Our Team of M&A Advisors
Domenic Rinaldi, CBI, Managing Director
Domenic Rinaldi is the President and Managing Partner of Sun Acquisitions. He was awarded the professional designation of Certified Business Intermediary form the International Business Brokers Association and is considered an expert in the field of business brokerage. He is a seasoned executive who brings over 24 years of proven experience in merger/acquisition, sales, service, marketing and operations to the business brokerage arena.
Domenic’s career began at Sprint Corp, where he spent 13 years in sales and operations. As VP of their Hospitality Division he led a national organization to $250 million in annual revenue. His experience as Chief Operating Officer of an e-commerce travel company offered the opportunity to grow a Silicon Valley startup into an international solutions provider. Additionally, Domenic’s small business experience running a New York City technology company gave him first hand knowledge of the challenges facing business owners. It was at this privately held company he learned the business of raising venture capital and driving a small company to profitability, which ultimately resulted in an acquisition.
Domenic is recognized by colleagues and associates as a leader with determination and integrity. He has helped countless business owners develop, execute and maximize their exit strategies. Personally, he has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations and started a citywide program serving under-privileged school children.
Jim Cohen, CBI, Director
As a business owner and entrepreneur for over twenty-five years, Jim has bought, sold and operated small to midsized businesses of his own and fully understands the passion and needs of individuals contemplating the sale of their businesses.
Using this wealth of business ownership and transaction experience, Jim helps owners by managing the entire business sale lifecycle while maintaining confidentiality and developing & executing marketing strategies that will maximize the seller’s return on investment. Jim’s vast experience in negotiating and closing transactions while managing coordination with other professional advisors such as attorneys, accountants, financial planners and bankers, helps to ensure the seller’s risks and tax consequences are minimized.
Jim is a proud member of the International Business Brokers Association and holds the Certified Business Intermediary® (CBI®) designation. This designation sets the industry standard within the intermediary community, and provides assurance of professionalism to clients and other key advisors. The requirements to achieve such a coveted designation better prepares those who hold it and offers confidence to others that the skills necessary to achieve success in the marketplace are present. Obtaining the CBI designation speaks volumes about an individual’s knowledge and expertise.
The CBI is awarded to IBBA members who have satisfied the educational requirements and conform to the ethical standards of the association.
Kathleen Kelly, Director of Marketing
Kathleen joined our firm in 2008 and currently manages all aspects of marketing. Her specialty is helping is helping our clients, both buy-side and sell-side, understand the marketplace and how they can achieve the acquisition or divestiture goals. Kathleen is an expert at the market research required to determine the probability of a successful engagement and developing the tactics and strategies to help our clients realize their goals.
Kathleen has over twenty five year of business experience ranging from small business ownership, large corporate assignments, mergers and acquisitions and international markets all in various functional disciplines.
Kathleen began her career as a researcher at Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive recruiting firm. There she worked identifying target companies and individuals from a variety of industries and functional specialties for client assignments. One of her areas of expertise was identifying industry expertise executives to step in and manage firms acquired by venture capital portfolios. She left that firm to study business and work in Barcelona for a year. Upon her return, she joined the Richmark Group, a firm that specializes in business-to-business marketing and channel management consulting. All assignments were custom studies using in-depth qualitative and quantitative interviews with industry members. Client’s ranged from Fortune 50 companies to start-ups to M&A firms needing additional resources in due diligence. A short list of industries studied includes: satellite phones, land mobile radio, plumbing tools, international freight forwarding, trucks, commercial printing, computer servers, food flavorings, materials handling equipment, and security and alarm systems. Kathleen was the international specialist at the firm where she managed in-country assignments in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, and Jordan. As Project Manager, she managed internal teams and sub-contractors both in the U.S. and abroad.
Kathleen also took some time to start and grow her own retail business. The business quickly grew to one of the largest in Chicago as well as receiving attention from national magazines, citations in books and magazines as one of the best in the industry. Her vast corporate experience combined with her successful small business ownership allow her to bring a unique perspective to all of our client engagements.
Joseph Farinella, Senior Advisor
Joseph brings more than three decades of hands-on entrepreneurial experience to the Sun Acquisitions team. He specializes in selling, reorganizing and realigning businesses for continued growth and profitability. Joseph has also advised and negotiated a number of licensing agreements and formal contracts on behalf of his clients better positioning them for growth.
Joseph started, developed and ran his own business over an 18-year span, negotiating a successful exit in 2000. He understands the mindset, needs and concerns of the entrepreneur. Since then Joseph has worked as a Business Broker and Consultant focusing on building top line revenues and operational efficiencies for a number of companies primarily in the consumer products sector.
Joseph’s degree in Marketing combined with his business experience puts him in a unique place to envision the needs of his clients and then bring that to life in a number of ways – from forecasting to financing, branding to operations, Joseph has many years of experience guiding his clients through the transition process. He has worked on both the Buy side and Sell side of the transition process and has consistently produced successful results.
Patricia Grandle, Marketing Director
Chicago business broker Pat Grandle can help you sell a business in Chicago, Illinois and the surrounding area.
Pat brings to Sunbelt a wealth of knowledge and expertise related to small and medium- size companies. Over the past two decades, she has held several sales, marketing and leadership positions and managed several disciplines at a vice presidential and ownership level. This was at a highly successful, family-owned manufacturing company in the mid-west primarily serving the automotive marketplace. She spent her entire professional career at this company until it closed in 2009.
This experience has allowed her the ability to build relationships with high-level personnel and close large deals in heavily competitive environments. Pat has extensive professional, corporate, and sales experience with a specialty in marketing. She first demonstrated her career strengths and critical thinking skills when she obtained a degree in business management and a minor in psychology. She also brings substantial life experience to her work as a business broker, having served the business communities in Mexico and Europe.
Pat has served as a member of several associations including the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). She was Chair of the Society of Automotive Engineers International Trade Show Committee for two years. In addition, she spent time in the community as Chairperson of the Indian Boundary YMCA and as board member of her home owners association
David Gronski, CPA, MBA
David brings 30 years of diversified management experience and knowledge structuring complex business transactions to the Sun Acquisitions team. He was an integral member of the management team for two of the largest M&A transactions of the time, the Baxter/American Hospital Supply and Kraft/Phillip Morris business combinations. David’s responsibilities ranged from establishing the pre-acquisition deal structure, to execution and management of the financing to consummate the deal, to post acquisition operational business process re-engineering to align the infrastructure of the new company. In addition, he has structured, negotiated and executed over $5 Billion in multinational financing transactions in 11 countries, leading a diverse team of professionals.
Out of David’s 30 years of experience, 18 of them have been within the entrepreneurial arena. As an entrepreneur he has experienced, first hand, the trials and tribulations of taking an idea and making it into a viable, competitive, economic entity. He understands a business owner’s passion for his/hers life’s work and is able to structure a fair transaction that will be equitable to all parties. Recently, as a partner in a real estate development project, David and his team structured a joint venture agreement to fund and build a $1.5 Billion resort in the country of Belize. Before that David structured a settlement agreement with investors and dissolved the operations of a failed 150 unit, mixed use development, on behalf of a developer. Over the last few years, David has been involved with over two-dozen small businesses, structuring transactions, assisting with strategy, business planning and financial analysis. He has a strong work ethic with a focus on results; never confuses efforts vs. results.
David is a CPA and earned his MBA, with Honors from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and his Bachelor of Science, Finance, from Northern Illinois University. In addition, he has earned a certified cash management (CCM) designation.
Blake Nielsen, J.D.
Blake Nielsen, an entrepreneur and licensed attorney, brings a unique skill-set to Sun Acquisitions. Blake attended Chicago-Kent College of Law, where he graduated a semester early to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor. He and a partner built a web-enabled consumer service that utilized group-payment solutions to solve payment problems commonly felt by entertainment venue owners. His success inspired Chicago-Kent to create an entrepreneurial law clinic to assist driven students with entrepreneurial aspirations. Additionally, Blake’s company successfully completed the Knapp Center Business Accelerator and Chicago Lean Startup Challenge.
Aside from Blake’s entrepreneurial experience, he sees business transactions through the lens of his legal background, which is advantageous when counseling clients and evaluating opportunities. Moreover, Blake has marketing and transactional experience in the sports and entertainment industry. All experience that positions Blake to maneuver through complex transactions.
Blake is a Chicago native. After graduating from Fenwick H.S., he played Division 1 men’s basketball at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Following a career-ending injury, Blake went on to earn his B.A. in Political Science from DePaul University in Chicago, IL and his Juris Doctorate, with honors, from Chicago-Kent College of Law. Blake is licensed to practice law in Illinois and is a member of the General Bar of the Northern District of Illinois.