Holdings provides financial services to entrepreneurs, businesses and investors at the “Middle Market” level in North America, Europe and, ultimately, in Asia. The Middle Market, as seen by the Company, consists of small and mid-sized public and private companies (typically those with less than $1.0 billion revenues/market capitalization), aspiring and successful entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurial companies with impressive track records and solid business models, as well as opportunistic, special situations (e.g., “distressed, under-appreciated, and turnaround” situations). Holdings targets businesses with revenues and market capitalizations below $250 million, as well as investors focusing on such entities. A Company goal is to promote job creation through investment and business growth.
The Company’s model is to provide high quality financial products and services to the Middle Market both directly and through subsidiaries, affiliates, and a network of strategic joint venture partners which Holdings intends to establish, all constituting a “Virtual Financial Services Platform.” These Platform participants will cross-market their products and services to, as well as source opportunities from, numerous and various entities. Holdings intends to develop its Platform so as to be able to pursue a strategy of one-stop shopping for its clients through its collaboration with larger firms for the delivery of certain financial products and services.
The Company, both directly and through its Virtual Financial Services Platform, aims to tailor a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of a market believed to be underserved by financial services companies as a result of the consolidation that has occurred in the global financial services industry in the past 25 years. Holdings intends to focus its activities in the Middle Market through an investment in a U.S. business development corporation, and the acquisition of a North American merchant bank or one or more specialty finance companies.
Dr. Craig A. Zabala
Co-Founder, Executive Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Zabala is also the Founder, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Concorde Group, Inc. since 1998; Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blackhawk Capital Group BDC, Inc., since 2004; Co-Founder, President and Director of Concorde Europe Limited (United Kingdom), since 2001; Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
of DBL since 2000.
From 2015 to 2019, Dr. Zabala was a Registered Representative at John W. Loofbourrow Associates, Inc., an investment bank in New York City. From 2007 to 2013, Dr. Zabala was a Registered Representative at Torsiello Securities, Inc., a FINRA member broker dealer, in New York City. From 2010 to 2011, he was Managing Director of Merchant Banking at 787 Capital Group LLC, a privately-held merchant banking firm in New York City. Dr. Zabala was responsible for building787 Capital's investment banking advisory and merchant banking businesses in the U.S. and globally and working with the owners and executive management of 787 Capital in developing the firm’s client base of qualified institutional buyers (“QIBs”), family offices, and ultra-high net worth individuals under a joint venture with The Concorde Group, Inc.
From 2002 to 2003, he was a Registered Representative and an Investment Advisor with Brean Murray & Co., Inc. in New York City. From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Zabala was Senior Vice President of Merchant Banking and Investment Advisor with Trautman, Wasserman & Company, a merchant bank and broker dealer in New York City under a joint venture with Concorde Group. From 1997 to 1998, Dr. Zabala was Vice President and Investment Advisor, Private Client Group, Merrill Lynch & Co., New York City. From 1996 to 1997, Dr. Zabala was an investment banker at Baird Patrick & Company, Inc., New York City. Prior to this, from 1994 to 1995, Dr. Zabala was an Acting Chief Financial Officer and Investment Banker at Gilman Securities, Inc., family office, in New York City. From 1992 through April 1996, Dr. Zabala was Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Golf Reservations of America, Inc., Sherman Oaks, California. From 1989 to 1990, he was Assistant to the President and Investment Banker and Vice President of Corporate Finance at D.H. Blair and Company, an investment bank and broker dealer in New York City.
From 1998 to 2002, he was Scholar in Residence and Visiting Lecturer at the Zicklin School of Business and the Department of Finance, Graduate School, Baruch College, City University of New York, where he taught MBA courses on entrepreneurial strategy and a M.S. degree in Finance course on investment banking. From 1991 to 1993, Dr. Zabala was a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at the Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley teaching courses on entrepreneurship, venture capital and applied finance. From 1990 to 1991, he was Visiting Fellow at the School of Industrial and Business Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, England. From 1986 to 1990, he served as Assistant Professor of Management at the School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, New York. Dr. Zabala was a Doctoral Fellow conferred by the U.S. Senate (1979 to 1981) and an Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor (1979 to 1982) and an Economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce (1982 to 1986) in Washington, D.C. During part of his career in Washington, D.C., he was also employed full-time as an autoworker from 1976 to 1983 at the General Motors Assembly Division, General Motors Corporation, Van Nuys, California, where he worked and also carried out research on production relations for his doctoral research on the U.S. automobile industry.
Dr. Zabala received his A.B., magna cum laude, Pi Gamma Mu and Phi Beta Kappa, in 1974, and Chancellor Fellow conferred by the Graduate Division (1974 to 1983) leading to the M.A. in 1977 and Chancellor Fellow and Doctoral Fellow, conferred by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of Labor (1979-1981), for the Ph.D. in 1983 and postdoctoral scholar in 1986 from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also pursued postgraduate studies in production theory and econometrics in the Department of Economics, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. in 1983 to 1985 and studied finance with a focus on globalization and central banking at the Center for Financial and Management Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, United Kingdom from 2013-2015. Dr. Zabala is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Finance at EDHEC-Risk Institute, École des Hautes Études Commerciales du Nord, Nice, France. From 2016 to 2019, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UCLA, and a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany.
Dr. Zabala is Member of the Board of Visitors at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2016 and is also a Board Member of the Dean of Social Sciences Centennial Campaign Committee for UCLA’s 100th Anniversary in 2019.
Dr. Zabala has published widely in academic books and journals in the fields of business, economics, finance, industrial relations, management, sociology, and federal government and financial services industry publications.
Robert Jeffery Owens
Co-Founder and Director
Mr. Owens is Co-Founder and Director on the Company’s Board of Directors since January 16, 2015. Mr. Owens has been a Director on The Concorde Group, Inc. Board of Directors since 2000, Director of DBL Holdings since 2000, Director of Blackhawk Capital Group BDC Inc. since 2004, and Director of Concorde Europe Limited in the United Kingdom since 2001. He founded and operated Owens Concrete Construction Company in 1978 until 2000, when he sold the company and joined Concorde’s Boards.
Robert M. Fujii
Co-Founder, Secretary, Special Assistant to the President, Vice President and Director Nominee
Mr. Fujii is a Co-Founder and has been Vice President and Secretary of Concorde Group Holdings, LLC since January 16, 2015, Vice President and Secretary of Blackhawk since April 22, 2004,
Vice President and Secretary of The Concorde Group, Inc. since 1999, and Vice President and Secretary at DBL Holdings LLC since 2000. From 1993 to 1999, Mr. Fujii was a financial consultant to Craig A. Zabala & Company, a business consulting company in New York City. From 1992 to 1993, Mr. Fujii worked as a financial analyst for Nichirei Foods America sales office in San Francisco. From 1979 to 1992, Mr. Fujii worked as the Supervisor of Budgets and General Accounting for Varian Associates, Inc., a manufacturer of scientific measuring instruments, located in Walnut Creek, California.
Mr. Fujii received his BA in Biochemistry in 1971 from the University of California at Berkeley and an MBA in International Business and Finance from the Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley in 1993.
Kevin A. Young
Co-Founder and Vice President
Mr. Young is founder and co-owner of K and K Masonry (established in 1993) in Omaha, Nebraska
Gerald L. Brodsky
Chief Operating Officer and President Nominee
Gerald L. Brodsky is Chief Operating Officer of the Company and will assume the position of President. Mr. Brodsky has more than 45 years of experience on Wall Street. Mr. Brodsky has recently been acting as an independent expert witness/consultant with respect to capital markets and valuations matters, as well as supervisory, risk management and compliance activities at regulated broker-dealers. His most recent employment position was that of Chief Compliance Officer and
Anti-Money Laundering Officer at Dinosaur Financial Group LLC, a mid-sized registered international broker-dealer. Prior to that, he was Managing Director/Chief Operating Officer of Emerald Point Capital LLC., a firm that raised capital for private equity and hedge funds. Previously, Mr. Brodsky was a Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal Dispute Analysis and Forensic Services, LLC and prior thereto was a partner at Bates White, LLC in Washington, D.C. Mr. Brodsky was Chief Operating Officer and Director of Investment Banking at Harmonic Research, Inc., a NASD member broker-dealer in New York with investment banking, merchant banking and asset management businesses. Previously, Mr. Brodsky was Managing Director of Corporate Development and Investment Banking at Maxcor Financial Group, Inc., a publicly traded inter-dealer broker, and, before that, he was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Investment Banking at Southcoast Capital/Brenner Securities Corporation. Prior thereto, Mr. Brodsky was Managing Director and Capital Markets (Derivatives) Credit Manager at Bankers Trust Company, where he developed its on-line derivatives credit management and reporting system, coordinated all derivatives-based credit-related initiatives, and was the Business Manager for the newly-established Credit Derivatives business line. Before that, he was Managing Director and Director of the Investment Banking Department at Mabon Securities Corporation.
Prior to the above, Mr. Brodsky was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer in the Corporate Finance Department at Drexel Burnham Lambert, where he managed the four committees that reviewed and approved all investment banking transactions (and was personally involved in the execution of approximately 500 transactions in the middle market and high yield areas) and developed and managed the department's rapidly-growing operating infrastructure. Mr. Brodsky began his career as an investment banker in the Corporate Finance Department at Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc., where he was the day-to-day relationship manager for numerous Fortune 100 companies. He personally closed more than 100 financial transactions in a broad spectrum of product/service areas, including public and private debt (taxable and tax-exempt) and equity financing, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, project finance, leasing, derivative products, principal investments, venture capital, and corporate financial advisory services.
Mr. Brodsky received his MS in Operations Research and Finance from the MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Robert S. Tull, Jr.
Director Nominee of Asset Management
Mr. Tull has agreed to assume the position of Director of Holdings’ asset management business
and will join Holdings’ Executive Committee. Mr. Tull is an experienced senior executive specializing in business development, product development, financial infrastructure technology, and project management. His product experience includes the design and launch of 400 exchange traded funds (ETFs) in both domestic and international markets, technology and infrastructure redesign for Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, SunGard, WBI Investments, Old Mutual SA, American Stock Exchange, Bankers Trust, State Street Bank, Philippines Stock Exchange, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Turkish Central Depository, MSCI. Mr. Tull has served on the board of BDCs, funds and investment advisors in multiple capacities. He has been Chief Operating Officer for several ETF issuers, and Bankers Trust after its purchase by Deutsche Bank, Executive Director of AMEX ETF Services and Vice President of New Products at the American Stock Exchange for ETFs and index construction methodology. He was named inventor on multiple patents for various financial instrument. He has consulted for global financial institutions, issuers of public securities and international government agencies.
His work included replacements for legacy systems, disaster recovery platforms, business continuity planning, Y2K and EMU modifications. Mr. Tull has been President of Robert Tull & Company since 2013. Prior to this, he was Chief Operating Officer at Factor Advisors, specializing in leveraged commodity ETFs (four beta) from 2010-2013; Chief Operating Officer at Old Mutual Global Index Trackers, managing operations of U.S. domiciled ETF business with South African service providers from 2008-2010; Chief Operating Officer, MacroMarkets, where he designed and obtained regulatory approval for a patented ’33 Act ETP called MacroShares using Robert Shiller (a founding shareholder of MacroMarkets) and Chip Case’s patent, and took the company public on the NYSE from 2005-2008; Executive Director and Vice President New Product Development, American Stock Exchange from 2000-2005; Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at Deutsche Bank/Bankers Trust from 1996-2000; Vice President, Morgan Stanley, developing its global technology platform called TAPS, and other technology platfors including commodities, equities, global custody, futures, stock loan, futures settlement and margining, and MSCI index data business units from 1982-1996; Bullion Trader and Operations Manager at Drexel Burnham Lambert in 1982; and Silver Trader at Phillips Brothers from 1980-1982, where he traded interest rates and physical arbitrage strategies and foreign-exchange transactions related to bullion transactions. His first clients at Philbro were the Hunt Brothers and foreign and central banks.
Michael K. Woodwards
Co-Founder and Vice President
Mr. Woodwards is the owner and President of Lakewood Rent-All (founded in 1969) since 1993. Lakewood Rent-All is a party, special events, and homeowner equipment rental destination company. From 2000-2003, Mr. Woodwards was a board member of the City of Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, Lakewood, California.
Mr. Woodwards received his B.S. degree in Business Administration and Finance at California State University, Long Beach in 1982.
Eric D. Lipetz
Senior Advisor to the President
Mr. Lipetz was Managing Director of New Business Development for The Concorde Group from 2004 to 2007, and was on leave, acting as an Advisor, from 2007 to 2009. Mr. Lipetz has been Executive Vice President of The Concorde Group, Inc. from 2010 to present. He will celebrate his 59th year of Wall Street experience as a financier of both private and public companies in 2019.
Mr. Lipetz commenced his Wall Street career in 1960 at Purcell & Co. He then worked at Frumkes & Co. and Charles Plohn & Co. where he was a junior partner. He later worked at Scheinman, Hochstein and Trotta, Inc., Steiner Rouse, Inc., and Gruntal & Co. He took companies public and financed many firms with equity and debt in the emerging growth markets in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, he worked closely with Houlihan, Lookey, Howard, and Zukin, Inc., Menorah Gaon and April Investment in Israel and the Shemano Group in San Francisco. Mr. Lipetz retired in 2001 and returned from retirement to join Concorde in 2004. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1958 to 1960.
Mr. Lipetz received his B.A. in Sociology and History from Wesleyan College, West Virginia, in 1958.
John A. Fee
Director of Technology Investments Nominee
John Fee has been an executive of the Company since 2016, and will assume the position of Director of Technology Investments of the Company. During the past four years, he has been responsible for business development at, and has been a member of the Board of Directors of, three ventures--AiCare, P3 Technologies, and NrDrive. Mr. Fee’s venture experience includes an angel investment in Renren, a Chinese social media company which attained a market capitalization of $4.1 billion at its initial public offering.
From 2008 to 2014, Mr. Fee, a Co-Founder, served, initially, as Chief Technology Officer of 10C Technologies, Inc., responsible for company research in Budapest, Hungary, the US-based development of engineering prototypes of battery chargers, laboratory algorithm testing, and patents, while assisting with marketing and sales modeling, and product lifecycle management. Subsequently, as Chief Executive Officer of the company, he had responsibility for sales and marketing, research and development, and the company’s financials accounts.
From 2004 to 2008 Mr. Fee was an MCI Fellow at MCI Telecommunications. His primary responsibility was the initial examination of all new technologies in areas such as Packet Access Aggregation (metropolitan area to backbone), Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Internet Protocol (IP), and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) optical networking systems. His responsibilities also included review of 50 startup companies in the aforementioned space while performing due diligence for the $500 million WorldCom Venture Capital Fund, specifically financial, technical and risk analysis review. From 2001-2004 Mr. Fee was a consultant to White Rock Networks, assisting the company in systems, networking, and optical design interface, as well as marketing support.From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Fee served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Systems, Network Technology, and Product Management of, and was on the Board of Directors of, Avanex Corporation, a fiber optics-based products company. He was responsible for development of advanced optical processing components, product line management, patents, tradeshow booths and company launches. The company’s market value at its initial public offering on February 4, 2000 was in excess of $ 2 billion.
From 1987 to 1997, Mr. Fee was with MCI Telecommunications as a senior executive staff member responsible for driving the development of advanced transmission and access technologies. His accomplishments included an eight-year role as MCI’s T1X1 voting standards representative, international acceptance of an ITU-T 100 GHz optical wavelength channel plan (an industry first), and numerous other multi-million and multi-billion dollar projects. From 1977 to 1987, Mr. Fee was employed in the single mode fiber and cable industry, establishing measurements and qualification programs at General Cable, ITT EOPD, and Corning Glass works, where he was instrumental in the development of single mode fiber and cable for the industry.
From 1973 to 1977, Mr. Fee worked at the Traffic Engineering Department in Knoxville, Tennessee while pursuing his Master of Science in Industrial Engineering degree at the University of Tennessee. He won the Engineers Day Award for design of the first=in-Tennessee microprocessor-based traffic control system. Mr. Fee also managed the federally-funded City of Knoxville traffic control system project designed to maximize traffic flow for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville.
During his career, Mr. Fee has been issued and coauthored numerous patents in the USA and in foreign countries, for his work in semiconductors, optical fiber, networking, routing, statistical manufacturing, echo cancellation, medical, efficient energy management, harmonic balancing, and system optimization. Mr. Fee has received a number of honors for his career work, as well as honors relating to his personal life. He has been featured in a number of publications and media channels during the course of his career.
Mr. Fee attended the University of Tennessee, receiving the following degrees—BS in Electrical Engineering, 1987 and MS in Industrial Engineering, 1977.