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Highlander Partners Announces Promotions and New Professionals

DALLAS – January 10, 2017 – Highlander Partners, L.P., a leading middle market private equity firm that invests primarily in food and beverage, industrial and manufacturing, and consumer product industries, recently announced a number of promotions and appointments.

Highlander recently realigned the executive management of the firm by promoting Michael R. Nicolais and Jeff L. Hull.  Mike, Highlander’s Co-Founder and previous President, was named Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  Jeff was promoted to President of the firm, in addition to his current role as Managing Partner.

“Mike and Jeff are talented individuals that through their combined leadership have guided Highlander in generating outstanding investment returns, while developing a very successful firm with a high integrity culture among its team,” said Laurence E. Hirsch, Chairman of Highlander. “We also believe this establishes a long-term succession plan for the firm and the team as we look forward to our continued successes.”

Highlander also announced the appointment of Mark A. Blanchat to Partner.  Mark joined Highlander in 2012 and has been instrumental in building its industrial portfolio of companies, including in his current roles as Chairman of both Versatex Building Products and Custom Extrusions Holdings.  He spearheads leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and growth financings within a variety of industries, with a focus on optimization of operations and financial matters within various Highlander portfolio companies.

“We are very happy to recognize Mark with his new title and believe he will continue to deliver outstanding results and contributions to our firm,” noted Mr. Nicolais.

“In the dynamic and ever-changing private equity environment, Highlander is constantly striving to find and recognize outstanding professionals that will excel in our working environment,” added Mr. Hull. “We are very excited to announce several other promotions and new professionals that have recently joined the firm.”

Additional promotions include:

Nicholas E. Thicksten has been promoted to Vice President.  Nick assists Stanley Bould, Head of Alternative Assets, in overseeing the alternative and liquid assets under management by the firm.  He assesses new and existing equity investments and monitors the firm’s liquid investment portfolio.  He joined an affiliate of the firm in 2008 and transitioned to Highlander in 2013.  He holds a B.S.B.A. in Financial Management/Investments from the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Donald J. McNamara was promoted to Associate.  He joined the firm in 2014 as an Analyst.  J supports the private equity team on buyout, recapitalization, and growth financing transactions. He is focused on conducting due diligence and supporting the day-to-day activities in the transaction process. He holds a B.B.A. in Corporate Finance from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, and will be attending Harvard Business School in August 2017.

New Professionals include:

Doran E. Smith recently joined the firm as Associate General Counsel after serving as general counsel for a family office with significant business and real estate investment interests in the Pacific. She garnered extensive M&A experience practicing in the Washington, D.C., office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, as well as the Dallas office of Andrews Kurth and honed her real estate development expertise advising resort developers as an attorney with Case Lombardi & Pettit in Honolulu. In addition to significant transactional experience, she holds a J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law, and a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas at Austin. Doran serves as the legal liaison to Highlander Partners’ portfolio companies.

Ben R. Slater recently joined the firm as a Senior Associate.  From 2012 to 2016 he was a Senior Analyst at Tipp Hill Capital Management, a hedge fund based in New York. Prior to Tipp Hill, he served as an Associate at AlpInvest Partners (a subsidiary of The Carlyle Group) in New York from 2007 to 2010 and was an Investment Banking Analyst at Banc of America Securities in New York from 2005 to 2007. He holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.  Ben focuses on leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and growth financings across a variety of industries.  He is responsible for providing analytical support, assessing potential investment opportunities, managing due diligence, executing the transaction process and working closely with portfolio company management teams.

Robert B. Koudelka is joining the firm as an Analyst.  Most recently Bobby served as a Business Analyst with Deloitte Consulting.  He holds an A.B. in Mathematical Economics from Princeton University.  Bobby’s focus will be on analyzing potential investment opportunities, performing company valuations and building financial models to support the transaction process.

About Highlander Partners
Highlander Partners, L.P. is a Dallas-based private investment firm with over $1.2 billion of assets under management. The firm focuses on making investments in businesses in targeted industries in which the principals of the firm have significant operating and investing experience, including food and beverage, industrial and manufacturing, consumer products, and others. Highlander Partners uses a “buy and build” investment approach, creating value by helping companies grow organically and through acquisitions. For more information, visit www.highlander-partners.com.