Thought Leader of the Year

If the middle market were a country, its GDP would rank it as the fourth-largest economy in the world, just behind Japan’s.* Comprised of over 300,000 companies with sales between $5 million and $500 million, the middle market provides a third of all private sector GDP and jobs, making it the true engine of American economic development and growth.

Yet, the marketplace has primarily focused its attention and resources on businesses at either end of the spectrum: very small, “mom and pop” style businesses or big, multi-billion dollar businesses. While it is a vital part of our economy, the middle market is often largely ignored and under served by the popular media, educators, and lawmakers.

Seeing a lack of recognition for leaders in this sector, in 2009, the Alliance of M&A Advisors (The Alliance) instituted the Middle Market Thought Leader of the Year award to honor individuals in the Private Middle Market Financial Community who create and advocate new ideas that add value to the marketplace, through the publication of works that promote research and higher standards of excellence. Furthermore, these contributions add to the body of knowledge serving as a solid foundation for The Alliance’s education and credentialing programs.

*National Center for the Middle Market, Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University

Previous Thought Leaders of the Year

2017 Thought Leader
David H. Crean, PhD
Managing Director, Objective Capital Partners

David’s thought leadership is materially expanding the investment banker’s role in serving life sciences companies and provide these companies with a highly attractive, non-diluting alternative to hard-to-secure venture capital.
2016 Thought Leader
Christopher Snider
President/CEO, Exit Planning Institute

Christopher Snider, President/CEO, Exit Planning Institute, empowers business owners and advisors to proactively embrace exit planning as a management and life planning system that enables best-in-class performance in the owner’s financial, business and personal life in his book “Walking to Destiny.”
2015 Thought Leader
Carl Sheeler
Managing Director, Global Leader of Family Offices & Business Strategies at Berkeley Research Group, LLC

Mr. Sheeler authored "Equity Value Enhancement: A Tool to Leverage Human and Financial Capital While Managing Risk." The advisory community serves a significant role in not only identifying and measuring risk associated with an operating business as part of the traditional legal and financial due diligence; but to manage the risk and leverage the human capital such that value is not only known, but is created. This work promotes strategic activities for clients who are not accustomed to a holistic approach that places as much focus on human as it does on financial capital; thereby providing the entire gamut of different types of advisors and their clients a road map to elevate intangible assets.
2014 Thought Leader
Dr. J Keith Dunbar
Founder/CEO, Potentious

Dr. Dunbar’s dissertation research in “Leaders Who Make M&A Work” found for the first time, a quantifiable correlation between collective leadership capabilities of acquirer and target companies and the particular deal’s financial success (or potential risk aversion).
2013 Thought Leader
Andrew T. Greenberg
CEO, Fairmount Partners

Mr. Greenberg received the Thought Leader of the Year award for bringing factual data and relevant thinking to the lower middle market.
2013 Thought Leader
Peter R. Worrell
Managing Director/CEO, Bigelow LLC

Mr. Worrell received the award for his book titled, Enterprise Value: How the Best Owner-Managers Build Their Fortune, Capture Their Company's Gains, and Create Their Legacy.
2012 Thought Leader
Theodore Koenig
President & CEO, Monroe Capital

Mr. Koenig received the Thought Leader of the Year award for his body of work on the introduction of unitranche debt financing.
2011 Thought Leader
Rob Slee
Roberston & Foley

Rob Slee received the Thought Leader of the Year award for his work on the seminal book Private Capital Markets: Valuation, Capitalization, and Transfer of Private Business Interests, Second Edition
2011 Thought Leader
Dr. John Paglia
Associate Dean, Pepperdine University

Dr. Paglia received the award for his ground breaking research at Pepperdine University to understand the true cost of private capital across market types and the investment expectations of privately-held business owners.
2010 Thought Leader
Chris Mellen
President & Founder
Delphi Valuation Advisors Inc

Chris Mellen, Delphi Valuation Advisors, Inc and Frank Evans, of Evans and Associates, co-authored the second edition of the book, Valuation for M&A: Building Value in Private.
2010 Thought Leader
Frank Evans
Evans & Associates

Mr Evans co-authored the second edition of the book, Valuation for M&A: Building Value in Private.
2009 Thought Leader
Dr. Arthur Laffer
Founder & CEO, Laffer Associates

Dr. Laffer was honored as the first Thought Leader of the Year Award for his book, The Private Equity Edge: How Private Equity Players and the World’s Top Companies Build Value and Wealth along with co-authors William J. Hass and Shepherd G. Pryor IV.
2009 Thought Leader
William J. Hass
CEO, Teamwork Technologies

Mr. Hass, co-author of The Private Equity Edge: How Private Equity Players and the World’s Top Companies Build Value and Wealth, is an expert on helping companies build value.
2009 Thought Leader
Shepherd G. Pryor IV
Managing Director, Board Resources

Mr. Pryor, co-author of The Private Equity Edge: How Private Equity Players and the World’s Top Companies Build Value and Wealth, is an expert on helping companies build value.


The Alliance has partnered with BKD to recognize the 2018 Middle Market Thought Leader of the Year.

BKD

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