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2023 M&A next Speakers
Darin has served as Chairman and CEO of Salas O’Brien since September 2006, guiding the company through an era of impressive growth to become one of North America’s leading engineering and technical services firms.
Darin’s enthusiasm and drive are evident in his four passions in life: his family, creating a better world, affordable education, and adventure. Whether he’s taking a family trip, competing in an ultra-marathon, or sharing career advice with students, he leaves nothing in the tank. This passion carries through to his aspiration for Salas O’Brien to be “the most respected firm in the galaxy” and, ultimately, a model of leadership for other organizations.
He has led large engineering and construction organizations for nearly 3 decades years in the capacity as CEO, COO, and CFO. He is a proud alumnus of the University of California-Riverside, past Chair for the California Coast Chapter of the Young President’s Organization, past chair of the UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees and was named Ernst Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.
Gary is a leader in the A/E industry, driving growth through strategic organic and M&A initiatives and driving efficiency through disciplined financial and operational management. He is committed to driving organizations to their highest potential of operational excellence. He is passionate about building and being the best!
Tracey Eaves will lead a Valuation Deep Dive breakout session at Zweig Group’s M&A Next Symposium next month. Over the last 20 years, Tracey has completed valuations ranging from small businesses to multi-million dollar operating companies to holding companies with a variety of assets.
Dave has more than 30 years of professional experience ranging from civil engineering and project management to executive administration, having served as Galloway’s president since 2006. Dave has worked extensively in project feasibility, site selection, site planning, entitlement assistance, client representation at public meetings and hearings, site design, grading and drainage studies, stormwater management, utility design, and studies, permit coordination, and regulatory analysis.
Dave received his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1988 from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is a professional engineer licensed in 30 states; a LEED Accredited Professional; a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); and a Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) and Certified Development, Design, and Construction Professional (CDP) through the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Described by his clients as outstanding, effective, and efficient, Peter Grupp engages in a diverse legal practice representing clients in complex corporate transactions. Peter enjoys guiding his clients through multi-faceted business transactions, using his experience to anticipate and protect against hurdles and pitfalls, and navigate his clients to a successful closing.
Peter focuses his corporate practice in mergers and acquisitions, primarily in the professional services industries. As part of Lawson & Weitzen’s transaction team, Peter has helped close over 100 acquisitions, serving as the lead transaction attorney for many of them. Recently, Peter has helped close multiple private equity recapitalizations of prominent engineering firms throughout the country.
Peter represents clients spanning a number of industries, including: Architecture, Professional Engineering, Land Surveying, Geology and Environmental Consulting, Tech, and Alcoholic Beverage Supply/Wholesale.
Grayson Hale is a business attorney with more than two decades of experience representing companies and their owners, investors, and executives in mergers and acquisitions/dispositions; ownership succession structuring and implementation, including employee stock ownership plans (ESOP); financing; and day-to-day business matters as outside general counsel.
Grayson leads the firm’s architecture, engineering, and construction (A/E/C) practice, representing regional, national, and international engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, geology, and other professional services firms and general contractors in mergers and acquisitions and related issues. He also regularly advises firms on structuring their operations in compliance with regulatory professional and entity licensing throughout the United States and represents them in disciplinary matters before licensing boards. Grayson has unparalleled experience in assisting A/E firms with obtaining North Carolina professional licensure compliance using pre-1969 grandfather corporations.
Other clients represent a wide variety of industries, including hotel development and management, manufacturing, wholesale, software and high tech, education, electric power generation and management, retail, and restaurants.
As a founding partner of Morningstar Law Group, Grayson has gained hands-on management experience that bolsters his insight into operating a professional services firm. That enables him to provide more practical and effective legal counsel, not legal advice in a vacuum. Prior to Morningstar Law Group, Grayson spent 14 years practicing with national and international law firms in Dallas, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina.
When he’s not practicing law, Grayson enjoys spending time with his wife and three kids, the mountains, and trying to beat the unbeatable game of golf.
Betsy has more than 20 years of experience in the architecture and engineering industry. As the Vice President of Corporate Development, she oversees and integrates SSOE’s organic and inorganic growth functions, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Marketing, and Business Development. Betsy has direct involvement in SSOE acquisition efforts—establishing and executing the overall program as well as success strategies for individual deals.
Betsy joined SSOE as a student intern in 2000. She graduated from the University of Toledo in 2001 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and again in 2007 with a master’s degree. She has served in various positions, rising through the ranks of the Marketing Department and acting as SSOE’s Director of Marketing from 2015 to 2021.
Proven senior leader possessing iron-clad integrity with a record of building and achieving profitable business results. Strong relationship management skills with experience in developing winning corporate cultures built on client focus, flawless execution, and outstanding bottom-line results. An innovator and problem-solver with executive leadership experience in the Engineering, Communications, Financial, Insurance, and Technology sectors.
Kevin leads Clayton & McKervey's architecture & engineering group, helping entrepreneurial owners build a better blueprint for growth.
He is dedicated to helping small and mid-size business owners expand their businesses. As the leader of the firm’s Architecture & Engineering practice, he specializes in providing tax and accounting services to architecture and engineering clients around the globe. Throughout his entire career, he has focused on supporting high-growth entrepreneurial companies by providing a deep knowledge and appreciation for the needs of the business owner.
- Financial statement attestation services
- Tax return preparation (business and individual)
- Tax planning (business and individual)
- Assistance with bank financing and banking representation
- Merger and acquisition advisory services
- Succession planning and ownership transitions
- Overhead rate audits
- Entity selection
- ESOP consulting and compliance
Sarah Kinard will lead a breakout session on Using Market Research to Drive M&A Strategy. Sarah is a strategic visionary with nearly 20 years of experience in professional services firm strategy, marketing, and implementation. A past VP of Global Marketing & Strategy, she is known as a change agent, frequently hired by firms to create a strategy rooted in research, business practice, and scale resulting in their unique growth plan.
Thomas McCarthy, a Senior Principal in Page’s Washington DC office, is a LEED-accredited architect with a long-standing commitment to sustainable design and responsible stewardship of client resources. Thomas effectively manages geographically and professionally diverse teams to meet his clients’ needs for complex, large-scale, phased design projects. He joined Page in 1997 in Houston and moved to the Washington DC office in 2000. Throughout the course of his professional and personal endeavors, Thomas has visited more than 100 countries and brings a global perspective to all of his work.
Thomas has managed more than 150 design projects, including 34 U.S. Department of State embassy and consulate complexes in 31 countries. He also leads higher-education design work that includes long-range facility master plans; phased growth and renovation projects and student life facilities. His commercial design projects include mid- and high-rise office buildings where his creation of flexible, attractive, and amenity-rich buildings support leasing plans at above-market rates. He also has managed complex single- and multi-family residential design projects, ranging from a 25,000 square-foot private residence to large, high-rise, multi-family residential projects where practical detailing and finishes decisions resulted in strong leasing and high client satisfaction.
I absolutely love the work I do and the company that I work for, ECS. My role as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions allows me to engage both internally and externally with amazing people within my industry. Each day, I get to contribute to the professional lives of others in a meaningful way while helping to fulfill the company’s long-term strategy.
Along with my current M&A role, I still lead and manage ECS' talent acquisition program. ECS is a company that recognizes what people bring to the table, beyond their assigned responsibilities, which is why I was asked to spearhead the company’s acquisition efforts after building a highly effective recruiting program. I truly enjoy combining my financial skills, my passion for people, and the ability to execute strategies that bring positive organizational change and applying that experience and knowledge to pursuing all ECS acquisition goals – both people and companies.With over 20 years of leadership experience in corporate finance, human resources and talent acquisition, I’ve always believed that a servant leader, mission-focused mindset is the key to leading high performing teams that execute for impact. This includes leading senior management and cross departmental teams in addressing challenges, managing risks, solving complex problems and making key decisions that support strategic goals and get results. And that’s what makes every day for me at ECS intellectually stimulating, challenging and rewarding, and why I can truly say that I love my job.
As CEO, Tony Mirchandani is responsible for RTM’s vision, strategy, and operations to provide quality engineering in a customer-focused culture. He fosters RTM’s commitment to continuous quality improvement, best practices initiatives, and enhancing professional development programs by leading a collaborative team. His expertise spans mergers and acquisitions, business development, financial management, engineering, and leadership. With a strong background in both technical and operations environments, he has a unique understanding of project management, quality control, and the ability to exceed client expectations.
When not leading RTM to success, Tony enjoys traveling internationally with family.
Gen Oraa is a partner who specializes in providing clients with transaction advisory services. Gen has led and executed due diligence for over 120 merger and acquisition transactions for strategic and private equity buyers and sellers. She has advised middle market clients on M&A transactions with purchase price ranging from $10 million to over $700 million.
She has worked on transactions in various industries, including professional services, industrial/manufacturing, government contractors, aerospace and defense, distribution/logistics, corporate housing, media/online advertising, education, textile, retail, life science and health services, and business/staffing services.
In addition to financial due diligence, she advised clients on transactions involving letter of interest, net working capital peg, purchase agreements, purchase price adjustments, debt and debt-like items, closing statements and other related assistance.
Prior to joining CohnReznick, Gen served in the transaction advisory services teams of BDO, KPMG, and Grant Thornton in the US. Her professional career began at Arthur Andersen, Philippines (now Ernst and Young), as an auditor and later worked on finance, accounting, and internal audit at a small conglomerate.
Mr. Jonathan Parnell serves as Atlas’ Chief Strategy Officer. Mr. Parnell has been part of Atlas’ leadership team, primarily responsible for Atlas’ Mergers & Acquisition strategy and execution including sourcing opportunities, negotiations and due diligence for many of Atlas’ acquisitions. Prior to joining Atlas, Mr. Parnell served as the Director of M&A and Integration at ATC. He has a broad background in M&A, integration, finance, operations management, and sales with large engineering and consulting firms. Mr. Parnell is a graduate of LSU with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and holds an MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business.
Justin Ramirez is the Director of Zweig Group’s Mergers & Acquisitions team and has a keen desire to assist AEC firm owners to navigate the complexities of M&A transactions, in an organized manner. Given his background in Finance, Accounting, and Law, Justin brings a deep understanding of business concepts, operations, and structures to each engagement.
Justin joined Zweig Group with an initial focus on Ownership Transition and advised clients of all sizes on developing and implementing successful Ownership Transition and Succession Plans. Prior to joining Zweig Group, Justin was a Third-Party Provider Risk Analyst at Arvest Bank, where he was in charge of performing annual inherent risk assessments on 3.500+ independent third parties to ensure their compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. In addition to this, Justin has over nine years of experience in the construction industry, having worked for and helped manage his family’s construction company. Justin earned his B.S.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas as well as a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law – Fayetteville.
Michael (Mick) is the Chief Executive of Trilon and is a driving force behind Trilon’s vision of building an enduring business in this sector. Michael was the Chief Growth Officer at AECOM a world leader in infrastructure consulting. He was the CEO of Cardno, an engineering and environmental firm previously listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (CDD). He is an Independent Director of Opteon (property appraisal) and was an Independent Director on Nasdaq-listed NV5 (NVEE). Michael graduated with honors from Central Queensland University and attended Harvard Business School advanced management program.
Bo Sutton is a Co-Founder and Partner of Liftout Capital. Mr. Sutton has nearly 15 years of private investing experience. Prior to co-founding Liftout Capital, Mr. Sutton was a Director at Bow River Capital where he led acquisition and sale transactions focused on Business and Industrial Services. He served on numerous boards and was Chairman of Ocean Tomo.
Prior to Bow River, Mr. Sutton worked as a private equity real estate investor, investing in distressed real estate debt at Platform Ventures and agricultural real estate at Resource Land Holdings.
Mr. Sutton currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Young Americans Center for Financial Education.
Mr. Sutton earned an MBA with an emphasis in Finance and a BS in International Business, both from the University of Colorado. Mr. Sutton is a CFA Charterholder.
Tom is Senior Vice President, Corporate Development. In this role, Tom is focused on growing the Trilon Group’s portfolio of infrastructure consulting firms through targeted M&A. Prior to joining, he worked at Aether Investment Partners as an Investment Director, where he focused on private investments across infrastructure, natural resources and related sectors. Prior to joining Aether, he worked at a financial services start-up that was acquired by Envestnet, Inc. (NYSE: ENV). Tom graduated from the University of North Carolina where he studied Economics. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.
Will leads Zweig Group’s research team and ownership transition consulting group. He received his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and his MBA from the University of Arkansas with a focus on entrepreneurship.
During that time, Will developed financial models and aided in the fundraising for a startup that has raised over 20 million dollars in capital.
Will has worked closely with management teams across the US to develop ownership transition plans, ranging from simple one-to-one transactions to complex projects that require a great deal of modeling and stakeholder education. Will analyzes and reports on the data AEC managers need to run successful firms. From developing benchmarking tools to compensation programs for transition planning, Will builds resources for decision makers.
Prior to joining Zweig Group, Will provided navigation and telemetry services for oil exploration projects, conducting data analysis for the integration of GPS and seismic readouts. Will comes from a long line of architects and has a passion for the industry that is unmatched.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Registration Table Opens
Sponsored by Wipfli
Opening Fireside Chat - M&A Perspectives: Anatomy of a Deal
with Thomas McCarthy & Andy Chavez
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
State of M&A in the AEC Industry: Review of the record-breaking M&A activity in 2023 and the key trends that will impact M&A Next
with Justin Ramirez
Insights Panel: AEC Industry Deal Dynamics & Influencers
with Drake Hamilton, Gary Cooley, Jonathan Parnell, & Gen Oraa
Small Group Roundtables
Perspectives on Firm Valuation: A conversation from both sides of the table
with Drake Hamilton, Tracey Eaves & Tom Secker
Sponsored by Unanet
A: Legal & Tax Considerations Special Topics: Unique entity structures, transaction vehicles, and other reasons you need sound legal help
B: Experience Roundtable – Q&A on anything and everything M&A with experts who have seen it all
A: Leading with Culture: Integration best practices and keeping a recruiting mindset throughout M&A
B: Implications of AI in M&A
Closing Coffee Roundtables
ElevateAEC Welcome Reception
Mergers & Acquisitions
GMB expands education services with acquisition of higher education marketing firm, Up&UpNov 07, 23
Zweig Group announces its client GMB has officially acquired Up&Up Agency.
M&A activity report for Q3 2023Oct 04, 23
This report details some of the biggest trends and movements regarding M&A activity in the AEC industry as of the...
Cooper Carry acquires 505DesignSep 29, 23
Zweig Group announces its client 505Design has been acquired by Cooper Carry.
ISG takes root in Rogers, Arkansas, with a new office and acquisition of Unit ArchitectureAug 23, 23
Zweig Group announces its client ISG has acquired Unit Architecture, expanding ISG's footprint into Arkansas.
M&A Activity Report for the week of 8/7/2023 – 8/13/2023Aug 15, 23
Zweig Group is the leading AEC Industry, advisory service provider. We blend industry and sector knowledge with experience across the M&A...
Buyers want to know!Aug 13, 23
By Sara Karstetter | There are several questions a seller needs to be able to answer beyond just the financials.
RTM Engineering Consultants merges with Tanner EngineeringAug 02, 23
RTM Engineering Consultants, a national multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm has recently merged with Tanner Engineering, an electrical consulting firm based...
Exploring the latest trends in M&AJul 23, 23
By Andy Chavez | We’re seeing increasing M&A activity in AEC industry, rising private equity involvement, and growing demand for...
Zweig Index: JacobsJul 20, 23
By Alec Russell | The Zweig Index reports on 11 of the AEC industry's leading firms on a monthly basis....
McCoy Collaborative Joins TreanorHL's Historic Preservation StudioJul 18, 23
Zweig Group client McCoy Collaborative Preservation Architecture has joined TreanorHL’s Historic Preservation studio.
M&A activity report for Q2 2023Jul 17, 23
By Andy Chavez | This report details some of the biggest trends and movements regarding M&A activity in the AEC...
M&A Activity Report for the week of 6/19/2023 – 6/25/2023Jun 29, 23
Zweig Group is the leading AEC Industry, advisory service provider. We blend industry and sector knowledge with experience across the M&A...
Preparing to go buy-sideMay 28, 23
By Adrian De la Garza | Insights and considerations that can help you decide if you’re ready to buy another firm.
The HFW Companies adds Las Vegas-based Taney Engineering to its expanding portfolio of strategic growth partnersApr 13, 23
Zweig Group – the leading research, publishing, and advisory services resource for firms in the AEC industry – served as...
Congratulations to Will Anderson and Adrian De la GarzaNov 21, 22
Zweig Group is proud to share that Will Anderson and Adrian De la Garza have recently passed the exams to...
M&A Activity Report for the week of 11/7/2022 – 11/13/2022Nov 15, 22
Domestic Transactions: 11/8/2022 Full-service, multidisciplinary consulting firm LJA Engineering (Houston, TX) acquired multidisciplinary engineering and surveying company Alliance Engineering & Planning (Alpharetta, GA). Link to...
Building partnerships: Carmelo BuetiOct 16, 22
By Liisa Andreassen | Vice president of corporate development at J.S. Held, a global consulting firm providing technical, scientific, and...
A polished M&A teamSep 11, 22
By Andy Chavez | Some of the best practices that the most experienced buyers in our industry employ to get...
The best transaction partnerJun 05, 22
By John Bray | There is no perfect buyer or seller in the marketplace, but how do you attract the best possible...
Thinking outside the boxMay 15, 22
By Will Anderson | When coming into the market to acquire a firm, it’s often wise to expand your horizons...
Lay of the landMar 06, 22
By Andy Chavez | What characteristics are highly desirable to buyers in the AEC industry right now?
What a seller should be thinking aboutFeb 20, 22
By John Bray | There are a few things you should consider as you expect to receive an offer for your company...
The 100 fastest-growing firmsSep 06, 21
By Christina Zweig Niehues | This year’s Hot Firms achieved incredible success at a time of great change and uncertainty.
The new infrastructure billAug 01, 21
By John Bray | How will the new infrastructure bill impact M&A activity in the AEC industry?
Acquisition communication and messagingJun 13, 21
By Jenny Phan & Kyle Copelin | Developing a communication program with the right messaging principles is the proactive approach...
Why you should be open to M&AMay 23, 21
By John Bray | Whether you’re an M&A enthusiast, first-time buyer, or an apprehensive seller, it would be naive to...
Improving financial managementApr 11, 21
By Mark Zweig | An experienced and competent financial manager could make a huge difference in your company’s and your...
Jerry Allen – true courage in leadershipMar 07, 21
By Mark Zweig | There are many ways to show courage, and Jerry Allen showed real courage in his willingness...
Things I’ve learned about buying A/E firmsFeb 21, 21
By Mark Zweig | If you’re trying to buy or thinking about buying another company in this business, here are...