I am often asked, “Where did Colfax Creek come from?”
I wanted a name that was relevant to me and to the path that led me to where I am today. I spent months brainstorming names and ruling them out because they didn’t fit my story. That’s what a name does…it tells a story. It may be passed from generation to generation, bestowed in some way that represents your family’s history. That’s what I wanted for this firm…a meaningful name that represents my priorities, values, and heritage.
At first, I spent months on a running list of possible names based on streets and natural features in my adopted state of Michigan. But that’s just it…my path to Michigan began outside of ‘The Mitten’. It began in my hometown of Colfax, Illinois, a small farming community with a population of 1,036. A quick Google search of Colfax led me to Colfax Corporation, a publicly traded industrial business. I knew I would cause too much confusion if I just used Colfax; the name needed to be more distinct.
That’s how I ended up on Google Maps, zooming over my hometown. I began to note that the little stream that ran through town actually had a name, Colfax Creek. I knew that stream well…I just never knew it had a name.
You see, I grew up on a corn and soybean farm three miles from town and “the Crick”, as we called that stream of water, ran along the end of our corn fields about a half-mile behind our home. The Crick was a magical place in my childhood. I passed many hours fishing, wading, shooting my BB gun, building forts, camping, and floating inner tubes with my siblings and friends. It was a childhood paradise. Those moments made up an awesome childhood experience that cultivated my imagination, self-reliance, and intrinsic motivation. It was a destination after a hot day of walking beans, shucking sweet corn, and observing my father and his fellow farmers work together to produce something significant. My upbringing in small town America, where everyone knows each other and reputations are built over decades and lost overnight, taught me that relationships matter.
I had my name…Colfax Creek. It is a constant reminder of small town America where life was viewed with a long-term approach and based on the relationships that you formed whether for business or friendship.
Colfax Creek Capital isn’t just about making investments. It’s about building businesses to create lasting value for all the business’s stakeholders. I am focusing on “smaller” middle market companies in the Great Lakes states working with management and like-minded capital partners to improve their operations and grow their business over the long-term.
In the last 20 years, I’ve led nearly $2 billion in private investment transactions and managed or co-managed investments in 12 platform companies with EBITDA of $3 million to $12 million in the consumer products, services, and industrials sectors. I’ve sourced investment opportunities, closed those investments, worked with management to enhance value, and realized many of those investments.
Now I’m leveraging those years of private investment experience to invest in businesses where I have a greater level of involvement in the company’s success. Colfax Creek, named for my hometown in Illinois, is about building relationships and developing partnerships to create long-term value. I’m interested in working with people who are committed and passionate about a business and value integrity, transparency, and candor.
My investment experience includes leading deal negotiations, performing due diligence, financing, recruiting and retaining management teams and developing an investment strategy. Here is an overview of four different businesses I was previously involved with.
Colfax Creek will focus on the smaller side of middle market companies in the Great Lakes states – operations within a drive of Detroit. Staying closer to home allows me to spend more time working with each company to deliver more resources by utilizing my regional connections to improve the long-term health and success of my companies.
Life is too short to work with people you don’t like. The people factor is critical. I’m interested in building a partnership with the right companies run by the right people.
To find the best opportunities for Colfax Creek, I’ve developed investment guidelines.
Geography — Companies that operate in the Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) or generally easy for me to visit.
Investment structure — Control investments or shared control with like-minded investors.
Company EBITDA — $2 to $7 million (or larger if I have a significant operational edge) with 10 percent or greater operating margins.
Industry focus — Consumer products, services, and industrials.
Management team — Prefer to support the existing management team or with limited management transitions.
Colfax Creek isn’t the right investment firm for every company. I am selective about the companies I invest in, as I am not just making a financial investment. It is personal. I am investing my time, energy and talent to help our collective vision succeed.
Visit Colfax Creek at colfaxcreek.com to learn more who we are.