For more than 20 years, Duane Stullich has advised owners and stakeholders of middle-market companies on mergers and acquisitions, private placements of debt and/or equity capital, and special situations (including corporate bankruptcies). As co-founder of FocalPoint, he has also helped lead the growth of the firm from two people to approximately 40 people with offices in Chicago and Los Angeles. Previously, he was one of the key contributors to the establishment of the corporate finance department at Houlihan Lokey and a co-founder of Murphy Noell Capital. He is Chairman Emeritus of an international M&A organization, former Board member of an NYSE-listed company, former volunteer of the Youth Business Alliance, and member of the Finance Committee of Larchmont Charter School. Mr. Stullich graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in accounting from California State University, Northridge and received his M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Nishen Radia is a co-founder of FocalPoint and has over 20 years of experience advising owners of middle-market companies on mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity recapitalizations and financial restructurings. Having previously worked in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, SocGen and Baring Brothers in London, New York and Hong Kong, he has been able to leverage his experience to bring a higher level of sophistication and a global perspective to transactions involving businesses in the middle market. He is a winner of the “40 under 40” award for deal-making and is the Chairman of the Board of the VEDC, one of the nation’s largest non-profit lenders. Mr. Radia received his M.B.A. with distinction from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and graduated with honors with a degree in economics from the University of Bristol, England.
Rajesh Sood has nearly 25 years of experience in both mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity capital and markets, and financial restructurings. Mr. Sood has served as the lead advisor in raising senior and junior capital to support re-financings, rescue financings, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, growth capital and acquisition financing. He has represented clients in a wide range of industries including restaurant and retail, manufacturing, business services, building products, consumer products and healthcare. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Sood was a senior member of the Leveraged Finance team at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin and worked in the Corporate Finance and Leveraged Finance Group at NationsBanc Montgomery Securities. Mr. Sood holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and the University of Kansas, and a Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Texas in Austin. He is a frequent guest speaker on topics related to the debt capital markets and is a member of the Young President’s Organization.
Thomas Mills has spent his career working with middle-market businesses across a wide variety of industries, evaluating capital structures and raising capital to support recapitalizations, growth capital raises, distressed financings, leveraged buy-outs, and management buy-outs. Prior to joining FocalPoint in 2011 to open their Chicago office, he was Head of Debt Capital Markets for Livingstone Partners. Earlier in his career, he worked in middle-market commercial finance with Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. He is a winner of the “40 under 40” award for deal-making and is the Chairman of the Loan Board of the VEDC, one of the nation’s largest non-profit lenders. Mr. Mills holds a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a B.S. in Finance from DePaul University.
Robert J. Woolway
Robert Woolway has been a successful investment banker for over thirty years and has executed a wide variety of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and financing transactions. Based on his vast experience, Mr. Woolway offers middle-market clients a unique combination of larger investment bank sophistication and boutique-style service and responsiveness. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Woolway was a Managing Director of Trinity Capital where he focused on the food, beverage and restaurant industries. Previously, he was a senior investment banker at Relational Advisors, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Salomon Brothers. Mr. Woolway graduated from Harvard University with honors in Economics and received an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar. Mr. Woolway has served on several corporate boards and has been involved as a board member of a number of non-profit organizations including The Alliance for Children’s Rights.
Michael Fixler has spent his nearly 20 year career advising companies and their stakeholders in a variety of transactions related to M&A, capital raising and special situations (including bankruptcy cases). Advising clients from both public and private companies, institutional investors, statutory committees, and special situation buyers/investors, Mr. Fixler’s deep experience includes crafting and executing a variety of strategic transactions to maximize value for his clients. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Fixler was a Managing Director at Variant Capital Advisors and a Partner at Candlewood Partners. Prior to corporate finance, Mr. Fixler practiced corporate and securities law in private practice and then joined one of his clients where he served as General Counsel and also led the company’s corporate development efforts, ultimately resulting in the sale of the company to a strategic buyer. Mr. Fixler received his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University and his B.B.A. from the University of Miami.
Muizz Kheraj joined FocalPoint’s Los Angeles office in 2012 and heads the firm’s Technology practice. He has spent nearly two decades in technology, both as a software engineer and as an experienced advisor, supporting the capital market needs of middle-market entrepreneurs. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Kheraj built the TMT practice at McGladrey Capital Markets LLC. He has held leadership roles at various tech and digital media startups; and currently holds active board advisory roles within numerous bleeding-edge tech firms. He has led, managed and closed an aggregate of more than $1 billion in transactions in the tech sector. Mr. Kheraj holds an M.B.A. from the USC Marshall School of Business, a M.S. in electrical engineering and a B.S. in aerospace engineering from UCLA.
Michael Del Pero
Michael Del Pero has more than 10 years of experience providing financial advisory services to privately held middle-market companies and publicly held corporations both in the U.S. and internationally. He has served as the lead advisor in leveraged and management buyouts, capital raising and financings, business valuations, strategic reviews, and distressed situations. Mr. Del Pero leads FocalPoint’s Industrials Practice, with significant experience in the Aerospace and Defense, Plastics, Packaging and Advanced Materials sectors. Prior to joining FocalPoint, he built and led the Plastics and Advanced Materials Group at McGladrey Capital Markets. Mr. Del Pero earned a B.A. from UCLA.
Mr. Castro leverages his unique professional background—which spans Business Strategy, Healthcare Operations and Corporate Finance—to create material near- and long-term enterprise value for clients. Recognizing the complexity and continually evolving nature of the healthcare industry, Mr. Castro combines deep management consulting capabilities with comprehensive investment banking services. Most recently, he was Executive Vice President of Access Integrated Healthcare (AIH), where he led business strategy initiatives including the creation of a managed care organization as well as specialized revenue cycle management solutions designed to eradicate industry fraud while automating complex billing and collection processes. Previously, he was an investment banker with each Greif & Co. and Houlihan Lokey and was recognized with the following awards: Winner of Turnaround Consultant of the Year (2016); Winner of Emerging Leaders Award “40 Under 40” (2016); and LABJ – Most Influential M&A Advisors (2013). Mr. Castro received a degree in Economics from UCLA and is completing a Master of Healthcare Leadership degree from Brown University.
Richard Phillips specializes in mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and leveraged recapitalizations, building on over 30 years of operations and investment banking experience within the Aerospace and Defense sector. Prior to joining FocalPoint, he was the CEO and Managing Director of Janes Capital Partners, a boutique Aerospace & Defense focused investment bank. Before that, Mr. Phillips led CIT/Edgeview’s A&D M&A team and co-founded the Aerospace-Defense-Government industry group at Houlihan Lokey. Mr. Phillips also has more than 15 years of experience in the Aerospace & Defense industry with Hughes Aircraft, Jet Propulsion Lab and TRW in the fields of cryogenics, infrared sensors, space systems and superconductivity, performing new business development, project management, research & development and technology management. He earned his B.S. in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology and received his M.B.A. with honors from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management.
Rod Guinn has spent the past 25 years serving the restaurant industry, financing, raising capital for, and advising operators and investors in growth, change of control, and distressed situations. He founded and led the BankBoston (later FleetBoston) Restaurant Finance Group, building it into the leading source of capital for the restaurant industry and was a key player in the related Food and Beverage market. Later, as Founder and Managing Director of Stepping Stone, he provided advisory services to restaurant and related businesses. Immediately prior to joining FocalPoint in 2008, he built Wells Fargo Foothill’s restaurant practice into a leading source of capital for sponsor-backed transactions. Mr. Guinn serves and has served on the board of both restaurant and related service industry firms, and is a frequent resource and industry expert at conferences nationwide. Mr. Guinn holds an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College and a B.A. from the University of New Mexico.
Rod Essen has more than 30 years of experience in investment banking/financial services and has initiated, executed and closed well over a hundred transactions for clients in a variety of sectors. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Essen was with Morgan Stanley where he advised business owners on capital raising, mergers & acquisitions and other shareholder issues. Previously, he opened and ran AG Edwards Capital Markets’ west coast investment banking office in Los Angeles for over a decade prior to its purchase by Wells Fargo Securities. Mr. Essen was also a Managing Director with PaineWebber (UBS) and Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. Mr. Essen graduated from Principia College with a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration. He received his M.B.A. from the University of Southern California, where he has been a guest lecturer on the investment banking industry.
Director of Business Development
Stephen Wrobel has over 22 years of experience in private equity, leveraged finance, special situations, debt restructuring, and commercial banking. Over his career, Mr. Wrobel has worked with middle-market companies across a wide range of industries including consumer products, manufacturing, industrial, aerospace, defense, wholesale distribution, transportation, technology, media, energy, business services, not-for-profit organizations, and healthcare businesses. Leading the business development efforts for FocalPoint, Mr. Wrobel brings sophistication and creative solutions to his clients, creating a path to the optimal outcome. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Wrobel worked for Z Capital Partners, a special situations private equity firm and leveraged lender, in addition to several commercial lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland, Fifth Third Bank, Associated Bank and Inland Bank. Mr. Wrobel holds a B.S in economics from Northern Illinois University and a M.B.A. from the Keller Graduate School of Management.
Mark H. Davis
Mr. Davis has executed a wide variety of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and financing transactions in a career that spans corporate M&A, investment banking and public accounting. Prior to joining FocalPoint, he served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy at Quality Systems, Inc., an Irvine-based public Healthcare Information Technology company. Earlier, Mr. Davis held Managing Director positions at B. Riley & Company, Macquarie and Salomon Smith Barney/Citigroup. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant with Price Waterhouse. Mr. Davis graduated with Distinction from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received a B.S. in Accounting, summa cum laude, from the University of Maryland.