• 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 | 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 | 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.

  • Darryl Wilkerson
    Darryl Wilkerson

    Darryl Wilkerson

    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.  

  • Rainey-Williams

    Rainey Williams | Senior Advisor

    G. Rainey Williams, Jr. is president of Marco Capital Group A Limited Partnership, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States. Marco has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate and other alternative investments. Williams has led Marco since it and its predecessors were established in 1989. 

    Williams is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as lead independent director of BancFirst Corporation, and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc. and .

    Williams adjunct professor in the graduate program (MBA) at Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma. He has also held significant offices and/or board positions for numerous charitable organizations including the United Way of Metro Oklahoma City, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and YMCA Retirement Fund in New York. He is a life member and former chairman of the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City. Currently, he serves as chair of the board of the Dean McGee Eye Institute Foundation, and treasurer of the State Fair of Oklahoma.

    Williams earned a B.B.A. degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a law degree from the University Of Oklahoma College Of Law.



  • Greg Wedel
    Greg Wedel

    Greg Wedel | Senior Advisor

    Gregory G. Wedel is the managing member of Remington Capital, LLC, a privately owned investment partnership operating in Texas, Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States.  Remington has been an active private investor over the last 25+ years, investing well in excess of $25 million in a broad number of private equity, real estate, oil and gas and other alternative investments.  Wedel has led Remington since it and its predecessors were established in May of 1989.

    Wedel is the managing member of Wedel Rahill & Associates, CPA’s PLC, a public accounting firm established in 1984.  Wedel is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, serving as independent director of Bancfirst Corporation and on the boards of American Trailer Works Inc. and numerous other private companies.  He has also served on board positions of charities.  Wedel currently serves on the Oklahoma Dental Foundation and is a Trustee of the Oklahoma Christian University.

    Wedel earned a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants.

  • Inman

    Admiral Bobby R. Inman (Ret.)

    Bob Inman has over 16 years of private equity/venture capital, 30 years of private investing experience, and 40 years of operational and government experience. Prior to founding Limestone, he was a Managing Director at Gefinor Ventures where he oversaw investments in several early stage startups including Kionix (acquired by Rohm Co., Ltd of Japan). Additionally, he has managed private investments in many early stage technology companies, with notable successes including Dell and Oracle, on whose Boards of Directors he served through their successful IPOs.

    Past operational experience included serving on the Boards of Directors of the following public companies: Fluor, Massey Energy, SAIC, SBC Communications (now AT&T), Temple-Inland, Texas Eastern, Tracor, and Xerox. Additionally, he served as the Chairman for both the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Paine Webber Development Corp Advisory Board. He also served as Chairman, President, and CEO of Westmark Systems and Chairman and CEO of MCC. Prior to that, he spent 31 years in the U.S. Navy, earning the rank of four-star Admiral and serving as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Director of the National Security Agency, Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Director of Naval Intelligence.

    Long active in educational concerns, he served as a Chairman of the Center for Excellence in Education and Interim Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as a Trustee of Cal Tech and the American Assembly and is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration. He also holds the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy at UT and serves as tenured professor.

    He received his B.A. degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

    He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Constellis Group and MobiTV.

  • Keating

    Governor Frank A. Keating

    Frank Keating, former two-term governor of Oklahoma, is an attorney in the Financial Services Team and focuses on the banking, financial services and insurance industries. He recently completed a five-year term as president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA); from 2003 to 2011, he was president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).  

    During the Reagan Administration, Mr. Keating served as U.S. Attorney for the N.D. of Oklahoma, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department and as Associate Attorney General of the United States. Under President George H. W. Bush, Mr. Keating served as General Counsel and Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with Secretary Jack Kemp. Prior to his service as the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Keating was an FBI agent.

    As Associate Attorney General, Mr. Keating had supervisory responsibility over all of the U.S. Attorneys. At the Treasury Department, he had oversight over the U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Customs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; U.S. Marshals; the Bureau of Prisons; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and all 94 U.S. Attorneys. 

    Through his federal government service, as well as with the ABA, Mr. Keating has worked extensively on regulatory issues concerning lending practices, housing finance, securitization, enforcement and the Bank Secrecy Act.

    As the governor of Oklahoma, Mr. Keating won national acclaim in 1995 for his compassionate and professional handling of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, Okla. His accomplishments as governor include winning a public vote on right-to-work, tort reform, tax cuts, and major road building and education reform.

    Mr. Keating serves as chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center and formerly served on the  Center's Debt Reduction Task Force. He also served as president of the Federal City Council, on the board of the National Archives Foundation and as chair of the advisory board of George Washington's Mt. Vernon.

  • Rear Admiral James J. Quinn (Ret.)

    JAMES J. QUINN Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.)

    JJ Quinn is a highly accomplished operating executive with experience as a Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer over multiple commands as a Rear Admiral with the United States Navy. He is an experienced business leader with over 20 years of senior executive management experience in government and private industry. JJ has demonstrated expertise in international marketing and sales, strategic business planning, government relations and budgetary planning. He has a deep understanding and rolodex in the Washington Interagency and DOD acquisition process throughout government and industry, including congressional members and committee staff. JJ’s domain expertise spans manned and unmanned systems, cyber security, strike and surveillance systems, satellite communications and missile defense.

    JJ recently retired from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Aerospace Systems Unmanned Systems Division where he was the lead executive responsible for the development and execution of domestic and international growth strategies for the newly restructured $3B division. Over a 10-year tenure, JJ held other positions including Vice President of Business Development for the Strike & Surveillance Systems Division, Vice President of Business Development for the Military Space Systems Division and Director of Navy-Marine Corps Programs & Corporate Lead Executive for the Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Sector in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman Corporation, JJ retired from the United States Navy after a long and decorated career as a Naval Aviator with the rank of Rear Admiral. JJ was Director of Operations, Plans, Policy and Training for the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet. Previously, JJ was Commander of Carrier Group TWO/Harry S. Truman Battle Group and served as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Earlier in JJ’s career, he served as Commander of the Naval Space Command and Commanding Officer of the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, as well as the USS Juneau and Fighter Squadron TWO. Previous assignments included an instructor tour with the Naval Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) and as the Naval Aide to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

    Over his 30 year Navy career, JJ held a total of five commands and accumulated over 2,800 flight hours and over 550 carrier landings in a number of fighter aircraft. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, five Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Air Medals (two Individual with Combat “V”/2 Strike-Flight) and four Navy Commendation Medals (two with Combat “V”).

    JJ received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the United States Naval Academy and is a graduate of the United State Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. He received his wings and was designated a Naval Flight Officer at NAS Pensacola in September 1975. JJ currently serves as President of The Tailhook Education Foundation, Inc. He is also a board member of Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch Board of Governors and is an Independent Director with Arotech Corporation. JJ also serves as a board member on the San Diego Military Affairs Council (SDMAC) and San Diego Fleet Week.

  • Carl Edwards
    Carl Edwards

    Carl Edwards

    Carl Edwards is a partner of Price Edwards & Company, the largest Oklahoma-based commercial real estate service company. 

    Carl serves as Chairman of the Presbyterian Health Foundation, a local foundation that owns and operates a $100+ million bioscience research park at the OU Health Center. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust.  Carl is also a Member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Oklahoma Metropolitan Area Public Schools Trust (better known as the MAPS for Kids Trust).  

    Carl's other involvement includes:  Member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and Chairman of the Technology Transfer Committee, Member of the Board of Directors of i2E, Member of the Board of Directors of Downtown OKC, Inc., President and Chief Executive Office of Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Past Chairman of Board of Directors of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and presently, a member of the Executive Committee, Member of the Advisory Board of Directors and Past President of Leadership Oklahoma City, Advisory Member of Board of Trustees and Past President of Board of Trustees of Oklahoma Health Center Foundation.

  • Campbell

    Bob Campbell

    Bob has spent over 40 years working with corporate and government clients on challenging management, operational and financial management issues. Prior to his retirement, Bob led the US Public Sector practice at Deloitte & Touche LLC and served as a Vice Chairman of that firm. He is on the board of the Executive Committee of the East West Institute, Aspen Group and Austin Council of Foreign Affairs and is the former Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. 

    Bob also serves on corporate boards and LLC Management Committees including Bunker Energy Partners LLC, Access Health Care, Paratus Diagnostics, Hawk Apparel, and Talent Guard Advisory Board. He also serves as an advisor to Ayata, Nuero Chaos, and Britton Hill Investment Partners LLC.

    He has authored several books and articles on public policy and management issues and served on the Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on the Federal Deficit. 
    In 2013, Bob was chosen for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Distinguished Public Service Award and spoke at the Headliners Club Distinguished Austinites Speakers Series. 

  • Danny Hilliard
    Danny Hilliard

    Danny Hilliard

    Danny Hilliard, Sulphur, was appointed in July, 2015, and serves as Vice President of Corporate Development and Tourism for the Chickasaw Nation. Hilliard served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 14 years, and most recently as Vice President of External Relations and Planning for the University of Oklahoma.

    In his current position, Hilliard assists in the Chickasaw Nation’s business diversification efforts at the Corporate Development office in Oklahoma City.  He presently serves on several boards within the Chickasaw Nation which encompass the technology, health, financial services and energy sectors. Hilliard also serves on several local boards including the Board of Directors for i2E, Inc., a nationally recognized private not-for-profit corporation focused on growing innovative small businesses in Oklahoma.

    Hilliard served at the University of Oklahoma from 2004-2015 where he was an Executive Officer and a member of the Research Cabinet for the university and was selected to be the first Vice President for Governmental Relations in the history of the University. He worked directly with OU President David Boren and university stakeholders to identify and develop new initiatives, programs, partnerships, capacities and relationships.

    Prior to joining the University of Oklahoma, Hilliard served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1990-2004, representing District 22 in south-central Oklahoma. While in the Legislature, he was selected as House Majority Leader and was elected Speaker Pro Tempore for 2003-2004. Hilliard also served as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Appropriations for five years where he oversaw the budgets and operations of various state agencies.

    Hilliard is a graduate of East Central University, Ada, and was selected as the ECU Distinguished Alumnus in 2004.He also is a graduate of the Dallas Mortuary College and served as President of the Pi Sigma Eta Academic Fraternity.
    He has been married to Karen (Wood), formerly of Tishomingo, for 36 years and they have one daughter, Rhianan, who is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is currently a teacher in the Norman Public School system.

  • John DeBlasio
    John DeBlasio

    John DeBlasio

    John DeBlasio is Founder and Executive Director of the GPD Charitable Trust as well as Managing Partner of Bootstrap-Capital LLC.  Both were established following the sale of Sallyport Global Holdings in June 2011 where John was previously Owner.  The Foundation was established to assist at-risk young adults as well as to promote democracy world-wide and has made several significant grants and partnerships since inception while Bootstrap Capital has focused on investing in strong entrepreneurs leading growth stage companies.    
    Previously, as owner of Sallyport Global Holdings, John built an organization which employed over 1,900 people worldwide and became the largest provider of security and facilities management services to USAID prime contractors operating in Iraq as well as a primary contractor for DoD and DoS work in Central Asia and Africa.  John is a 1989 West Point Graduate who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve Civil Affairs branch and was deployed to the Middle East in 2003-2004 where he worked with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as an Advisor to the Ministry of Trade and with the US Embassy in Amman Jordan as the CPA Liaison for the Embassy. During that time he was awarded a Bronze Star as well as a Joint Service Commendation medal.   
    John has lived and worked in Europe and the Middle East and has traveled extensively throughout the world over the past 25 years.  He is a resident of Chicago and was appointed in 2006 as a member of the US-Iraq Business Dialogue by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and serves on the Board of Chicago Council on Global Affairs as well as several non-profits. 
    John has been extensively quoted in the press, has had full articles about Iraq published in the Chicago Tribune and Washington Post (Outlook Section), and has appeared as an expert commentator on the History Channel, ABC News, MSNBC, NPR, and the Lehrer News Hour.  

  • Robert J. Ross
    Robert J. Ross

    Robert J. Ross

    Robert J. Ross currently serves as President and CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.  

    The Foundations were founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord in 1982.  He previously was employed as an Attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm McAfee & Taft.  He is a graduate of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School and Washington and Lee University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  He received his J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. 

    Ross is a member of the following Board of Directors: Colorado College, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce,  Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Oklahoma State Fair, Oklahoma Watch, John W. Rex Elementary School, OU College of Law Board of Visitors, OU Foundation, Roff Oil & Gas, State Board of Career and Technology Education, State Board of Education, Sunbeam Family Services,  Teach for America-Oklahoma City and Westminster School.  He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).  Bob was also presented with the 2011 Plaza District Association’s “Urban Pioneer Award” and the 2012 OKC Beautiful “Mayor’s Award for Distinguished Service.”  In 2013, Bob was awarded the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits’ Visionary Impact Award.  In 2015, Bob was the recipient of the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s John Rex Community Builder Award.  

    Bob is married to Heather Ross and has a daughter, Lilly, and a son, Frank.


  • 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. 

  • Johnstone

    William O. Johnstone

    William O. Johnstone currently serves as Manager and CEO of Council Oak Partners, LLC, an Oklahoma based private equity firm specializing in recapitalizations, as well as merger and acquisition financings. Johnstone has been managing the company since 2000.

    Johnstone is an experienced advisor to financial services and investment firms, he currently serves as Vice-Chairman and Director of BancFirst Corporation since 1996. Previously, he served as President, CEO and Chairman of City Bank & Trust from 1985 to 1996. In addition, Johnstone is a Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Frank Phillips Foundation, Inc., and serves on the Executive Committee for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

    Johnstone has previously served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Association of State Banks, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, President of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Chairman of the Oklahoma Securities Commission, Chairman of the Young Presidents Organization, as well as on other boards and committees.

    Johnstone has received the Leadership Oklahoma award for being a Distinguished Community Leader and the Dean McGee Award.

    Johnstone earned a B.A. in Economics and an MBA both from the University of Oklahoma.

  • Randy Martinez
    Randy Martinez

    Randy Martinez

    Randy Martinez has an exceptional track record of leadership in billion-dollar public corporations in aviation, aerospace & defense. A vision-driven executive, he has remarkable strengths in leading the creation of new strategies, producing unprecedented financial success and driving operational excellence. Among many noteworthy achievements, he has led multi-million-dollar revenue and profit growth, significant turnarounds and has a successful track record in strategic acquisitions as well as organic P&L growth.

    Randy has served on several public-company Boards of Directors and currently sits on the Board of MTS Systems Corporation (NASDAQ) where he is a member of both the Audit and Compensation Committees. For AAR Corp. (NYSE), a $1.8 billion+ provider of aviation services for the aerospace and defense sectors with 5,000+ employees in 60+ locations across 20 countries, Mr. Martinez served in several leadership roles, most notably President & CEO of the AAR Airlift Group and Group Vice President of Aviation Services. Additionally, he held the positions of Corporate Vice President of Strategy & Business Development and Group Vice President of Government & Defense Services. Prior to AAR, Randy served as CEO and Board member of World Air Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ), a $1 billion global organization with over 2,200 employees and wholly-owned subsidiaries including World Airways, North American Airlines and World Risk Solutions (sold in 2007). The company’s largest customer was the Department of Defense.

    Earlier in his career, Randy had a distinguished military career with the U.S. Air Force (Colonel retired and Command Pilot), most recently serving as Principal Advisor to the Chief of NATO’s Strategic Planning Staff. He also served as Senior Aide-de-Camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, Commander - 457th Airlift Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base and Chief - Wing Standardization & Evaluation Division at Rhein Main Air Base. He is a combat-experienced pilot, highly-decorated and a three-time, below-the-zone promoted officer.

    Randy earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Master of Science degrees from the University of Arkansas and the National Defense University. In addition to his current service on the Board of Directors of MTS Systems, Randy serves on the Board of the National Defense Transportation Association. His prior service on Boards of Directors includes Global Aviation Holdings, World Air Holdings and Safe Ports. Randy was inducted into the Conquistadores del Cielo and Society of International Business Fellows in 2006. He is currently the Chairman of the Military Aviation Advisory Committee of the National Defense Transportation Association and a Trustee of the Falcon Foundation for the Air Force Academy.

  • Hal Chrisman
    Hal Chrisman

    Hal Chrisman

    Hal Chrisman is a seasoned aerospace & defense professional with over 32 years of experience in the industry.  Hal has split his time between consulting and executive–level industry positions.  His experience spans all major market segments including commercial air transport, Defense, rotary wing and business aviation.  His functional focus has been M&A transaction support, strategic planning, operational improvement, and industrial marketing.

    Most recently, Mr. Chrisman was a Vice President with ICF’s Airlines, Aerospace & MRO practice.  Previously, he was a Principal with AeroStrategy, a boutique consultancy focused on the aviation and aerospace industries; Sr. Vice President of Corporate Development for Pemco Aviation Group; Sr. Vice President of Business Development for Aerospan, a spare parts eBusiness Joint Venture between AAR and SITA; Sr. Director – Aerospace and Defense Solutions for Oracle Corporation; and a Principal with The Canaan Group, an aerospace consultancy.  He began his career as a project engineer with Williams International, a leading gas turbine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), working the cruise missile engine program and leading the development of the Sub-system Power Unit for the Comanche Helicopter.

    Hal holds a BA from Hanover College, a BS in Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

  • Operational-Excellence

    Operational Excellence / Kenneth P. Rusterholz

    Kenneth P. Rusterholz brings over 35 years of Engineering, Operations, Supply Chain/Logistics and Lean Manufacturing experience and a proven track record of formulating and coordinating high impact strategic plans, business transformation, performance recovery/improvement and accelerating multi-site cross functional productivity for various domestic and global organizations. Currently Mr. Rusterholz is President of Operational Excellence Solutions an independent consulting firm specializing in Engineering New Product Development, Operational Industrialization and Excellence, Lean Manufacturing Applications, Facility Design Concepts, and Business Strategy/Performance Execution Recovery Plans. Most recently he served two years as Chief Operating Officer for Unitech Aerospace and prior to that over 20 years with B/E Aerospace as Corporate Vice President of Operational Excellence, Quality and HS&E.

    Mr. Rusterholz holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, an MBA from the University of New Haven, and numerous certificates for Executive Education within the Operational Excellence, Business Strategy and Finance disciplines.

  • Kathleen Searle
    Kathleen Searle

    Kathleen Searle | Special Advisor

    Kathleen Searle
    As the Special Advisor and Chief Marketing Officer for Acorn, Kathleen Searle provides strategic guidance and expertise in strategy, marketing and business development across Acorn’s portfolio companies, affiliates and strategic partners including its marketing partner, Saxum. She leads the firm’s strategy across all marketing disciplines as well as guidance in operational effectiveness during due diligence.

    Searle has a proven track record of success in Fortune 500 corporations in aviation, industrial, defense & intelligence and financial services – specifically Textron and Bank of America. Throughout her marketing career, she has established the vision and strategies necessary to grow profitable multi-billion dollar global corporations. With numerous promotions throughout her career, she is known for driving results by leading high-performing teams. Searle has strong P&L experience and leadership accomplishments as well as M&A experience. She has a well-deserved reputation evidenced by her numerous national and international awards for marketing excellence. Additionally, Searle has a successful track record leveraging strategic business and governmental relationships and her background includes negotiating high-profile licensing, sports marketing and endorsement deals.

    Prior to engaging with Acorn in November, 2017, Searle spent 13 years with Textron, the $13.4 Billion Fortune 500 corporation (NYSE: TXT) serving the aviation, defense and intelligence, industrial and finance industries. Most recently she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and led all aspects of the corporation’s efforts to create powerful, memorable interactions with Textron’s 40 brands including Cessna, Bell Helicopter, Beechcraft, E-Z-GO, Kautex, Greenlee and Textron Systems. Through leading the Marketing and Sales Council (sales and marketing leaders of each of Textron’s businesses,) she had responsibility for maximizing sales opportunities across all businesses while driving customer consideration, preference and loyalty. Searle provided strategic marketing leadership and sales guidance to all businesses – domestic and international – and increased the level of collaboration on international business pursuits across all of Textron’s businesses. Among many accomplishments, she played a significant role in the opening of new offices in Russia and UAE and successfully planned and executed the brands and strategy for the launch of two new Textron companies, TRU Simulation + Training and Textron Airborne Solutions.

    At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Searle participated in the Chief Marketing Officer Forum and the Executive Marketing Program. She attended the Executive Marketing Program at The Ohio State University and the Executive Leadership Program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her undergraduate education was at Rhode Island College. Additionally, she was Six Sigma Champion Trained at Bank of America and Six Sigma Green Belt Certified at Textron.

    Searle is a participant in the Chief Marketing Officer Forum and has advised on marketing curriculum development at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She has served on numerous Boards and community organizations throughout her career.