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!

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