The Pepperwood Team:
Michael O'Donnell, Managing Partner
Mr. O'Donnell has nearly 20 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur and investment banker. Having owned, operated, and profitably exited numerous companies, he brings an eminent level of expertise appreciated in any transaction. Mr. O'Donnell has founded a variety of companies that were involved in technical consulting, healthcare turnaround management, gaming and slot routes, and staffing.
His background in skillful negotiations, business development and executive management is a valuable asset to Pepperwood Partners. Mr. O'Donnell has been a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and the Turnaround Management Association. He holds a BA in business and economics from the State University of New York and he also studied in Salamanca, Spain. Mr. O'Donnell also holds various gaming licenses.
Mike Willingham, Partner
Mike Willingham is a founding partner of Pepperwood and holds a broad range of experience in the financial industry. While working with the Wells Fargo Bank Private Asset Management, Mr. Willingham oversaw the daily operations of Portfolio Managers and personally managed $650 million of assets. At Bank of America he managed $400 million of investable fiduciary assets while assisting with various client relationships.
Mike is a Chartered Financial Analyst candidate, and passed the NASD Series 86 and 87 Supervisory Research Analyst exams. He attended Cameron University on a full academic scholarship, where he also earned his Finance degree. Mr. Willingham is currently on leave from Pepperwood, as he is with the FDIC working in the Division of Resolutions and Receiverships.
Eugene Terekhov, Partner
Eugene Terekhov brings a substantial background in investment banking and emerging development to Pepperwood through his strong, international ties. Eugene focuses on the Russian and European markets where he manages investment activity with Pepperwood’s key institutional partners. Prior to joining Pepperwood, he was an investment banker and Head of Risk Management for one of the largest investment banks in Moscow. Mr. Terekhov received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Forres McGraw, Chief Financial Officer
Forres McGraw is a CPA with over 30 years of experience in both public and private sectors. He worked as a Managing Partner, Founder, and Treasurer at International Factoring Group, where he oversaw annual sales of $50 MM as well as the opening of five offices. Since then, he has been CEO of Laz Rus Corporation and Nostrum Biotechnology, and also CFO of ESPRE Solutions. Most recently, he served as CFO for Launch Associates and as Executive Director of Chantry Garden Medical Foundation. As CFO of Pepperwood Partners, Mr. McGraw oversees key financial initiatives for Pepperwood and other portfolio companies.
Rick Spitz, Technology Advisor
Mr. Spitz brings more than 20 years of experience in internet technology, marketing, and advertising to Pepperwood Partners. He is also the current Chief Technology officer for Cinsay Inc. Prior to joining both Pepperwood and Cinsay, Mr. Spitz founded and served as CTO for ReachLocal (RLOC) where he coauthored patents on local advertising and proxy technology. While he was working at ReachLocal, the company achieved various awards including #1 on the Deloitte Fast 500, and #37 on the Inc 500.
As CTO/VP of Development at WorldWinner.com, he played a key role in the company’s transition from a startup company to a business serving more than 5 million players. Prior to that, he was VP of Product Development for Decalog Inc. (a division of Sungard), where he headed development of financial applications used by the likes of Citicorp, Warburg Pincus and AXA. Spitz came to Sungard from Apple Computers in Cupertino, California, where as VP of Software, he led the Macintosh software development organization in defining and developing notable Mac products such as System 7, Power PC, and Quicktime multimedia.
Ella Nguyen, Lead Analyst
Ella Nguyen has been involved with a number of private equity financing transactions with an emphasis on emerging internet technology companies. Ms. Nguyen oversees the analyst team at Pepperwood and assumes a broad scope of work. Her focuses include extensive company due diligence, financial modeling, and valuation analysis across different industries and transaction types, supporting transaction structuring, and execution efforts.
Prior to joining Pepperwood, Ms. Nguyen worked at JPMorgan Chase with the Broker/Dealers Security Services team. Before working at JPMorgan, Ms. Nguyen was with the research department at the University of Texas at Dallas. She was also involved in the creation and establishment of UT Dallas’ first ever student managed investment fund. Ms. Nguyen holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas where she was awarded a full scholarship and graduated summa cum laude.
Paul Wang, Analyst
Paul Wang initially joined Pepperwood as an intern analyst in 2012. Mr. Wang provides quantitative and qualitative analysis to projects in Pepperwood’s portfolio of clients. Prior to joining Pepperwood, he was an entrepreneur with ten years of experience in the restaurant industry, successfully starting and operating restaurants as well as managing national franchise restaurants.
He graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Economics from Tarleton State University, and he recently completed his MBA and M.S. Finance with high distinction from the University of Texas at Dallas. While at UT Dallas, he served as the graduate leader of the Dean’s Council, working closely with the Dean, Assistant Deans, and student body.
Samuel Scott, Analyst Intern
As an analyst intern, Samuel Scott works closely with Pepperwood clients on the development of quantitative and qualitative business analysis. In addition to working at Pepperwood, Mr. Scott is completing his senior year at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he is studying Finance and Accounting. Prior to joining Pepperwood, Mr. Scott served as Treasurer of Student Government at the University of Texas at Dallas Student, as Chairman of a local nonprofit music festival, and as a Public Speaking Coach at the University of North Texas in Denton.