FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN
Sam Simon is the Founder and Chairman of Simon Group Holdings (SGH), which he formed in 1985 with the founding of Atlas Oil Company, headquartered in Taylor, Michigan.
Simon Group Holdings, directly and through its subsidiaries, has interests in and is an active investment manager within the following sectors: Commercial Fuel Supply and Distribution; Oil Field Services; Logistics and Transportation; Commercial and Residential Real Estate; Aviation; Technology SaaS; and Turnkey Modular Housing. The SGH Investment Management Team has active investments throughout the capital stack including: Venture Capital, Private Equity, Mezzanine, and Senior Debt. SGH has over 1,000 team members among its family of companies.
Don’t wait for it to happen, make it happen.”
Simon is a valued counselor and was appointed to the National Petroleum Council, by Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, early in the decade. A former board member of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA), Simon continues as an active member.
Simon takes his corporate citizenship seriously. He and his companies humbly and generously serve and help others. In 2007, he created Atlas Cares, which supports several Detroit organizations and encourages employees to volunteer annually at charities of their choice. Over the last decade, Atlas workers have volunteered more than 40,000 hours. In 2018, Atlas will host its 12th holiday party for Service Personnel and their families at Selfridge Air National Guard base. He and his wife began their Family Foundation in 2011, The Sam and Nada Simon Foundation, primarily to support military service men and women, and their families, as well as select children’s organizations.
Sam Simon was recently named one of the top 500 business leaders in Metro Detroit by Dbusiness Magazine, and was also recognized by Crain’s Detroit in their 2018 American Dreams issue, honoring immigrant entrepreneurs who have made strides in our community. Also, in 2018, he and his wife Nada were inducted into Macomb Hall of Fame, which honors individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to improving the economic, family and community life of Macomb County. He was also honored with the 2018 Outstanding Business Leader Award from Northwood University at the 38th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Awards Gala. In Oct. 2016, the American Arab Chamber of Commerce presented Simon with its Economic Bridge Builder of the Year Award for his commitment to new business development and community leadership. In 2015, the Michigan National Guard awarded Simon its Legion of Merit Medal for his enduring support of Selfridge. Also, that year, he received the Rotary Award from the City of Taylor. In 1999, he received the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.
SENIOR MANAGING PARTNER
Mike Evans has worked closely with Simon Group Holdings Founder and Chairman Sam Simon for 20 years. A born leader, he brings a unique combination of strategic, financial and operating credentials to Simon Group Holdings (SGH). His responsibilities include leadership oversight, growth and value creation of the core and portfolio companies. He has extensive experience in the development and execution of strategic, operational, organizational, and financial improvement initiatives across all holding and portfolio companies under the SGH umbrella.
Mike began his professional career as a financial analyst supporting General Motors’ executive staff business units. He was selected for many significant merger and acquisition opportunities, culminating in his lead financial role for the negotiating team on EDS’s spin off from General Motors, in 1996.
With nearly 30 years of financial, operational, and leadership experience, his credentials consist of successes in various industries including distribution, logistics, real estate, technology, petroleum commodities and merger and acquisition activities within Fortune 500 companies, middle market, early stage, and limited start up experience. He has successfully taken on key roles in turnaround and performance improvement situations involving mid-size to multi-billion-dollar companies. Evans has assumed interim leadership roles, serving as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and President to guide restructurings, turnarounds, and post-merger integration (100 days).
Mike attended Western Michigan University and graduated, with honors, with a B.B.A. in finance and accounting. He is active in several professional organizations including the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the Michigan Petroleum Association. He also served on the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Underground Storage Tank System Cleanup Advisory Board. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association, and the Michigan and Illinois Bankers Associations.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Mike believes in faith, family and work, in that order. He loves spending time with his four daughters and sets a great example for them as an active volunteer. Mike has assisted many community organizations including the Harvest Temple Cass Corridor Outreach group, a feeding program for the homeless; the World Vision Organization; the Detroit Rescue Missions Ministry; the Salvation Army; and the American Red Cross.
He also participates in the Atlas Cares community and military service programs.
FAIZ “VICTOR” SIMON
MANAGING DIRECTOR, REAL ASSETS
Victor Simon is responsible for operations and management of the Real Assets team within Simon Group Holdings. He manages a core group that originates, structures and negotiates acquisitions and dispositions as well as leads the turnaround and repositioning of distressed assets for the real estate funds under Simon Group Holdings.
Victor leads capital market activities and is responsible for exit strategies.
He has significant experience in multi-family, retail, commercial-residential, and industrial real estate as well as discounted Note purchases and distressed asset repositioning. His geographical focus has primarily been the Midwest with a successful track record of managing and repositioning distressed and under-performing retail properties, including properties in bank receivership.
With more than 40 years of operational experience, Victor considers himself a hands-on leader. He began his career in 1975 working in the family business, Simon Store, Inc. In 1980, he relocated to the West Coast to acquire service station sites in California. During his four-year tenure in California, he managed five service stations. At age 18, Simon became one of the youngest applicants in history to complete Shell Dealer Training.
When Victor returned to Michigan in 1984, he assumed operational leadership of Great Lakes Ice Company, which was another family business, with accounts numbering 350. By 1995, Simon developed Great Lakes Ice Company into the second largest ice manufacturer in Michigan with more than 40 trucks and 1,365 accounts, including CVS, Spartan Foods, Kroger and the former Farmer Jack food stores.
In 2003, Victor became the Director of Real Estate for Fast Track Ventures, a Simon Group Holdings company. He was part of the team that negotiated the simultaneous purchase and sale of 52 locations from Clark Retail Enterprises. Under his management group, he led the ground up construction of 23 turnkey stations in Michigan, Illinois and Arizona. Additionally, he managed the renovation of nearly 60 service station sites in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. In 2013, the National Association of Convenience Stores recognized him with its prize for Store Design of the Year. He also has managed the development of retail centers and standalone commercial buildings including Starbucks and multiple Chase Bank locations throughout Michigan.
During the 2008 economic downturn, Victor led the acquisition of British Petroleum service stations in Indiana and Chicago, where he was responsible for more than $100 million in acquisition and disposition transactions, which included the selection of new dealers for the repositioned stations. In 2009, he led the acquisition, repositioning and disposition of more than $150 million in distressed Note purchases, which included service stations, shopping centers, multi-family apartments and retail properties. Victor has been a member of the Turnaround Management Association’s Detroit Chapter, since 2011.
Having moved to Detroit, Michigan from Baghdad, Iraq as a small child, Victor has a deep, powerful appreciation for the USA and the success this country has given him the opportunity to achieve. When away from his SGH family, he loves cycling, working out and spending time with his wife, three daughters and Marco the Golden Doodle.
EVP, SGH & PRESIDENT ATLAS OIL
Robert (Bob) Kenyon serves as the President of Atlas Oil Company. In this role, he oversees the execution of Atlas Oil’s day-to- day operations, its ongoing product development, sales and marketing efforts and its strategic growth and M&A strategy. (Our portfolio of business units includes a nationwide commercial supply and logistics network, emergency fueling and transportation services, a rapidly expanding oil field services division, and an industry disruptive technology platform for energy products and services.)
Bob is responsible for driving Atlas’ innovative process and improvement based culture focused on bringing to market digital platforms, game-changing automated fueling capabilities and cloud based inventory management solutions that provide our customers with real-time access to delivery information from any device.
A hands-on executive who believes that “Managers light a fire UNDER people … Leaders light a fire IN people”, Bob joined Atlas Oil Company in 1997 and has held a variety of positions during that time span. Those roles include Commercial Sales Manager, General Manager of Atlas Indiana, VP of Strategic Initiatives, VP of Sales and Operations, VP of Sales and Marketing, EVP of Sales and Business Development and EVP and Chief Operating Officer. In total, his career in the petroleum industry spans more than 22 years. Previously, he worked at Clark Refining as a Market Support Team Leader and Emro Marketing Company as District Manager.
A native of Michigan who still resides there, Bob graduated from Eastern Michigan University with honors and received a BBA degree with a concentration in marketing management. He is an active member of several petroleum associations and has served as Jobber Advisory Council member for major refiners. An avid boater and golfer, he loves spending time with his wife, two daughters and their beloved Labradoodle. They enjoy taking advantage of free time to travel the world together as a family.
CHRIS MATTINA, CPA
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Chris Mattina was appointed Executive Vice President of Simon Group Holdings (SGH), in June 2017. In this role, he oversees the finance and operations teams, which includes compliance, strategic planning and digital marketing. He works closely with Founder and Chairman Sam Simon to help grow and identify the company’s investments and portfolio companies. Previously Mattina was the Chief Financial Officer since Nov. 2016.
Mattina began his career as a senior assurance associate at BDO Seidman LLP, in 2007. He supervised audit teams and provided attest services for public and private companies, including first and second tier automotive suppliers, real-estate developers, medical service providers and energy producers. Three years later, he moved to General Motors Company as a senior financial analyst, corporate materials brokering. He supervised the analyst team and oversaw GM’s steel resale program, which consisted of $1.9 billion in annual sales.
In 2012, he moved to SGH’s initial company Atlas Oil, where he was the manager of strategic initiatives as well as the special assistant to SGH founder and Chairman Sam Simon. Mattina supported leadership on strategic growth activities centered on achieving exponential growth of core business throughout the United States as well as identifying opportunities outside of the core corporate business units.
His entrepreneurial spirit led Mattina to leave Atlas to help the launch eLUXE 3D, as the Director of Operations for this 3-dimensional scanning start-up to a high performing small business with reverse modeling and virtual design capabilities. He had financial oversight including corporate liquidity, investments, and risk management related to the company’s financial activities. Mattina was a strategic partner to a spectrum of manufacturers and oversaw sales, profitability, client recruitment objectives and marketing.
In 2015, Mattina returned to SGH as partner and finance director to help lead strategic consulting practice Vixta Solutions, which delivers a new and innovative combination of strategic consulting, digital platforms, and smart enterprise solutions.
Mattina is a Certified Public Account. He earned a M.S. degree, in accounting, from Oakland University, in 2008. He received a B.A., also in accounting, in 2006 from Michigan State University. While at MSU, he had many outlets for his business and accounting passion including attending the Eli Broad College of Business Study Abroad program, in Rome; membership in the Accounting Club and the university’s Student Investor Association; and participation in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). While at MSU, Mattina founded Stairwell Investment Partners, a 14-partner LLC, which received monthly contributions from its members. It was divested successfully in 2009.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, FINANCE
Mike Cleary joined Simon Group Holdings as the Executive Vice President of Finance in September 2018. He brings more than 30 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry leading capital investment transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions and new development investment opportunities.
Mike plans and directs all financial and operational activity and oversees strategic business initiatives from development through execution. His focus is on providing guidance, developing goals, analyzing current processes and executing initiatives to optimize business efficiency and productivity.
Spending 28 years of his career at The Taubman Company, Mike held several positions, including Vice President of Investments, Analytics and Partner Relations. He has extensive knowledge managing complex projects and transactions and a strong track record of successfully sourcing, negotiating and closing loans, acquisitions and dispositions. Mike is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Mike earned a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in finance from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.
Mike is active in the community and has been a volunteer head softball coach with The Michigan Outlaws for over 15 years and the junior varsity softball coach at Lakeland High School. He also is active in supporting The Heat and Warmth Fund, Children International, Huron Valley Education, The Red Cross and Gleaners Community Food Bank.
A Michigan native, Mike resides in White Lake with his wife Sandy, and enjoys spending time with his daughter Kelsey and grand dog Roscoe, heading up north to golf or ski, relaxing on the boat, and watching the Detroit sports teams.
VICE PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Nicholas Ernst serves as Vice President of Business Development at Simon Group Holdings. In this role, he focuses on deal sourcing, business and real estate acquisitions, capital fundraising and strategic business planning.
Prior to joining SGH, Nick was Head of Business Development and In-House Counsel for Realty Management Partners (“RMP”). While at RMP Nick sourced and closed business and real estate acquisitions for a family-fund holding company. His primary focus was in the healthcare industry where he grew strategic partnerships and had an operational responsibility when he led the acquisition of Novi Surgery Center.
Nick received his B.A. from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad School of Business and his Law Degree from University of Detroit School of Law. He is an active member of the State Bar of Michigan.
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT & GENERAL COUNSEL
Christopher Corden serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Simon Group Holdings. An accomplished transaction attorney with highly developed business acumen, Chris brings a practical approach to solving the legal challenges of SGH’s operations. Chris has overall responsibility for the vision and leadership of SGH’s legal processes and strategies, management of legal and compliance risk, and execution of tactical legal matters. In addition to developing and implementing our internal policies, compliance manuals, and operating procedures, Chris coordinates the legal aspects of fund formations, fund launches, raising capital, investment transactions, divestment transactions and general corporate matters. He also works with our leadership group to build high performing teams among our investors, lenders and management to identify, evaluate and execute strategic transactions and initiatives across our portfolio of asset classes, which include equity investment, private debt and real estate properties.
Chris has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors, and across multiple industries and business units. His areas of expertise include private equity, complex corporate and real estate transactions, mergers and acquisitions, financing transactions (including CMBS, secured and unsecured facilities, bonds, and public incentives), real estate development, land use and entitlements, construction, investment analysis, joint venture agreements, and corporate governance.
Chris started his legal career as an associate, then a partner, with Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn (an AM Law 200 firm) in Detroit, Michigan. He then followed his entrepreneurial instincts and accepted a position as Vice President and General Counsel of Iafrate Construction Company, a construction and mining company based in Warren, Michigan. Chris worked with the leadership team at Iafrate to execute a strategic plan that expanded their operations to include waste disposal and real estate development, broadened their footprint into more than 10 states, and increased revenues more than 10-fold. Chris then transitioned to serve as Vice President and General Counsel of Iafrate’s real estate development partner – Grand/Sakwa Properties LLC, based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and later accepted a position as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of The Taubman Company.
Having a strong sense of community, Chris is proud to serve on the Board of Child Abuse Council of Oakland County, Michigan (CARE House), a 501(c)(3) dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and the protection of children through advocacy, education, intervention, research, training and treatment. Chris also started On The Mend, a non-profit with a mission of providing children recovering from illness, medical treatment, abuse or neglect, the opportunity to participate in wilderness retreats and experience the therapeutic power of connecting with nature. Chris is also a perennial volunteer with Life Remodeled and Reeling & Healing.
Born in Detroit, Chris earned his BA in Finance from Michigan State University. He then accepted a full scholarship to attend The University of Toledo College of Law, where he served as Student Articles Editor of The University of Toledo Law Review, was admitted to the Order of the Coif, and graduated Cum Laude. While in law school, he also had the privilege to serve as Judicial Intern to The Honorable Judge Don Young in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. Chris is also a graduate of the Strategic Business Leadership Program at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois.
Chris, his wife, two daughters and son-in-law have a passion for the outdoors and embrace an active lifestyle that includes fly fishing, ice climbing, hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing.
PRESIDENT & CEO, ETI TECH
Bill McLendon is President and CEO of ETI Tech, a role he assumed when ETI was acquired by Soaring Pine Capital, a Simon Group Holdings company, in Feb. 2017. He’s fond of saying “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” and his track record throughout his career proves that he has been extraordinarily successful at delivering that message. He found SGH to be a natural fit and vice-versa.
Bill is a well-known, distinguished executive in the aerospace industry. He has held multiple C-Suite level positions in successful aerospace ventures. He graduated first in his class from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics, and attended Oxford University, in England, as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a Master of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics.
As an Air Force officer, he was an instructor pilot in the F-15 Eagle and served in the first Gulf War. Bill has completed intensive graduate study in business finance, including the Wharton Business School’s Executive Development Mergers and Acquisitions program. Recently he has worked with the Ross Perot Family Investment Trust as an operating partner and the CEO of Perot Aerospace. Prior to investing in and joining ETI Tech, he was managing partner of Mcavia Group, an aerospace management and consulting firm based in Greenville, S.C.
Bill has provided Congressional liaison services for the National Air Transportation Association and worked closely with ICAO on simulation technology. He is an active pilot, with commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings.
Bill was born in Fontainebleau, France and currently lives in South Carolina. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four children, playing racquetball and golf and loves to read, particularly biographies. He also enjoys woodworking and assisting non-profit organizations. An admirer of Albert Einstein, he counts Winston Churchill, George S. Patton and Yogi Berra as inspirations.
CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER & COO, FUELNOW NETWORK
Bridgette Penel is a Customer Success and Operations leader in the SaaS industry. She brings a unique blend of experience in the SaaS space in roles predominantly focused on leading organizations responsible for revenue retention. Bridgette’s background and skills are in building and scaling high-performing, customer-facing teams directly responsible for delivering meaningful customer experiences in high growth and disruptive innovative environments. Her progressive career spans leading a range of organizations: professional services, customer care and support, onboarding, customer success, and strategic value organizations.
A true self-starter, Bridgette founded her first successful start-up, LEAP-Technologies in 2004. Exiting in 2007, she soon co-founded Werkadoo, a SaaS platform matching professionals and jobs based on dimensions that looked beyond skills. This proprietary algorithmic engine curated the basis for hiring managers and professionals to determine a best-fit scenario, ultimately aimed at positioning talent towards high-performing opportunities. This tech start-up went from an idea to achieving multiple prestigious innovation awards within its first two years of existence.
Building on that experience, Bridgette began to lend her skills to other large tech, SaaS companies as they prepared for growth and revenue milestones. She has pioneered building and growing onboarding and professional services organizations, all while indoctrinating high-performing, high retention cultures. Her passion for leading large teams while working in customer-facing, executive leadership roles gave her the opportunity to assume more responsibility in leading customer care and support, as well as building global customer and partner success teams. Her team’s results have led to high percentages in increased Time To Revenue (TTR), Net Promotor Scores (NPS), Customer Retention (CR) and Customer Revenue Retention (CRR), as well as Employee Retention.
Bridgette’s studies at Harvard University in Liberal Arts and Computer Science indicate why her career has touched the surfaces of roles that bridge the harmony between people and technology. She leads from a source of desire and vision that technology can serve as a catalyst for progression, inclusive of the business world.
Bridgette prides herself in being a born and raised Texan, having spent her childhood between city living and country weekends. She is happily married to her husband of 14 years, and is enjoying her journey in parenthood with her son and daughter. When she’s not conquering her daily work, you’ll likely find her getting some mind space practicing yoga. She also enjoys her weekly workouts at the gym, cheering her son on at soccer games, supporting her daughter’s budding gymnastics career, or screaming endless hours of encouragement at her husband, a competitive triathlete. She loves expanding her knowledge in new areas, whether volunteering at her children’s schools as a member of the PTA board, or just watching the latest “Planet Earth” or documentary series on PBS.