Jack Helms has a long record in corporate finance and law, spanning more than 35 years. He practiced law and was a member of Fredrikson & Byron from 1978 to 1986, focusing in partnerships, tax, syndications and mergers and acquisitions.
In 1987, he joined Goldsmith Agio, a newly formed boutique, sell-side M&A advisory firm. The firm was subsequently renamed Goldsmith Agio Helms (GAH) and Helms served as President, Managing Partner and CEO from 1991 into 2007. Based in Minneapolis, the firm grew to approximately 150 employees, and opened offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, as well as established joint venture partnerships throughout Europe. GAH was acquired by Lazard in 2007 and renamed Lazard Middle Market (LMM). Since the merger, Helms served as Chairman of LMM through early 2012, when he transitioned to the role of Senior Advisor.
Helms has also been an active investor in privately-held businesses. In the last 15 years, his investments include non-control equity positions in more than 40 privately-held businesses and more than 60 private equity and mezzanine funds. To continue and expand his direct investing in privately-held businesses, Helms formed Helms Capital, LLC, a private merchant bank.
In addition to his management functions at GAH and LMM, he has advised clients in initiating and completing a wide range of mergers, acquisitions, sales, divestitures, financings and recapitalizations, including complex cross-border sales and international joint ventures. Helms has broad industry experience in the business services, consumer, healthcare, industrial products/manufacturing, natural resources/environment, and transportation categories.
Helms is a former member of the Global Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) Board of Directors and served as Chair of ACG Intergrowth 2011. Investment Dealers’ Digest (IDD) named Helms its “2007 Middle-Market Banker of the Year.” He currently serves on the boards of directors for the University of St. Thomas Law School and the Basilica of St. Mary’s Landmark Foundation.
Helms is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School magna cum laude and the Order of the Coif, and is a member of the Minnesota Bar. He is also a graduate of Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Administration, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a member of the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Mike McFadden is a Co-Founder of Pathfinder Companies and a Senior Advisor at Lazard Middle Market. In 2014, Mike was the endorsed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. Prior to running for Senate, Mike was the Co-CEO of Lazard Middle Market. He has extensive M&A experience, having initiated and completed a wide range of transactions over the last 20 years.
Mike is a past President of the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. He began his career as an IBM Marketing Representative before going to law school and working as an Associate with Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Mike is a current or former board member of Allen Edmonds, Premier Restaurant Company, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, and Tesfa International School.
Mr. McFadden received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of St Thomas with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He also attended the London School of Economics.
Bob Burns has substantial experience in mergers and acquisitions and strategic planning accumulated over 35 years. Bob Burns was a managing director with Lazard Middle Market and its predecessor Goldsmith Agio Helms for more than 18 years.
Prior to joining Lazard Middle Market, Bob directed the strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions activities of Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc., a publicly traded company and the world's largest retailer of leather apparel and accessories. Prior to his experience with Wilsons, he was the president of a regional consulting firm where he advised public and private companies on strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions. Previously, he practiced law as a partner with the Minneapolis-based law firm of Fredrikson & Byron. Bob provided clients with legal counsel in the areas of corporate, partnership, securities and tax. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Burns was a senior tax advisor with Touche Ross & Company.
Bob is a past President and Director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth and a past Director of the Global Association for Corporate Growth. His is currently a member of the board of Best Security Industries.
Bob earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame, a juris doctorate from Creighton University School of Law and a masters of law degree in taxation from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
Pete Carlson has a diverse career in commercial real estate as an owner, investor, and developer throughout the country. Since 1982, he been involved in the acquisition, development, construction, asset management, financing, and disposition of over sixteen million square feet of commercial real estate in all major asset classes – retail, office, industrial, student housing, healthcare, and multi-family.
Prior to joining Pathfinder, Carlson was with The Opus Group as a Senior Vice President and managed the Denver and the Midwest office for the Opus Development Company. Under his management, his team developed single asset properties and master planned, mixed use, business parks, including build to suit projects for national clients. The properties encompassed all major asset classes in the Midwest suburban and urban markets.
Prior to Opus, Carlson co-founded Chesapeake Companies. Chesapeake developed retail and commercial properties in Minnesota and throughout the country for over 25 years. Headquartered in Minneapolis, he opened offices in Boston, Los Angeles and Denver. Previously, he was a partner at Woodbridge Partners, responsible for the development of various office, industrial, and office/showroom projects around the Twin Cities, including two master planned business parks. He began his career in real estate development at Northland Development Company as a vice president in developing a 400 acre master planned, suburban, office and industrial park in Minneapolis.
Carlson holds a Bachelor of Science and Business Administration and a Master in Business Administration from the Carlson School of Management – University of Minnesota.
Bill Sharpe is a Co-Founder of Pathfinder Companies and Founder of Pathfinder Consulting. Bill brings both transactional and operational experience to our firm.
Prior to the creation of Pathfinder, Bill was Managing Director and Partner at Quetico Partners from 2009-2015 where he completed a number of middle market merger and acquisition transactions. Prior to Quetico, Bill was a shareholder with Lazard Middle Market and its predecessor company Goldsmith Agio Helms from 1998 – 2009 where he held a variety of leadership positions including its Chief Operating Officer.
Bill began his professional career on Wall Street with the investment banking firm Kidder, Peabody & Co. in New York City. He also worked with the merchant banking subsidiary of US Bank (FBS Merchant Bank), Kurt Salmon Associates, and DataCard Corporation where he held a variety of line management and corporate strategy roles.
Bill currently holds Board positions with Christopher & Banks Corporation (CBK), Warner Tech-care, LLC (warnertechcare.com), Foley United, LLC (www.foleyunited.com), and Coughlan Companies (www.coughlancompanies.com). He also serves as a senior advisor to AbeTech, Inc. and formerly was a Board member for Adolfson & Peterson Construction.
Bill received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota and his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. He lives in Deephaven, Minnesota with his wife of over 30 years and their three children.