When I joined Castanea in 2013, being in a private equity firm was a new experience for me. But Castanea was special. I had worked with three of Castanea’s founders – Robert Smith, Brian Knez, and Paul Gibbons – for nearly 14 years at Harcourt General and The Neiman Marcus Group. So linking up again was a bit like a professional homecoming.
As an operating partner, I work with our portfolio companies on a variety of operational and organizational matters. These can include things like hiring CEOs and senior executives, helping navigate regulatory hurdles, consulting on organization design challenges, engaging with outside experts on unique company projects, and anything in between. My goal is to help our portfolio companies grow and realize their full potential.
Being an operating partner lets me draw on my professional experiences and share what I have learned with our talented entrepreneurs and business executives. I have worked in companies of all types – public, family controlled, and private equity-owned – in a variety of roles. I have been a practicing attorney, the head of Human Resources for two public companies, the President of a $25 million business, and the President and COO of a $2 billion one. If nothing else, I‘ve seen a lot.
Even after being in New England for over 30 years, I still consider myself a Jersey guy. I grew up in Carteret, NJ, graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English Literature, then ventured through Manhattan to Brooklyn Law School. I now live in Brookline, MA, with my wife and fellow Princetonian, Jane.