economics from Denison University.
Bob is a registered representation of StillPoint Capital, securities transactions are conducted through StillPoint Capital member FINRA (http://www.finra.org/) /SIPC (https://www.sipc.org).
Cathy Jaros is a Managing Director of The Peakstone Group, where she is responsible for transaction origination and execution, with primary emphasis across all phases of the food value chain and consumer facing industries. Cathy has extensive experience in merger and acquisition and strategic corporate development. Her clients include food and package goods, healthy ingredients, technology, and manufacturing companies. She led engagements for Fortune 500 and smaller companies, both public and private. She has extensive international cross-border experience. Ms. Jaros works with family owned companies to explore transition and value maximization to shareholder groups.
Prior to joining The Peakstone Group, Cathy was Managing Partner at First Chicago Advisors and was Managing Director for Amherst Partners’ Chicago office where she headed the firm’s food and consumer industry practice groups. She also Chaired the global food and beverage industry group for IMAP, a fifty-member network of international investment bankers.
Cathy had over 25 years of corporate general management, where she served as Vice President of corporate marketing and development for Tribune Company. She spent nineteen years in the food business where she held senior strategy and acquisition positions at Kraft, Tappan Capital Partners, the consumer products investment arm of First Chicago Venture Capital, now Madison Dearborn Partners. Cathy served in a variety of senior and officer level positions in marketing, general management, venture, and corporate development at The Quaker Oats Company, now part of Pepsi. She is the former Chief Executive Officer and President of several early stage consumer-focused technology companies.
Cathy earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University with dual concentrations in marketing and finance. She graduated with honors from Michigan State University with a BS degree.
Mr. Klein is CEO and Co-Founder of Tiesta Tea. Tiesta Tea was started with the mission of creating functional loose leaf tea blends that were affordable, accessible and understandable. Each tea blend falls into one of five categories (Energizer, Slenderizer, Eternity, Immunity and Relaxer) that describe what each tea does for one’s body. Tiesta Tea can now be found in multiple parts of the grocery store; from the produce and bulk foods departments to the refrigerated tea aisles. The company’s products can be found in over 8000 stores including Costco, Safeway, Albertsons, H-E-B and Target, and also on their website at tiestatea.com as well as on Amazon. The company has been recognized by Inc, Forbes, BevNet, World Tea News, Fresh Cup Magazine, Beverage Daily, ABC, FOX, Crain’s and many more for their advances in bringing great loose leaf tea to the masses and also their direct ways of giving back. Mr. Klein has raised multiple rounds of funding for Tiesta Tea totaling $7 million to date.
Recent Features for Mr. Klein and Tiesta Tea:
Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30 2018
Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies 2017 (#759)
Crain's Chicago 20 In Their 20's 2018
Inc's Top Workplaces of 2018
Mr. Turner is responsible for operations at SSC’s portfolio companies.
Prior to joining SSC, Mr. Turner spent two years as a Principal of Portfolio Operations with Clearlake Capital and eight years as a Senior Vice President and Operational Executive at The Gores Group.
Mr. Turner has led the post-acquisition operational carve-out, integration, and / or stand up of over 20 companies.
Prior to working in private equity, Mr. Turner was the CEO of Precision Components International, Inc. and a Senior Vice President at Crane Aerospace.
Mr. Turner currently serves as a director for Premier Flow Holdings, LLC, Cantium Holdco, LLC, and Worldwide Produce Acquisition, LLC.
Mr. Turner received a B.A. degree from Columbus State University and earned his M.B.A. from University of Liverpool.
Gian Ricco is a Managing Director in the Investment Banking Group. In that capacity, he focuses on merger and acquisition advisory, institutional private placements of debt and equity, and strategic consulting. He brings extensive public and private middle market experience to the firm in the following sectors:
Heavy Equipment Rental
Aerospace & Defense
Consumer, Retail, Food & Beverage
Prior to joining Stout, Mr. Ricco was a Vice President at a boutique investment bank in Chicago, where he advised numerous middle market businesses in mergers and acquisitions and capital raising mandates. Earlier, he was in the Corporate and Investment Banking Group at Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities), where he worked on a range of transactions, from $150M up to $2B, including mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity offerings, and loan syndications.
Formerly a registered Professional Engineer, Mr. Ricco started his career as an engineering consultant focused on the transportation sector.
Gregg is currently a member of the senior executive leadership team of Greenway DNA a comprehensive personalized DNA testing solutions provider that provides individuals the most exact information available on how their genetic makeup can affect their response to specific cannabis products and assists in identifying the best cannabinoid profile for that individual relative to impact for a specific medical indication.
Gregg is a current Board Advisor and immediate past CEO of Growcentia, a Fort Collins Co. based company that manufactures both organically derived microbial plant bio-stimulants that enable growers to maximize the yield and quality of various crops and natural plant extract 25 (b) bio-control products. Mammoth® P - Growcentia’s first product, was developed by its founders at Colorado State University and is the leading microbial bio stimulant in the cannabis & hemp markets. Mammoth P is OMRI certified and naturally liberates phosphorus and micronutrients to maximize plant growth and yields. Mammoth® Biocontrol Preventative Insecticide, the company’s first bio-control product, is a natural concentrated foliar thyme- oil based bio-insecticide. The company launched in 2015 and its technologies are sold in grow (hydro) stores and direct to commercially licensed cannabis and hemp cultivators coast to coast in the US as well as in Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, several South American countries, and the UK. Canada sales will start in Q1 2020.
Gregg is also a member of the senior leadership team for Green Globe Data and Research. Green Globe is the holding company for the operating entities controlling various brands and cultivation operations controlled by Jim Belushi. Jim’s farm in Oregon, Rogue’s Lair, has a license for 40,000 sq. ft. of canopy and the brands consist of The Blues Brothers, Belushi’s Secret Stash, Captain Jacks, and Good Ugly Weed.
Gregg is a member of the Board of Directors of The ArcView Group. The Arcview Investor Network currently consists of 600+ accredited investors investing in the cannabis and hemp market. More than 260 companies have raised at least $212 million as a result of their participation in Arcview. Arcview is also a partner in Canopy, a seed-stage business accelerator.
Prior to the aforementioned Gregg founded Charlemagne Global Advisory a strategy and operations advisory firm for both for profit and not for profit entities. Projects and initiatives of CGA have been in and around the incubation and acceleration of early and development stage start-up ventures as well as more mature enterprises in various industries including clean and green tech, healthcare, CPG, professional services, technology and cloud-based apps, startup / early stage incubators and educational endeavors.
Gregg is a sustaining member of NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association) and sits on the Marketing Advisory Committee, has been involved in other committees including in the cultivation committee and is engaged in the organization’s annual lobbying efforts.
Gregg has been involved in numerous early stage and entrepreneurial initiatives in a broad ranging array of industries.
Gregg has been and continues to be engaged in various industry awareness, educational and lobbying efforts initiatives.
Gregg also serves on the Board of the Simon School Venture Fund (Simon School of Business, University of Rochester, NY), Kahal Study Abroad (Chicago, IL) and The Touchstones Discussion Project (Annapolis MD)
Joyce leads operations at Big Rock Partners, a strategic advisory firm serving investors and companies at the intersection of food, hospitality and cannabis. Their portfolio includes PharmaCann, Cannacraft, Henry’s Original, Vertosa, Kikoko, Sonoma Hills Farm, Garden Society, Sava, and others. She previously founded a boutique artist management firm, and lead business development, licensing and partner integrations for e-commerce start-ups. A long time craft cannabis cultivator, she co-founded an Emerald Cup winning operation, and served as Co-Chair for Women Grow, Sonoma. She is an official advisor for various female founders of early stage companies that are innovating in cannabis, and an Advisory Board member for the Access & Innovation Project with a mission to advance a modern regulatory model that unites capitalism with inclusion. She attended Smith College, and lives with her wife and puppy children in San Francisco.
Since joining Keystone Capital in 2016, Kevin has been involved in the diligence, acquisition, and management of multiple businesses across the food & beverage landscape. Most notably, Kevin has played a leadership role in the transformation of Keystone’s plant-based foods business, Keystone Natural Holdings, through the execution of three add-on acquisitions and multiple organic growth initiatives. Prior to joining Keystone, Kevin worked in an advisory role with Robert W. Baird & Co. and as an Investment Analyst at Aether Investment Partners where he focused, in part, on investments in value-added agricultural operations.
Nate Aslesen is a Managing Director at Craig-Hallum Capital Group on the Investment Banking team an is primarily focused on Merger and Acquisition (M&A) transactions. He has extensive corporate finance and financial advisory experience. His transaction background is comprised of sell-side M&A advisory transactions, buy-side M&A advisory transactions, capital markets transactions, and debt and equity principal investment transactions. Nate has deep transaction experience with founder/family/entrepreneur owned companies, complex corporate divestitures and private equity owned portfolio companies. Nate’s experience also spans a range of industries including industrial products and services, food and beverage, distribution, transportation and logistics, healthcare services, consumer and business services.
Prior to joining Craig-Hallum in early 2020, Nate was a Managing Director and founding member of the boutique M&A advisory firm FINNEA Group, where he was responsible for execution of M&A transactions and business development activities. Prior to helping to form FINNEA Group, Nate spent nearly five years with Macquarie Capital advising on sell-side transactions and completing buy-side merchant banking transactions for Macquarie Capital’s own balance sheet. Nate received his BBA with a double major in Finance and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Nate lives in Chicago with his wife and three children.
Pat Barry is Director and Chief Investment Officer of Granite Hall Partners. As Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Barry oversees fund construction, the firm’s investment processes and underlying manager due diligence. He is a member of the Investment Committee.
Prior to joining GHP, Mr. Barry led the efforts of Frontier Partners as it expanded into private equity by assisting domestic and European private equity firms in raising institutional assets domestically and abroad. Prior to Frontier Partners, Mr. Barry spent eight years with JP Morgan Asset Management and its heritage organizations focused upon alternative asset programs, including construction of customized products for Institutional and Sovereign Wealth Fund clients in the Middle East and Europe.
Mr. Barry earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Georgetown University in 1996.
Paul is the Founder + CEO of Boombox Beverage LLC, a contract manufacturer for non-alcoholic beverages. Boombox specializes in cold brew coffee and tea, water and other functional beverages and has one of the only retorts-for-hire in the Midwest. Paul has spent his entire career launching and scaling regulated businesses. Prior to launching Boombox, Paul was the Chief Business Officer at a Department of Defense-backed manufacturing lab. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade as the General Counsel of Forbes 400 family office/gaming company. Before joining the family office/gaming company, Paul practiced law in Chicago and New York. Paul is a father, husband, investor and beverage fanatic.
Robert co-founded Encore Consumer Capital in 2005. He is Chairman of Encore portfolio companies Ancient Harvest and Tender Belly and a director of butter LONDON, Navitas Organics, and Supergoop!. Robert was the Chairman of former Encore portfolio companies Aidells Sausage Company, Atlantic Aqua Farms, California Splendor, Caterina Foods, Isopure, PhillySwirl and tarte and was a director at Thanasi Foods.
Prior to Encore, Robert was a partner at Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm focused on investments in the consumer products industry. Robert previously was the Director of New Business Development at Foster Farms, where his responsibilities included the general management of Foster’s $75MM Prepared Foods Division and corporate development. Robert began his professional career in the consumer products industry in 1991 as a consultant at Swander Pace & Company, where over time he became a Principal. He advised consumer products companies and private equity firms on matters of corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and competitive assessment. Robert received a BS and an MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.
Robert is a native Californian and currently resides in Marin County with his wife and their three children. He is actively involved in his children’s schools and sports teams and enjoys water sports and exploring the outdoors with his family. Robert is a member of the Leadership Council of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.
Sam cofounded That’s How We Roll, LLC, parent company of ParmCrisps and THINSTERS in 2013 and has been the driving force with the company since. Prior to founding ParmCrisps, Sammy held various positions with Hain Celestial Group, including Brand Manager and Director of Sensible Portions, growing annual sales to $140M. He is often asked to comment on the food industry, leadership and management of strong and sustainable food brands. His views and advice can be found in Real Leaders magazine and most major grocery trade media, as well as Project Nosh. He is an expert at maximizing food brand success and building retail and partner trust through an undying commitment to finding win/win solutions in all challenges.
Sam has earned a B.S in Business Finance from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two young children. He firmly believes that opportunity comes to those that work hard, and supports diversity and talent robustly within his organization.
Mr. Mazarakis has over 18 years of Wall Street investment experience- most of that with Goldman Sachs in London.
In his last 10 years at Goldman, Mr. Mazarakis was a Managing Director in the Securities Division's multi-billion dollar Equity and Credit businesses in Europe where he ran the Fundamental Strategies Group. Mr. Mazarakis and his team of sector analysts conducted in-depth fundamental research & quantitative valuations that identified attractive investment opportunities across equities, corporate bonds/CDS and convertible debt for the benefit of the firm and its clients.
In prior roles at Goldman, Mr. Mazarakis was an Executive Director who led the retail/consumer sector analyst team and was ranked by Institutional Investor, Euromoney and Credit Magazine. Before joining Goldman in 2000, Mr. Mazarakis spent 2 years at Citigroup in New York where he began his finance career by analyzing high yield & distressed industrial companies within the credit research department.
Mr. Mazarakis is an avid early-stage investor and advisor to high-growth companies who became passionate about the legal cannabis industry after leaving Goldman and returning home to the U.S. in 2016. His fundamentals-driven, deep-dive research process adds a professional level of rigor and diligence to the cannabis fund landscape.
Mr. Mazarakis received his BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
Mr. Mazarakis lives in the north suburbs of Chicago and has three spirited young children- two boys and a girl. His outside interests include basketball, paddle tennis, snook fishing and the Balearic Islands.
Wayne Carpenter is a managing partner of Lake Pacific Partners, LLC, a private equity investment firm primarily focusing on food, beverage, consumer products, business and consumer services, distribution, packaging and related industries.
Mr. Carpenter has over 20 years of private equity and consulting experience. Prior to joining Lake Pacific, Mr. Carpenter was an executive director at an $500 million private equity firm, and prior thereto, was a senior investment professional at Thoma Cressey Equity Partners. He has served as a director for a number of companies and led transactions representing over $1 billion in areas of consumer products, business services and industrial goods. Mr. Carpenter is a former board member of the Illinois Venture Capital Association.
Mr. Carpenter served as a director of Gladson, a business services firm and Mercer Foods, an industrial dehydration company.
Mr. Carpenter was also a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group and Price Waterhouse, where he consulted over 30 Fortune 500 companies in the areas of corporate strategy, post merger integration and operational efficiency.
Mr. Carpenter received an MBA degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University.