Michelle Suárez is a partner in Holland & Knight’s Dallas office in Financial Services. She advises financial institutions, capital companies, business credit divisions and private capital funds in connection with their lending and investment transactions. Ms. Suárez has represented senior lenders throughout her 20 years of practice and, in particular, has an extensive understanding of structuring and negotiating complex asset-based credit facilities. She also has in-depth experience in senior cash flow products, tranche-B financings, leveraged acquisitions, recapitalizations, equipment financings, subordinated debt and mezzanine investments, as well as venture capital and other equity financings.
Ms. Suárez also counsels senior lenders, subordinated lenders and equity investors in the complex intercreditor arrangements critical to various types of transactions, along with workouts and restructurings for troubled investments. For large syndicated credit facilities, Ms. Suárez represents agent banks, co-lenders and participants. She also advises buyers and sellers in secondary debt trading transactions, particularly in distressed credits.
Kelly founded Milestone and serves as its Managing Director. He was responsible for developing the fundamental investment criteria and implementing the business plan by sourcing qualified acquisition candidates, evaluating targets, negotiating and closing purchases of portfolio companies, and being integrally involved in developing and implementing the portfolio companies’ growth strategies. Kelly has participated in each portfolio transaction and post-acquisition monitoring for Milestone. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of each of the Milestone portfolio companies.
Kelly holds an Accounting and Finance degree from Texas A&M University, a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law and a Masters of Law in Taxation (LL.M. Taxation) from New York University.
Kelly lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and five children. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Kelly is a very active outdoorsman who enjoys snow skiing, running, biking and golfing.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, The Bristow Group Inc.
Jennifer Whalen serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for the Bristow Group Inc. beginning in June 2020. The CFO role is responsible for overseeing our Information Technology department, company accounting, decision support, financial reporting, internal audit, investor relations, strategy and M&A, tax, and other financial functions of the Company.
Previously, she served as the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, for Era Group Inc. since February 2018. Jennifer served as the Company’s Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer since August 2013 until her appointment as Vice President, Acting Chief Financial Officer in June 2017. Jennifer joined the company as Controller in April 2012. From August 2007 to March 2012, Jennifer served in several capacities at nLIGHT Photonics Corporation, a supplier of high-performance lasers, including as Director of Accounting. Prior to these roles, Jennifer served as the Manager of Accounting at InFocus Corporation for over two years. After serving in the U.S. military, Jennifer started her career in public accounting in the assurance practice group at PricewaterhouseCoopers for approximately five years. She received a B.S. in Accounting from Alabama A&M University and a master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
Eric provides engagement leadership for consulting services practice at Crowe, LLP a global accounting, consulting, and technology firm with U.S. locations across the nation. His role includes assisting in business development and providing project management to the firm’s various specialized industry clients.
Eric is a solutions-oriented financial executive experienced working with complex and diversified organizations. He has an exemplary record of performance and comprehensive experience directing all facets of financial management. With a reputation of integrity and effective combinations of leadership, interpersonal, analytical, and technical skills he has had success in assessing processes and complex systems; working with clients to implement controls that streamline operations and achieve organizational goals.
Prior to joining Crowe, eric was a Consulting Manager with Briggs & Veselka. He was also recently the Chief Financial Officer for Eagleridge Energy, LLC, an oil & gas producer, and operator. There, he had primary responsibility for managing the company’s finances, financial risks, treasury, cash forecasting, record-keeping, and financial reporting. In addition, he supported the CEO by providing input on capital structure, securing new funding sources, and communicating with private equity ownership groups.
In addition to his financial leadership roles in industry, he has held leadership roles with “Big 4” public accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a Texas CPA and graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business, earning an MBA in Accounting.
Eric has served as a Deal of the Year Judge for the Houston Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Ernest Hunter II is the Chief Executive Officer of The Frenchy’s Companies, which includes Frenchy’s Chicken, Frenchy’s Sausage Company and Frenchy’s Restaurant Group. A business executive and former investment banker with a deep background in operations, M&A execution and providing financial advisory services to public and private companies.
Ernest has significant deal experience, including sell-side and buy-side M&A, restructuring, and debt financing. He is experienced in all aspects of deal execution. One of Ernest’s deals, ExtremeTix’s sale to eTix, a Parthenon Capital Company was recognized by the Association of Corporate Growth – Houston as Software, Technology, and IT Services Deal of the Year in the inaugural year of the award.
Ernest spent years as an active duty Naval Officer serving both home and abroad. He served on multiple ships including a deployment on a guided missile destroyer, the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51). In additional to his time at sea he served as an intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C. While there he focused on disrupting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction throughout the world.
He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Corporate Finance from Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he graduated with honors.
Current Board Participation: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (”JDRF”) – Executive Board of Directors and Promise Ball 2020 and 2021 – Co-Chair
Executive Director, Hick, Muse Tate & Furst Center for Private Equity Finance
Ken is the Executive Director of the Hick, Muse Tate & Furst Center for Private Equity Finance, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Finance at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Finance Economics, Financial Management, The Journal of Empirical Finance, Financial Analyst Journal, and The Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, and in The Wall Street Journal.
Ken has also been the COO or CFO of several companies, two of which were taken public by JP Morgan and Bear Sterns respectively, and one was sold to Oracle Corporation. Ken founded and led a restructuring firm, was the managing partner of a money management firm, has worked at three investment banking firms, and was a finance professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 17 years. Ken is a certified valuation and interest rate expert in federal bankruptcy court. He was the Chief Restructuring Officer of Turnberry/MGM Grand Towers, LLC, which concluded a multi-year bankruptcy process in 2017. He is also on the Investment Committee at LBJ Wealth Advisors and on the Board of Lawclerk.legal.
Ken was appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval and, from 2011 until 2018, was the Chairman of the Nevada Economic Forum, which estimates the level of state revenues used to establish the Nevada state budget. He is also on Investment Committee for the LBJ Family Wealth Advisors.
He holds a PhD in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).