GTE Guest Speaker: Carl Koubek

On February 8th, GTE hosted Carl Koubek for lunch and talk about his background and founding of Acta Ventures. Carl is a graduate of Boston College where he obtained degrees in both business management and finance. After receiving his degree, he interned at GSK while starting his masters of business administration at Carnegie Mellon University- Tepper School of Business in order to learn and to grow his professional network in Pittsburgh. After graduating from CMU, Carl worked for PNC as an internal consultant pitching ideas to improve the organizational design. After two and a half years of working for PNC Carl along with a partner founded Acta Ventures.

Acta Ventures looks for companies to partner with in order to grow the company into a profitable partnership. Acta looks to be a consultant to its partners in the short term helping them with technology and finance. Carl shared insights and humor with GTE about his work in both the corporate world and the consultant world as well as his background and education.

We would like to thank Carl for coming to talk to us and for the insightful advice he gave.

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Acta Ventures Guest Speaker: Thomas Freyvogel

On February 7th, 2019, Acta Ventures hosted Thomas Freyvogel, a senior associate attorney within Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group.  GTE and Acta Ventures are closely aligned and both looking for deals in the middle market. Acta and GTE frequently hold events together to help grow the CMU private equity community. Thomas holds an undergraduate degree in history and philosophy from Boston College, an M.B.A. from Duquesne University, and a J.D. from the Catholic University School of Law.  His main areas of practice at Reed Smith include corporate and securities transactions, corporate governance, and general corporate matters. Transactionally, Thomas’s work includes domestic and cross-border M&A, joint ventures, and private equity transactions, among others.

Thomas centered his discussion around two things: explaining the legal aspects of search funds, and providing a color commentary of the positives and negatives he has experienced providing counsel for search fund transactions.

Thomas explained the general procession of search fund legal documents leading up to the acquisition: first, an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) is signed, which is essentially a contract between any two parties that signifies a confidential relationship exists between them. Secondly, assuming the deal has made progress, an IOI (indication of interest) is typically signed, which expresses a conditional, non-binding interest by one party in purchasing a security of, majority or minority stake in, or entire company from an additional party that is currently in registration. Last, an LOI (letter of intent) is signed, which is essentially a more binding version of an IOI and outlines the terms of a deal and provides a grounds for deal negotiation.

The role of attorneys throughout the process depends on which party they are representing. If counsel is representing a potential seller, he or she will be responsible for analyzing IOIs and LOIs proposed by potential acquirers and ensuring that the terms are fair. If the attorney is representing a potential buyer, he or she will be responsible for formulating IOIs and LOIs that will ensure that the buyer is able to freely negotiate a price for a company without risking any legal consequences.

Thomas offered the interns invaluable knowledge about the legal aspects of the search fund process and how to know if a career in business-oriented law is right for them. GTE thanks Thomas for both his time and advice.

Acta Ventures can be found at

GTE Guest Speaker: Greg Martin

On February 1, GT Entrepreneurs hosted Greg Martin for lunch and a discussion about his career, venture capital & private equity, and current attractive industries. Greg is a Vice President at 3 Rivers Capital. He is a graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia. From there he went on to attend University of California – School of Law where he got his J.D. He then began working at Winston & Strawn LLP as an Associate Attorney. He then attended Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business to receive his MBA with concentrations in finance, economics and entrepreneurship. While at Tepper, Greg worked at Ravel Law as a Business Strategy & Development Intern and founded CaseTree and served as CEO. He then became Director and Turnaround Management Consultant at Compass Advisory Partners LLC. Later, Greg became a Senior Associate at 3 Rivers Capital.

Greg shared some insights into the many different paths to Private Equity, such as consulting vs investment banks. He talked about the different types of challenges he has faced when working with small businesses and where he finds the most initial value is. He also spoke about the ideal industries he would like to move into. He also compared the different roles he has had from practicing law to work he has done post-MBA. He talked about how his legal education has wired his brain differently to attack issues a different way which proves to be a current asset when communicating with attorneys. He also touched about the differences that he has found having worked in a large firm setting versus a small boutique firm setting. He talked about the importance of networking as it has opened many opportunities for him.

Greg was adamant that he is willing to talk with anybody about their careers and to answer any questions that they might have. We thank Greg for joining us and his wonderful talk and advice.

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GT Entrepreneurs Announces Spring 2019 Private Equity Analyst Interns

Generational Transfer Entrepreneurs (“GTE”) is pleased to announce the hiring of 17 new Private Equity Analyst interns for the spring semester. These roles were filled through a rigorous search of some of the top undergraduate programs in our area. We welcome these new faces to the team and cannot wait to see the positive impact they’ll have on our firm.

The analysts began their internship on January 14th and were separated into three teams, each headed by one of GTE’s Operators-In-Residence (“OIR’s”). They will work tirelessly to identify potential acquisition targets and present preliminary proposals to their teams. If the initial proposal is accepted by the OIR, the teams will proceed to analyze the company with financial model valuations and industry research reports. In addition, GTE regularly invites industry leaders and other guest speakers to discuss relevant topics, current events, and professional advice with our staff. Our hope is that our interns will use these opportunities to gain valuable career-related experience by developing their technical, interpersonal, and networking skills.

This is the sixth search team for GTE. These interns have ties to the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, and more. They each have their own unique backgrounds - academically, culturally, and professionally - and the diverse perspectives they bring to the company will help their fellow analysts and OIR’s grow to broaden their horizons. GTE looks forward to having our interns set and accomplish both individual and career-related goals while generating leads, evaluating deals, and formulating initiatives to move us forward. To learn more about GTE and our team, check out our website at


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GTE Event: Resume Review

Earlier this month, GTE held a resume review event for all undergrad interns. The event was lead by the Search Manager, Bobby Septak and by Operator-in-Residence Dave Jasnos. Both went through different approaches to how a resume can be organized, as well as giving advice about what the content of a resume should be. Dave introduced the interns to how the Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA program teaches its students to lay out their resumes. This includes a more direct approach to displaying the skills you want the employer to know you possess and focuses on the STAR method to communicate what skills you possess . Bobby talked about the content of your resume and how to manipulate it to work in your favor. This could be through wording are including eye-catching numbers that pique the reader’s interest.

After the presentations, both Bobby and Dave were available to meet individually to speak about how to apply the concepts on your own resume and how to best display your skills and what you want it to say. In those meetings, we talked about how the resume would be used. This included what kind of job it would be submitted for and how to use it in an interview. They talked about prioritizing certain experiences that are relevant to the job that you are applying for and reorganizing the resume so that those experiences are highlighted or at the top. They also shared advice about how employers may use the resume in interviews and how you can effectively answer those questions and steer your answers towards the topics you want to speak about and not just the ones that they ask about.

The interns highly appreciate Bobby and Dave for taking their time away from their primary responsibilities to share their knowledge on this crucial topic and skill that is writing a good resume. Furthermore, all of the GTE staff - Bobby, Dave, Gabe, and Phil - have expressed their willingness to review resumes and talk about interviews at any time as well so that anyone can get as many perspectives as possible on their resume.


GTE Guest Speaker: Jamie Van Buren

On November 13th, GT Entrepreneurs brought in Jamie Van Buren as a guest speaker. Jamie, the  Managing Director of GT Entrepreneurs, took a roundabout route that eventually brought him to investing in businesses through a search fund accelerator. He learned a lot along the way and shared with us all of his lessons in entrepreneurship.

After studying marine biology at Juniata College, Jamie gravitated towards business. He earned his MBA then went on to work in real estate appraisal. As a hyper productive worker in the residential side of real estate appraisal, he moved on to commercial real estate, even purchasing properties of his own.

Jamie’s career path soon brought him to business and operations. Staying in Hollidaysburg, he began working with a major construction materials supplier and a general contractor in the public and private sectors e. The family company he worked for focused on manufactured products and highway construction projects across the Mid-Atlantic region. With his accumulated knowledge in this industry and finance, Jamie eventually decided that he wanted to acquire and run his own company.

His research brought him to the realization that his best bet was in purchasing an already established company. Jamie implemented his search strategy, finding PennStress and closing on the deal in only 3 weeks. The company is a manufacturer of bridges, stadiums, parking garages, and even prisons, with their specialty being in the concrete erection of buildings. Before he came in and turned the business around, PennStress was a failing branch of New Enterprise.

As the current president of PennStress,  Jamie started GT Entrepreneurs to help other prospective entrepreneurs find businesses and get financial backing. The company was born out of the philosophy of eliminating the risks that usually come with search, which are the limited time frame and the difficulty of finding capital. GT Entrepreneurs has most recently successfully brought together Brenden Van Buren, Jamie’s son, and his new company, Pro Max Fence Systems.

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GTE Guest Speaker: John Nolan

On November 2 GTE hosted John Nolan for lunch and a discussion about his career, asset management, and current market trends. John is a Vice President of Retirement Solutions at PNC’s Institutional Asset Management Group. He is a graduate of Xavier University. From there he began working at Fidelity Investments as a High Net Worth Financial Representative. He then became the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Coffing Data Warehousing after he met his wife. Later he would move on to be a Financial Advisor at PNC before moving into his current position. He is also working towards completing the CFA designation.

John shared some insights into the types of work in the asset management space, such as the difference between personal and institutional asset management. He talked about the different types of customers that each side will work with and some of their tendencies, such as institutional customers being less reactionary than personal customers in volatile markets. He also compared the different roles available, like sales and advisory, portfolio management, or leadership. He said that portfolio management is a more individual role in which you are responsible for yourself and your portfolio. Sales and Advisory is a customer facing role in which you will deal with many different situations and on a daily basis. Leadership roles put you in charge of a group of people in one of the previous roles, whether it be in a broad or specific area. He also spoke about more broad trends in the market, like types of investing and different investment products available. He spoke about the differences between passive and active investing and the momentum around passive investing. He also explained different retirement accounts such as IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, 401k’s, and Target Date Funds.

John was adamant that he is willing to talk with anybody about PNC and potential positions there. He is more than happy to receive emails with questions about such things. He also gave a bit of advice around the CFA designation, if you plan to do it, start it sooner rather than later. We thank John for joining us and his wonderful talk and advice.

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GT Entrepreneurs announces Fall 2018 Semester Private Equity Analysts

Pittsburgh, PA - September 18, 2018. Generational Transfer Entrepreneurs (“GTE”) is pleased to announced that 18 Private Equity Analyst spots were filled through a rigorous search of the top Bachelor and MBA programs in the country! The company is also excited to reveal its new office in the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper Quad, the university’s new largest building located at the heart of campus!

The analysts began their internship in September 2018 and were separated into three teams, each headed by one of the Operators-In-Residence (“OIR”). The new space in the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship, where business, technology, and analytics intersect, suits well with GTE and the work the interns do. They have been identifying potential acquisition targets and presenting preliminary proposals to their teams. If the initial proposal is accepted by the OIR, the teams analyze the companies with financial model valuations and research industry reports. In addition, GTE regularly invites guest speakers and industry leaders to speak with the company on relevant topics, current events, and professional advice of their respective markets. The interns would gain valuable career-related experience by developing their technical, interpersonal, and networking skills.

This is the fifth search team for GTE. Many of the interns have ties to the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, and others. They each have their own unique backgrounds - academically, culturally, and professionally - and the diverse perspectives they bring to the company will help their fellow analysts and OIR grow personally and professionally. GTE looks forward to having the analysts learn to create individual and career-related goals while evaluating deals, generating leads, and formulating initiatives to move GTE forward. To learn more about the GTE team read our blog, and visit our website!


GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Andrew Ellerhorst

On Thursday August 2, a previous member of GTE’s team, Andrew Ellerhorst, spoke to the interns. Andrew received his Bachelor of Science in Management and Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Boston College. Upon graduating, he began to work at GE. His responsibilities ranged from tasks such as product management to audit projects. After gaining some work experience, Andrew realized he wanted to have more of an impact on what was happening on a day to day basis. Thus, he was drawn to Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business because of their entrepreneurial aspect, where he completed his MBA. Next, he found himself at GTE as a MBA Search Manager. Since then, Andrew has raised money and started a search fund similar to GTE.

After learning about Andrew’s educational and professional background, he gave the interns insight on important lessons such as how to handle a difficult or bad boss, his experience when pitching to investors, and the importance of mentorship in a career. GTE greatly thanks Andrew for his time and insight!



GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Michael Zhong

On Tuesday, July 24, GT Entrepreneurs gave a warm welcome to 3 River Capital's Michael Zhong. Michael is a University of Illinois graduate with a degree in economics and a MBA from Carnegie Mellon. After several positions in various business development roles, Michael joined 3 Rivers Capital where he now resides as Vice President. He is responsible for sourcing new deals and managing current portfolio companies. 

Michael informed the interns on his day-to-day functions and the deals he's encountered during his time in private equity. 3 Rivers Capital focuses primarily on business-to-business services or supply chain in the healthcare, IT, and energy sectors. Their recent deals include companies in nickel and chrome plating, automotive aftermarket parts, and performance wheels. Michael spoke about the challenges he faced from outside macro influences to aligning management interests and sourcing avenues of growth. 

The interns were able to gain a stronger grasp on private equity and learn more about the deal process. GTE thanks Michael for his time and insight! 

GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Tyson Smith

This past Tuesday, GTE warmly welcomed Tyson Smith of Tecum Capital. Tecum Capital is a SBIC mezzanine fund/private equity fund with over $500 million in assets under management. Some of their local investments/financing activities that you might recognize include the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and Thermal Product Solutions.

Tyson started his career at RW Baird after graduating from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. He began working in their equity research department and remained there for five years. Tyson then decided that he wanted to run a small business and purchased a Firehouse Subs franchise in Austin, Texas where he then proceeded to open three other locations. He attributes this experience to giving him a “hands on MBA”, as it has helped him relate to the business owners he works with on a daily basis. He described his current work at Tecum Capital as “about the people” just as much as it is about the financials.

Tyson answered a vast array of questions that interns had, ranging from questions about financial covenants embedded in deals to career advice and how to apply your mentality into the kind of job you wish to pursue. Tyson offered the interns invaluable knowledge about the Mezzanine field and how to best choose the career path that’s right for them. Thanks, Tyson!


GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker: Michael Venditti

On 12th August, Senior Associate at PNC Mezzanine Michael Venditti came into GTE offices to talk about his career path, work at PNC and gave us some insights on the Private Equity industry. The PA native was born and raised in Murrysville and went to Georgetown University to get his degree in Finance and Accounting. After working with Gordion Group, a boutique investment bank, specializing in a financial advisory role, he went on to work for Bacchus Capital Management as an associate, and transitioned to PNC Mezzanine to work as a Senior Associate. 

Venditti talked about the key reasons he prefers private equity over public investment, one of them being the influence that investors have over the buyouts in Private Equity whereas public investment tends to be a little passive. As a Senior Associate at PNC, he is mainly involved with family owned buyouts, introducing institutional processes and creating value and also raising capital for buyouts. 

He described Private Equity trends and reiterated the differences in public and private investment, highlighting the individual control and influence in private equity and macro trend knowledge in public investment. After going through some trends and stats in the industry, the interns had interesting questions pertaining to macro trends, exit multiples, industry specifics and types of buyouts. He gave useful answers and insights on lots of different topics and ended the talk with great advice for young interns venturing into Private Equity. Thank you, Michael!


GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Jamie Van Buren

This Wednesday July 11th, GTE managing director Jamie Van Buren sat down with interns and gave helpful insight into his illustrious career growing businesses across industries.  After majoring in biology as an undergraduate, Jamie found himself in a variety of different businesses, including real estate appraisal, heavy highway construction, and pre-cast concrete construction.

Working with project coordination, HR, risk management, and business development for a company with close to $1B in revenue, Jamie has helped to complete both acquisitions and debt-raising worth over $300M each.  PennStress, one of Jamie’s ventures, completed the Flight 93 national memorial.  He advises young people to develop their growth strategies by searching for five or six opportunities for top line growth initially, then siphoning out inefficiencies later.

Jamie is an avid runner, biker, and swimmer in his free time.  He completed a full Ironman Triathlon in 2017 with plans for another in September of 2018.  His advice for the interns: find something you love doing, and build your lifestyle around it; everything else will fall into place.


GT Entrepreneurs Announces Second Search Fund Acquisition

GT Entrepreneurs Announces Second Search Fund Acquisition

Pittsburgh, PA July 6, 2018. GT Entrepreneurs ("GTE") is thrilled to announce the closing of their second deal. Brenden Van Buren, a GTE Operator-in-Residence, has completed the final paperwork to acquire Pro Max Fence Systems, Inc., a Reading, PA based commercial fencing company. The majority of Pro Max’s work is for commercial and public fence and gate projects. Pro Max also produces sales to the residential and over-the-counter wholesale customers. Brenden will be moving to Reading and assuming the role of President with the support of the previous owner, Russ Curtier, who plans to consult for the business temporarily. The newly formed Pro Max Fence Systems, LLC has hired all existing employees and plans to provide the same great service and products.

The transition into the fencing industry will go smoothly as Brenden has an extensive background in the heavy highway and commercial construction industry. It was here that he progressed from a laborer to project manager. After his time in the construction industry, Brenden pursued his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. He looks forward to working with the current management and employees to strengthen and grow the business.

GTE Guest Speaker Series: Ron Dibiase

On Tuesday, June 26, GTE was grateful to have Ron DiBiase come into the office and talk about his experience with commercial banking. Ron is very familiar with the GTE team and the work that they do as he was the one who provided senior financing for a deal that was recently closed.

Ron began his career after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hill University in Mathematics and Accounting. His first job was as a Credit Analyst for First Commonwealth Bank and currently he serves as a Vice President Corporate Banker at First Commonwealth. While speaking about his experience, he covered and explained many topics that gave insight to the type of work he has been exposed to.  These varied from syndication, managing his own portfolio, financial covenants, mezzanine debt, and what it is like to serve middle market businesses.

Ron answered a wide array of questions that the interns asked regarding topics such as working at a smaller bank vs larger bank similar, certain financial metrics and measurements related to his work, and his own opinion and experience with the work life balance within the industry. Thanks, Ron!


GTE Helps Build Homes for Pittsburgh Families

On Friday June 15th, GTE went out of the office and into local neighborhoods along with Pittsburgh’s Open Hand Ministries.  In an effort to help low-income families become financially stable through homeownership, Open Hand Ministries rehabilitates vacant properties drawing upon donations, local contractors, and volunteer work.

GTE provided a long day of hauling, digging, demolition, and repurposing of materials—the difficult yet rewarding effort needed to jump start the wellbeing of many of these families.  With a bit of sweat and a lot of bonding, GTE is proud to make a lasting difference in its community while fostering teamwork among its ranks.

Not only did we have a great time, but we got a chance to learn new construction techniques and home rebuilding strategies, such as when to repurpose a chimney to maximize both space and heating efficiency.  Take a look at some of our pictures from Friday and see the GTE team at work!

GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Bobby Petrini

On Thursday, June 14, GTE was fortunate enough to host our third guest speaker, Bobby Petrini, a consultant at Deloitte. Bobby is a graduate of Tepper School of Business, preceding Brenden and Gabe, our Operators-in-Residence, by two years. He came to GTE to speak about his background in consulting and gave the interns a taste of his work experiences.

A University of Maryland graduate and son of a small business acquirer, Bobby was drawn to business operations, soon joining Deloitte’s consulting division out of undergrad. He quickly acclimated to the job, explaining to the interns some of the projects he worked on. Being careful not to disclose any specific names or details, Bobby walked through his duties in the manufacturing and consumer product space. He spent four years at Deloitte before pursuing his masters degree at Tepper. During his MBA studies, Bobby spent time at both EQT and Oakhill Capital, exploring acquisitions and private equity. After finishing his time at CMU, Bobby returned to Deloitte and continued consulting.

The interns did not hesitate to ask about Bobby’s experiences and his path to a career in consulting. He explained the culture of a large firm and the projects across the world he has worked on. Bobby brought with him a new career perspective and valuable insight for upcoming interviews. Thanks Bobby!



GTE Resume and Interview Workshop

On Wednesday afternoon 6th June, the GTE office paused its daily activities and turned to listen to Gabriel Chick tell us about building engaging resumes and giving impressive interviews. Gabe is one of our Operators-In-Residence (OIRs), and carries MBA experience from CMU Tepper School of Business and spent several years in the military.

 He led the workshop discussing the basics of how to build a resume in the Tepper School format, and pointed out some common oversights. He highlighted key factors like tailoring the resume for a good fit, and paying attention to the “additional information" section. He also talked about giving good interviews- what to highlight and what to avoid. He mainly discussed the importance of having a good fundamental understanding of technical concepts and having interesting questions ready for the recruiters. 

All in all, it was a valuable workshop for the interns as many are juniors and seniors in college ready to venture into the job market. The interns had several questions pertaining to listing skills in the resume, answering technical questions, brain teasers, and many others. The interns appreciate these events, talks and workshops that GTE organizes for them because it helps them grow soft skills, and gets them motivated about the field. Thank you Gabe!

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GT Entrepreneurs announces Summer 2018 Semester Private Equity Analysts

Pittsburgh, PA June 6, 2018. GT Entrepreneurs (“GTE”), is pleased to announce that eighteen Private Equity Analyst spots were filled through a rigorous search of the top MBA and Bachelor's programs in the country. GTE used a meticulous process to assess the roughly five hundred applicants and select the best eighteen candidates.

The analysts began their work in May of 2018 and have been identifying potential acquisition targets and presenting preliminary proposals to their teams. The three teams were drafted by each of the Operators-In-Residence (“OIR”). Each team has six analysts on one of three sub-groups, depending on their concentration and experience. These teams conduct company valuations through financial modeling and analysis with the mentorship of their OIRs, and gain experience working on company development teams.

This is the fourth search team for GTE. This summer intern class has a wide range of people hailing from six different US states, along with people from China, Vietnam and Tanzania. This incoming class boasts people of different ethnicities with many different talents, some being proficient in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Swahili. GTE looks forward to having the analysts learn to create individual and professional goals while evaluating deals, generating leads, building their network of professional contacts and formulating initiatives to move GTE forward. To learn more about the GTE team read our blog, and visit our website!


GT Entrepreneurs Guest Speaker Series: Drew Morris (Venture Capital)

On Friday, May 31st, GT Entrepreneurs warmly welcomed Drew Morris. Drew is a classmate and friend of Brenden Van Buren, who came to speak to interns and provide insight on the venture capital industry, startups, and the VC company he currently works for, LifeX.  

Before working at LifeX, Drew worked at General Electric in the transportation department where he explored aspects of sensors and controls with locomotives. He was at the company while the Nox scandal occurred at Volkswagen and was tasked with ensuring that GE did not produce the same mistakes in recording emissions. After his success on the project, Drew went on to pursue his Master of Business Administration at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in order to educate himself on both the technical and operational sides of a company. While at Tepper, he took an internship at Bluetree Allied Angels where he started performing due-diligence, and then eventually became an executive director. Later, he was approached by friends and was brought on as a partner at LifeX Capital.

Interns at GTE had the opportunity to ask Drew about all aspects of his job. The questions ranged from topics regarding the Nox scandal to how one would valuate companies that currently have no sales. All questions answered were accompanied with stories or experiences that Drew had faced while in the industry. For those interns who are looking to enter venture capital, Drew shed light on a wide range of challenges and rewards about the industry. Thanks, Drew!

Drew Morris



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