• Rick Nagel
    Rick Nagel

    Rick Nagel | Managing Partner

    As the Managing Partner of Acorn, Rick Nagel leads the strategic direction of the firm and its portfolio assets. 

    Mr. Nagel first served Acorn as an Advisory Board Member and in 2004 joined as a partner, launching the firm¹s private equity practice.  He leads and is responsible for Acorn’s current geographic footprint, fund operations, fundraising activity, investment deal generation, portfolio integrations and performance improvement initiatives. 

    Prior to joining Acorn, Mr. Nagel was with Platinum Equity as part of their operating team, where he led several revitalization and transformation strategies that spanned high growth enterprises and successful turnarounds. In this capacity, he managed and helped lead several companies in Platinum¹s information technology and telecommunications portfolio, which included DCA Services, Matrix Telecommunications, and numerous bolt-on acquisitions. He joined DCA in 1995 before WorldCom divested it to Platinum in 1997 and was named president of DCA in 1999. 

    Mr. Nagel is a current member of the Board of Governors for the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Oklahoma Aerospace Association, and the US Air Force Association. He serves on the Board of Directors for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, is involved with numerous civic organizations, locally and nationally, and is the state president of the Oklahoma Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.  In addition, Mr. Nagel is the treasurer for US Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK, Appropriations & Rules), a position he also served for former US Congressman JC Watts. Nagel is also a former Finance Chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party. 

    A Phillips 66 Scholar, Mr. Nagel holds a B.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering in Environmental Science.


    As Acorn’s Founding Partner, Jeff Davis has provided leadership in all aspects of the firm’s operations and portfolio development activities and currently manages the firm’s Services and Finance Portfolios.

    Mr. Davis serves on Acorn’s governance and investment committees, and supports Acorn’s investor relations’ functions. He is heavily involved with deal sourcing, due diligence, transition support and portfolio management.

    Prior to joining Acorn, Mr. Davis spent time in both the private and public sectors. His public sector life has included responsibilities in government contracting, incentive management and bond financing, while his private sector experience has included technology business start-ups, including a private company focused on distance learning and e-commerce. He launched Acorn in 2000 as a seed-level investment boutique and incubator in Aerospace & Defense before the firm shifted its focus to later stage opportunities in 2004.

    Mr. Davis is a member of the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industry Association, the preeminent trade association for America’s Aerospace & Defense industry. He serves on a number of local boards and commissions, and was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to the State’s Long Range Capital Planning Commission. Mr. Davis is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable.

    Mr. Davis is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing from the Walton School of Business. He is also a graduate of the Institute for Organization Management at Southern Methodist University, and he attended The Academy for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame.

  • Jeff Morton | PARTNER

    As a Senior Partner and serving as the Chief Financial Officer, Morton manages and oversees the financial management of the firm, its funds, and its portfolio companies. He plays a critical role as part of the Capital Management team with efforts related to the identification, negotiation, due diligence, and acquisition. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm, and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.

    Morton has over 30 years of financial management experience, as a senior manager with both Ernst & Young (formerly Arthur Young) and Deloitte & Touche (formerly Touche & Ross) and as the chief financial officer of numerous public and private, small to medium size, companies, in various industries including energy, food services, publishing, government contracting and banking. He has also been an entrepreneur who developed a multi-unit restaurant company which he later sold.

    Prior to joining Acorn in 2005, Morton served as the chief financial and administrative officer from 1999 thru 2005 for a defense contractor that has been in the aerospace and defense sector since 1982. Among other duties, he was responsible for the management of all Federal and State contract negotiations, including the necessary approvals and compliance with procurement regulations. Additionally, in 2005, he served as the corporate controller for a $3 billion publicly-held bank. Prior to these roles, he was the CFO for Eateries, a publicly traded restaurant management company.

    Morton has served on the Oklahoma Venture Forum Board since 2002 and during the 2006-2007 session he served as the OVF President.

    He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Baldwin-Wallace College and is a certified public accountant.

  • Robert Hinaman | PARTNER

    As a Senior Partner, Robert Hinaman leads Acorn’s Mergers and Acquisitions and Corporate Finance functions, which include developing relationships with intermediaries, directing the outbound calling and sourcing program, and managing the acquisition process from evaluation through due diligence, financing, and closing. Hinaman has broad transactional experience in the aerospace and defense industry on a global basis and he assists the firm in executing its strategic direction objectives.

    Hinaman joined Acorn in 2007 as a Managing Director and has been involved in the acquisition of the all but one of the current portfolio of companies, domestically and abroad. He actively participates in the corporate governance of the firm, especially in its capital raising activities, and is a board member of a number of the portfolio companies.

    Hinaman spent the initial part of his career in Europe, and was Managing Director of Mergers and Acquisitions for Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, and JP Morgan Chase before returning to the US in 2000. In the US he was a partner at Jefferies Quarterdeck responsible for the Aerospace & Defense practice and WWC Capital prior to joining Acorn.

    Hinaman’s directorships include Maden Consulting, Gryphon Emerging Markets, and Hunstworth plc, a London Stock Exchange listed company. He was selected as Non-Executive Chairman of Hunstworth from 1999-2000 and led the sale of the company to Shandwick plc. Prior to moving to Europe, he was an officer in the US Army.

    A graduate of Lafayette College with a BA in Economics, Hinaman also attended The London Business School.

    Hinaman and his wife, Annette reside in Alexandria, VA.

  • Brandon Bradford | MANAGING DIRECTOR

    As a Partner, Bradford leads Acorn’s portfolio and risk management practices, which includes developing proprietary macro, sector, and subsector research and performance monitoring capabilities. Bradford also participates in in the firms due diligence efforts and serves on the investment committee.

    Prior to joining Acorn, Bradford was a portfolio manager for Millennium Partners, a $20 billion+ hedge fund in New York, where he was responsible for a team of four and $750 million, which included an aerospace/defense book. Before Millennium, he was a senior analyst at Vollero Beach Capital Partners, a $1billion market neutral hedge fund based in New York, where he was responsible for building out the industrial investing capability at the firm.

    Bradford started his career as a mid-cap aerospace/defense analyst for Citadel Investment Group, a $20 billion+ hedge fund based in Chicago and then transferred to Delos Investment Management, where he was responsible for trading transportation related equities and the analysis of various deal structures related to the private equity portion of the fund called Delos Shipping.

    He has an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma’s, Price College of Business.

  • Craig Woodruff
    Craig Woodruff

    Craig Woodruff | Vice President of Finance

    As Vice President of Finance, Woodruff is responsible for the analysis, financial reporting, tax planning, insurance and accounting-related functions of the organization. He provides critical support in the areas of due diligence and integration of new acquisitions. He also serves as Chief Financial Officer for the Finance portfolio. 

    Woodruff brings more than 15 years of financial and operations management experience with both large, public companies and privately-held, start-up organizations. His background includes technical areas of operations, finance, treasury and accounting.  As Finance Director for a division of Chesapeake Energy, and most recently Chief Financial Officer for a private-equity backed services firm, Woodruff was a member of the leadership team responsible for the formulation and execution of the short and long-term strategic plans, while ensuring timely access to capital resources.  His extensive experience includes P&L responsibility for domestic and international portfolio companies along with oversight of start-ups and strategic expansion efforts across the U.S., Canada and in China. 

    Woodruff is a Trustee and current Treasurer for the OKC Metropolitan Library Trust and is a past board member of several local charter schools and various other non-profits. 

    He earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Philosophy from Oklahoma State University and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business.

  • Nikela Sappleton | ASSOCIATE

    Sappleton serves as an associate, coordinating various activities for the Capital Management Team, focusing primarily on outbound deal generation and investor relations.

    Prior to joining Acorn, Nikela was project manager for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce under the global division. In this capacity, she supported efforts to recruit new companies and investment into the state, and provided assistance to existing companies exporting products overseas. She also managed international events that supported the agency’s lead development efforts.

    Nikela graduated with honors from Oklahoma Christian University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in International Business.

  • Darryl Wilkerson | VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGY

    Wilkerson serves as Acorn’s VP of Strategy, and is the president of AGC's Integrated Defense Group which includes AGC portfolio companies with synergies in maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO), new and used aircraft sales, proprietary FAA certified aftermarket products, system integrations with emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), fixed base operations (FBO), and turn-key government special mission air operations.

    In this capacity, Wilkerson also serves on the Capital Management Team to support strategic bolt-on acquisitions for the firm, especially those related to the defense sector in which he has over 28 years of industry experience.

    Prior to his current position, he served in advanced programs, program management, and business development roles at Teledyne Brown Engineering, Raytheon, and L-3 Communications. Wilkerson has extensive experience managing systems engineering and integration, modeling and simulation, LRIP manufacturing, contractor logistics, and field service operations in support of U.S. and foreign government and commercial customers.

    Wilkerson began his aerospace career in 1978 with honorable service in the U.S. Air Force.

    He is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association, Air Force Association, USAF Logistics Officer Association, Army Aviation Association of America, Association of the US Army, National Contract Management Association, and the University of Oklahoma Chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi Society.

    He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from University of Alabama - Birmingham, and is a 2002 graduate of the University of Tennessee's Center for Executive Education.

  • Lisa Henning
    Lisa Henning

    Lisa Henning | Controller

    As Controller, Henning provides accounting, finance, benefits & human resources support for the management and portfolio companies.  She manages the accounting and HR teams, overseeing the financial process, policies, procedures and records maintenance. 

    Prior to joining Acorn, she worked for Advanced Academics, a division of DeVry, managing the company’s financial aspects and supporting operational processes and project implementation.  Henning spent the first 10 years of her career working in various public accounting firms.

    She currently serves as the School Board President of Harding Charter Prep and is active in the school’s parent organization.  

  • Steve Sinos
    Steve Sinos

    Steve Sinos | Private Equity Associate

    Steve is responsible for outbound deal sourcing by identifying and contacting owners, CEOs, board members, and executive leadership of potential acquisition targets within certain aerospace and defense industry business segments. He creates business relationships with the targets and examines their long-term strategies to determine if they are a strategic fit with Acorn’s investment objectives, and then to position Acorn as the buyer/capital provider of choice when a change of ownership or capital structure is desired.

    Prior to joining Acorn Steve consulted on commodity risk, trading, and investment for Mercatus Energy Advisors, a boutique advisory firm, as well as Wood Mackenzie, a global market research and consulting firm. Steve has additionally held positions in derivatives and structured products for Bank of Oklahoma, Goldman Sachs, and Energy Financial Solutions.

    Steve has a BBA in finance and an MBA with emphasis on investment and risk management from the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business and has studied investment and risk at New York University’s Stern School of Business and Columbia Business School.

  • Carol Crick | HR and Benefits

    Crick serves as the HR & Benefits liaison for the firm’s portfolio of companies. She is responsible for managing the Human Resource Managers from each of Acorn’s portfolio companies, benefit providers and brokers. She brings her expertise in recruitment, writing policies and employee handbooks, as well as benefit management to the firm.

    Prior to joining the Acorn, she spent years mentoring and leading teams to build corporate HR departments, and assisted multiple companies to grow both organically and strategically.  As Director of Human Resources for Select Energy Services, Crick was instrumental in leading a strategic expansion of growth from 1000 employees to over 6200 over a 4-year period.

    Crick graduated from Central Texas College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

    She served many years on the Lake Dallas ISD School Board of Trustees, currently sits on the Aerospace Employer Advisory Board for COWIB, and is very active at Woodland Hills Baptist Church. 

  • Chad Tyler
    Chad Tyler

    Chad Tyler | Sr. Accountant

    Tyler serves as a senior accountant, responsible for providing financial information and support to Acorn’s management team by preparing and reviewing accounting transactions.

    Prior to joining the firm, Tyler was the Controller for Tenluke Management, where he was responsible for day-to-day accounting operations as well as producing financial statements and analyses, a senior accountant for Stingray Energy, where he supported management with financial accounting operations, and an external auditor in public accounting.

    Tyler earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Bacone College and is a certified public accountant.