Experience, Sophistication, Tenacity - Meet Our Team

Leadership

Duane Stullich

Managing Partner

 

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 bankruptcy situations) for more than 20 years. Prior to co-founding FocalPoint, he was one of the key contributors to the establishment of the corporate finance department at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin and a co-founder of Murphy Noell Capital. He has been published in Barron’s, served on the Board of an NYSE-listed company, and inspired high school students through his work with the Youth Business Alliance. Mr. Stullich currently serves on the Finance Committee of Larchmont Charter School and is Co-Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Investment Bankers (IAIB). Mr. Stullich graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from California State University, Northridge and received his M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Nishen Radia

Managing Partner

 

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

Managing Partner

 

Rajesh Sood has more than 20 years of experience in both mergers and acquisitions and debt capital markets. 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 Corporate 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 B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.B.A. from the University of Texas in Austin.

Thomas Mills

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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.

Richard Phillips

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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

Managing Director

 

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.

Stephen Wrobel

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

Managing Director

 

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.

Firm Professionals

David Porter

Chief Financial Officer

 

David Porter joined FocalPoint’s Los Angeles office in July 2015. He brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services sectors. Dave passed the CPA examination in 1984 and spent 7 years in public accounting where he specialized in start-up companies, broker-dealers and community banks, working on several IPO transactions. He left Ernst & Young as an Audit Manager in 1990 to join the start-up municipal bond investment bank, Prager, Sealy & Co., LLC as the 6th employee. He spent 23 years with Prager and was the Managing Director/Chief Financial Officer as Prager grew to 75 employees with offices in San Francisco, New York, Orlando, Tampa and Great Falls, VA. Mr. Porter earned his B.A. in business and accounting from the University of Washington. He holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and 27 licenses.

Connor Mitchell

Director

 

Connor Mitchell joined FocalPoint’s Chicago office in 2011 and has more than nine years of investment banking experience, focusing on M&A and capital markets transactions for both healthy and underperforming middle-market clients. Mr. Mitchell has successfully executed a diverse range of transaction structures including leveraged buyouts, management buyouts, mergers, growth recapitalizations, dividend recapitalizations, and in-court and out-of-court restructurings. Throughout his career, Mr. Mitchell has advised clients across a variety of industries, including consumer products and services, restaurants and retail, business services, logistics, technology, consulting, manufacturing, distribution, and healthcare services. Prior to joining FocalPoint, Mr. Mitchell worked at Livingstone Partners in Chicago, where he executed successful capital raising and M&A transactions across a variety of industries. Mr. Mitchell graduated magna cum laude from Miami University (OH) with a B.A. in Finance and Spanish and is a FINRA Series 7, 79 and 63 registered representative.

Gayane Kirakosyan

Director

 

Gayane Kirakosyan joined FocalPoint’s Los Angeles office in 2005 and has more than 10 years of investment banking experience, advising companies on mergers and acquisitions transactions, debt and equity capital raises, and financial restructurings/bankruptcy. Prior to joining FocalPoint, she worked at Merrill Lynch and in Wedbush Morgan Securities’ consumer products group. Ms. Kirakosyan graduated summa cum laude from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where she majored in business administration with a dual emphasis in finance and global management.

Bryant Yu

Vice President

 

Bryant Yu joined FocalPoint’s Los Angeles office in 2014 and has more than eight years of experience in investment banking and private equity. He specializes in advising clients on mergers and acquisitions, distressed or special situations, and debt capital raises. Prior to joining FocalPoint, he led the execution of lower middle-market private equity investments at Bacchus Capital Management and advised on nearly $3 billion of aggregate consideration at Prager, Sealy & Co., LLC. Mr. Yu graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from University of California, Berkeley.

Eric Froidevaux

Vice President

 

Eric Froidevaux has more than nine years of experience in investment banking and corporate finance, focusing on advising companies on M&A transactions, debt and equity capital raises, and special situations. Prior to joining FocalPoint in 2014, Mr. Froidevaux worked at CREO Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles based investment bank, and served as CFO for a Los Angeles based cardiology practice. Mr. Froidevaux received a B.A. in Economics from UC Irvine and an MBA from Pepperdine University, graduating with Beta Gamma Sigma business honors.

Will Bower

Vice President

 

Will Bower has seven years of experience advising middle-market and public companies on M&A transactions, debt and equity capital raises, and special situations. Prior to joining FocalPoint’s Los Angeles office in 2012, Mr. Bower provided valuation and financial due diligence services as a member of PwC’s Transaction Services group. Mr. Bower holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.