FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN & OWNER
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 Insurance Solutions. 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 & PRESIDENT ATLAS OIL
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. 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.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
John Cowden brings a unique blend of Financial, Human Resources, I.T. and Operations experience to the role of Chief Financial Officer for Simon Group Holdings. Working in multiple industries, including Automotive, Foundry, Service and Insurance, John has gained a valuable set of skills and insight to help Simon Group Holdings continue the impressive growth we have seen over the years.
John began his career working in public companies with diverse backgrounds, including leveraged buyouts, foreign-owned and entrepreneurial. John built his career while rising through the financial ranks and gained valuable experience through international assignments and M&A activities. This experience allowed him to develop strong processes and controls to ensure businesses meet and exceed their financial and operational expectations.
John attended Western Michigan University, graduating with a B.B.A. in Finance. He also completed an Executive Development Program at The Wharten School of the University of Pennsylvania. John has lived in many states but most recently lived in Central Wisconsin where he served on the boards of local charities. John was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota but spent most of his youth growing up in Portage, Michigan. He and his wife Reggie have a 23-year-old son Davis and a 19-year-old daughter Margaret. In their spare time, they enjoy sharing the outdoor life together.
FAIZ “VICTOR” SIMON
MANAGING PARTNER, REAL ESTATE ASSETS
Victor Simon has been a leading industry figure with more than 44 years of operational and management experience. Today, Victor is currently responsible for the Real Estate 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.
Throughout his career, Victor’s expertise has evolved within multifamily, retail, commercial-residential, and industrial real estate, as well as discounted Note purchases and distressed asset repositioning. With Victor’s geographical focus primarily in the Midwest, he has accomplished a successful track record in managing and repositioning distressed and under-performing retail and bank receivership properties.
In 1975, Victor began his career in the family business, Simon Store, Inc, and at the age of 18, Victor became one of the youngest in history to complete the Shell Dealer Training. In 1980, Victor relocated to California where he acquired several service station sites, and directly managed five gas convenience stores. When Victor returned to Michigan in 1984, he assumed the title of head of operations at Great Lakes Ice Company. With direct operational oversight of over 40 fleet trucks and 1,365 accounts, including CVS, Spartan Food, Kroger, Farmer Jack, and Costco Club, Victor was an integral part of Great Lakes Ice Company becoming the second largest ice manufacturer in state, and eventually selling to the number one ice company in 1995.
In 2003, Victor became the Director of Real Estate for Fast Track Ventures, a Simon Group Holdings company. Throughout his tenure, Victor lead negotiations in the purchase and sale of 76 locations from Clark Retail Enterprises in Michigan and selling them over $75 million. Victor also led his management group in the ground-up construction of 23 turnkey stations in Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona, as well as managing the development of retail centers and standalone commercial buildings including Starbucks stores and Chase Banks in Michigan. After building one of the largest fuel convenience stores in Michigan in 2013, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) awarded Victor with Store Design of the Year.
During the 2008 economic downturn, Victor led in the acquisition of British Petroleum service stations in NW Indiana and Chicago, where he was responsible for over $100 million in acquisition and disposition transactions. In 2009, Victor led an acquisition, repositioning, and disposition of over $150 million in distressed Note purchases, which included service stations, shopping centers, multi-family apartments, and retail properties.
In 2014, Victor was part of the founding of Simon Family Office, which constituted in the formation of Fund I, Fund II, and today, Fund III. With a combination of over $75 million, Victor continues to manage the three funds and is a fundamental part of the continuing growth of the Simon Family Office.
Victor Faiz Simon is married to Nadia Simon, and has three beautiful girls 18, 17, and 14. His family lives in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Victor has completed 7 full Marathons, loves to bike, and regularly attends at the Catholic Church: Saint Hugo’s of the Hills.
VP, HR, EHS and RISK
Gerry King brings extensive experience in EHS, HR, and Risk Management to the role of VP, HR, EHS and Risk for Simon Group Holdings. His in-depth international experience leading integration teams for new business acquisition, M&A activity and regulatory compliance has created strong leadership skills centered on customer service and generating common focus through coaching, team building and objective setting.
Gerry began his career in EHS consulting before moving into the automotive/transportation industry, where he spent the next 35 years working in multiple roles that not only covered all aspects of EHS, but also included numerous multi-disciplinary assignments in Human Resources, Engineering, Risk Management and Operations. These opportunities provided Gerry the chance to thoroughly understand their role and scope of work in a business structure, allowing him to more effectively lead and influence cultural change. Gerry’s approach is to generate common focus within all levels of the company through coaching, team building and integrating HR/EHS processes into every aspect of the business. These processes not only protect our employees and assets; they are also business tools used to improve efficiency, morale and productivity while at the same time reducing costs and downtime.
Gerry was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an undergraduate degree in Environmental and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Health and Safety Engineering. Gerry and his family moved from Canada to Michigan in 1999. He and his wife Barb have two daughters, Stephanie and Samantha, both married, who live in South Lyon, MI and St. Louis, MO respectively. In their spare time, Barb and Gerry enjoy many outdoor activities and spending time at their cottage on Lake Huron in Ontario.
VP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, STRATEGIC PARTNERS & ALLIANCE
Samer Abughazaleh brings a unique well-Rounded, Multifaceted Experience with proven track record in leading organizations, developing leaders, generating and implementing strategies that have dramatically strengthened the financial and operational performance of companies. Samer’s background in Business Leadership, operational experience, Sales, Engineering and Supply Chain provides great skills to lead SGH Business Development and Strategic Alliances while fostering existing partnerships and connecting the dots of all the SGH companies.
Samer joined SGH after a 15 year career with Cummins, where he served in a number of business leadership, supply chain, engineering and customer-facing roles. Most recently, Samer held the position of President – South Region, Cummins Sales and Service North America. In this role, Samer was responsible for combining multiple distributors under one region, driving revenue and margin, increasing market share and developing regional teams. Prior to this role, he served as the Executive Director – Program Management Office, Power Generation Business Unit (PGBU). In this role, Samer was responsible for driving faster speed to market, increased resource efficiency and accelerated Functional Excellence. Samer had ownership of the Global Power Systems Switchgear business, Automatic Transfer Switch Business, Controls Business, Engineer to Order Business, Quality, Six Sigma and the New Product Introduction organizations. Samer also held roles as Director of the PGBU Global Supply Chain, General Manager of the Power Generation Business at Cummins Middle East, Director Power Systems Business for the Americas, and Director of Operations – Power Electronics and Commercial Business and served on the Board of Directors for Cummins Arabia.
Ahead of joining Cummins, Samer progressed through a series of roles of increasing scope and responsibility with General Electric (GE) and Zenith Controls, including President, GE PMI; Master Black Belt & Quality Leader; Director – Customer Service and Request Quote; Director – Project Management and also served in Project Management and Engineering roles with Zenith Controls, prior to Zenith’s acquisition by GE.
Samer holds an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Bradley University, achieved Master Black Belt Certification at General Electric and Green Belt Certification at Cummins. Samer was born in Amman Jordan and spent his youth in Kuwait before moving to the US in the late 70’s. Samer’s 23 year old son, Isam, lives in Chicago and currently finishing his Business degree. In his spare time, Samer enjoys reading business books, flying airplanes and riding motorcycles.
Silke Kuhn serves as the Controller for Simon Group Holdings. She focuses primarily on the financial wellness of the diverse SGH portfolio.
Prior to joining SGH, Silke was on the Atlas Oil Company team. She began as an analyst and quickly rose through the ranks, before making the switch to the SGH accounting team. Again, Silke rose quickly through the ranks and now oversees the accounting team and all corporate financials.
Silke received her master’s degree in accounting from Walsh College. A firm believer in our total wellness approach, Silke remains active through group fitness, including the SGH team’s weekly yoga class. She also enjoys gardening and bike riding to stay outdoors.
PRESIDENT, CANOPY INSURANCE
Joseph Simon is the President of Canopy Insurance Group. In this capacity, he develops and executes the Company’s strategy including leading the overall product and technology strategy, creating the go-to-market strategy, partnership collaboration, and recruiting and developing the organization.
Mr. Simon also held prior positions as a Business Development and Technology Strategist at Oracle Corp, Founder of Pure Pili, and has received a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Michigan. With his Property and Casualty License, Mr. Simon is a proven innovator, leader, and is passionate about building new technologies that advance both legacy and modern systems within insurance. Mr. Simon’s experience in technology, and now insurance, provides unique insight in the operations of Canopy’s strategic approach to implement numerous technological initiatives with a focus on automation and robotics.
PRESIDENT, AEROPARTS NOW
Will Dent took the lead at AeroParts Now in July 2018 after founding and building a custom software development business with customers in the aerospace, logistics, and tourism industries. His clients include an aerospace manufacturer; Teterboro Airport, the nation’s busiest general aviation airport with more business jet traffic than any other airport in North America; and several logistics companies supporting the cruise ship and commercial shipping industries.
Prior to starting his software development company, Dent was responsible for all customer-facing software at Gulfstream Aerospace and created the Interactive Marketing department with a focus on using technology in marketing. His team was responsible for the first iPad app for business jet pilots and was awarded the General Dynamics Technology Innovation award. Dent was responsible for Gulfstream’s first eCommerce solution, customer portal, and user experience and integration for Gulfstream’s G650 Health Trend Monitoring and Cabin Management systems.
In his role at Gulfstream as Sr. Manager, Interactive Marketing & CRM, his team was responsible for all customer-facing support of myGulfstream.com, integration with CMP.net, and support of customer relationship management software. Dent served on the eGulfstream team and General Dynamics IT security advisory teams.
Dent earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and MBA from the University of Phoenix.
He also holds a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Powerplant license
PRESIDENT & CEO ETI TECH & STARWIN INDUSTRIES
Matthew (Matt) Eberhardt is a Retired Naval Surface Warfare Officer and Executive Business Professional with a proven track record of growth and leadership in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. He is the President and CEO of ETI Tech, LLC and Starwin Industries. He manages a team across 2 operating locations in the Dayton OH area specializing in critical machined and composite parts for the Aerospace and Defense Industry.
Matt has various levels of Executive Leadership experience with the Chemring Group, Marotta Controls, and most recently with General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS). While at GD-OTS, Matt managed a Business Development group of 8 locations and a total of $1B in annual orders from 2018 – 2019. From 2019 – 2020, he was the General Manager of an $80M facility in Healdsburg CA managing 3 locations and 180 people.
In 1989, Matt Enlisted in the US Navy as a Nuclear Steam Plant Operator, where he excelled as an instructor and was recognized as a Steam Propulsion Plant Expert after 5 years in USS CALIFORNIA (CGN 36). After 9 total enlisted years of service, he was selected for the Seaman to Admiral Commissioning Program and attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, earning a commission as an Ensign. Matt then served an additional 12 years and retired as Lieutenant Commander.
Matt has a BS in Finance and MBA from Jacksonville University. In addition, Matt has attended and completed Wharton’s Executive Education program “Finance for the non-Finance Executive”.
CEO, AeroParts Now
Jeff Jerge is an aviation and technology executive with over 25 years of industry experience. Most recently, Jeff was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Inventory Locator Service, an aviation and defense B2B marketplace where he was responsible for global enterprise sales.
Prior to ILS, he was in Sales Leadership at GECAS Aviation Leasing and held multiple roles within the Boeing Company, most recently launching the Boeing Dallas Service Center. He has served in multiple disciplines across Airlines, OEM’s, Distribution, Parts Traders, Defense, and Business/General Aviation. He has a passion for sales brings his experience in SaaS within Aviation to APN.
Jeff is based in Memphis, Tennessee with his wife Sarah, and their two boys William and Anderson. He is also a pilot and holds his commercial license in multi engine aircraft.
ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL, SIMON GROUP HOLDINGS
John Ortoleva is the Assistant General Counsel for Simon Group Holdings. In his role, he oversees all the legal affairs for Atlas Oil Company and its various Affiliates. He also serves on Atlas’ Leadership Team. John is committed to partnering with all of the SGH business teams and providing them with proactive legal services for the purpose of minimizing risk and enhancing profitability. While maintaining the highest ethical standards, he seeks opportunities for value creation by offering exceptional legal advice and counseling that facilitates, rather than hinders, the attainment of SGH’s business objectives. Creativity, innovation and a willingness to embrace new ideas and challenges guides his every action.
John joined SGH in 2009. Prior to that, he practiced commercial litigation and debtor creditor law for 15 years with the Metro Detroit Law Firm of Muller, Richmond, Harms, Myers & Sgroi, P.C. where he represented a wide variety of clients in the auto, manufacturing, service, banking and insurance industries. He has handled hundreds of cases, trials, case evaluation hearings and court appearances. John has served as a case evaluator for both the Oakland and Macomb County Circuit Courts. John received his law degree from Michigan State University and his undergraduate degree in political science from Clark University in Worcester Massachusetts. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in Michigan. John was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut and enjoys travelling back there during the Holidays to visit his family and friends. In his spare time, John enjoys running, rollerblading and travelling. An old Eagle Scout, he is an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and teaches several merit badges at summer camp.