Inside Scoop from the Captains of Industry … And a Buyer for Your Business
At the WCH UBS Speakers’ Forum Luncheon featuring Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson, Club member Jim Sorenson mentioned that his client, Triad Pipe & Steel, was looking to sell. Club President Evan Betzer introduced Jim to Club member Chris Krummel, CFO of Enventure Global Technology (EGT), at a private lunch a few weeks later, which ultimately led to EGT’s acquisition of Triad in October 2006.
Lunch with Your Friends… and $85 MM in Funding
One transaction involved the funding of an $85 million real estate project which was pitched to the Deal Flow Lunch by a WCH real estate developer Jim Noteware and funded by an attending investment banker from WCH member Charlie Elliott’s investment bank, Howard, Frazier, Barker, Elliott. Noteware has followed this project with others and has continued collaboration with HFBE.
Career Networking … and Key Employees
Wharton alumnus Phil Cromer is Director of Human Resources at Continental Carbon, a Houston-based carbon black manufacturing firm. Phil came to a Wharton Career Networking Group in the spring of 2005 to meet some alumni and do some networking, anticipating that a search for a new CFO. Six months later, Wharton alumus Tom Carroll joined Continental Carbon as VP and CFO. He and Phil add to the Wharton alumni involved with the company, as its President, Kim Pan, is a Wharton MBA, and The Koos Group, the Company’s Taiwanese owner, is run by Wharton MBA graduate Leslie Koo.
Fellowship … and a New Floor Plan
As the CFO of an oilfield services company (and WCH member) reviewed an expiring office lease for his company, he asked a commercial real estate broker/developer (and WCH member) for advice. In a few short weeks, the CRB was able to identify better quality space for the growing company in a location with easier access, and to save the oilfield services company money --- definitely a win/win!
Industry Research… and a New Job
Houston native Anh Dang returned home after eight years of banking in New York City. A Wharton alumna, Anh began coming to Wharton meetings, including the Career Networking Group. Anh wanted to make a switch to commercial real estate, and received industry referrals and contacts from many of the Wharton alumni she met. WCH Board Member Mary Jo Martin introduced her to a friend who introduced her to a former Wulfe & Company broker who had started his own company. He then introduced her to Ed Wulfe. Several weeks later, Anh was offered a job by Wulfe & Company.
Great Friendships…and Consulting Projects
Joan Gallagher and Marla Driscoll served on the board of the Wharton Club of Houston together for nearly two years. Soon after Joan joined El Paso as VP of HR for their Exploration & Production business, the President asked her to spearhead a project to review and redesign business processes. Joan asked Marla, a business process design specialist, to submit a proposal. Marla’s firm competed in the process with several larger firms and was selected to perform the assignment.
Holiday Cheer… and $25 MM in Equity
Over drinks at the 2002 holiday party, Steven Vosko learned of a deal that WCH member and investment banker Evan Betzer was putting together to acquire a paper mill and referred him to a Canadian fund that supplied a $25 MM equity commitment.
Community Support… and a New Employee
Wharton alumnus, Doug Heguy, a manager at Merichem (a technology, service and chemical company serving refinery and energy clients), contacted the Wharton Club of Houston regarding the club’s Hurricane Katrina relief effort, making the team aware of several positions he was trying to fill. While no hurricane victims contacted the Club for help, another member of the Wharton Club of Houston was able to refer potential candidates to Heguy, one of whom was hired as a Business Development Manager.
Informative Speakers… and a Pipeline Deal
During her previous employment at Torch Energy, WCH member Joan Gallagher attended a speaker’s breakfast and mentioned during introductions that her company was looking for pipelines to invest in. The next day, WCH member Evan Betzer had a meeting in the offices of Stoneworth Financial with a pipeline deal promoter. The two were introduced and several months later, Torch Energy closed on the “Joan Pipeline.”
Opportunities in Houston… and Around the World
Aristide Tchamdjou was looking for a job in the energy sector that would expose him to his native West Africa. A regular attendee at WCH events, Aristide learned during one event of an opportunity with Tenaris and contacted WCH member and Tenaris manager, Emmanuel Toutain. Emmanuel put Aristide in contact with the head of the group that was hiring. Aristide was called in for an interview and offered a job on the West Africa team.
Networking… and New Clients
While the Deal Flow Lunch has not brought one WCH money manager any new clients from the Wharton Club of Houston, it has allowed her to network with other business school clubs where she has won at least one new client.
Job Leads That Work
In early 2004, the WCH established the Career Networking Group to assist members with hiring, job hunting, and career development. At one meeting, WCH member Ron Orsini mentioned to Brian Swain that Reliant, which Ron had just left, was looking for a product manager. Brian was interested and qualified and asked for the names of several Reliant VP’s, whom he called. By the following afternoon, Brian was interviewing for the position, which he received a week later.
Good Food… and Problems Solved
Techcess Group, an IT outsourcing company started by Hugh Sazegar, has obtained a handful of major clients --- and the majority of its new business in one year --- from Deal Flow Lunch attendees or attendee referrals.
A Chance Question...and a New Client
WCH Board Member Mary Jo Martin asked a Deal Flow Luncheon attendee who was looking for funding for company expansion plans a follow up question on new store location decisions and gained a new client for market research and analytics to help the company understand their customers better.