Tony Natale, founder of Shepherd Partners, Inc., was presented the prestigious 2014 CTP of the Year award on November 24 during the Executive Speaker Forum in Chicago. The much-anticipated evening, which was hosted by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, included Mitt Romney as the keynote speaker.
Shepherd provides turnaround and other services through the private equity and lending communities. Tony, who founded the company in 1997, has been a CTP since 1999, and was previously awarded “Most Effective Turnaround for 2000-2001” by the TMA Chicago/Midwest for his work on a multi-state technology firm. He was honored this winter for his long-time work as a turnaround professional, and for his work with Austin Packaging Company:
It was a struggling $47 million contract food manufacturer with nearly 370 workers. Order volumes, product pricing and mix changes had left the company with too much overhead, insufficient liquidity and negative cash flow, compounded by insufficient management action. Analysis showed that by exiting its pizza business, trimming the company down to $25 million in sales and selectively reducing overhead, the business could be profitable and attractive to investors. To get to this outcome, Shepherd took the company through a receivership whose success was enhanced by obtaining a stalking horse bid; a collateralized guarantee for the lender’s growing over-advance; plus the cooperation of vendors, employees and customers. The company’s assets were sold, which repaid the secured lenders and generated a meaningful dividend to the unsecureds. Two hundred employees kept their jobs; the community kept an important source of tax, lease and utility revenues; and many vendors kept or gained a customer.
“What’s especially rewarding is making a meaningful difference for my clients, their employees and others under very stressful circumstances,” Tony explains, recounting this and other memorable assignments, including two racehorse breeders in Lexington, KY; a healthy but generationally challenged national self-storage company; and an engineering and construction firm in Bahia and Sao Paulo, Brazil. “My Spanish and Portuguese skills definitely came in handy during that assignment,” he adds with a smile.
Tony has been published in The Secured Lender, The ABF Journal and The Journal of Corporate Renewal. He earned his MBA from Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree in Finance and Accounting from Southern Methodist University. When not helping struggling companies, Tony can be found diving at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium (ask him about putting his hand inside a whale’s mouth), tutoring at Adult Literacy Chicago, playing polo, or volunteering at hospitals and schools with Dante, his certified therapy dog.
Shepherd Partners provided our firm with perspective and coaching we simply couldn’t find anywhere else. He lent a skillful hand to negotiations with creditors and government agencies…
VP-Finance, Commercial Data Systems, Inc.
Cristi Hoffman, Owner
Designed Alloy Products, Inc., Alloy Rod Products, Inc., Stainless River, LTD.
…brought all of the parties to the table and laid out the framework for a restructuring that made sense…
Managing Director; Fifth Third Bank Structured Finance Group
…leading directly to the company’s and the lenders’ recovery of their entire investment…
Another time, his team successfully navigated a foreclosure process and the debtor’s bankruptcy and sale. The situation demanded firmness in dealing with the company’s uncooperative senior executives and delicateness in managing employees, vendors, and customers…Madison Capital accomplished a 100% recovery of its loan and interest….
Managing Director-Special Assets Group Manager, Madison Capital Funding/New York Life
…when I brought Tony into situations to help the largest as well as smaller banks, our clients have been very satisfied.
Daryl Diesing, Creditor Rights Attorney, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.
…consistent responsiveness, speed, and effectiveness…a tough negotiator but not combative, which is key to a successful outcome…
Jeffrey Arnesen, Director, Houlihan Lokey
…keen awareness of and balanced approach…His professionalism and commitment gained the respect of these competing interests and resulted in an award-winning transaction…
Attorney, Manty & Associates
Everything he said he was going to do and promises made, he came through. I have since recommended him to other companies in need of a “turnaround professional” consultation. I truly admire his innate ability to tackle such immense challenges with style, grace, and ethics.
Sales Manager, Cardinal Glass
He not only identifies the problems that the business is facing, but he presents alternative solutions and the reasons behind his recommendations.
Stephen T. Bobo
His level headed teams keep focused on the goals, move fast, pay attention to details and don’t get derailed by distracting issues that we see in the Distressed space…works collaboratively to deliver exceptional results.
Managing Partner, Craft Partners
…would highly recommend Shepherd to any closely- held business like ours that might be going through significant trials and tribulations…
…successfully guided us through a very tumultuous restructuring of our family company’s financial structure and leadership & governance organization…same expert and caring guidance to that situation as he did in his previous engagement with my family’s company…
President, M.A.Gedney and SVP New Business Ventures, Bellisio Foods
Tony did an excellent job serving as independent director for a distressed company. His sophistication and discernment in the board deliberation process were very valuable.
Attorney, SNR Dentons