Kugman Partners’ seasoned professional staff uses their extensive business experience and hands-on approach to deliver strong results, on time and within a rational budget. Every professional is skilled in problem resolution, helping clients regain a high level of credibility and strategically working with all stakeholders to negotiate a demanding time. They have years of experience helping re-establish the value of a company and its core competencies. Our employees are why Kugman Partners has a strong reputation and is well respected in the industry. They are also why our clients consistently achieve the best possible outcomes for their unique situation.
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Brent I. Kugman
CEO and Managing Partner
Brent Kugman is an accomplished financial and operational consultant with over 30 years of experience leading stressed and distressed as well as robust businesses to improved performance and profitability. His proficiencies range from corporate governance to development of corporate renewal strategies and stability initiatives to providing investment capital and sourcing transactions. Brent’s expertise includes C-Suite management, operations and operations management, transactional matters, and complex informal and formal financial restructurings and proceedings.
Brent’s leadership and management skills have resulted in the successful completion of numerous turnaround matters and acquisition transactions. His strategic expertise has proven effective in sourcing and placement of investment capital and senior and subordinated debt for his clients and created profitable outcomes in distressed, stressed, and underperforming businesses.
Brent held and sold interests in Northpoint Investments, Holdco of Robertson Worldwide, one of the largest manufacturers of compact fluorescent and specialty ballasts in the United States. He has also sourced and invested as a principal in collaboration with financial partners, successfully purchasing companies and subsequently improving and monetizing interests for stakeholders well above market returns.
Brent’s industry experience spans across numerous industries, including paper and pulp processors, apparel, auto parts distributors, banks and commercial finance companies, law firms, healthcare companies, food retailers, commodity trading firms, as well as manufacturing, professional services, retail, technology, and warehousing and distribution. His clients range in size from $20 million to over $1 billion in revenues annually.
During his career, Brent has been appointed President, Chief Restructuring Officer and Receiver and served as Board member for many companies including Heritage Golf Group, Chicago Miniature Lighting, and Golden Gate Logistics. Other examples include:
- Eddie Bauer Holdings – Acted as CRO in the company’s successful Reorganization and sale;
- Group 329 – Appointed CRO during the recapitalization and sale of this nationally recognized advertising agency;
- Cardiac Science Corporation – Served as President and Board member during the restructuring and Reorganization of this medical device manufacturer.
Brent’s extensive advisory experience and strong management ability have provided successful outcomes for numerous clients including:
- S. Owens – high end awards/recognition industry manufacturer of the Oscar, Emmy, and MTV awards;
- F&S International – a multibillion dollar commodity trading concern, for which Brent acted as exclusive advisor;
- Healthfield – home healthcare service/hospice company which was sold for $550 million in cash and stock within four years of Brent’s representation of the firm as advisor.
Prior to forming Kugman, Brent was Principal-in-Charge of Corporate Finance for Blackman Kallick, n/k/a Plante Moran. Previous to Blackman Kallick, he held executive positions at First Chicago Corporation, First National Bank of Chicago, and First Chicago Credit Corporation, performing special asset sale functions, including structuring asset package sales and management of specific sensitive credit relationships.
Brent has lectured before the AICPA, ICPA, TMA and bar associations within the U.S., and authored articles for the CFA and TMA. He previously served as an Advisory Board Member for the Commercial Finance Association (CFA) Education Foundation and member of the Governance Committee. Brent also sat on the Museum Education Committee of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, Illinois.
Dale G. Marcus
Dale has over 30 years of professional experience in addressing business management issues, with an emphasis on business management, corporate finance and restructurings. He specializes in creating strategies that assist underperforming mid-market entities in improving their profitability and liquidity. Dale has also managed many distressed entity sales that have incorporated his supporting valuation analyses.
Prior to joining forces with Brent Kugman, Dale was Director-in-Charge of the Operations Management Group at Blackman Kallick, n/k/a Plante Moran. He has worked for Execucom Systems and National Semiconductor Corporation. Dale also managed his own consulting firm in Chicago, where he consulted with a number of companies and helped them analyze complex corporate finance issues.
Dale has an MBA from the University of California-Berkeley, with a concentration in Finance and Econometrics, and a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois-Champaign.
Douglas R. Brann
Doug is a seasoned professional with 30 years experience in helping companies reposition their business. Prior to acting as an advisor in many stressed and distressed business situations, Doug gained valuable experience in the day-to-day operations of highly technical manufacturing. He has a proven track record in corporate strategy, project management, capital improvements, and supply chain management. Experience on the production floor has allowed Doug to help clients to improve product quality and processing speed and yields, resulting in improved relations with customers and improved profitability. He has also re-engineered production support departments to establish peak efficiency. Doug has acted variously as President, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Restructuring Officer, and Interim General Manager for a wide range of manufacturing, distribution, and service-related companies.
Prior to his association with Brent Kugman, Doug was Chief Operating Officer for a group that manufactured rare and fine chemicals and COO for a sister company that manufactured copper-plated blanks and zinc wire, COO for a manufacturer in the foodservice industry, and subsequently the COO for a company manufacturing components for lighting fixtures. He was also a Director in the Corporate Restructuring Group at Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, where he focused primarily on providing operational restructuring assistance to financially under-performing and distressed companies. In his role as a corporate advisor/management partner, Doug’s experience has ranged from acting as a business advisor to the existing management team on-site (in support of operations and financial performance improvement and turnaround initiatives) to senior management roles with direct responsibility for a wide variety of client operations in manufacturing and distribution.
Doug has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cornell University. He also attended The Ohio State University to pursue graduate studies in the Doctoral Program in Medicinal Chemistry. Doug is a member of the Turnaround Management Association. He is presently serving as President and Chief Restructuring Officer for several companies owned by private equity firms.
Trevor A. Toppen
For 16 years, Trevor has acted as an on-site business advisor for existing management teams, supporting operations and financial performance improvement and turnaround initiatives. He specializes in accounting and related operations management consulting, including sourcing of capital, implementation of related operations, management consulting, process redesign, and supply chain management. Trevor has a strong record of helping clients realize tangible savings and maintain liquidity goals through process redesign and improved profitability.
Before joining Kugman Partners, Trevor was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for an international manufacturer and distributor of lawn décor lines, with offices in the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. He reshaped the company’s large, fixed overhead structure, its excessive inventory positions and related debt levels. He also shifted the company’s design efforts to product lines with sustainable competitive advantage. In addition, Trevor was president of a consortium of middle market gourmet food manufacturers. He led the company in two profitable acquisitions, which resulted in doubling the company’s revenues and providing significant economic growth and return to the parent company.
Trevor is a C.P.A. and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting with honors from Michigan State University.
Maury J. Bell
Managing Director – Strategic Advisor
Maury J. Bell is an accomplished financial advisor, investment banker, and investment fund manager with over 30 years of experience. He has been involved in identifying, structuring, negotiating, managing and exiting numerous fund investments and has acted in various C-suite and Board roles for private equity portfolio companies. Maury has accumulated vast experience in merger and acquisition and investment banking transactions in a wide range of industries including food, packaging, distribution and a wide range of manufacturing businesses.
Most recently, Maury has been a Managing and General Partner for DN Partners, a private equity firm that invests in middle market companies, completing over 20 transactions and acting as Co-CEO for Chinada Holdings, Inc., a Canadian-based portfolio company that supplies brake components to the heavy duty truck aftermarket.
Previously Mr. Bell headed the M &A Group at EVEREN, where he completed 25 merger and acquisition transactions totaling more than $1.5 billion. Mr. Bell managed the ESOP-buyout of Kemper Securities from Kemper a/k/a EVEREN , the sale of the firm’s Beta Systems subsidiary and the initial public offering of EVEREN Capital Corporation.
Maury’s past experience includes a Managing Directorship at Bear Stearns & Co., where he participated in more than 100 investment banking assignments, including numerous cross-border transactions involving participants in North America, South America and Europe. He was also employed at Smith Barney and Hershel Rich Investments. In 1983, Mr. Bell authored Swiftax, a home computer software package for income tax preparation, which sold more than one million copies.
Mr. Bell graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in economics from Northwestern University in 1982.
Alvin Carter, Jr.
Executive Director and Strategic Partner
Al Carter is a seasoned financial and operational executive who has provided leadership for 25 years to companies requiring turnaround, restructuring, or operations and profit improvement. Al possesses the analytical skills that are critical to the timely identification of problems and the development of clear objectives and achievable plans. He is an agile thinker with the temperament to develop confidence among the appropriate stakeholders in difficult situations. Al is also highly regarded for his professional integrity, diplomacy, and discretion when dealing with client companies, lenders, and private equity investors.
Al has experience in a broad range of industries, including media, consumer products, retail, food service, transportation, consumer services, financial services, and manufacturing. He has applied his skills on behalf of senior lenders, subordinated lenders, and private equity firms, working with businesses at many points along the corporate life cycle. His experience also encompasses the Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 processes, including negotiations with secured and unsecured creditors, 363 asset sales, and DIP financing.
Notable engagements have included Entertainment Publications, Spectrum Brands, Archway & Mothers Cookies, and American of Martinsville among others.
In addition to advisory and consulting roles, Al’s experience includes significant hands on leadership involvement as interim CEO and COO of middle market companies facing the challenges of financial distress.
Al earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and received his B.S. in Business Administration, magna cum laud, from Paine College. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association and is a Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP).
Kelly Hughes is a Senior Director with Kugman Partners with over 20 years of broad industry experience in the areas of healthcare, manufacturing, and service and distribution-related businesses. Kelly is highly skilled in strategy development and financial planning, including the development of business models and implementation of operational improvements for companies experiencing financial stress and distress.
Kelly has marked expertise in implementing workout and profit improvement strategies for healthcare clients. His healthcare experience includes serving as a Restructuring Project Leader to a number of acute care hospitals, multi-specialty physician practice groups, and senior care operations (assisted living, skilled nursing, continuing care retirement communities, home health care, and hospice care). Kelly is well-versed in developing and implementing resource allocation models using software platforms such as Fast Tract Surgery Scheduling Programs, physician-hospital integration strategies, financial forecasting and capital budget models, as well as turnaround plans for healthcare service providers.
Kelly recently served as a Director for a financial and operational advisory firm, where he led workout and liquidation initiatives, negotiated strategic acquisitions and new equity/debt infusions and provided financial strategy expertise to clients in a wide array of industries. Other recent specific examples of his diverse experience include serving as Project Leader for the successful Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reorganization of two separate private acute care hospitals in Los Angeles County. In addition, Kelly led a UCC Article 9 sale/auction on behalf of several secured lenders to a North Carolina based fork-lift rental/sales company. Kelly negotiated and implemented a secured lender cooperation agreement as the subsequent auctions significantly exceeded lender expectations.
Kelly also previously held a position with Kugman as Director and provided professional services to healthcare, manufacturing, media and other service related industries. During this time, Kelly represented a railcar manufacturer, the largest private bottler in North America, and managed numerous stressed and distressed transition plans and business sales. Specific examples of Kelly’s initiative included the successful workout of an Atlanta based home health care company with a seven figure Medicare Overpayment liability and associated workout and negotiation and implementation of a vendor compromise agreement resulting in a successful out-of-court reorganization. Other examples include the successful negotiation with Medicare in order to gain an extremely rare exemption from Medicare for non-payment to a mental health provider in bankruptcy with a significant overpayment liability. Medicare resumed payment and this company continues to exist and thrive to this day in the extremely challenging mental health care market.
Kelly graduated with honors from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance. He holds a Graduate Level Managed Care Certificate from Benedictine University.
Neema T. Varghese
Director and Strategic Advisor
Neema Varghese is a seasoned financial consultant with more than 10 years of experience advising clients in turnarounds, chapter proceedings, providing transaction advisory services, and creditor rights issues. Her expertise includes managing comprehensive M&A diligence (buy-side and sell-side efforts), restructuring, and profit enhancement services.
Neema has served clients in a broad range of industries including healthcare, specialty finance, transportation, banking, food sectors, mining, and numerous manufacturing enterprises, working directly with C-Suite executive teams, boards of directors and debt/equity investor groups. She has successfully managed all areas of the Chapter 11 and sale process for a $500 million long-term acute care operator, including process improvement measures and vendor contract negotiations that resulted in additional cost savings.
Prior to aligning with Kugman Partners, Neema served as a senior manager in Huron Consulting Group’s Business Advisory practice, leading multifaceted engagements for organizations and creditors while managing business development efforts. She also maintains NV Consulting Services. Previously, she was a portfolio manager with Merrill Lynch’s Special Assets group, maximizing outcomes in distressed situations. Neema also has experience as an account manager and banking executive at Zurich North America and credit origination at American Chartered Bank.
Neema has a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. She is a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA), holds a Committee Chair position with the Turnaround Management Association, and is a member of the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors. Neema is involved with LadderUp (formerly Tax Assistance Program) as a volunteer tax preparer and is a mentor to HFS Chicago Scholars.
Director and Strategic Partner
Jim McCarthy is a Director and Strategic Partner with Kugman Partners with over 25 years of experience in financial and operational management and consulting, both domestically and internationally. He has served in a variety of corporate positions, and has extensive knowledge and experience in manufacturing design and process. Over the course of his career, Jim has concentrated his practice in project management, financial analysis, strategic planning, and organizational change management.
Most recently, Jim was Chief Operating Officer for one of the largest manufacturer of compact fluorescent and specialty ballasts in the U.S. He has performed financial and operational consulting services, concentrating in corporate turnarounds and successfully developing and implementing turnaround strategies for companies in stressed and distressed situations. Jim acted as advisor and has been appointed Chief Restructuring Officer to various clients in the manufacturing industry, including manufacturers of high performance connectors, specialty paper products, and others. He has managed complex bankruptcy matters and associated sales of underperforming and distressed assets in and out of court. In addition, Jim was principal of Bourton Group, a manufacturing consulting firm with international affiliations. His responsibilities included development of project strategy for manufacturing companies with facilities worldwide. Jim was also a Senior executive with Olektron, a division of Crane, which manufactures RF components for the defense industry. He has managed liquidations, workouts, and sales of companies from 20 million to 300 million in revenues, including various Code sales and Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors.
Prior to consulting, Jim spent 15 years with Honeywell serving in various line management capacities including Manufacturing Engineering Manager for solid-state automation controls. As Product/Marketing Manager, he was responsible for all sensors and controls providing automation to the auto industry, other industrial applications, and military and aerospace accounts. As Area Sales Manager, Jim was responsible for two sales offices (Boston and Rochester, NY) covering all of New England and Upper New York State, 25 distributors, 10 salespeople, and two application specialists, serving the industrial, military, aerospace, and transportation markets with all mechanical switches and solid-state controls.
Jim has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration-Executive Program from Northern Illinois University. He has also completed development programs in integrated manufacturing, organizational development and change, and product planning and evaluation.
Mary Jo Mayerck
For more than 20 years, Mary Jo has worked as an administrative professional in organizations such as banking, international trade and education. She has successfully managed all areas of office administration, including human resources and financial management, as well as the supervision and training of personnel.
Prior to working with Brent Kugman, Mary Jo was the Registrar at a proprietary university in Schaumburg, Illinois. She was responsible for the management, communication, and enforcement of policies and procedures for student records and registration functions. She also was involved in the planning and implementation of student orientations and graduations.
Mary Jo also worked for an international trading company in the metals industry. She was responsible for logistics, import-export customs compliance, inventory control, and the creation of presentations to international audiences.
Mary Jo has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Argosy University.