Rick Kohr is the CEO and founder of Evergreen Advisors, an investment bank and corporate advisory practice headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. The firm serves the needs of emerging growth and middle-market companies by offering a suite of investment banking and corporate advisory services throughout the various stages of the business lifecycle. They provide innovative and strategic solutions in the areas of Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Business Valuation, and Strategic CFO Advisory.
EDWIN WARFIELD: Can you give us some background about founding Evergreen Advisors?
RICK KOHR: In 2001, I formed Evergreen. I took my name off the door—I was one person at location not far from here, in Ellicott City. And we’ve been able to continue to grow that platform through the Great Recession, and now to the point where we’ve got multiple locations, a very broad expanse of service capabilities—three locations here on the East Coast and a satellite office out in San Mateo. It’s been an exciting ride.
Beyond that, we’ve built I think a very talented advisory board that gives us a lot of capabilities in the various industries that we focus on. We’re honored to have that kind of talent sitting around the table for our clients when we’re working on various projects. And at this point, we’re probably somewhere around 25 employees.
Q. What are some of the major milestones you’ve been proud to reach over the years?
A. One of the things I’m proudest of in terms of what we’ve accomplished over the last 15, 16 years is the quality of the deals, the size of the transactions, the industries that we’ve been able to work on. There’s a number of them that we take a lot of pride in. One might be Paragon Bioservices: it’s a company that Marco Chacon had started, to his credit, with a nominal amount of dollars to become a force in the biotech community in Baltimore. We had a chance to work with Marco in 2015 to help him raise some capital to help take the company to the next level. We were able to not only raise the capital; we brought in some help in the C-suite prior to the close. And to this date, that company’s tripled in size, employees have doubled, the revenues have tripled, and it’s become a real benchmark in the biotech community here in Baltimore.
We’ve had some other interesting projects. We re-capped a company called ROI here in Timonium to a private equity bank group, Edgewater, and Bolder Healthcare, their subsidiary that they created for that particular acquisition, so we were able to re-cap that opportunity. And then here more recently, we’ve been involved in a number of acquisitions for a client of ours in the building communication space—a number of transactions there. A number of transactions on the buy side as well with a company here in Baltimore that we’ve helped them make numerous acquisitions as well in 2017. And then a transaction we completed here more recently that’s in the manufacturing space—that we worked on and we were able to create an exit from that standpoint.
Q. What were some of the big moments of 2017?
A. Probably, as well, we’ve been very active in the cyber space in 2017, both on the capital raise and on the exit side. We’re seeing a lot of activity in the cyber industry and in the healthcare industry, and we’ve been able to get a couple of transactions done in that space, and have four more that we’re working on at this point.
2017 has been an exciting year. We were able to really continue to expand the platform of what we try to create here at Evergreen Advisors. We’re not good at standing still. We see opportunities in the marketplace, so the opportunity to continue to build out our valuation practice—that really came around a talent. We were able to bring Patrick Lowry over and worked out a very good relationship and partnership with Berman Goldman to bring that practice over into Evergreen and to continue to expand our capabilities there. Patrick has a great reputation in the region and continues to help us build out that platform.
Q. I read that you’ve started to provide location strategy services. When and how did that service offering come about?
A. The location services really came out of the blue, candidly. We really look for talent first before we focus on a location or specific opportunity that we might jump into from a service offering. We were fortunate enough to run into Vicki Horton. Vicki has extensive experience with Crowe Horwath and a firm prior to that, and has built a great reputation nationwide in terms of being able to help companies in the location services space, which is an interesting area. I think it augments our corporate advisory services very, very well. These are opportunities for companies looking to grow, expand their facilities, move locations, and we’re able to go in and help these companies from a financing perspective, from a strategic perspective: What’s the best location? What tax incentives are available? What grants are available? How’s it going to impact them from a debt capacity standpoint? So, bringing Vicki and her team over was critical from that standpoint and it allows us to set up a footprint in Atlanta.
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