The Exvere Team
Michael F. Brustkern
Michael brings decades of business and transactional experience to the benefit of Exvere’s clients. Included are 35 years as CEO, ranging from start-ups to divisional leadership of a Fortune 500 corporation. He also has an extensive industrial and manufacturing background, with an emphasis on construction and building materials, which is reflected in Exvere’s sector focus. He has owned and/or operated companies involved in metal fabrication, wood products, cement/concrete and plastics. His successful track record reflects an ability to quickly analyze a wide variety of businesses, including their value propositions and potential growth or liquidity options.
A lifelong resident of Washington, Michael has a deep understanding of the Pacific Northwest business environment that enables him to develop creative solutions reflected in Exvere’s highly favorable “closing” ratio. He has been a member of the YPO/WPO International since 1980 and has served as chairman of WPO/Northwest Chapter. He is also a member of Northwest Forum. Additionally, he has served on the boards of numerous public and private companies in a variety of industry sectors. Michael holds FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses.
Michael received a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Puget Sound followed by an MBA from Gonzaga University. He is a frequent speaker at local university leadership classes and was honored by the University of Puget Sound School of Business, in 1998 as its, “Outstanding Alumni”.
Michael and his wife Patti have two sons and seven grandchildren and have lived in downtown Seattle for the last 20 years, where they enjoy a wide variety of sports and cultural pursuits. Michael also enjoys golf, conditioning and driving his prized 1968 Mustang convertible.
Jan-Erik serves as the managing partner and COO of Exvere. He is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, deal execution, business development, and strategic initiatives.
Jan-Erik brings more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry in Asia and the Americas. Prior to joining Exvere, Jan-Erik lead Fifth Third Banccorp’s International Corporate Banking and Trade Finance divisions. Prior to Fifth Third, Jan-Erik held leadership roles with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, achieving high double-digit growth as Co-Head of Wholesale Banking as for South East Asia. He subsequently transferred to New York as Co-Head of Wholesale Banking as well as Regional Executive for the America’s region. While in those roles, he achieved significant growth in strategically important client segments, revenues, and returns on capital, transforming SCB’s Americas business.
Jan-Erik spent the bulk of his early career with Bank One and its legacy bank the First National Bank of Chicago (now JPMorgan), rising to be its Managing Director and Regional Executive for Europe, with responsibility for its financing, trading and operating businesses and client relationships in Europe. He also chaired the European Executive Committee and Risk Oversight Committee, held the position as Chairman and Chief Executive of Bank One Europe, and served as Director of Bank One International Corporation.
A native of Norway, Jan-Erik graduated from the University of Denver with a major in Finance and Marketing. He was also a member of the varsity ski team. He and his wife have four children and reside in Mendham, New Jersey.
Leif s. johnsonLeif spent 15 years of his career prior to Exvere with a global management consulting firm. In his previous career, he served as an executive, directing enterprise wide design and implementation of strategic projects for middle market larger private businesses, as well as multi-national Fortune 500 companies. Leif’s involvement with transactional engagements, utilizes the most progressive and time-tested strategies in leadership, performance management and operational excellence. Those initiatives led to improved client company earnings in the hundreds of millions.
Leif is globally recognized as a critical resource for consulting projects around the world, by a diverse client base from industry verticals such as logistics, construction, aerospace, retail, technology, manufacturing, and professional services. Leif is a popular keynote speaker with many industry associations and businesses, and enjoys sharing his knowledge and personal experience via "lessons learned" in a unique fashion with broad business background. At Exvere, Leif develops client strategies that provide strategic growth and exit planning services for closely held businesses.
Leif is a graduate of the University of Washington. While at the University of Washington, he played both football and baseball and participated in three Rose Bowls and The National Championship football team. Mr. Johnson holds FINRA Series 7, 63 and 65 Licenses.
Leif and his wife Stacie live in South Lake Union and enjoy boating, cycling, snow skiing and Triathlons. Leif has two children, Kailee and Sterling.
Michael S. Bennett
Through his greater than 15 years of investment banking experience, Michael has advised many successful family and middle market companies across all of Exvere's industry concentrations, including Aerospace, Food / Beverage Production & Distribution, Manufacturing, Building Products and Services. Michael’s merger and acquisition work includes sell side, buy side, divestiture, management buyout as well as recapitalization mandates. His prior business experience includes ThinkView, Inc., an internet infrastructure company, and Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc., a New York based investment bank. Michael received his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington, with concentrations in Finance and Business Economics.
Michael is responsible for M&A assignments and also valuation, research, and financial analysis functions, and holds an Accredited Valuation Analyst (AVA) designation from the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). Michael holds FINRA Series 7, 63, 65 and 79 licenses.
A lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, Mike lives in Burien and enjoys golf, traveling, running and spending time with his wife Kristina, their son and two dogs.
ERIK MCLAUGHLINErik has over twenty years of experience working in virtually all aspects of the fine wine industry. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President at Seven Hills Winery, where he was instrumental in the growth and recent sale to the Crimson Wine Group.
Previously, Erik has served in senior management roles for Corliss Wine Estates, Willamette Valley Vineyards, and Cost Plus World Market. Erik has been involved in multiple successful M&A transactions and has consulted extensively for numerous clients in the wine industry for over 15 years.
At Exvere, Erik provides and oversees Management Consulting and M&A Advisory Services to the alcohol beverage industry with a focus on the wineries, vineyards, craft brewers, artisan distillers, and adult beverage distributors of the Pacific Northwest.
Erik has been extensively involved in industry groups including the Oregon Wine Board, Washington Wine Commission, Idaho Wine Commission, Walla Walla Wine Alliance, American Association of Wine Economists and the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers. He has served as a judge for multiple wine competitions and as Sommelier for the prestigious International Pinot Noir Celebration. Erik has taught and lectured widely on wine and the business of wine including at Linfield College, Boise State University, the London Wine Fair, and the Wine Industry Financial Symposium. He is also a frequent guest instructor at the Institute for Viticulture and Enology at Walla Walla Community College.
Erik’s graduated cum laude from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon and is a fourth generation native of the Pacific Northwest. He is based in Walla Walla where he lives with his wife and their four children. Erik enjoys mountain biking, art museums, blind wine tasting, and coaching little league baseball.
Bryant SmickAs an associate at Exvere, Bryant is responsible for developing transaction materials, industry research and due diligence, and in-house legal counsel.
Prior to joining Exvere, Bryant was an associate at Pacific Current Group, a venture capital fund which invests in investment management firms. At Pacific Current Bryant advised on legal matters pertaining to international and domestic transaction structuring, term negotiation, and regulatory compliance. Bryant also provided quantitative and risk simulation analysis on various hedge fund and investment management firm acquisitions. Before Pacific Current, Bryant was a summer associate at The Holt Group, a private equity firm which focuses on the real estate sector.
Bryant graduated with a B.A. in Rhetoric and Professional Writing from Washington State University, and holds a Juris Doctorate and MBA from Seattle University. Bryant is licensed to practice law in Washington State.
Bryant lives in Seattle and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and fly fishing, playing guitar, and attempting the sport of golf (with mixed success).
chris hutchinsonPrior to joining Exvere, Chris’ professional experience includes working for the Kiewit Corporation, a Fortune-500 contractor, ranked 5th on ENR’s top 400 contractors list in 2015. While at Kiewit, he worked in a business development and project support capacity, providing project planning, cost estimating, and equipment analysis for mining clients in North America and Australia, and producing cost savings reports, project summaries, and project reporting for an ongoing project. Prior to that, Chris worked as an engineer at a boutique engineering consulting firm in the Greater Seattle Area.
At Exvere, Chris provides industry & company research, financial analysis, marketing materials, and general transaction support.
Chris graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington, while playing lacrosse for the UW Lacrosse Club. And he holds an International MBA from IE Business School, located in Madrid, Spain. During his MBA program he focused his studies on economics and finance, participated in multiple business competitions, and enrolled in extra-curricular coursework. After his program, he sat for, and passed, the level 1 CFA exam.
Chris lives in the Greater Seattle Area, and enjoys playing guitar, running, spending time with friends, reading, music, and film.
- Advisory Board
Ron ElginRon has spent his entire professional career the world of marketing communication. After graduating from the University of Washington, he started as a copywriter at the then largest Northwest agency, Cole & Weber.
After serving as an Army officer during the Viet Nam crisis, he returned to the business side of his former agency. Having honed his management skills on accounts such as Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, and Westin Hotels he was named Managing Director of the Seattle office. Ron left the comfort of his “job” to enter the world of “entrepreneurship” by co-founding ElginSyferd in 1981. The agency was a pioneer in the art and science of total integration which helped it become the region’s largest with a quarter billion dollars of billings and 200+ employees serving such clients as Genentech, Holland America Line, Jansport, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Nordstrom and Swedish Medical Center. He sold the agency in 1989 to the global communications giant, DDB Worldwide and took on new roles as CEO for DDB West and national board member until his retirement in 2011. During his long and storied career he co-founded six successful companies including the region’s largest graphic design firm and the premier direct marketing company. He’s received numerous awards including Citizen of the Year from Big Brothers, Lifetime Achievement Award from American Advertising Federation, and a recent inductee to the UofW’s School of Communications Hall of Fame.
He has authored two best-selling autobiographies, Huckster, My Life as an Ad Man, and The Man Behind The Curtain, serves on a number of boards including Fluidmaster, Knowledge Anywhere, Nxt Chnl, Utrip, Opt-In Media and consults with several marketing firms.
- Advisory Board
JOHN WAECHTERJohn serves as Managing Director and Partner at Delafield Hambrecht, Inc. (“DHI”), an investment firm headquartered in Seattle, WA. DHI is a registered investment advisor that manages private investment funds and makes private equity investments. Prior to joining DHI, John served as CEO of Saltmine, Inc., an interactive design and development software firm headquartered in Seattle, WA. Prior to Saltmine, John co-founded Waechter Lufkin, LLC. in 1997, and served as Principal of the Seattle-based Broker Dealer specializing in seed-stage private placements. Prior to this, John served as Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Northland Communications Corporation, a national provider of cable and internet services. Prior to Northland, John helped form the data and video communications division of GTE, and he began his career in sales and marketing with the Xerox Corporation.
John graduated from Whitman College and received an MBA from the University of Washington. John serves as a Director at Seattle Bank. He also is 58th person to climb the 7 Summits – the highest peak on each of the seven continents.
- Advisory Board
Ed WallaceEd Wallace is a founding member of the board of directors for Puget Sound Bank and is a former board member for St. Joseph Foundation of Phoenix, AZ; and Star Industries, the West Coast's largest independent construction rental supplier and YES, Youth Eastside Services, Bellevue, WA.
He is the former owner of Destination Harley-Davidson (with locations in Tacoma, Puyallup and Silverdale, Washington, and Portland, Oregon) and the former owner of EEW Enterprises and EEW Holdings commercial properties. Ed is the former general manager of Kenworth Truck Company (a division of PACCAR) and executive vice president and general manager of PACCAR Leasing Corporation.
He is a member of the board of directors for Exvere and the author of two books; 52 Pick-Up, a guide to shaping organizational behavior for optimum financial performance and Dysfunction to Function, a reflection on his personal development.
Ed earned his MBA from the University of Washington.