John Nottingham - Co-President, Nottingham Spirk and Co-Chairman of the Board, Nottingham Spirk
John Nottingham is Co-President of Nottingham Spirk, a leading business and product innovation firm with over 1,300 patents, of which 95 percent have been commercialized. The Nottingham Spirk “Vertical Innovation Process” has helped client / partner companies earn over $50 billion in combined sales.
The NS innovation team has co-created such award-winning consumer and medical innovations as SpinBrush, the largest selling powered toothbrush line; Swiffer Sweep+Vac; Club Car Tempo Walk, the world’s first autonomous golf caddie; Cardinal Health InPower Digital Medication Assistant; TecTraum, the first concussion therapy system; and Medtronic CardioInsight EC Vue, the first non-invasive electrocardiographic mapping system. NS recently joined with InvestIndustrial in the acquisition of Jacuzzi Brands. Prior to the acquisition, NS performed an “Innovation Due Diligence Process.” The NS plan is to disrupt and re-imagine the entire hot tub and spa industry through its partnership with InvestIndustrial.
Mr. Nottingham serves on the Cleveland Clinic Board of Trustees, Case Western Reserve University Technology Commercialization Board, boards of CWRU think[box] maker space, Global Center for Health Innovation, Great Lakes Biomimicry, as well as several private equity company boards of directors.
Mr. Nottingham is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. As the lead patent holder on hundreds of US and international patents, he is in the top tier of individual inventors in the US. Additionally, he is an inductee of the Inside Business Hall of Fame and a Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
He has presented numerous times on the subject of breakthrough innovation, and he has appeared on The Today Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and SiriusXM. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Japan Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Wired, and Fast Company.
John Spirk - Co-President, Nottingham Spirk and Co-Chairman of the Board, Nottingham Spirk
John Spirk is the Co-President of Nottingham Spirk, a leading business innovation firm with over 1,300 patents, of which 95 percent have been commercialized. The Nottingham Spirk “Vertical Innovation™” process has helped partner companies earn over $50 billion in combined sales for product lines like Dirt Devil, Little Tikes, Dutch Boy, and AXE.
Nottingham Spirk has co-created companies based on NS innovations, such as the Crest SpinBrush venture which was sold to P&G, returning $475 million, 24 times EBITDA to family office investors. Their Swiffer Sweep+Vac venture was also sold to P&G. The ThermoScan Ear Thermometer venture was sold to Braun/Gillette for $175 million. Their Tempo Walk Autonomous Golf Caddie was recently acquired by Club Car. Their CardioInsight non-invasive electrocardiographic mapping venture was acquired by Medtronic and has so far returned over $120 million to investors. Nottingham Spirk was recently recognized by Fast Company as one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators in the World.
The Nottingham Spirk current portfolio of venture companies includes TecTraum; concussion therapy system, Sterifre; low cost disinfection system, XaTek; blood coagulation monitor, and Polar Delight; single-serve premium ice cream dispensing system. Nottingham Spirk recently partnered and co-invested with InvestIndustrial to acquire Jacuzzi Brands and is currently co-creating the next generation of premium spa products to double sales, triple profits, and drive equity growth.
Mr. Spirk serves on the Cleveland Clinic Board of Trustees, Case Western Reserve University Technology Commercialization Board, CWRU Think[box] Makerspace Advisory Board, boards of Jacuzzi Brands and Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as several other private equity company boards.
Mr. Spirk is one of the top individual patent holders in the U.S., a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, an inductee of the Inside Business Hall of Fame, and a winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Other awards include Gold IDEA Award, Edison Gold Award, and DuPont Packaging Gold Award.
He and the NS team have appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and CNN. He has also been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Japan Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Wired, and Fast Company.
Lilian R. Cindric - COO and CFO, Treasurer, Nottingham Spirk
Lilian R. Cindric has held the position of Vice President and CFO for Nottingham Spirk since February 2017 and serves on its Board of Directors. Ms. Cindric's professional experience spans the operational and financial management areas of strategic, business, and financial planning, financial analysis and reporting, accounting, and auditing. She is driven by innovative and creative solutions and the collaborative relationship between finance and operations in pursuit of business excellence and optimizing the value of human capital.
Ms. Cindric has worked both domestically and internationally in the financial management field and held progressive roles for NIKE, Electrolux, and Glidden Paints. Prior to joining Nottingham Spirk, she served in a leadership role with Questex Media Group, a global media firm serving the hospitality, travel, and beauty and wellness industries. She focused on financial and business planning and performance management in aligning goals with business strategies to drive company success, which she leads at Nottingham Spirk in her current role.
Ms. Cindric earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Accounting from the University of Dayton and is a Certified Public Accountant. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and two children.
Anthony J. Dowd - President and Chief Executive Officer, Fairfield
Anthony J. Dowd is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Fairfield, a position he has held since January 2017, and serves on its Board of Directors. Mr. Dowd is also a director of Magseis-Fairfield ASA (OB: MSEIS) and a Trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation, where he currently Chairs the Appointments Committee. Prior to joining Fairfield, Mr. Dowd had more than twenty-five years of experience in private equity, including serving as the Managing Partner of Charter Oak Capital Partners and as an Operating Partner at Mill Point Capital.
He has served on the boards of directors of numerous private and public companies, including Hostess Brands, Inc. and Future Pipe Industries in Dubai, the global leader in fiberglass pipe systems. During the Financial Crisis, Mr. Dowd was the Chief of Staff for Paul Volcker, the Chairman of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He is a former U.S. Army Officer and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Joachim (Joe) Gfoeller, Jr. - Director of Investments, Nottingham Spirk
Joe Gfoeller, Jr. is the Director of Investments for Nottingham Spirk. Previously, he served as General Partner of GMG Capital Partners L.P., a venture capital investment firm he co-founded in 1997. Prior to GMG, Mr. Gfoeller was one of the founding partners of Stolberg Partners, established in 1993. At Stolberg Partners, he had extensive experience investing in the private equity middle market, particularly in the manufacturing and distribution industries. Prior to Stolberg Partners, Mr. Gfoeller served as a Vice President of Weiss, Peck & Greer from 1988 to 1993 and as a partner of its buyout group from 1992 to 1993. From 1983 to 1986, Mr. Gfoeller was with the First National Bank of Boston as a Credit Officer and Workout Specialist, working in the United States and Latin America.
Mr. Gfoeller has served on several corporate boards, including those of TecTraum Inc., Flanders Filters Inc., Iverify Inc., Lancope Inc., Phobos Corporation and StorageApps Inc., among others.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Gfoeller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is an active supporter, through the Gfoeller Foundation, of archaeology projects in Armenia. Mr. Gfoeller speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and German. He received a Masters of Business Administration degree in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, an Master of Arts degree, with honors, in Economics and Latin American Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1983, and a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in International Studies from The Ohio State University in 1981.
James R. Hills - Director, Nottingham Spirk
A senior executive with a track record for driving innovation and growth, Jim Hills is a successful entrepreneur, investor, and director. Mr. Hills brings over 30 years of leadership experience in the consumer products industry, having founded and guided two consumer products companies to successful exits of more than a $100 million. Earlier in his career, he held senior roles in marketing, finance and sales management with Gillette and The Coca-Cola Company.
Since 2005, Mr. Hills has served as a Director at Nottingham Spirk, where he leads the collaborative product development practice with Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walmart. Additionally, he has served as the co-lead in raising $50 million for several NS-related venture companies, including Sterifre, which is engaged in the development of point-of-care disinfection; and other ventures including diagnostic medical devices and unique consumer products.
Mr. Hills currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Miracle Brands LLC, a marketer of a line of proprietary, high efficacy wipes and sprays, cleaning, and sanitizing products. He has leveraged long-standing relationships to secure chainwide distribution in several of the country’s leading retailers which has driven explosive growth.
In addition, Mr. Hills currently serves as the CEO and member of the board of directors of Polar Delight, an NS venture company in the gourmet ice cream space. He is an investor and Director of XaTek, and NS-venture company and the maker of the ClotChipTM device, a handheld, point-of-care global assay to evaluate the hemostatic process. The firm recently received Breakthrough Device designation from the U.S. FDA. He also serves on the board of directors of TecTraum Inc., and NS venture company and the first company to develop a revolutionary cooling therapy device to treat concussions.
Mr. Hills has always been guided by a philosophy of conducting himself by simply doing the right thing. He built his success through a seasoned, collaborative leadership style and the ability to cultivate the skills and expertise of colleagues, developing outstanding teams. His creativity and tenacity have enabled him to develop innovative new products and material revenue streams, creating extraordinary returns for shareholders. He understands both the art and science of product development and the critical relationship products and brands have with both retailers and consumers. He is well known and respected by the CEOs and heads of merchandising of some of the country’s largest and most successful retailers.
Mr. Hills earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Kent State University, where he played baseball and remains an active alumnus. He is married and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Leo A. Keevican, Jr. - Managing Director, Keevican Weiss & Bauerle LLC
Since co-founding Keevican Weiss & Bauerle LLC in 1988, Managing Director Leo (Lee) A. Keevican, Jr. has steered the law firm with a clear vision: Focusing on the needs of entrepreneurial-minded clients.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Mr. Keevican a "middle-market merger maker" and "one of Pittsburgh's busiest mergers and acquisitions attorneys." In fact, he has led the firm in orchestrating over 400 transactions worldwide. Under his leadership, the firm has launched Renaissance Partners LLC, an investment bank and business services firm in order to provide additional professional services to its clients. In a Chicago Tribune article entitled, "Law firms take steps out of the box," Mr. Keevican was quoted for being among the first law firms in the country to establish ancillary services.
Among his accomplishments in his legal practice, Mr. Keevican represented the private equity purchasers of Rouge Steel from Ford Motor Company. He formed MotivePower, the largest remanufacturer of railroad locomotives in the United States, representing the company in all aspects of its operations -- ultimately completing a merger with Westinghouse Air Brake Company to form Wabtec.
In 1977 Mr. Keevican, together with his partner Michael Weiss, represented the sellers of a large Pittsburgh-based industrial company to Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts (now KKR). Since that time, Mr. Keevican's practice has had extensive involvement with private equity transactions, including representing over 40 private equity and venture capital groups in their transactions, in the United States, Mexico, Europe and South America.
Throughout his career Mr. Keevican has had a very active energy practice representing both oil and gas and coal companies. In addition, he has served as outside general counsel to an NFL Franchise; represented individual investors in their investments in an NHL franchise; represented an individual investor in his investment in a Major League Baseball franchise; and served as General Counsel to an Arena Football League franchise.
Most recently, Mr. Keevican has represented the fastest growing bank in the country since its founding in 2007. He represented the bank in its initial public offering, as well as its acquisition of a large investment management firm.
He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Allegheny County and the West Penn Chapter of the March of Dimes. He currently serves as a Director of the Shadyside Hospital Foundation. Mr. Keevican is also active in major fundraising campaigns for the Hillman Cancer Center and the Little Sisters of the Poor and Catholic Charities.
He is a 1971 honors graduate of Yale University where he majored in economics and studied under Nobel laureate James Tobin. Mr. Keevican then continued his formal training in economics at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his law degree from Boston University Law School in 1975.
Katherine Hill Ritchie - Director of Strategic Development, Nottingham Spirk
Katherine Hill Ritchie has worked internally for five single family offices and she has been an advisor and consultant to several prominent family offices and companies through her consulting firm, Private Capital Investments. Her previous work history includes advising Simon Group Holdings, Eden Capital, and PEX Global, an investment platform for family offices. She conducted investment research with Palladio Alternative Research SA in Switzerland. She also served as Senior Analyst and a member of the Investment Committee for the family office Saad Financial Services in Geneva, where she conducted due diligence and manager selection for their $3.5 billion investment portfolio. Before working in Geneva, Ms. Hill Ritchie was in New York City, where she worked as a Director for Wedge Alternatives, a family office backed fund marketing firm and Hedgefund.net.
Ms. Hill Ritchie received her Master of Business Administration degree from the Fordham Graduate School of Business and her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. Her board member activities include being Vice Chair of the NYC ACG Family Office Committee, Global Co-Chair of Advisory Board of the Guild, the Family Office Advisory Board of TriState Capital Private Bank, the Philanthropy and Education Committees of 100 Women in Finance, Fordham Graduate School of Business Overseers Board, ASK (All Special Kids), Lighthouse Organization, and Cancer101. She has also been a mentor to three MBA students.