MMM_Podcast


A podcast dedicated to the people and ideas of the Middle Market,
hosted by Andy Greenberg (GVC) and Charlie Gifford (New Heritage Capital).

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Episode 22

Tarrus Richardson takes Middle Market Musings on a panoramic tour of the deal-making life. Tarrus is Founder and CEO of IMB Partners, a Bethesda, MD private equity fund targeting utilities and government contracting suppliers. Andy and Charlie ride along as Tarrus starts with stories about growing up in a family business in Chicago. Other stops before forming IMB in 2010: student leadership roles at Purdue and Harvard Business School, an investment fund in Ghana and a formative role at a private equity fund that counted competitive strategy legend Michael Porter among its sponsors. Common themes are the drive to compete, build value and broaden economic participation.


Episode 21

As co-founder of the Harris Williams investment bank, Chris Williams is one of the best known figures in private company M&A. Chris’s storied career hits the wall that is Middle Market Musings. He regales Charlie and Andy with tales from his early career, then moves on to Harris Williams’ path to being an industry standard bearer. We also cover Chris’s evolution into private equity investor and his current activities as a founding partner at Avesi Partners, a PE fund geared to health care and business services. Business culture as inseparable from business excellence is a recurrent theme.


Episode 20

The Private Markets Club is a group of University Delaware business students devoted to learning more about and engaging in the world of private finance. In a lapse of good judgment, the PMC invited Andy and Charlie to come in as guests. The MMM hosts quiz one another about their own origin stories, then field sharp, informed questions from Keaton Stott, Will Wallace and the rest of the club. Thought provoking, heartfelt and fun—the up and coming rock stars make the old guys work for it.


Episode 19

Jeri Harman gives Andy and Charlie a lesson in “emotional intelligence”—like building a swimming pool in the desert. Jeri is Founder and Chairman of Avante Capital Partners, a woman- and minority-owned private credit and structured equity fund. The discussion is a fast-paced tour of Jeri’s early career, the impetus to create her own fund and the importance of culture in harnessing individual “super powers.” We then turn to the concept of investing for impact while maintaining superior returns and how 2022 compares to other markets defined by systemic risk. If this one was a course at Pinehurst, it would be #2.


Episode 18

Bill Tyson is Managing Director and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions at Fifth Third Bank. During our wide ranging discussion, Bill shares stories amassed from a 37 year career spanning his time as an M&A banker, a commercial lender, and a Capital Markets specialist. He discusses the importance of culture, and how personal relationships and building trust among his co-workers has been paramount to building a winning team. Time is also spent exploring doing deals in the time of Covid, and the tradeoffs of working remotely vs. in the office.


Episode 17

Bruce Fenton takes on Andy and Charlie in a cage match for the ages! Bruce, the head of private equity at Troutman Pepper, traces his path to becoming a preeminent M&A attorney, assesses the professional landscape as represented by the combination of two storied law firms and gives his views on changes in the balance of power among actors competing for the attention of the private business owner. If you enjoy MMM’s trademark repartee, this one is like a mullet – a few minutes of party in front, all business in the back!


Episode 16

Jon Lemelman, Riverside Partners and Classify. After nearly 20 years at Boston-based Riverside, Jon has co-founded Classify, a software application devoted to creating a smarter, stress-free digital workplace. Jon share’s his perspective on deal making at Riverside, a firm at the vanguard of private equity’s evolution to industry specialization. He talks about the experiences that led to Classify, and the change in perspective involved in capital formation and business management after so many years on the other side of the table.


Episode 15

Eugene Fama is the 2013 Nobel laureate in economic sciences, widely recognized as the “father of modern finance.” Professor Fama finds himself in the wrong part of town and ends up on a podcast with Andy and Charlie. Gene Fama is direct, funny, and generous in sharing insights on the evolution of financial markets dating back to his revolutionary efficient market hypothesis, the development of private equity as an asset class alongside of public equity, and a battery of current issues like inflation and cryptocurrency. How good is he? The MMM co-hosts are stunned into good behavior.


Episode 14

Joe Conte is the Head of Strategy and Corporate Development at Standish Management, a leading fund administrator. Joe was long a fixture in middle market M&A as a managing director at Lazard before taking a senior role at Standish last year. Joe traces the evolution of the field from his early career stops as an attorney and as a young banker at Goldsmith Agio Helms. He also reflects on his recent transition from buy side to sell side and, with prodding from Charlie, shares his personal diet and fitness regimen. 


Episode 13

Jay Jester, partner at Plexus Capital, is the latest M&A luminary to spend an hour he’ll never get back with Andy and Charlie. Jay is well known as a leader in private equity’s evolution to more granular, industry-focused, relationship-based business development. He shares insights drawn from his prior experience at Audax Capital and his current focus at Plexus. Always a student of the industry, Jay chronicles the “four waves” of private equity as he has seen them. 


Episode 12

Eric Zoller is the Founder and current Partner of Sixpoint Partners, one of the largest fund placement advisors serving the middle market private equity industry. Eric traces Sixpoint’s development as an early entrant in the industry through the company’s 2019 sale to PNC Bank. Charlie, Andy, Eric have a spirited discussion about core, non-outsourceable functions in a superior private equity firm – a list once thought to include fund placement. Eric also provides his well thought out view of the evolution of private equity over the next decade. 


Episode 11

Lauren Mulholland, Founding Partner of MiddleGround Capital, burns off an hour with Charlie and Andy. MiddleGround is an operationally focused private equity fund with more than $1.2 billion in assets under management. Lauren illuminates her own background in a business family, MiddleGround’s rapid growth since its formation in 2018, the actual differentiation that comes from an operational focus, and the importance of the firm’s commitment to principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Globalization (DEIG). 


Episode 10

Sean Mooney, Founder and CEO of BluWave, stops by.  BluWave is a fast-growing provider of best-in-class resources to more than 500 private equity funds. Andy and Charlie drill into how BluWave evolved from Sean’s own background in private equity, the particulars of the business model, and what the business itself says about signature trends in private equity—higher valuations, compressed returns, greater industry specialization and heightened pressure to capture growth and operational improvement. All that, plus the usual Masterpiece Theater-level back-and-forth between the two hosts. 


Episode 9

David McIntyre, former CEO of Centra Industries, kicks off our fall season. Centra, now part of Precision Castparts Corp, is a Canadian manufacturer of airframe components. Dave tells the Centra story, with high points including his acquisition of the business from his father in 2004, an equity investment from New Heritage Capital in 2007 and a successful exit to PCC in 2012. Today he races fast cars at Ontario’s famed Motorsport Speedway and possesses a world class wit—as evidenced by the first few minutes of our conversation.


Episode 8

Glenn Oken, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Mangrove Equity Partners, and one of the most productive middle market deal professionals of this generation. He and his partners have completed 150 platform acquisitions across nine fund vehicles. He discusses Mangrove's intensely operational approach, the merits of concentrating on the $2-to-8 million EBITDA tier of the market, and his recent fondness for Spanish reds.


Episode 7

Graeme Frazier is the co-founder of GF Data, the leading provider of data on private middle market M&A transactions, as well as President of Private Capital Research, a provider of buy-side business development services. Graeme shares his unique views as a practitioner and analyst in the middle market. He brings his trademark patience to encounters with two old friends.


Episode 6

Tom Danis, Jr., Managing Partner and co-founder of RCP Advisors, is the latest industry titan to stop by. Tom charts RCP’s path as a pioneer in “fund of funds” investing. He comments on changes in return expectations over the past 20 years, including increased emphasis on the select group of PE funds able to sustain top performance. He shares his take on the competitive world of direct investment. He responds to a characteristically long-winded question from Andy, while ignoring characteristically unhelpful commentary from Charlie.


Episode 5

Pam Hendrickson, vice chair of The Riverside Company. Pam charts Riverside’s evolution from middle-market buyout shop to $11 billion global multi-style asset manager—including the productive dynamic that enabled Riverside to complete 60 transactions during the pandemic. The guys quiz her on her industry leadership role, including her understanding of ESG investing as a dimension of political risk management. Finally, Pam shares insights from her on the difference between private equity investing and her passion outside of work—cooking.


Episode 4

Phil Colaco, CEO of Deloitte Corporate Finance, takes his turn in the hot seat. Phil shares his perspectives on entrepreneurship and how technology has infiltrated almost every industry, and how working for luminaries like Hugh McColl and Erskine Bowles shaped his career. He also talks about the importance of developing a culture of inclusion as well as his philanthropic passions. Charlie and Andy compete to show that they are well-rounded people, too.


Episode 3

Joe Watkins has been a business owner, investor and observer in the flavors & fragrances industry for 40 years.  He was co-owner of Hagelin Flavors Technologies prior to its sale  to a European strategic buyer. Joe shares his perspectives on the challenges—and eventual rewards—of operating a successful business. The guys draw out Tales from a storied and well-traveled career. 


Episode 2

Peter Kaufman, the President of Gordian Group, a New York-based distressed M&A firm.  Peter shares his views on the current state of the restructuring market and on what makes special situations bankers a different breed.  He discusses his passion for and investments in the wine industry, and his fledgling career as a golf journalist. He jumps in with the guys as a world-class giver of grief.


Episode 1

Michele Masucci, a leader in Nixon Peabody’s healthcare practice. Michelle shares what it was like to live and work with front-line care providers in New York the early days of the pandemic, and offers insights on the healthcare industry in its aftermath. She defends her college classmate Andy against outrageous assaults from Charlie.





Insight. Reflection. Humor. The Best of the Middle Market.

Charlie Gifford Charlie Gifford
Senior Partner
New Heritage Capital

I’ve worked in the Middle Market for more than twenty years. Over that time I have met some extraordinary people, each with a unique story to tell. While we all know that the world doesn’t need another podcast, Andy and I are hopeful that you’ll enjoy listening and learning about each individual profiled. Half business, half human interest, half insightful, half irreverent. Yes, that’s lots of halves to cover. And aiming to do so in around 30 minutes of time. We hope you will give it a listen, and let us know what you think.

Andy Greenberg Andy Greenberg
CEO
Greenberg Variations Capital

For the past 15 years, I’ve been an investment banker and a publisher of M&A data. This combination has afforded access to a lot of information on deals. But information alone is not insight. The tagline for this podcast is “people and ideas of the middle market.” Each time out, we ask our guests to share a fresh perspective, to reflect on issues beyond what is on their schedule for the day, and to be good sports with two guys who—as my kids say, “think they are funny.” We hope you find these interviews worth your time.