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Capstone Team

Decades of successful transactions, its unique Roadmap methodology, and a staff of talented professionals, combine to make Capstone a top M&A consulting firm. External growth, and acquisition in particular, is a team sport and Capstone has guided dozens of companies successfully through the process.

In our firm, strategic advisors, analysts, valuation experts, and integration and divestiture specialists work hand-in-hand to deliver a fully rounded M&A service. By choosing Capstone, you will reduce your risk of costly failure and increase your likelihood of profitable success.

  • David Braun Founder and CEO
    David is a widely acclaimed thought leader in the field of M&A. Author of Successful Acquisitions: A Proven Plan for Strategic Growth and a sought-after speaker, he has brought major innovations to the field of mid-market company growth. David Braun

    David Braun is the founder and CEO of Capstone, which he established in 1995. He created the company to meet the unique demands of mid-market companies and their corporate growth initiatives. Through consistent focus on this one specialty, David has built up a formidable expertise that has led to an acquisition success rate way beyond the industry average.

    David is also the author of Successful Acquisitions: A Proven Plan for Strategic Growth (AMACOM, 2013). Successful Acquisitions is based on first-hand experience in steering dozens of transactions to completion. Rich in real-world examples, this book delivers a practical plan of action based on proven results.

    David has over 30 years' experience formulating growth strategies in a wide range of manufacturing and service industries.

    A dynamic speaker, over the past 20 years David has lectured to over 40,000 top-level business executives on the subject of M&A and successful external growth. As an M&A expert, David is regularly featured in the media including Financial Times, Fox Business News, CBS MoneyWatch and CNN Money.

    He has authored and delivered numerous presentations for the American Management Association (AMA), National Center for Continuing Education (NCCE) and Vistage International. In addition, he has addressed a wide range of trade organizations such as the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL), National Tooling and Machining Association, the Illinois CPA Society, the Photo Chemical Machining Institute and the Envelope Manufacturers Association.

    David received his BBA from the College of William and Mary.

  • John Dearing Managing Director & Partner
    John has played a key role in the success of Capstone since 1996. John leads Capstone’s client engagement teams and operations while advising clients on strategic external growth alternatives (acquisitions, investments, and partnerships). John Dearing

    For over 15 years, John has worked with credit unions and CUSO leaders and board members on developing and implementing strategic growth plans, due diligence training, market and prospect evaluation, valuation, and the prioritization of growth initiatives. His experience includes facilitating acquisitions and  strategic deals for PSCU, RenoFi, Ongoing Operations, and South Carolina Financial Solutions as well as working with many of the leading CUSOs in hot areas such as lending and analytics, plus forward-thinking credit unions.

    John’s background also includes credit assessment and loan recommendations with the Export-Import Bank of the United States, The Americas Division, where he honed his international banking and finance skills. As Director of a trade association and as the Co-Administrator of a healthcare insurance fund, John focused on accounting and operational efficiencies for profit and not-for-profit entities. He gained additional consulting and international business experience while attending the Institute of European Studies in Vienna, Austria.

    John’s expertise in the field of M&A has been published in a number of media outlets including the Credit Union Times, Inside Maine Business, a television news program, and the Business Journals. Additionally, he has appeared as a guest on CUbroadcast, speaking on new growth strategies to maximize an organization’s success. He has also authored articles for CUInsight, NACUSO, CUES and Key Notes, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association’s Magazine.

    John has taught tens of thousands of executives about external growth topics, focusing on proactive growth, mergers and acquisitions, and business valuation. John has also presented at a number of national and regional events for various organizations, inclusive of CU Conferences, NWCUA, Delaware Valley CUES, and NAFCU and routinely leads educational webinars.

    John received his Master of Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bucknell University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a member of the Washington Society of Investment Analysts and enjoys private investing.

  • Matt Craft Vice President
    Matt joined Capstone in 2005. His focus is to ensure the quality and delivery of client projects including scope, objectives, methodologies, timing, reviews, deliverables, and fees. Matt aligns the desired financial commitments with the strategic goals. Matthew Craft

    Matt has worked with domestic and international clients and publicly held and private companies. His experience includes working in a wide variety of service and manufacturing industries such as: healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, chemicals, food and beverage.

    In addition to his client work, Matt has also taught senior-level executives about mergers and acquisitions, through workshops, presentations and webinars. He facilitated workshops on "Developing an Acquisition Strategy" and "Understanding Strategic Acquisitions," for executives of a publicly held manufacturer, "M&A Educational Workshop," for a consulting firm "Due Diligence Workshop," and presented Capstone's webinar on "How to Pick Top-Notch Companies."

    Matt also assisted Capstone CEO David Braun with his book on the M&A process: Successful Acquisitions: A Proven Plan for Strategic Growth.

    Prior to joining Capstone, Matt worked in campaign politics as both a campaign manager and political consultant.

    Matt received his MBA from the George Mason University, his MA from Georgetown University and his BA from the College of William and Mary.

  • Edelweiss Harrison Vice President
    As Vice President, Edelweiss leads Capstone’s strategic growth and market research projects for clients. Her primary focus is on the first two phases of the company’s proprietary Roadmap to Acquisitions℠ — “Build the Foundations” and “Build the Relationships.” Edelweiss Harrison

    Edelweiss enjoys working with C-suite and Board leaders to work on growth strategies that leverage inorganic initiatives and take into consideration future trends. Over her more than 20 years serving clients as a trusted advisor, she has worked across more than 30 manufacturing and service industries in the US and in New Zealand. Her clients range from divisions of global corporations, privately-held family-owned businesses to non-profit entities such as credit unions and senior living organizations. Having a multi-cultural background herself, Edelweiss very much enjoys serving clients from Europe and Asia seeking to invest in the US as well as clients across the Americas.

    During her time at Capstone Strategic, she has advised C-level executives and boards on proactive growth strategies. She first joined Capstone Strategic in 1999 as a Research Assistant while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. After a 7-year stint in New Zealand working at BearingPoint (fka KPMG Consulting) and completing a Master of International Business at the University of Auckland, she returned to the US. She rejoined Capstone first as an independent Strategy Advisor, was promoted to Director of Strategic Growth in 2015 and Vice President in 2019. Today Edelweiss leads Capstone's strategic growth and market research projects for clients and the delivery team reports to her. From an internal operations perspective, she is passionate about hiring and retaining a strong analyst team and supporting the Capstone team's professional and personal development.

    Leveraging her multi-faceted interests, Edelweiss has taught custom workshops on strategic growth for senior-level leadership groups and boards and currently teaches the American Management Association's course Leading Disruptive Change and Innovation. She is a published author in the field of cross-cultural management and her research areas are International Management and Strategic HR Management. Her work (along with co-authors) has appeared in The International Journal of Human Resource Management and Management International Review as well as in book chapters published by Palgrave MacMillian and Edward Elgar. She has also supported academia by serving as a peer reviewer for different academic journals including Critical Perspectives on International Business and Journal of Global Mobility.

    Edelweiss holds a Master of International Business from the University of Auckland and a BS from Georgetown University.

  • Brian Goodhart Director, M&A Advisory Services
    As Director of Capstone’s M&A Advisory Services, Brian is a proven Growth Engineer experienced in conducting middle-market transactions on both the buy and sell sides. He works side-by-side with clients throughout the deal making process. Brian Goodhart

    In his role with the Capstone Team, Brian's presence throughout the process develops actionable transition strategies that maximize value and create generational wealth.

    Brian’s career in finance began in the “.com” era working with several venture-backed firms before spending several years with The Vanguard Group where he led a team of financial analysts managing the budgeting process and conducting financial analysis on a variety of technology initiatives. He then transitioned to working with a small private equity fund where he worked on a variety of projects including technology, real estate, and oil and gas. This work then led him to advising in private company mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Capstone, Brian was the Director of Wipfli’s Business Transition Group, where he led a multi-disciplinary team in the firm’s national offering to help private business owners devise and execute an appropriate transition strategy.

    Brian has assisted companies in raising private and venture-backed capital. He is the co-developer of system processes which assess, collaborate, and implement a client’s strategic transition objectives. He has worked with clients across a diverse cross-section of industries including agriculture, construction, healthcare, investment banking, manufacturing, wealth management, and technology.

    He holds a BS in Finance and an MBA, both from Pennsylvania State University.

  • Anna Kochkina Director, Valuation Services
    Anna Kochkina is Capstone’s Director of Valuation Services. She oversees all aspects of the M&A valuation services Capstone provides to clients including valuation of business interests, designing financial models, and conducting risk assessments. Anna Kochkina

    Anna has over 15 years of professional experience in M&A consulting and equity research matters involving valuation, company and industry research, and financial analysis. She consults with clients in a wide variety of industries on financial problems involving revenue forecasting, cost estimation, cost of capital, and business valuation.

    Anna’s work has been both domestic and international in scope. She has provided valuation guidance to companies in a wide range of industries, including CUSOs, credit unions, consumer goods, retail, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, software, automotive, aviation, financial services, information technology, real estate, and telecommunications.

    Her professional experience also includes equity research and corporate finance/risk analysis. Anna’s valuation expertise was honed at buy-side and sell-side investment banking practices, including ING, UniCredit and ABN AMRO. She was a Head of Equity Research at Dashevsky & Partners hedge fund before joining ING.

    Anna holds an MBA from the American University in Washington, DC, with a concentration in Finance. She is also a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA).

A Blue Ribbon Advisory Board

Capstone’s Advisory Board enriches our service to clients with the wisdom and experience of company leaders from multiple industries. The Board includes three CEOs, a principal of an internationally renowned executive placement firm, and a partner of a major M&A law firm.

  • James P. Dunn
    Jim is a managing partner and founding member of D-Partners, a boutique consulting firm focused on transforming tough business situations into profitable business ventures in the high tech, financial, BPO and customer care industries.

    Jim has spent over 30 years in the information and telecommunications industries in executive roles. Previously Jim was the CEO of Center Partners. He also served as the CEO of TelStar Hosted Services and led the acquisition of Telstar in 2009. Jim has operated as executive management for publicly and privately held companies like GE ITS, SITEL, Stream International, Access Graphics, Oppenheimer Funds, and Kemper. In addition, Jim serves (or has served) on various boards including Remote Power, and CLBL.

    Jim holds a BSBA and MBA from the University of Denver.

  • Dennis Mussell
    Dennis is the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicken of the Sea International, a nationally branded packaged seafood company. He served in that capacity from August 1997 until January 2005.

    He previously served in various senior capacities with Van Camp Seafood Company, Inc., the predecessor corporation to Chicken of the Sea International, including most recently Chief Operating Officer. Dennis has extensive work experience in the packaged food industry.

  • Chris Cantarella
    Chris is a Senior Client Partner of Korn/Ferry International where he is a member of the firm’s Private Equity, Technology, and Aerospace/Defense Practices. Chris’ specialty is working public and private equity backed companies poised for very significant growth or experiencing a buyout.

    Before entering the business world, Chris served eight years with the US Navy as a Radar Intercept Officer flying F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft.

    Chris received a BS in Engineering from the US Naval Academy and an MBA from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of Harvard University's High Potentials Executive Leadership Program.

  • Janet Kendall White
    Janet is founder and President of Berkshire Group, Inc., an Ohio based national consulting firm providing a range of organization development services, including strategic planning, process and profit improvement, training and development and executive coaching and facilitation.

    Janet's expertise is in coaching leaders and working with groups of people to identify their desired business outcome and mobilizing energy to receive desired results. She is often called on to help facilitate complex problems with diverse groups of people and then to implement the project plan that is devised.

    Janet holds an MBA from Hofstra University and has completed post-graduate work at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and National Training Labs. She is a Certified Professional Consultant (CPC) and is certified in a number of leadership and assessment instruments. Janet speaks nationally on leadership, entrepreneurship, process improvement and organization change.

  • James “Jamie” Hutchinson
    Jamie, a partner in Goodwin Procter’s Business Law Department and a member of the Private Equity Group, practices in the areas of corporate, securities and private equity transactional law, primarily on behalf of private investment funds and their portfolio companies.

    Jamie's practice has involved a full range of corporate and commercial transactions, including leveraged buy-outs, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and mezzanine financing transactions, private and public equity and debt offerings, senior secured loans, joint ventures and general corporate matters for public and private companies and private equity investment groups. In recent years, his practice has included assisting clients on behalf of private equity groups in the formation and acquisition of companies in various consolidating industries. In connection with this practice, Jamie is engaged in all aspects of leveraged buyouts, including equity formation documents, mergers and acquisitions and secured financing transactions.

    He earned his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 1993 and his BA from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988.