GEM Strategy Management Inc. Has Assembled a Network of Senior Level Consultants

GEM Strategy Management has assembled a network of senior level professional consultants with deep subject matter expertise and experience in their respective disciplines. All of our senior consultants have years of operations, and consulting experience that provides our clients with a level of subject matter expertise found only in the largest consulting practices. Since each of our engagements is individually customized to the uniqueness of our clients, we only bring in those senior consultants needed to complete their respective portions of the engagement. We don't bring in junior professional staff to be trained "on your nickel." Each senior consultant stays with the engagement until his/hers respective portion of the engagement is completed. Therefore, our clients are charged for the consultants that are needed without paying the "overhead" of those consultants and junior staff that are not needed.

Thanks to our cost-effective business model, our firm is capable of providing you with a broad array of sophisticated consulting services at significantly lower costs compared to other major consulting firms.

Gary Miller, staff photo

Gary Miller

Gary is the Founder and CEO of GEM Strategy Management, Inc. a national M&A consulting firm. Gary is a nationally recognized M&A business consultant providing advisory services to middle market privately held company owners. Gary and his team advise clients on alternative exit planning strategies, strategic business planning, preparing companies for sale achieving the highest valuations, preparing companies to raise capital, leads the negotiating team throughout the entire M&A transaction process, and leads the transaction team throughout the integration process. Gary has advised a variety of clients from the lower middle market to upper middle market, Fortune 500 companies on the sell-side, buy-side, and capital formation. Clients served by Gary include IBM, Bank of America, Meredith Corporation, Toyota, GM, Marriott Hotels, Chicago Tribune, Sprint, and United Health Care, among others.

Gary sold his original global management consulting practice and research firm, Aragon Consulting Group, to IBM. As global marketing director for IBM’s Global Services Division, he led the integration of intellectual capital to IBM’s 2000 consultants worldwide. His former firm's research has been quoted in the floor of the U.S. Senate and is published in the U.S. Senate Congressional Record.

Before forming GEM Strategy Management Inc., Gary formed, organized and raised over $100 million in debt and equity for nine real estate private equity funds. Also, he served as Managing Director of the $250 million Ackerman Medical Building Fund I, where he led its formation and organization.

Gary is a national syndicated columnist for The Denver Post, The Arizona Republic, The Kansas City Star, The Las Vegas Business Press, The Colorado Springs Business Journal, California CEO Magazine, The Chattanooga Times Free Press, The Albuquerque Journal, Axial Form, Silicon Valley Global Magazine and M & A Source, among others.

He is often interviewed and has been quoted by major media, newspapers, and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Associated Press, Money, USA Today, London Times, Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Routers, Bloomberg Business New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Time Inc. Fortune, Forbes, Ink Magazine and has appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News Channel, and CNN.

Gary gives key-note addresses, seminars, lectures to business leaders on M&A issues throughout the U.S. Gary has taught business strategy, on various M&A strategic business issues at a number of universities including University of Missouri, Columbia, and St. Louis; Washington University, St. Louis; St. Louis University, St. Louis,; Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City; an Denver University, Colorado.

Sam Palazzolo

Sam Palazzolo joins GEM Strategy Management as a Senior Management Consultant and Manager of GEM’s Las Vegas office. Sam has 20+ years’ experience working within major corporations including General Motors, AON-Hewitt Consulting and Toyota. He has participated in ten startups to date and coached/consulted with leaders from the Fortune 500, Ink 500|5000, and Deloitte’s Tech Fast 500. Sam is recognized by JD Powers for his subject matter expertise (SME) in Sales/Business Development and Forbes Coaches Counsel/Marshall Goldsmith for his SME in Coaching/Consulting.

Prior to joining GEM, Sam was Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tip of the Spear is a global Private Equity Venture Capital and M&A Advisory Services (M&A) firm.

Prior to founding Tip of the Spear, Sam was a leader at a technology startup. There, he successfully raised $8M in funding which ultimately led to their purchase by a Private Equity firm within two years. Previously he acted as President & CEO of Pathos Leadership Group, where he led consulting and executive coaching initiatives in a variety of industries: Agriculture, Mining, Oil & Gas, Food & Kindred Products, Beverages, Mills, Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, Automotive, Transportation, Utilities, Finance & Insurance, Real Estate, Services, and Government (State/Federal).

Recognized as a “High Potential” leader at Toyota, Sam participated in Toyota’s legendary Total Quality Management and Total Financial Management leadership development programs. His early career included manufacturing, finance/accounting, sales/marketing, and strategic planning positions.

Sam graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics & Public Policy and received his MBA from Vanderbilt University. He completed an Executive Certification from the University of Texas as well as the University of Michigan. He is an Associate Professor in Leadership at Ashford University’s Forbes School of Business & Technology.

Sam Francis

Sam joins GEM Strategy Management as a senior consultant CFO with over 20 years of investment banking experience raising capital, managing both buy-side and sell-side M&A transactions and as a CFO/management consultant. He is a highly skilled business adviser to CEOs and senior management teams as well as a financial expert.

Mr. Francis began his career in the telecom, software and technology markets where he led buy-side M&A teams for domestic and international acquisitions. Mr. Francis was a principal at AVL Growth Partners where he provided CFO outsourced services to entrepreneurial and lower middle market companies with a focus on transaction work.

He has worked across a broad range of industries including technology, media, software, healthcare, manufacturing and distribution. Prior to AVL, he was a principal at Tatum, LLC where he provided strategic and financial consulting services to middle-market, private equity portfolio companies in the healthcare, manufacturing and global payments industries.

Mr. Francis has a B.A in Economics and a M.S in Accounting from the University of Colorado.

Stacia Falce, staff photo

Stacia Falce

Stacia Falce joins GEM Strategy Management as a senior consultant in Human Resources Benefits, Wellness & HRIT with over 20 years of diverse career and multi-discipline experience. Stacia works with C-level executives during an M&A transaction and HR integration process. Her expertise and experience include M&A strategic planning/implementation, benefits program design/execution financial analysis/cost management, benchmarking/data analytics, legal and regulatory compliance and cross-functional team integration.

Before joining GEM Strategy Management, Stacia was acting Vice President as the Director of Global Benefits, Wellness, and HRIT for Quantum Corporation. There, she was responsible for health and welfare programs, wellness initiatives, voluntary plans, 401(k) and, deferred compensation programs. She managed a $20 million health and welfare budget worldwide. Stacia was responsible for leading the due diligence process, evaluation and integration of both domestic and international benefit programs during five acquisitions.

Stacia is an expert in compliance with major existing governmental and labor reporting requirements including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), American with Disabilities Act (ADA and ADAAA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Department of Labor (DOL), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA in the capacity of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Officer), Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), workers’ compensation, and multiple state laws which minimizes company exposure to litigation. Previous professional career experience includes Boston Market Corporation, AMFAC Parks & Resorts, and Fischbach Corporation.

Stacia holds a BS in Business Administration from Colorado State University.

Benjamin Dennis

Benjamin Dennis

Ben joins GEM Strategy Management as a senior financial analysist providing business consulting services to clients in the Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Telecom and Consumer Retail industries. Ben is an expert in M&A, leveraged buyouts, debt/equity financings, transaction negotiations, purchase agreements, due diligence processes, financial modeling, business valuation analysis, structured transaction financial analysis and operating and merger models. Ben has worked with CEOs and senior management teams on 11 successful transactions on both sell-side and buy-side engagements.

Prior to joining GEM Strategy Management, Ben worked with numerous Denver-based start-ups in varying roles. His responsibilities included product management, capital raising, FP&A, marketing, and sales.

Previous to working with Denver based start-ups, Ben was an Investment Banking Analysist providing business advisory services to CEOs and senior management teams. There, he provided valuation services
using public company comparables, trading multiples and DCF analysis. He prepared and authored client/investor presentations, marketing materials and to support all transaction processes.

Ben holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance with a double major in Music Performance from Iowa State University.

Jack Freeman, staff photo

Jack Freeman

Jack Freeman joins GEM Strategy Management, Inc. as a senior investment banking analyst from SDR Ventures, Inc. a boutique investment banking serving the lower middle market. His experience includes financial analysis and strategic rationale of potential capital market offerings and M&A transactions across various industries. He has conducted detailed valuation and financial statement analysis, including Leverage buy-outs, discounted cash flow, accretion/dilution, weighted average cost of capital, sensitivity analysis, precedent M&A transaction and comparable company analysis.

Jack’s investment banking transaction experience includes sell-side advisor to a leading heavy civil engineering company, a strategic advisor to a leading oilfield service company and a strategic advisor for a branded consumer apparel company. Also, Jack has built targeted buyers’ lists, managed data rooms and co-authored Confidential Information Memorandums for clients.

Jack holds a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from the University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business and a Leeds Entrepreneurship Certificate. Jack has Certificates from Bloomberg Essentials in Fixed Income, Equity Commodity, and FX Essentials.

Todd Gurley, staff photo

Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley is a senior management consultant for GEM Strategy Management, Inc. with a broad range of leadership skills and experience from start-ups to Fortune 10 companies. Mr. Gurley’s subject matter expertise includes helping clients develop and execute growth and expansion strategies; strategy implementation; operations management; strategic planning and execution; and market research and customer segmentation. He has led over 75 projects in his career.

Mr. Gurley has over 25 years of experience centering on industry sectors including insurance, financial services, retail, technology, communications, automotive, media, and real estate.

He is a co-founder of Redbird Advisors, a national marketing and consulting firm providing value-added insurance services to independent insurance firms. Redbird Advisors provides marketing program support, training/education, sales and management mentoring, and also develops business expansion strategies.

Before Redbird Advisors, Mr. Gurley has held senior executive equity partnership positions in Vail Capital Partners, Aragon Consulting Group and was a Principal at IBM Global Services. Todd led a ground-breaking engagement for a Fortune 50 retailer to understand how consumers make purchase decisions in complex/considered decision categories.

Robert Vanourek, staff photo

Robert Vanourek

Bob joined GEM Strategy Management, Inc. as a senior management consultant with over 35 years of broad leadership skills and experience. He is a former award winning CEO of five companies from a start-up to a $1 billion New York Stock Exchange company. He has been an officer at two Fortune 500 firms including Pitney Bowes, one of Jim Collins’ “good to great” companies. Bob’s businesses have won numerous awards, including a state-level Malcolm Baldrige Quality Prize and the Shingo Prize for manufacturing excellence.

Bob’s transformation leadership skills have made him an expert at business turnarounds, M&A, and culture change. Often, he is retained to lead executive leadership training, and coaching to CEOs and boards of directors. Bob served on the board/Chairman of 10 for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Bob is an international award-winning author of two books, “Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations,” a five-star rated book. He is a 2013 USA Best Book Awards Winner. His newest book is “Leadership Wisdom: Lessons from Poetry, Prose, and Curious Verse.”

Also, he has authored chapters in five books on trust, ethics, and servant leadership. He has published articles in American Management Association, Leader to Leader, Center for Creative Leadership, Fast Company, Financial Executives, and People and Strategy. Bob is a sought after speaker and has given hundreds of inspirational leadership sessions on “changing hearts and minds about leadership.” He was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America in 2013 and 2014 and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Trust Across America as well. He was awarded the Colorado Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service.

Bob holds an MBA, from Harvard Business School and is a Baker Scholar graduate (top 5%) of Harvard. He has attended Harvard’s Kennedy School for teaching leadership. Bob graduated magna cum laude with an AB from Princeton University. Bob served as a decorated officer in the U.S. Army.

Steve Ballou, staff photo

Steve Ballou

Steve Ballou is a senior management consultant for GEM Strategy Management, Inc. and brings a broad spectrum of research skills ranging from descriptive and inferential statistics to discrete choice methods, neural networks, simulators, predictive modeling and pattern classification. Steve enjoys extensive training as both a cognitive psychologist and a research methodologist and has taught graduate-level statistical courses for several years at major universities. Steve holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Steve is an expert in Strategic Business Planning and Growth and Expansion Strategies. To help shorten planning cycles, Steve uses the latest analytic tools and technology to speed up and support the planning process. Sophisticated analytic techniques are used including structural equation modeling, building predictive modeling simulators, uses of artificial intelligence and neural networks to validate which among several strategies will be the most effective in the market place. Simulators can be built for frontline managers so they can measure their individual or business unit performance instantly and continuously 24/7/365.

Steve uses some analytic tools and frameworks throughout the strategic planning process to achieve optimal results. Tools used to identify key strategic issues include external customer research, competitive benchmarking, technology evolution mapping, market segmentation, scenario analysis, assessing market attractiveness for growth and expansion strategies and value driver mapping for identifying potential sources of value creation. These techniques help drive what needs to be communicated and establishes what is expected of people across the organization.

Steve has extensive experience in Retail, Telecommunications, Utilities, Media and Entertainment, Automotive, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare and Banking Institutions in the U.S. Latin America, Western Europe, and the U.K.
Also, Steve is director of IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) and oversees the development, implementation, and analytical requirements for over thirty-five global research studies per year. Included in this number is the IBM suite of CxO studies of which the CEO and CIO studies, in particular, have gained wide recognition among business leaders around the world. Steve received a U.S. patent award from IBM for developing a unique analytic approach called Consumer Decision Process (CDP). It is now widely used by IBM and their clients throughout the world.

Before joining IBM, Steve was a senior equity partner at Aragon Consulting Group, a St. Louis based quantitative analytic and consulting firm purchased by IBM in 2000.

Steve resides in the Orlando, Florida metropolitan area with his wife, Susan. They have three children all married and three grandchildren living in Orlando, Philadelphia, and Canberra, Australia.

Kathleen Winsor-Games, staff photo

Kathleen Winsor-Games

Kathleen brings over 20 years of experience as a coach, strategist and confidential advisor to executives from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. As an innovative thinker and published author, her programs integrate powerful techniques, processes and practical tools to promote positive change and encourage dynamic work place communication and collaboration.

As a part of the GEM Strategy Management's strategic planning and post-acquisition integration processes, Kathleen has deep insight into corporate culture and decision-making. She uses the lens of her "Culture Finder | Culture Minder" process which helps to profoundly impact positive culture change and align teams from blending cultures to the company's mission, values, strategic plans, and financial objectives.

Often, company owners are considering selling their businesses to family members or company employees on an "earn out" basis, or where the sale involves a repayment of a note over time. They ask Kathleen to conduct an independent assessment of the employees' strengths and weaknesses. Her process helps owners determine the risks of selling their companies on that structured basis.

Kathleen's coaching programs for individual professionals and executives: Reinventing Work, Breakthrough Success, and her highly revered Executive Boot Camp bring career clarity and accelerate success providing a win-win for both companies and their employees.

Kathleen is an award-winning executive search and placement consultant assisting companies from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies to find and retain key talent. Her proprietary recruiting process positions new hires to achieve remarkable results early in their tenure.

Kathleen is the founder of The Winsor Group and past President of the Colorado Human Resources Association, serving on the Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Business Marketing Association of Colorado.

Jeff Kowalk, staff photo

Jeff Kowalk

Mr. Kowalk is a senior management consultant for GEM Strategy Management, Inc. with over 35 years of experience and subject matter expertise in M&A, integration, capital formation, finance, operations and process improvement, technology and building enterprise value and shareholder wealth.

During his last 20 years at MBM Corporation, a privately held company, Jeff helped build one of the largest customized foodservice distributors for national restaurant chains in the U.S.; Jeff rose through the ranks from CFO to EVP. His expanded roles touched every division and department of MBM Corporation.

Jeff drove MBM's strategic growth and expansion plans through both organic growth and acquisitions from $800 million in revenues in 1993 to $7 billion in revenues through 2012. Jeff's performance increased revenues by nine fold and earnings by 12 fold in less than 20 years.

His leadership skills in acquisitions, negotiations, financial strategies and management performance led the MBM board of director to choose Jeff to lead the sale of MBM in 2013 to McLane Company, a $47 billion subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Jeff drove the entire M&A process with McLane through closing.

Following the closing, Jeff was appointed by McLane to lead the two-year integration process for merging the two companies.

Before joining MBM, Jeff held senior positions with Sonneveldt Company in Grand Rapids, MI, PYA/Monarch, Inc., Greenville, SC, Span-America Medical Systems, Greenville, SC and Ernst & Whinney, Greenville, SC.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC and is a Certified Public Accountant in the states of North and South Carolina and Michigan.

Dennis Houston, staff photo

Dennis Houston

Dennis Houston joins GEM Strategy Management, Inc. as a senior consultant bringing over 30 years of C-Suite and board of director experience serving middle-market business owners in high tech manufacturing, engineering, construction, research and development and government contracting businesses. Dennis represents business owners in sell-side, buy-side, and capital formation. He is expert in exit planning and strategies, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), business loan sourcing, industrial revenue bond financing and Activity Based Costing (ABC), business operations, start-up proof-of- concept, growth and commercialization, and exiting the business through third-party buyers.

Over the past 12 years, he has advised over 600 businesses in their growth and expansion plans.

Before joining GEM Strategy Management, Inc., Dennis was CFO and the second largest employee shareholder leading the sale of the company to a New York Stock Exchange company for $25 million.

Dennis holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA) degree from the Anderson School of Management in accounting from the University of New Mexico. He is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) from the Institute of Management Accountants.

Dennis is a member of the American Management Association, Entrepreneurs Association, Technology Industry Association, Institute of Management Accountants, and Public Member of the New Mexico Public Accountancy Board which regulates all CPA’s in the state. He is a writer and has been featured in the Controller’s Quarterly, authored numerous business publications and taught continuing education courses on ESOP’s, Exit Strategies, Industrial Revenue Bond financing, and Activity Based Costing (ABC).

James Mills, staff photo

James Mills

James Mills joins GEM Strategy Management, Inc. as senior business communications and brand architect consultant advising clients worldwide. He specializes in building brand equity and helping companies grow bottom-line performance through highly targeted communications outreach to business and financial media and the industry analyst community. Jim advises middle-market companies in a variety of industry sectors and emerging growth companies advancing onto the national and international stage with exit plans through a merger, acquisition or preparing for an IPO.

Before joining GEM Strategy Management, Inc., Jim founded J.F. Mills/Worldwide in the late 1990s. Before forming J.F Mills, he was Regional Manager for Business Wire/Denver, where he drove significant growth which included regional offices in St. Louis, Kansas City, MO and Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN among others. Jim successfully built client relationships with Honeywell, 3M, Medtronic, Cargill, Target and other Fortune 500 companies.

Jim is a graduate of Western State Colorado University, where he holds a BA in English.

Please feel free to contact us to discuss how GEM Strategy Management can help you achieve your strategic objectives.