James Ashton – Member of the Advisory Board
Mr. Ashton is the founder and CEO of Ashton Capital Partners. He has an extensive history of acquiring, running and turning around manufacturing organizations. He maintains a strong reputation for successful transactions and for excellent post-acquisition execution. For the first 25 years of his career, Jim was responsible for impressive financial and operational results as general manager in ultra-large scale operations, building complex products including F-16's, nuclear submarines, and oil well drilling equipment. The last 12 years Mr. Ashton has focused his attention on the world of private equity both as a deal maker and as an operational CEO/Chairman. He has achieved significant success with companies in many diverse industries and is still considered a worldwide expert in composite materials. Jim is published as a recognized authority in management philosophy and leadership. He has a B.S. from University of Iowa, a M.S. and Ph.D. from MIT, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Jess C. Ball – Member of the Advisory Board
Mr. Ball has been active in the Operational side of Investment Banking for over 20 years doing leveraged buyouts of under-performing industrial businesses. Prior to that, he worked at General Electric for over 21 years. For the past 20+ years, Mr. Ball has worked as either a CEO, Consultant or Board Member for a variety of companies in the Plastics, Pneumatic Tool, Metals, Chemical, Food Processing, Textile Printing, Packaging, Automotive Parts, Motor Coach, Flooring, Infant Products, Laminate and Home Care Markets. Revenues for each of these businesses have ranged from $50 Million to $1.0+ Billion. Functioning in many roles including that of a consultant, Mr. Ball has financial interests in several companies in a variety of businesses. Mr. Ball has an Electrical Engineering Degree from West Virginia University and an MBA-Marketing from Rutgers University. Mr. Ball is past President of the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Graduates of Electrical Engineers.
Frank V. Cespedes – Member of the Advisory Board
Mr. Cespedes is a Senior Lecturer in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School. He was a professor at HBS for 15 years specializing in strategy implementation, marketing and organizational design. At Harvard, he has developed and taught a variety of MBA and executive courses; led the Strategic Marketing Management program for senior executives, and was co-lead of the Sustainable Market Leadership program for CEOs. He currently teaches the TEM course in the MBA program as well as modules on aligning strategy and sales in the Owner President Management (OPM) executive program. From 1995 to 2007, he was Managing Partner at the Center for Executive Development (CED), a firm that delivered training and advisory services in areas related to strategy, leadership, and organization. He has consulted to companies in many industries, is affiliated with private-equity investors, and has been a Board member of Evenflo, HALO Industries, start-up firms, and the Education for Employment Foundation (EEF). He is the author of seven books, including Concurrent Marketing: Integrated Product, Sales and Service (Harvard Business School Press); Going To Market: Distribution Systems for Industrial Products (Harvard Business School Press); Organizing and Implementing the Marketing Effort (Addison-Wesley); and Sales Management (Harvard Business Fundamentals Series); as well as articles in Harvard Business Review and other business and management periodicals. He received his B.A. from City College of New York, M.S. from M.I.T., and Ph.D. from Cornell University.
Robert S. Matteucci – Member of the Advisory Board
Mr. Matteucci is the former CEO of Evenflo Company, Inc., a privately-held, leading manufacturer of juvenile products in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Evenflo holds leading market share positions in Feeding Products(Evenflo Brand), Professional Breastfeeding Products(Ameda Brand), and Activity Centers(Exersaucer Brand), plus maintains a strong presence in Car Seats. Rob led Evenflo from July, 2005 to September, 2009. During that time, Evenflo delivered record profit/profit margins and a strong cash position in 2006/2007, leading to a successful company sale at 3x invested capital to shareholders in 27 months. Rob also orchestrated the purchase of Ameda Breastfeeding Products in 2008, which has exceeded acquisition economics in both Year I/II, providing profitable topline sales growth to the company. Following the severe global recession in 2008 which dampened profit and cash short-term, Evenflo’s 2009 profit rebounded by 25%. At the same time, the company successfully secured fresh capital and lowered debt in a financial restructuring that created a solid financial foundation for additional growth moving forward. Prior to Evenflo, Rob enjoyed a successful career with Procter & Gamble, where he held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility over 27 years. His last assignment was Division Vice President at Clairol, Inc., where he led a record integration into P&G after a 2001 acquisition, and was head of the worldwide hair color operations. He also had a leading role in the 2004 acquisition of Wella. Rob earned a Masters of Business Administration degree in Marketing/Finance from Vanderbilt University’s Owen School, and a BA in Political Science/Economics from Denison University. He serves on several community service boards—including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund, and the University of Arizona Eller College of Management.