The men and women of Acorn are our competitive advantage. Their passion and proven experience in the aerospace, defense and intelligence industries is unmatched. With decades of combined experience our team operates with integrity, determination, deliberation, commitment and humility.
Capital Management Team
As the managing partner of Acorn, Rick Nagel leads the strategic direction of the firm and it's portfolio assets.
Nagel first served Acorn as an Advisory Board Member and in 2004 joined as a partner, launching the firm’s private equity practice. He leads and is responsible for Acorn’s current geographic footprint, fund operations, fundraising activity, investment deal generation, portfolio integrations and performance improvement initiatives.
Prior to joining Acorn, Nagel was with Platinum Equity as part of their operating team, where he led several revitalization and transformation strategies that spanned high growth enterprises and successful turnarounds. In this capacity, he managed and helped lead several companies in Platinum’s information technology and telecommunications portfolio, which included DCA Services, Matrix Telecommunications and numerous bolt-on acquisitions. He joined DCA in 1995 before WorldCom divested it to Platinum in 1997...more
As a senior partner and serving as the chief financial officer, Morton manages and oversees the financial management of the firm, it's funds, and its portfolio companies. He plays a critical role as part of the capital management team with efforts related to identification, negotiation, due diligence and acquisition. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.
Morton has more than 30 years of financial management experience, as a senior manager with both Ernst & Young (formerly Arthur Young) and Deloitte & Touche (formerly Touche & Ross), and as the chief financial officer of numerous public and private, small to medium sized companies, in various industries including energy, food services, publishing, government contracting and banking. He has also been an entrepreneur, developing a multi-unit restaurant company he later sold.
Prior to joining Acorn in 2005, Morton served as...more
As a senior partner, Robert Hinaman leads Acorn’s mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance functions, which include developing relationships with intermediaries, directing the outbound calling and sourcing program and managing the acquisition process from evaluation through due diligence, financing and closing. Hinaman has broad transactional experience in the aerospace and defense industry on a global basis and he assists the firm in executing it's strategic direction objectives.
Hinaman joined Acorn in 2007 as a managing director and has been involved in the acquisition of all but one of the current portfolio of companies, domestically and abroad. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm, especially in it's capital raising activities, and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.
Hinaman spent the initial part of his career in Europe and was managing director of mergers and acquisitions for Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical...more
Darryl is a career aerospace and defense executive with more than 40-years of experience in the national security domain. As a Senior Partner he is engaged cross-functionally in the activities of the firm but specializes in supporting the development, optimization, and operationalization of portfolio company growth strategies and operational capabilities. His affiliation with Acorn Growth Companies began in 2004 when he joined as a member of the board of advisors.
Wilkerson transitioned from his advisory role in 2006, and joined Acorn as Vice President of Strategy and concurrently, as President and CEO of its first acquisition. Under his leadership, what began as a small-business aftermarket parts and components engineering and development company was repositioned to respond to the growing needs of the defense intelligence community. In a brief period of time, the company added a significant amount of IP, aircraft systems engineering, design, development, and integration...more
As a partner, Bradford leads Acorn’s portfolio and risk management practices, which includes developing proprietary macro, sector, and subsector research and performance monitoring capabilities. Bradford also participates in the firm’s due diligence efforts and serves on the investment committee.
Prior to joining Acorn, Bradford was a portfolio manager for Millennium Partners, a $20 billion+ hedge fund in New York, where he was responsible for a team of four and $750 million, which included an aerospace/defense book. Before Millennium, he was a senior analyst at Vollero Beach Capital Partners, a $1billion market neutral hedge fund based in New York, where he was responsible for building out the industrial investing capability at the firm.
Bradford started his career as a mid-cap aerospace/defense analyst for Citadel Investment Group, a $20 billion+ hedge fund based in Chicago and then transferred to Delos Investment Management, where he was responsible for trading...more
Agnew has spent his 20-year career in the financial services industry in both investment banking and advisory and equity research roles, the vast majority of which have been focused on the aerospace, defense and government contracting markets. Prior to joining Acorn, he established the U.S. Aerospace, Defense and Government Contracting investment banking group for Canaccord Genuity, working closely with the firm’s international offices and leading its efforts in the sector globally. During this time, Agnew gained significant experience advising private companies and public Boards of Directors. Prior to Canaccord, Agnew spent 10 years at FBR Capital Markets, eventually leading the firm’s ADG investment banking practice and completing both merger and acquisition and financing transactions for public and private companies. Prior to FBR, he was with Quarterdeck Investment Partners (now Jefferies), where he focused on mergers and acquisitions in the aerospace, defense and government...more
Partner and Executive Vice President, Finance
As partner and executive vice president of finance, Laura Siegal is responsible for providing accounting, financial and business leadership to the enterprise including the acquisition of and financial planning for Acorn and it's portfolio companies seeking to improve the financial performance of each company under management.
Siegal is a public company director and results-oriented leader with over 30 years of experience providing strategic guidance and operational oversight, with a passion for business success and talent growth. She has significant experience with strategic initiatives addressing opportunities and changing cycles resulting in successful business transformations. Her strengths include developing talent, integrating domestic and international teams, providing technical and financial oversight for public equity offerings, private placements, public and bank debt offerings, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and interactions with the SEC. During her career...more
Partner and Chief Operating Officer
As partner and chief operating officer, Gregory Bloom is responsible for the profitable growth of Acorn’s operating companies – serving as a member of select boards and actively involved in due diligence, integration, optimization and growth of Acorn’s companies.
Bloom has spent the majority of his 28-year career dedicated to the aerospace and defense industry leading the growth agenda for several successful companies. He also serves as an advocate for the industry through the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and other influential associations.
Prior to Acorn, Bloom served as the president of Seal Science, Inc., an aerospace and defense contractor in Southern California since 2001. He also served as the president and CEO of MSM Industries, Inc., in Corona, California, as an operating general manager and financial executive at KB Home and was the founder and CEO of SAFC, a boutique investment corporation. Bloom began his career in corporate finance as an investment...more
As partner at Acorn, Henry Gregson is responsible for identifying and managing direct investment opportunities and transactions in the European market.
Gregson has spent 29 years in private equity during which he has made 25 investments, managed 29 investments, invested £881 million of equity and has achieved an average money multiple for investors of 3.1x.
Gregson is the founder of GR Investment Partners, a firm that focuses on investing it's own and third-party money into UK and European mid-market private equity transactions whose enterprise values range from €5 million to €200 million.
Prior to founding GR Investment Partners, Henry was managing director in the London office of HIG European Capital Partners, a mid-market European private equity investor, a partner at Pamplona Capital, a €1.3 Billion fund based in London, and before that, he spent several years at the private equity arm of Royal Bank of Scotland, where he led a number of successful...more
Vice President, Finance and Chief Compliance Officer
As vice president of finance and chief compliance officer, Woodruff is responsible for the analysis, financial reporting, tax planning, insurance and accounting-related functions of the organization. He provides critical support in the areas of due diligence and integration of new acquisitions. He also serves as chief financial officer for the Finance portfolio.
Woodruff brings more than 15 years of financial and operations management experience with both large, public companies and privately-held startup organizations. His background includes technical areas of operations, finance, treasury and accounting. As finance director for a division of Chesapeake Energy, and most recently CFO for a private-equity backed services firm. Woodruff was a member of the leadership team responsible for the formulation and execution of the short and long-term strategic plans, while ensuring timely access to capital resources. His extensive experience includes profit and loss responsibility...more
Vice President, Human Resources
Crick serves as the vice president of human resources for the firm’s portfolio of companies. She is responsible for managing the HR managers from each of Acorn’s portfolio companies, benefit providers and brokers. She brings her expertise in recruitment, writing policies and employee handbooks, as well as benefit management to the firm.
Prior to joining Acorn, she spent years mentoring and leading teams to build corporate HR departments, and assisted multiple companies to grow both organically and strategically. As director of Human Resources for Select Energy Services, Crick was instrumental in leading a strategic expansion of growth from 1000 employees to more than 6,200 over a 4-year period.
Crick graduated from Central Texas College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She served many years on the Lake Dallas ISD School Board of Trustees, currently sits on the Aerospace Employer Advisory Board for COWIB and is very active at Woodland Hills Baptist...more
As a managing director, Matthew Ritchie is responsible for executing operational due diligence for new acquisitions, portfolio company strategic development, implementation of portfolio company operational enhancements and identifying new direct investment opportunities.
Ritchie brings extensive operational and transactional experience delivering growth outcomes in the aerospace and defense sector. Prior to joining Acorn in 2018, Ritchie was a senior manager at Northrop Grumman serving in leadership roles in program management, strategic planning and corporate development for the $4.5 billion technology services sector. In this capacity, Ritchie held operational responsibility for manned military aircraft sustainment and modernization programs for U.S. and international customers; design and deployment of long-term growth strategy for military logistics, cyber operations and training systems businesses; and execution of M&A candidate identification and post-merger...more
As controller, Lisa Henning provides accounting, finance, benefits and human resources support for the management and portfolio companies. She manages the accounting and HR teams, overseeing the financial process, policies, procedures and records maintenance.
Prior to joining Acorn, she worked for Advanced Academics, a division of DeVry, managing the company’s financial aspects and supporting operational processes and project implementation. Henning spent the first 10 years of her career working in various public accounting firms.
She currently serves as the School Board President of Harding Charter Prep and is active in the school’s parent organization.more
Associate, Investor Relations
Sappleton supports Acorn’s fundraising and investor relations efforts with current and prospective investors.
Prior to joining Acorn in 2015, Sappleton was a project manager for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce under the Global Division. In this capacity, she supported efforts to recruit new companies and investment into the state and aided existing companies exporting products overseas. She also managed international events that supported the agency’s lead development efforts.
Sappleton graduated with honors from Oklahoma Christian University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business.more
Tyler serves as an associate and is responsible for providing financial information and support to Acorn’s management team by preparing and reviewing accounting transactions.
Prior to joining the firm, Tyler was the controller for Tenluke Management, where he was responsible for day-to-day accounting operations as well as producing financial statements and analyses. A senior accountant for Stingray Energy, where he supported management with financial accounting operations and an external auditor in public accounting.
Tyler earned a B.S. in Accounting from Bacone College and is a certified public accountant.more
Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Kimberly coordinates various activities for Acorn, focusing primarily on support to the marketing, outbound deal generation and investor-relations teams.
Prior to joining Acorn, Kimberly served in several administrative and management capacities with well-known brands including ThyssenKrupp Elevator, Williams and Chesapeake. Her expertise incorporates office management, facilities services and project management. She served as an Associate Director of Operations for a regional dental organization.
Kimberly graduated from Southern Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Studies - an interdisciplinary major that draws from the fields of family studies, sociology, psychology and communication.
Kimberly is a mother of three children and volunteers her time with United Way, Bethany Public Schools, and as a mentor to elementary school children.more
As Acorn’s founding partner, Jeff Davis has provided leadership in all aspects of the firm’s operations and portfolio development activities, and currently manages the firm’s services and finance portfolios.
Davis serves on Acorn’s governance and investment committees and supports Acorn’s investor relations’ functions. He is heavily involved with deal sourcing, due diligence, transition support and portfolio management.
Prior to joining Acorn, Davis spent time in both the private and public sectors. His public sector life has included responsibilities in government contracting, incentive management and bond financing, while his private sector experience has included technology business start-ups, including a private company focused on distance learning and e-commerce. He launched Acorn in 2000 as a seed-level investment boutique and incubator in aerospace and defense before the firm shifted it's focus to later stage opportunities in 2004.
Davis is a member of the...more
Gregory G. Wedel is the managing member of Remington Capital, LLC, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States. Remington has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate, oil and gas and other alternative investments. Wedel has led Remington since it and its predecessors were established in May of 1989.
Wedel is the managing member of Wedel Rahill & Associates, CPA’s PLC, a public accounting firm established in 1984. He is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as an independent director of Bancfirst Corporation and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc. and numerous other private companies. He has also served on board positions of charities. Wedel currently serves on the Oklahoma Dental Foundation and is a Trustee of Oklahoma Christian University.
Wedel earned a...more
G. Rainey Williams, Jr. is president of Marco Capital Group A Limited Partnership, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States. Marco has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate and other alternative investments. Williams has led Marco since it and it's predecessors were established in 1989.
Williams is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as lead independent director of BancFirst Corporation, and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc.
Williams is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. He has also held significant offices and board positions for numerous charitable organizations including the United Way of Metro Oklahoma City, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and YMCA Retirement Fund in New...more
Bob has spent more than 40 years working with corporate and government clients on challenging management, operational and financial management issues. Prior to his retirement, Bob led the U.S. Public Sector practice at Deloitte & Touche LLC and served as their vice president. He is on the board of the Executive Committee of the East West Institute, Aspen Group and Austin Council of Foreign Affairs, and is the former chairman of the Advisory Council of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Bob also serves on corporate boards and LLC management committees including Bunker Energy Partners LLC, Access Health Care, Paratus Diagnostics, Hawk Apparel and Talent Guard Advisory Board. He also serves as an advisor to Ayata, Nuero Chaos and Britton Hill Investment Partners LLC.
He has authored several books and articles on public policy and management issues, and served on the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on the Federal Deficit.
In 2013, Bob was chosen...more
John DeBlasio is founder and executive director of the GPD Charitable Trust as well as managing partner of Bootstrap Capital LLC. Both were established following the sale of Sallyport Global Holdings in June 2011 where John was previously owner. The foundation was established to assist at-risk youth as well as to promote democracy world-wide and has made several significant grants and partnerships since inception. Bootstrap Capital has focused on investing in strong entrepreneurs leading growth stage companies.
As owner of Sallyport Global Holdings, John built an organization which employed more than 1,900 people worldwide and became the largest provider of security and facilities management services to USAID prime contractors operating in Iraq as well as a primary contractor for Department of Defense and Department of State work in Central Asia and Africa. John is a 1989 West Point graduate who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve Civil Affairs branch and...more
Carl Edwards is a partner of Price Edwards & Company, the largest Oklahoma-based commercial real estate service company.
Carl serves as chairman of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, a local foundation that owns and operates a $100+ million bioscience research park at the OU Health Center. He is a member of the board of trustees of the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust. Carl is also a member of the board of trustees and chairman of the Oklahoma Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust (better known as the MAPS for Kids Trust).
Carl's other involvement includes: a member of the board of trustees and the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and chairman of the Technology Transfer Committee, member of the board of directors of i2E, member of the board of directors of Downtown OKC, Inc., president and CEO of Oklahoma Business Roundtable, past chairman of the board of directors of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and presently, a member of the...more
Randy Groom has one of the most comprehensive resumes in the general aviation industry. Groom has been a professional in the general aviation industry for nearly 40 years, holding positions ranging from flight instructor and charter pilot to the Executive Vice President of Piper and the President of Beechcraft. He is a general aviation leader of unquestionable integrity and enthusiasm for the business.
Randy began his aviation career as a flight instructor; in fact, he was one of the youngest contract flight instructors for the US Air Force, starting at age 19. While getting his undergraduate degree and an MBA at Oklahoma State University he worked his way as a flight instructor and charter pilot. He started his professional career as a marketing training instructor at Cessna Aircraft in 1980.
Shortly thereafter, he was invited to join Beechcraft as an Assistant Regional Manager franchising and supporting Beech dealers on the East Coast. He spent many long hours flying...more
Danny Hilliard was appointed in July, 2015, and serves as vice president of Corporate Development and Tourism for the Chickasaw Nation. Hilliard served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 14 years, and most recently as vice president of External Relations and Planning for the University of Oklahoma.
In his current position, Hilliard assists in the Chickasaw Nation’s business diversification efforts at the Corporate Development office in Oklahoma City. He presently serves on several boards within the Chickasaw Nation which encompass the technology, health, financial services and energy sectors. Hilliard also serves on several local boards including the board of directors for i2E, Inc., a nationally recognized private not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma.
Hilliard served at the University of Oklahoma from 2004-2015 where he was an executive officer and a member of the Research Cabinet for the university and was...more
Bob Inman has more than 16 years of private equity/venture capital, 30 years of private investing and 40 years of operational and government experience. Prior to founding Limestone, he was a managing director at Gefinor Ventures where he oversaw investments in several early stage startups including Kionix (acquired by Rohm Co., Ltd of Japan). Additionally, he has managed private investments in many early stage technology companies, with notable successes including Dell and Oracle, on whose boards of directors he served through their successful IPOs.
Past operational experience included serving on the board of directors of the following public companies: Fluor, Massey Energy, SAIC, SBC Communications (now AT&T), Temple-Inland, Texas Eastern, Tracor and Xerox. Additionally, he served as the chairman for both the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Paine Webber Development Corp Advisory Board. He also served as chairman, president and CEO of Westmark Systems and Chairman...more
William O. Johnstone currently serves as manager and CEO of Council Oak Partners, LLC, an Oklahoma based private equity firm specializing in recapitalizations, as well as merger and acquisition financing. Johnstone has been managing the company since 2000.
Johnstone is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, currently serving as vice chairman and director of BancFirst Corporation since 1996. Previously, he served as president, CEO and chairman of City Bank & Trust from 1985 to 1996. In addition, Johnstone is a trustee and vice chairman of the Frank Phillips Foundation, Inc., and serves on the executive committee for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Johnstone has previously served as chairman of the Oklahoma Association of State Banks, vice chairman of the executive committee of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, chairman of the Oklahoma Securities Commission and chairman of...more
Frank Keating, former two-term governor of Oklahoma, is an attorney in the financial services team and focuses on the banking, financial services and insurance industries. He recently completed a five-year term as president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA); from 2003 to 2011, he was president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).
During the Reagan Administration, Keating served as U.S. Attorney for the N.D. of Oklahoma, assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department and as associate attorney general of the United States. Under President George H. W. Bush, Keating served as general counsel and acting deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with Secretary Jack Kemp. Prior to his service as the U.S. Attorney, Keating was an FBI agent.
As Associate Attorney General, Keating had supervisory responsibility over all of the U.S. Attorneys. At the Treasury Department, he had oversight over the U.S. Secret...more
Randy Martinez has an exceptional track record of leadership in billion-dollar public corporations in aviation, aerospace and defense. A vision-driven executive, he has remarkable strengths in leading the creation of new strategies, producing unprecedented financial success and driving operational excellence. Among many noteworthy achievements, he has led multimillion-dollar revenue and profit growth, significant turnarounds and has a successful track record in strategic acquisitions as well as organic profit and loss growth.
Randy has served on several public-company boards of directors and currently sits on the Board of MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ) where he is a member of both the Audit and Compensation Committees. For AAR Corp. (NYSE), a $1.8 billion+ provider of aviation services for the aerospace and defense sectors with 5,000+ employees in 60+ locations across 20 countries, Martinez served in several leadership roles, most notably President and CEO of the AAR...more
JJ Quinn is a highly accomplished operating executive with experience as a chief operating officer and CEO over multiple commands as a rear admiral with the United States Navy. He is an experienced business leader with more than 20 years of senior executive management experience in government and private industry. JJ has demonstrated expertise in international marketing and sales, strategic business planning, government relations and budgetary planning. He has a deep understanding and rolodex in the Washington Interagency and DOD acquisition process throughout government and industry, including congressional members and committee staff. JJ’s domain expertise spans manned and unmanned systems, cyber security, strike and surveillance systems, satellite communications and missile defense.
JJ recently retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s aerospace systems unmanned systems division, where he was the lead executive responsible for the development and execution of domestic...more
Robert J. Ross currently serves as president, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Inasmuch Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.
The foundations were founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982. Ross was previously employed as an Attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft. He is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and Washington and Lee University, where he received a B.S. in Business Administration. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Ross is a member of the following board of directors: Colorado College, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma Watch, John W. Rex Elementary School, OU College of Law Board of Visitors, OU Foundation, Roff Oil & Gas, State Board of Career...more
Hal Chrisman is a seasoned aerospace and defense professional with more than 32 years of experience in the industry. Chrisman has split his time between consulting and executive–level industry positions. His experience spans all major market segments including commercial air transport, defense, rotary wing and business aviation. His functional focus has been mergers and acquisitions transaction support, strategic planning, operational improvement and industrial marketing.
Most recently, Chrisman was a vice president with ICF’s Airlines, Aerospace and MRO practice. Previously, he was a principal with AeroStrategy, a boutique consultancy focused on the aviation and aerospace industries; sr. vice president of Corporate Development for Pemco Aviation Group; sr. vice president of Business Development for Aerospan, a spare parts eBusiness joint venture between AAR and SITA; senior director of aerospace and defense solutions for Oracle Corporation; and a principal with The Canaan...more
Chris Caron focuses his practice on federal funding opportunities.
Prior to joining Steptoe, Chris was the deputy chief of staff and an appropriations associate at the Office of Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK). He managed the day to day operations and staff of member’s legislative shop as deputy of staff, as well as conducted and managed member’s appropriations work as associate staff to the House Appropriations Committee. Chris also served in a variety of other roles during his time at Congressman Tom Cole’s office, including Republican leadership liaison for NRCC chairman, legislative director/military legislative assistant, Rules Committee associate, and budget committee associate. He also worked for Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, Congresswoman Helen Chenowerth-Hage, Congressman Tom Latham, Congressman Joe Pitts, and he interned for former House Majority Leader Congressman Dick Armey.
During his time on Capitol Hill, Chris specialized in defense policy, international...more