Senior Industry Partners
Paul Block has over 30 years of management experience within the consumer products and food industries, bringing transformational leadership, lean operational capabilities, and marketing / brand reinvigoration strategies to a number of companies during his career. Most recently he served as CEO of SVP Worldwide, a leader in the sewing industry with products marketed under the Singer, Husqvarna/Viking, and Pfaff brands in over 150 countries around the world. Prior to SVP, Mr. Block was the President, CEO, and Chairman of Merisant Company, a global portion pack sweetener company. At Merisant, he led a turnaround and restructuring of the business followed by a period of growth during which the company increased EBITDA by 20% and repaid all of its debt, ultimately resulting in its successful sale to a strategic buyer. He was previously the President and CEO of Sara Lee Corporation’s U.S. coffee division, and held various senior leadership roles within Allied Domecq PLC, Groupe Danone, Guiness / United Distillers Vinters, and Miller Brewing Company.
Mr. Block is a graduate of Kent State University and completed an Advanced Executive Program in General Management at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Charles Entrekin is a senior executive and expert in primary metals manufacturing, fabrication, and distribution, leading international public and private corporations and producing varied product lines in a changing economy and industry. Chuck is the Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer of Melior Resources, Inc., a Canadian company that owns and operates an ilmenite ore mine in Australia. He is also on the Board of Directors of Sierra Rutile Ltd, a Sierra Leone miner of rutile ore, and of Gautier Steel Ltd./Gautier Specialty Metals (a New State portfolio company).
Previously, while working for Safeguard International Fund, Chuck was Managing Director of London and Scandinavian Metallurgical Co. in Rotherham, England and was President and CEO of Timminco, Inc., a Canadian producer of magnesium and silicon metals. Chuck was also president and COO of Titanium Metals Corporation (TIMET).
Chuck received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Materials Engineering from Drexel University, he earned an M.B.A. degree from the University of Delaware, and graduated from Lehigh University with a B.S. in Metallurgy and Materials Science.
Erika has 30 years of experience across Telecommunications, Medical Device and Healthcare Industries, with global supply chain experience in Strategic Sourcing, Lean Process Re-engineering, Supply Chain Optimization and Logistics management. Most recently, Erika was VP, Supply Chain Operations and Lab Integration at National Dentex an asset owned by Welsh Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Erika began her career at Nortel Networks where she spent 18 years, ultimately leading the Global Accounts Supply Chain organization in Asia Pacific. Erika worked at Beckman Coulter, a Danaher company, spearheading restructuring and Supply Chain optimization. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto, earned her Chartered Professional Accounts certification from CPA Canada and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
James M. “Mike” Laisure is a 40 year veteran of the industrial manufacturing industry, with global experience in the Industrial, Automotive OEM and Aftermarket, Heavy Truck OEM and Aftermarket, Recreational Vehicle, Agriculture, Mining Equipment, and Engine markets.
Mike is currently CEO of Fluid Routing Solutions (FRS), a Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive supplier formerly known as Mark IV Industries. FRS designs and manufactures fluid and fuel handling systems. Mike acquired FRS in partnership with Sun Capital Partners in June 2007 and subsequently led a corporate restructuring and operating turnaround that increased EBITDA from a negative level to $32 million by 2012. FRS was sold to a strategic buyer, Park-Ohio Holdings Corp., in 2012 for an 8x cash-on-cash return to the company’s equity investors.
Mike is a director at American Railcar Industries, Inc. and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Previously, he was President and COO of Remy International, a supplier of rotating electrical motors to automotive, commercial truck and off-highway OEMs and aftermarket customers. Before joining Remy, Mike served as President of Dana Corporation, where he worked in positions of increasing responsibility for almost 30 years. As President, Mike was responsible for the Automotive Systems Group, the larger of Dana’s two Strategic Business Units (SBUs). His SBU included 34,000 people in 176 facilities and 32 countries and accounted for $7 billion of Dana’s $9 billion in revenue. Dana is a supplier of axle, driveshaft, engine, frame, chassis, and transmission technologies, employing 46,000 people and serving OEM customers that include Ford, DaimlerChrysler, BMW, General Motors, and Toyota.
Mike attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, received his Master of Business Administration from Miami University, and graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Frank Lazaran is a 36-year veteran of the retail food industry. He was most recently Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Marsh Supermarkets, Inc., a multi-format regional food retailer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He led the Company through a successful turnaround effort. Marsh operates nearly 100 supermarkets under such well-recognized brands as Marsh Supermarkets, O’Malia Food Markets and Mainstreet Markets.
Prior to his appointment at Marsh, Mr. Lazaran served as Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., a publicly traded company and one of the largest supermarket chains in the Southeast. In addition, he was Chairman of the Board of Bahamas Supermarkets Ltd. He was recruited to Winn-Dixie following several years as President of the Randalls Division of Safeway, Inc.
He joined what was then Randalls Food Markets, a family-owned Texas supermarket chain of high-volume locations operating under the Randalls banner in the Houston and Austin markets and the Tom Thumb banner in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. He began as Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising, his role soon expanded to include logistics and was named President following the acquisition of Randalls by Safeway, Inc.
Mr. Lazaran was an integral member of the team that guided Randalls through its 1999 merger with Safeway, managing the integration of technology systems, accounting principles and retail procedures. Under his leadership, the company successfully launched key initiatives that were emerging trends in retailing.
Prior to joining Randalls, Mr. Lazaran was Group Vice President of Sales, Advertising and Merchandising for Ralphs Grocery Company in Compton, California, where he began his supermarket career as a sacker. He quickly rose to a senior management position, guiding the multi-billion dollar company’s sales, advertising, marketing, store design and bakery and service deli divisions.
Mr. Lazaran earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from California State University in 1978. He also attended the Food Institute Marketing Executive Program at the University of Southern California.
Frank has over 35 years as a senior executive and general manager of small and large businesses in commercial and public markets. During his career he has led domestic and global businesses, primarily in technology.
Most recently, Frank spent 16 years at Dell, Inc. where he led a series of multi-billion dollar businesses: as vice president and GM for the North American Small and Medium Business Group, as VP/GM for the Public Business Group which serves the government, education and healthcare markets, and as VP global sales and integration for Dell’s Global Software Business. Frank has significant expertise in business strategy, M&A, partnerships, sales, marketing, customer support and operations.
Prior to Dell, Frank was president of Psion North America, a British company that developed and marketed hand-held technology for consumer and industrial applications. Prior to Psion Frank held leadership positions at Bain and Company, a global strategic consulting company. He also held engineering and manufacturing management leadership positions at Procter and Gamble.
Frank is currently on the board for NWN Corporation, a technology and cloud computing business. He was previously on the board for Cycle Computing, a provider of supercomputing utilizing cloud based infrastructure. Cycle Computing was successfully acquired by Microsoft.
Frank has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.
Jordan Reber has led significant organizational change in companies, driving value through operational focus.
As the former CEO of US Gold Holdings and various executive roles at The Hertz Corporation, Jordan demonstrated deep experience in operations , finance, and business development as well as leading both buy and sell side M&A transactions. At US Gold, Jordan Reber was responsible for managing a portfolio, include direct response marketing brands, a marketing services company and a beverages business. Jordan led two acquisitions to add to the portfolio then led a process to sell the consolidated entity. During his tenure, core EBITDA more than doubled through implementation of an innovative customer experience revamp, packaging redesign, operational execution of strong cost control measures, and integration of an ERP system.
Previously, Jordan served in a number of senior positions at The Hertz Corporation. He served as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer and was also a member of the Global Senior Management Team. Jordan’s responsibilities included various P&L management roles in both car and equipment rental divisions. While at Hertz, Mr. Reber led several domestic and international acquisitions, including Cinelease, a standalone entertainment services company where he served on the board. During his tenure at Hertz, Jordan was frequently used as a public presenter at conferences and investor presentations.
Jordan, a United States Marine Corps veteran, holds a B.A. degree from the University of Maryland and an M.S. degree in Commercialization from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Jordan has also completed advanced studies at the Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and he holds a Six Sigma Greenbelt.
Andrew Sekel, Ph.D. is a senior health care executive and investor with over 30 years of experience. As chief executive officer of specialty networks for Optum, he oversaw behavioral health, complex medical conditions, and physical health services that improved the overall health and well-being of individuals in the employer and health plan markets, as well as beneficiaries in Medicaid, Medicare, and other local, state and federal programs. These services included comprehensive management of mental health and substance abuse care, support for evidence-based treatment decisions, development of “Centers of Excellence” networks that provide access to clinically superior care for people with complex medical conditions, and musculoskeletal support services.
Dr. Sekel has extensive experience in both the commercial and public sector health care markets. Prior to assuming his role with Optum, he was vice president of business development for the specialty division of Centene Corporation in St. Louis, MO. Previously, he co-founded and led several behavioral health management companies in Texas and California, including Group Practice Affiliates, Integrated Mental Health, and Tejas Behavioral Health Services. As a leader of these companies, Dr. Sekel created integrated health care programs, processes and initiatives that provided the highest quality care for patients.
Dr. Sekel earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, Master of Education degree in special education and Doctor of Philosophy degree in counseling psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Wake Smith has over 24 years in the commercial aviation industry. Wake led the purchase of Pemco World Air Services in 2007 in partnership with Sun Capital Partners and served thereafter as CEO for four years.
Previously, Wake held positions as Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and as President of FlightSafetyBoeing. Wake commenced his aviation career in 1990 at aviation consultancy SH&E, where he became Vice President and leader of the firm’s bankruptcy and restructuring practice and advised either the Debtor or the Unsecured Creditors Committee in such reorganizations as Eastern, Pan Am, TWA, America West, Continental, Rich International, Western Pacific, Express One, and Business Express.
Wake earned a B.A. in History from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard.
Maureen has spent her career focused on advising corporate executives and boards on the execution of strategic and financial transactions for publicly-traded, privately-held and not-for-profit healthcare services companies, globally. Her passion for healthcare began early in her career, as a practicing medical surgical nurse in a large academic teaching facility and has continued throughout her 30-year investment banking tenure. Currently, Maureen advises private equity firms in their evaluation of potential healthcare investments and serves on corporate boards. Her specific areas of expertise include all types of providers, payors and companies that sell into and out of providers and payors.
Maureen’s investment banking experience began as a Partner at EY Corporate Finance, moving to Merrill Lynch as Managing Director and Head of their Healthcare Strategic M & A Practice, to Managing Director at the Global Healthcare Corporate Finance Practice of UBS. Maureen was a Managing Director at Morgan Keegan Healthcare Investment Banking and was Managing Director and Co-Head of KPMG Healthcare Corporate Finance prior to her retirement from investment banking.
Maureen sits on the Boards of Austin Pain, LLC, a New State Capital Partners portfolio company, Excelin Home Health, a Corinthian Capital portfolio company, and Effective School Solutions, LLC, a Havencrest Healthcare Partners portfolio company. In addition to her private equity Board positions, Maureen is Chairperson of the Board of Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP), the national accrediting body for home health, hospice and private duty nursing and sits on the Advisory Board of the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Maureen received an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a MS in Health Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Nursing from the State University of New York at Albany.