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).
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.
Professor of Finance at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University
Gustavo Grullon is Professor of Finance at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. He received his B.B.A. in finance and economics from the University of Puerto Rico in 1991 and his Ph.D. in finance from Cornell University in 1998. He has been a faculty member at the Jones School since 1998. He currently teaches a course on mergers and acquisitions and a course on corporate financial policy in the MBA program and a corporate finance course in the Ph.D. program. Prof. Grullon’s research covers a wide range of topics in empirical corporate finance, such as how firms determine their investment, financing, and payout policies. His research also provides rational explanations to several documented anomalies in the asset-pricing literature, such as the closed-end fund discount, the tendency of investors to buy familiar stocks, the drastic increase in idiosyncratic risk during the internet boom, and the effect of managerial flexibility on firm value. His research has been published in the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Business, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and the Journal of Financial Intermediation. His research has been featured in the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He received the Jones School’s Award for Scholarship Excellence in 2006.
Ms. Nelson is the president and founder of Greenridge Advisors, LLC, an energy services and equipment consultancy. Ms. Nelson advises her clients on strategy development, capital allocation, acquisitions and divestments, and infrastructure development.
Prior to founding Greenridge, Ms. Nelson was an officer of SCF Partners, an oilfield service and equipment-focused private equity firm. She started her career with Amoco Production Company in variety of planning, project management and engineering roles. Ms. Nelson holds economics and mechanical engineering degrees from Rice University and an MBA with Distinction from Harvard University.
In addition to serving on several private company boards during her tenure at SCF Partner and Greenridge, Amy Nelson currently serves on the board of directors of APA Corporation (NASDAQ:APA), Patterson-UTI (NASDAQ: PTEN), and Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc.(HLX).