Advisory board

James Ashton

Mr. Ashton is the founder and CEO of Ashton Capital Partners. He has an extensive history of acquiring, running and turning around manufacturing organizations. He maintains a strong reputation for successful transactions and for excellent post-acquisition execution. For the first 25 years of his career, Jim was responsible for impressive financial and operational results as general manager in ultra-large scale operations, building complex products including F-16s, nuclear submarines, and oil well drilling equipment. Since 2002, Mr. Ashton has focused his attention on the world of private equity both as a deal maker and as an operational CEO/Chairman. He has achieved significant success with companies in many diverse industries and is still considered a worldwide expert in composite materials. Jim is published as a recognized authority in management philosophy and leadership. He has a BS from University of Iowa, a MS and PhD from MIT, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jess C. Ball

Mr. Ball has been active in the operational side of investment banking for over 30 years working with underperforming leveraged buyouts of industrial businesses. Prior to that, he worked at General Electric for over 21 years. For the past 30 years, Jess has worked as either a CEO, Consultant or Board Member for a variety of companies in the plastics, pneumatic tool, metals, chemical, food processing, textile printing, packaging, automotive parts, motor coach, flooring, infant products, laminate and home care markets. Revenues for each of these businesses have ranged from $50 million to $1.0+ billion. Functioning in many roles including that of a consultant, Jess has financial interests in several companies in a variety of businesses. Mr. Ball has an Electrical Engineering Degree from West Virginia University and an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers University. He is past President of the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Graduates of Electrical Engineers.

Frank V. Cespedes

Frank Cespedes teaches at Harvard Business School. For 12 years, he was Managing Partner at The Center for Executive Development, a firm that won awards in the United States and in Europe for its work with companies. He has consulted to companies in many industries, is affiliated with PE and VC investors, and has been a Board member of Evenflo, HALO Industries, start-up firms, and the Education for Employment Foundation. At Harvard, he taught the required MBA courses in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurial Management, led the Strategic Marketing Management program for senior executives, and currently heads a new executive program, “Aligning Strategy and Sales.” He also teaches in the Owner-President Management program (OPM) for CEOs and an MBA course on B2B Marketing & Sales. He has written for numerous publications, including Harvard Business Review and Wall Street Journal, and is the author of six books, including Aligning Strategy and Sales (Harvard Business Review Press). He received his BA from City College of New York, MS from MIT, and PhD from Cornell University.

Robert S. Matteucci

Mr. Matteucci has over 30 years of management and private equity experience. On the operational side, Rob served 4+ years (2005-2009) as the CEO of Evenflo Company, Inc., a leading juvenile products company. During this time, he drove profitable share growth via strengthened branding/marketing programs and product innovation, while improving margins via systemic cost reduction. Subsequently, he led a successful sale of 3-times invested capital, working in partnership with Harvest Partners, a mid-cap private equity firm.

Prior to Evenflo, Rob enjoyed a 27+ year career (1977-2004) with Procter & Gamble (P&G), where he held a variety of senior-level positions. His last assignment was Vice President of the Clairol Division, in which he led a record 6-month integration into P&G’s operations after a 2001 acquisition, and subsequently. helped increase the division’s revenue and profit.

Since 2011, Rob has been an investor and Director of privately-held Pittsburgh Brewing Company, in conjunction with Uni-World Capital (now Verus), taking an active role providing guidance to the company’s CEO. He is also on the advisory board for Verus, assisting the firm in its due diligence of prospective portfolio companies.

In addition, Mr. Matteucci is an adjunct instructor at the University of Arizona business school, The Eller College of Management. He teaches courses in global business and strategic management. Rob also serves on the advisory board of the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund.