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 250 direct employees and with its holding companies, employs an additional 500 people.
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 2017, Atlas will host its 11th 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.
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.
EVP, SGH & CEO, VIXTA SOLUTIONS
Satish Kalala is the CEO of VIXTA Solutions. Satish co-founded VIXTA to create a company focused on “reinventing” businesses for the digital world and delivering disruptive strategic consulting for global clients. He joined Simon Group Holdings in 2012, and has been instrumental in incubating and growing several “game changing” platforms including FuelNOW Network, AeroParts Now, the Fuel Automation Station Cloud Platform and Cross Voter.
Satish has more than 20 years of experience in driving global business growth. He most recently worked with Deloitte, a top-tier management consulting firm where he helped several Fortune 500 companies execute strategic initiatives including expansion into new markets, mergers and acquisitions and business growth strategies. He began his career as a research and development engineer and has evolved his career path into business leadership and entrepreneur roles.
A firm believer in the idea that “to learn it all is far superior to the “Know-it- all,” Satish holds an MBA in general management and corporate strategy, from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering from SVU College of Engineering, in India. He is active in several Hindu philanthropic groups. He also spends time advising new startups.
Born in Tirupati, India, Satish and his wife and two sons live in Michigan. Away from the office, he loves spending time with his family, is an avid fan of University of Michigan football and enjoys getting involved in developing stronger communities.
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.
CHIEF OF STAFF
A.J. Berres is the Chief of Staff at Simon Group Holdings. In this role he is responsible for driving the achievement of SGH initiatives by facilitating the direction and common vision of Simon Group Holdings to achieve the financial and strategic goals of the SGH family office. A.J. represents Simon Group Holdings with key business, political and community leaders on behalf of the Founder & Chairman. In addition, A.J. is very active in high-end initiatives around Atlas Oil growth that include plans, projects and budgets that are crucial to the company’s success.
A.J. joins us from Guardian Industries Corp., where he held multiple positions over his 10-year career, ranging between finance, operations, business development and launching of new technology platforms. He served most recently as Director of Business Development accountable for vision, strategy and investment decision framing as well as General Manager of a Chicago-based technical glass fabrication business.
A.J. earned a B.A. in Accountancy from Western Michigan University and an M.B.A. from Walsh College with a focus in Strategic Leadership.
EDWIN “SKIP” HERBERT
EVP & GENERAL COUNSEL
Skip Herbert is the chief legal officer for Simon Group Holdings. He is responsible for the management and oversight of all legal, regulatory, compliance and government affairs for the company and its affiliates. Herbert began supporting Sam Simon when he joined Atlas Oil Company, in July 2013.
Herbert’s career spans more than 30 years. He spent more than 10 years as General Counsel of several public companies, and also held positions in the legal departments of two Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he spent time in private practice, including as an equity partner in an Am Law 200 law firm. Herbert has extensive mergers and acquisitions, financing, regulatory and compliance experience.
Herbert obtained his J.D., with honors, from the Ohio State University College of Law and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the Michigan, California, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin bars.
FOUNDER AND CEO, VESTA MODULAR
Dan McMurtrie is the Founder and CEO of VESTA Modular. He founded VESTA in 2014 after identifying an opportunity to build a company focused on matching customers with the right modular buildings and financial solutions for their needs. Since then, VESTA has experienced rapid growth, rising from a start-up to owning a nationwide fleet of over 2,000 modular buildings in fewer than 3 years.
Before founding VESTA, McMurtrie led Champion Commercial Structures, a modular construction operation focused on manufacturing buildings worldwide through the company’s 30 factories. While at Champion, his team built over $200 million in modular buildings, including thousands of housing, hospitality and commercial units (from traditional crew camps to four-story hotels) throughout the United States and Canada. That experience solidified the idea that the right modular solutions can be extremely powerful – so long as they are matched with the customer’s needs.
Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, from the University of Michigan. He obtained his law degree from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to his time in the modular industry, Dan was a trial attorney at Jenner & Block, LLP, in Chicago.
A lifelong resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Dan and his wife have three girls who keep them running. In his time away from SGH, he enjoys golf and travel.
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.
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, AEROPARTS NOW
Owen Busch is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AeroParts Now. Busch and Co-Founder Carl Helka, are leading a transformation within the business and general aviation parts industry. AeroParts Now is a transformational, digital B2B marketplace for buyers and sellers of aircraft parts and equipment. AeroParts Now enables a highly collaborative, trusted channel providing counter parties access to accurate parts listing data and transparent pricing, resulting in increased efficiency to the overall procurement process.
Busch has more than 20 years of experience in the aviation industry; having most recently served as Vice President for World Fuel Services, a publicly traded Fortune 100 company (NYSE: INT), where he led the company’s North American business and general aviation sales of fuel and related services to Fixed Based Operators (FBO), airports and other aviation service providers.
Over his career, Busch has held several leadership roles in sales, marketing and business development including Manager of Business Development at Signature Flight Support; Vice President Supply and Business Development for Avfuel Corporation; and Vice President of Commercial Sales for Atlas Oil, a Simon Group Holdings company.
Busch earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the renowned Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in 1994. He was inducted into Embry-Riddle’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014 for his overall performance during his time as a student athlete. Busch served as chairman of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Environmental Committee from 2009-2012.
CO-FOUNDER & COO OF AEROPARTS NOW
Carl Helka is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of AeroParts Now. In collaboration with Vixta Solutions, Helka is engaged in bringing innovation and technology to the outdated processes of aviation procurement today.
Carl has more than 17 years of experience in the aircraft parts and procurement industry and served as the Director of Aircraft Parts and Purchasing, Assistant Information Technology Director, as well as a member of the Safety Committee for Corporate Eagle Management Services. While there, he developed custom software solutions to handle the unique aspects of the aviation industry as well as developed some of the regulatory safety manuals and procedures in accordance with IS-BAO regulations. His dedication and deep industry knowledge helped Corporate Eagle achieve the Argus Platinum rating for superior excellence in aviation safety.
An entrepreneur by nature, Helka is the CEO of Pilots HQ. Pilots HQ was founded in 2009 and is an internet based eCommerce business operating in multiple channels. His frustration with the online solutions available today, for both buyers and sellers of aviation related material, ultimately led to the discovery and collaboration with Vixta Solutions and Simon Group Holdings.
Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Carl studied aviation business management at Oakland Community College, and information technology, at Baker College, in Flint, Mich. When he’s not at the office inspiring his fellow Team Members, he enjoys traveling and enjoying new experiences with his wife and three children. He especially enjoys good food and drink as well as taking photos of the places they visit.
PRESIDENT & CEO, TSI SOLUTIONS
Jim Estes is the President & Chief Executive Officer of TSI Solutions, a provider of deployment and fulfillment services to the Cable and Broadband industries.
Jim is an entrepreneurial business leader with strong track record of exponential growth and profitability improvement in telecoms, technology and energy based product and services companies. He has extensive international experience, spanning the globe with assignments in Europe, Latin America and Asia, He has 30 years of experience in the telecoms industry, including a five-year expatriate assignment in the United Kingdom while he was an officer of Motorola.
A native of Michigan who now resides in Illinois, Jim has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University and an MBA in Business Policy and Finance from the University of Chicago. When he’s not at the helm of TSI Solutions, he enjoys spending time with his family, including his two (now grown) children.
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.
Dave McMurtrie is the President of ModuGo. ModuGo was founded in November 2017 when Dave and the ModuGo team began building a truly disruptive digital marketplace to modernize and simplify the modular industry. Since its founding, ModuGo has been focused on rapid tech development to bring their digital solution to the industry within an aggressive timeline. Dave is passionate about the modernization of traditionally “old school” industries and is excited about the opportunities that can be created by digitizing the modular market.
Prior to the inception of ModuGo, Dave practiced as a trial attorney for nine years. Dave’s time in the practice of law included six years at Pretzel & Stouffer, PLLC in Chicago, IL and three years at Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC in Livonia, MI. Although he enjoyed his time as a litigator, Dave decided to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit and could not have found a better place to do so than at SGH.
Dave graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Communications. He then received his J.D. at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, Bloomington receiving Deans Honors. When not at work, Dave enjoys anything active as well as spending quality time with his growing family.