Food/Beverage Webinar




Virtual - Zoom


Topic: Interesting Time in Food & Beverage: Strategies and Trends Beyond the Pandemic 

The food and beverage industry has evolved more than any sector during the pandemic. Consumer preferences for product and delivery, devastating impacts on restaurants and the supply chain, and increased uses of technology from farm to table have created challenges and opportunities. The sector remains very active as both strategics and private equity look to capitalize on these dynamics. This panel will explore current trends within food & beverage transactions, how sector trends and channel shifts are driving activity, and the impact the supply chain has on this vital industry.

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Steven E. Brady
CPA, Partner at Withum

Steve is a Partner and Market Leader for Withum’s Transaction Advisory practice. He is a licensed certified public accountant in the state of Illinois and specializes in mergers & acquisitions and transaction advisory, advising clients to realize value from middle-market transactions across multiple sectors. Steve has extensive expertise in buy-side and sell-side due diligence, merger integration and other advisory services for mergers and acquisitions, debt offerings, carve-outs and other transactions.

Steve has been a Transaction Advisory Practice leader in global and national firms for over 18 years, served as a chief financial officer of a middle-market diversified mechanical contractor and specialty manufacturer and a start-up medical device company, and audit partner for a global firm.

Steve previously led a wide variety of cross-border and domestic projects for private equity firms and their portfolio companies, family offices, and strategic acquirers including closely-held middle-market companies and global organizations, investment banks, mezzanine lenders and financial institutions.

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Brent White
Vice President, Business Development at Gauge Capital

Brent White is responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities, deal origination and developing intermediary relationships in the Food & Consumer space. Prior to joining Gauge, Brent worked for Capital One’s Leveraged & Sponsor Finance (Food & Beverage) Group, which provides debt for private equity-backed transactions. Earlier in his career, Brent worked for BBVA’s Syndicated & Leverage Finance Group, which structures and executes syndicated credit facilities for middle and large middle market companies. Brent received his MBA from University of North Texas and a BA in Communications, from University of Texas at Arlington.

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Kathleen Lauster, CFA
Managing Director / Group Leader at Fairfield Capital Advisors

Kathleen Lauster, CFA is Managing Director and head of the Capital Advisory & Restructuring practice. Kathleen guides clients in selling their businesses, executing an M&A strategy and unlocking value in a financial restructuring.

Kathleen has over 20 years of global financial services and commercial real estate experience, working for and advising firms in Europe and the U.S. with their capital raises, restructurings, asset management, and valuation. Kathleen has a deep understanding of the economic, operational and institutional aspects of credit, structured securities, and the derivatives markets, focused on fundamental valuation. Her clients have ranged from early stage ventures to Fortune 500 firms.

Prior to joining Fairfield, Kathleen served as a Managing Director of Restructuring and Corporate Finance at Silver Leaf Partners, LLC., where she focused on Capital Advisory and Special Situations in the middle market space. Before that, Kathleen was a Senior Vice President within Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Restructuring and Real Estate Strategic Advisory Practice, where she advised U.S. and European creditors and debtors in both healthy capital raises along with illiquid, distressed, and restructuring scenarios. Her clients included the Icelandic Banks, Bank of Ireland, GGP, Capital Trust, Lehman Brothers, UBS, the National Asset Management Agency, and CIT Group, Inc.

Kathleen received her B.S. from Michigan State University and her MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

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Richard Chen
Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Hawkbridge Capital Partners

Richard has over 15 years of strategic financing advisory and transactional service experience with public and private companies in Canada, U.S. and China. Richard has transactional experience with consumer products, e-commerce companies, food and grocery delivery platforms, baby products, pet foods, cosmetic products, juices, synthetic meat products, and healthy food products. Prior to co-founding Hawkbridge, Richard was a Senior Corporate Finance Manager with a venture investment firm in Canada, and prior to that he worked as Associate to a Portfolio Manager at RBC Dominion Securities at 200 Bay Street, Toronto. Richard’s work experience includes growth equity, Mergers & Acquisitions, venture financing, strategic partnerships, PIPE, cross-culture and cross-border transactions, and pre-IPO financing.

Richard studied Mechanical Engineering at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto, Rotman Business School (2005). Richard has passed the Canadian Securities Course (“CSC”) in 2004, Exempt Market Product Exam (“EMP”) in 2012, passed the Partner, Director, and Senior Officer Course(“PDS”) in 2014, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”) Charter Holder since 2013.


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