Team

  • 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.

  • Jeff Davis | FOUNDING PARTNER

    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 | SENIOR 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 | SENIOR 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.

  • Henry Gregson
    Henry Gregson

    Henry Gregson | Partner

    As Partner at Acorn, Henry Gregson is responsible for identifying and managing direct investment opportunities and transactions in the European market.

    Henry Gregson has spent 29 years in Private Equity during which he has made 25 investments, managed 29 investments, invested £881 million of equity and has achieved an average money multiple for investors of 3.1x.

    Gregson is the founder of GR Investment Partners, a firm that focuses on investing its own and third-party money into UK and European mid-market private equity transactions whose enterprise values range from €5 million to €200 million.

    Prior to founding GR Investment Partners, Henry was Managing Director in the London office of HIG European Capital Partners, a mid-market European private equity investor, a Partner at Pamplona Capital, a €1.3 Billion fund based in London, and before that, he spent several years at the private equity arm of Royal Bank of Scotland, where he led a number of successful transactions.

    Gregson earned an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Bristol.

  • Greg-Agnew.png
    Greg-Agnew.png

    Greg Agnew | Partner

    Agnew has spent his 20-year career in the financial services industry in both investment banking and advisory and equity research roles, the vast majority of which have been focused on the aerospace, defense and government contracting markets. Prior to joining Acorn, he established the U.S. Aerospace, Defense and Government Contracting investment banking group for Canaccord Genuity, and working closely with the firm’s international offices, led its efforts in the sector globally. Prior to Canaccord, Agnew spent 10 years at FBR Capital Markets, eventually leading the firm’s ADG investment banking practice and completing both merger and acquisition and financing transactions for public and private companies. Prior to FBR, he was with Quarterdeck Investment Partners (now Jefferies), where he focused on mergers and acquisitions in the aerospace, defense and government contracting markets. Agnew is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.S. in economics.

  • Brandon Bradford
    Brandon Bradford

    Brandon Bradford | Partner

    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.

  • Matthew Ritchie
    Matthew Ritchie

    Matthew Ritchie | Managing Director

    As a Managing Director, Matthew Ritchie is responsible for executing operational due diligence for new acquisitions, portfolio company strategic development, implementation of portfolio company operational enhancements, and identifying new direct investment opportunities.

    Mr. Ritchie brings extensive operational and transactional experience delivering growth outcomes in the aeorspace & defense sector. Prior to joining Acorn in 2018, Mr. Ritchie was a Senior Manager at Northrop Grumman serving in leadership roles in program management, strategic planning, and corporate development for the $4.5 billion Technology Services Sector. In this capacity, Mr. Ritchie’s held operational responsibility for manned military aircraft sustainment & modernization programs for U.S. and international customers; design and deployment of long-term growth strategy for military logistics, cyber operations, and training systems businesses; and execution of M&A candidate identification and post-merger integration. Before joining Northrop Grumman, Mr. Ritchie led aerospace & defense buy-side transaction advisory and strategy development engagements for financial and strategic sponsors as a Senior Associate at The Cohen Group, a consultancy founded by former Defense Secretary William Cohen. Earlier in his career, Mr. Ritchie served as an Associate at Renaissance Strategic Advisors and began his career as Analyst with Forecast International in 2007.

    Mr. Ritchie serves on the Young Professionals committee of USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore and is an active supporter of the University of North Carolina’s Global Education Center.

    He holds B.A. degrees in Public Policy Analysis and Slavic Languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

    Mr. Ritchie and wife, Amy, live in Washington, DC.

  • 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.

  • 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.  

  • 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.