The Special Adviser Program

Bringing top advisers to you

The Special Adviser program brings highly talented experts into the search fund ecosystem as potential board talent. Competent and engaged operating directors can accelerate a new CEO’s ascension up the management learning curve. As one CEO said, “We all want to go faster, but sometimes we need some help to show us how to go faster.” Today, at the entrepreneurs’ invitation, Pacific Lake team members and Special Advisers fill over 35 director seats throughout the search fund ecosystem. These successful operators and experts can also be tapped to provide industry guidance or broader advice.

These individuals are primarily successful, former operators, who are excited to work with the next generation of Search Fund entrepreneurs.

advisors meeting at clambake

Special Advisers

 

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Richard Reese

CEO Leadership Expert

Richard Reese is the former Chairman and CEO of Iron Mountain. When Richard took over Iron Mountain in December 1981, the firm had 70 employees and $3 million in sales, mostly from storing documents in several underground vaults in the Catskills. Over the past 25 years, Richard turned the Boston-based company into an industry giant. Iron Mountain now has 17,000 employees and $2.3 billion in annual sales, a market capitalization of over $5 billion, and stores documents and data on five continents.

Richard, a graduate of Harvard Business School, now resides in Florida.

Richard Reese

Dennis Dracup

CEO Leadership Expert

Dennis Dracup has more than 30 years of operating and board experience in technology-enabled services. As Chairman and CEO of Language Line for fifteen years, Dracup helped grow and scale the company into the largest language interpretation company in the world. Under his leadership, Language Line increased its revenue tenfold from $40 million to $400 million – a feat he attributes to “hard work and focusing on the right industries and clients, with the best product out there to win those clients.”

Dennis Dracup currently serves as Chairman of the Board to Morningside Translations.

Dennis Dracup

David Wendell

M&A Expert

David Wendell has more than 25 years of experience in scaling service businesses. He was a key driver as Iron Mountain grew from $5 million to over $1 billion. David served as President and COO the last five years of that spurt, integrating 60 acquired businesses. Subsequently, David led BirdDog Solutions from startup to industry leader in several logistics specialties.

David has BA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

David Wendell

Harold Ebbighausen

Operations Expert

Harold Ebbighausen was the Group President, North America Operations of Iron Mountain. In 18 years with the company, Harold held a number of key leadership roles and operating positions. In 1996, he was hired as Vice President of the company’s Data Protection business. Through a series of 17 acquisitions, he helped grow the company from $12-15 million to $150 million within five years. During this time, he managed over 1,000 employees, increased customer count to 50,000, and drove improvements in margin performance by over 700 basis points. Harold was promoted to Executive Vice President in 1998 and President in 2000.

Harold stepped into the role of Group President, North America Operations in 2004 and was tasked with integrating Iron Mountain’s three divisions (records management, data protection, and secure shredding), while rationalizing the management structure by market and improving customer service, operational efficiencies, and financial performance. When he began, Iron Mountain was a $1.1 billion business with over 10,000 employees. Within five years, it grew to $1.7 billion in revenue, maintained 150,000 customers, and employed approximately 9,000 people. In 2008, Harold was elevated to President, North America and was asked to lead the company’s Digital business. Here, he helped return the division to profitability and oversaw its sale.

Harold has also held a number of management roles in other services-based organizations, such as INSCI Corporation, Anacomp, and Endata. Prior to assuming these operational-based positions, he was in sales and sales management at Pitney Bowes and Metropolitan Life.

Harold Ebbighausen

John O'Connell

M&A Expert

John O’Connell is CEO and Co-Founder of Wind River Environmental (“WRE”), the largest provider of non-hazardous liquid waste services in the Northeast. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Hudson, MA, WRE has pursued a roll-up strategy in the liquid waste industry, having completed more than 55 acquisitions. WRE services customers from Maine to Maryland from 20 service locations. The company owns four wastewater treatment plants, including a waste-to-energy facility in Lancaster, PA, where it transforms grease and food waste into electricity. Prior to WRE, John had a successful career in IT, Finance, and Operations in big-box retail, having held senior positions at Marshalls department stores, Sears, and most recently as Vice President of International IT at AutoZone.

John holds a BS from Southern New Hampshire University and an MBA from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University. John is presently on the Board of Directors of Fast Water Heater, a Seattle, WA, based company that provides water heater service and installation from Seattle to San Diego and Vector Disease Control International, a Little Rock, AR, based company specializing in mosquito control and aquatics management throughout the US.

John O'Connell

Phil Rosenbloom

Finance Industry Expert

Phil Rosenbloom has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is currently the Managing Director at Bearence Management Group, a Regional Insurance and Risk Management firm. As an insurance advisor, Phil works closely with business owners in many different industries; his specialties include: manufacturing, real estate, wholesale distribution, and business services. Before his time at Bearence, Phil was President and Co-Founder of Rosenbloom & Rosenbloom, Inc (R&R), an insurance agency he managed from its inception in 1994, until its acquisition by Bearence in 2008. During Phil’s tenure as President, R&R grew its premium writings from $5 million to over $40 million.

Phil, a graduate of Stanford University, has also served on the Boards of Discovery Outsourcing, a successful Search Fund acquisition, and many non-profit institutions, including The College of Visual Arts, Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service, and the Jewish Community Center of Minneapolis. Phil, his wife of 30 years, Tammie, and their three children, make their home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Phil loves to spend time in northern Minnesota kayaking and waterskiing.

Phil Rosenbloom

Graham Weihmiller

Franchise / Site Expert

Graham Weihmiller is the CEO of BNI International. Prior to BNI, Graham led Griswold Home Care and Financial Health Services – two businesses he acquired in 2009. Before leading their recapitalizations in 2012, he made improvements across their operations. Under his leadership, Griswold Home Care grew from 100 locations primarily on the East Coast to over 230 locations across the U.S. During that time, it was ranked #140 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 and was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the Philadelphia area.

Mr. Weihmiller is a frequent speaker on investment and operations strategies and has recently participated in seminars at Harvard Business School, Stanford University, and Georgetown University. He’s currently Chairman of Griswold Home Care, Chairman of Financial Health Services, and a consultant and mentor for various middle market businesses across a range of industries. Prior to leading the investment in Griswold Home Care and Financial Health Services, he led a team at American Franchise Company, LLC to originate and review investment opportunities in service businesses. Before that, he led major performance improvement projects at Bank of America in Charlotte and New York City.

Mr. Weihmiller received his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was elected section president and awarded the MBA Award for service to the University. He received his undergraduate degree in Finance from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Graham Weihmiller

Ken Kirkham

Healthcare Expert

Ken Kirkham is the CFO of Carillon Assisted Living. Ken joined Carillon in 1998 and served as its COO for 15 years before transitioning to CFO in May, 2016. Prior to Carillon, Ken worked at KPMG and later ran entrepreneurial ventures, including serving as the COO of Bono’s Pit BBQ restaurant chain. Throughout his career, Ken has developed extensive financial and operational experience, including expertise in the start-up, turnaround, and merger and acquisition fields.

Ken graduated from Pace University in 1980, receiving both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in four years

Ken Kirkham