Astria is active in North America with a focus on enabling organizations to achieve their strategic goals. Our team of professionals and Operating Advisors are focused on serving these sectors:
Shaun Gordon is the Chairman of Astria Group, and an experienced operator and investor. He launched Astria Group to solve a problem plaguing millions of business owners: a lack of advisory firms that possess both transactional and operational expertise that focus on lower middle-market companies. Most advisory firms are focused on assisting companies with an exit but lack the experience of navigating operational challenges. Shaun focuses on building high-performing teams, executing growth strategies, helping companies prepare for an exit, and empowering organizations to unlock maximal value. In addition to advising middle-market companies, he remains an active investor.
Shaun also serves as Founder of BreachQuest, a cybersecurity company that is building a platform to modernize incident response by minimizing breach cost and downtime.
Shaun is the Founder and Managing Partner of AGI Partners, a private equity firm focused on acquiring and scaling companies in the lower middle market. The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG NY), the premier global community for middle-market M&A deal-makers, has recognized AGI Partners with awards including Private Equity Firm of the Year. He has also received M&A Advisor’s 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders Award for his work as a Dealmaker.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>In 2010 Shaun co-founded and served as Chairman of Pristine Environments, a leading integrated facilities management (FM) and building intelligence technology company with operations across North America. He drove the company’s growth from its formation to nearly $100 million in revenue within five years, which included executing five acquisitions. From 2017 to 2019, Shaun served as CEO and led a successful operational turnaround, resulting in expansion of profitability and an acquisition by KBS. Today, Pristine Environments is part of the KBS Facilities platform, owned by Cerberus, with annual revenue exceeding $2 billion.</p>
In 2009, Shaun’s passion for improving access to quality education led him to a Founding Member of the Board of Trustees of Success Academy Bronx 1, a free public elementary charter school serving 700+ students in the South Bronx area of Manhattan, which was recognized in 2016 by the US Department of Education as a “Blue Ribbon School.”
After receiving his degree in Finance from NYU from 2002 to 2008, Shaun managed a healthcare and defense portfolio at a global investment fund that he co-founded. During his time at the fund he invested in over 30 countries and met with more than 1700 CEOs of global public companies.
Shaun has received recognition for his efforts and is an alumnus of the Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, the Young Leadership Dialogue of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue, Atlantik-Bruecke’s German-American Young Leaders Conference, and was recently named a French-American Foundation Young Leader. Shaun is a member of the Advisory Board for The Resolution Project, an organization that develops socially responsible young leaders.
After spending 20 years in New York City, Shaun lives in Dallas with his wife and two children. When he’s not chasing his kids around, he enjoys distance running, and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs.
Michael has extensive M&A and corporate finance experience and has been involved in corporate M&A transactions. Michael has advised numerous clients on capital raising and mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, and restructurings, and has helped companies and their stakeholders identify and evaluate strategic transactions and alternatives.
He is the Co-founder and CFO of KimC Market, an Asian grocery commerce and food services platform, with the core focus of raising capital and optimizing the capital structure for the fast-growing start-up (1.4x QoQ organic revenue growth)
Previously, Michael was an investor at AGI Partners, a private investment firm based in New York City, with the core objective of growing outstanding mid-sized companies. At AGI, he was responsible for sourcing investments, conducting due diligence, structuring transactions, and monitoring portfolio companies in the business services, tech-enabled services, and niche manufacturing industry.
Previously, he was an investor at IMM Private Equity, a $7 billion middle market private equity, where he sourced and executed leveraged buyouts and growth equity transactions in the industrial manufacturing and healthcare industry.
Prior to IMM, he did investment banking at Macquarie Group where he was involved in some of the world’s largest M&As, restructurings, and capital markets transactions for leading technology and media companies in Asia Pacific. Before working in finance, he served in the US Army as an NCO and infantry squad leader.
He earned an MBA from Columbia Business School, as Sung and Fumi Lee Scholar, and a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, cum laude, from Seoul National University.
Michael Comstock is a advisor and strategy consultant by trade and a lawyer by training. He has executed M&A deals and real-estate investment transactions in corporate and banking positions at companies including Iron Mountain, Wolters Kluwer and Merrill Lynch.
While with a boutique consulting firm, Michael worked with entrepreneurs advising on growth strategy and business development, and at AVR Realty Company he supported the acquisition and asset management of one of the largest privately held portfolios of investment properties in America.
This experience has placed Michael in multiple seats at the deal-making table in various industries and affords him a unique perspective on each party’s transactional interests, allowing him to deliver optimal value to his clients.
Michael is a graduate of the University of London and the Fordham University School of Law (Juris Doctor).
Nicole Patrice De MemberSenior Advisor
Nicole Patrice De Member
Nicole Patrice De Member is a strategic connector with experience in the information technology and service industries.
<li>Co-Founder & Board Member of INDAIS, providing responsible interoperability of data with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and supported by Vint Cerf and Mei Lin Fung</li>
<li>Strategic Thinker at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, including the Facebook IPO, SpaceX government relations, Tesla automotive industry liaison, creation of the Thiel Fellowship, and intrafund capital allocations</li>
<li>Strategic Advisor at SDGuild (measuring UN Sustainable Development Goals), Atlas Corporation, and the UNGA Science Summit</li>
<li>Co-Founder of Effigy Studios LLC, an award-winning ‘big room’ recording studio that was acquired by Eminem, Dr. Dre, and 50 Cent</li>
<li>Co-Founder of Groove Tickets, one of the first online events ticketing and payments company</li>
Michael NaftSenior Advisor
Michael Naft joined Astria in 2023.
Before Astria, he was senior strategy adviser at AGI Partners and operating partner to the firm’s private equity portfolio, focusing on organizational change, communications, and legal affairs.
He previously was general counsel and head of compliance at a hedge fund in New York, and an associate at Covington & Burling LLP and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where he represented corporate clients and senior executives in investigations, litigation, and crisis-related matters.
Mike has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he is an adjunct professor.
Hillin Warren is a Texas CPA and sell-side advisor for Astria Group, LLC, specializing in accounting, transaction advisory and strategic consulting.
Hillin’s efforts have assisted numerous middle-market with enhancing their financial performance, as well as improving operational and accounting functions.
Hillin graduated from Abilene Christian University with his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Accounting and was a member of the ACU baseball team before beginning his accounting career at Calvetti Ferguson, a Texas based regional CPA firm. Hillin’s public accounting experience was predominantly M&A transaction advisory and quality of earnings analysis for both buyers and sellers, which focused primarily on due diligence procedures and financial statement analysis.
On top of his transaction advisory experience, Hillin has prepared numerous business valuations, corporate, partnership and individual tax returns, and expert witness analyses/reports determining economic damages or lost profits to be used in litigation. Hillin has been formally designated by the court as a testifying witness opining on lost profits suffered.
Hillin has worked in several industries, including manufacturing, industrial services, transportation and logistics, waste (solid & liquid) hauling and disposal, SaaS, construction, amongst others.
Dakota Parsons is a Tax Accountant with over 6 years of experience in dealing with corporate, partnership, individual tax and accounting specific needs. Dakota graduated from The University of Mary Hardin Baylor with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting. At Mary Hardin Baylor, Dakota was also a member of the UMHB baseball team. After college, Dakota spent a year working as a financial analyst in the commercial real estate industry. He spent his time compiling data for potential borrowers with the purpose of completing commercial loan packages to present to financial institutions. Since then, he’s worked at 3 different middle market CPA firms with a focus on supporting tax clients across a variety of different industries including Real Estate, Construction, Oil & Gas, Industrial services, and Manufacturing just to name a few. On top of his tax background, Dakota also has extensive knowledge of financial reporting, reconciling, and maintaining accurate financial statements and other reports related to the operating level needs of a diverse range of clientele.
Mohit GuptaOperating Advisor
Mohit is an experienced global operator who is bringing his playbook of “high performance = clear vision + abundance culture + honest execution” to help companies succeed. He developed this playbook over +20 years at companies where he built and managed PNLs, shaped company culture and developed core capabilities and management systems for growth and out-performance
- As Chief Innovation Officer at Employbridge, the largest industrial staffing provider in the US, he developed a muscle to build new products and businesses, within staffing, gig work, mobility, fin-tech and workforce management. He was in the core team that sold Employbridge to Apollo.
- Previously, as Managing Director – Growth Ventures at Cargill, Mohit built a growth engine to invest in water, food and road safety sectors.
- Prior to that, at Cargill, he built a branded retail and foodservice business in India, A tropical oils supply chain business in the US, and led an edible oils and fats manufacturing business in north America, with all businesses breaking records and scaling to over $1bn in revenues
- For Cargill’s $10 bn global edible oils business, he built a unique pricing and revenue management capability combining customer obsession, data analytics and behavior science principles leading to doubling the business profits
- In his early career, Mohit managed large agri-commodity trading PnL utilizing instruments in physical and derivative markets. This is when he built his expertise in supply chain, data & analytics and risk management.
- His technology journey ranged from data & analytics, large enterprise software implementation including ERP & CRM and IP/tech commercialization.
- He is an Alumnus of the Asia Society’s Asia 21 young leaders initiative. An avid mentor to students and young professionals, he enjoys enabling people to become better. He is an active investor and has served on boards of small and medium companies globally
Carla PhillipsOperating Advisor
Carla Phillips is an operationally focused middle-market financial leader with over twenty-five years of financial and management experience. In her role as Chief Financial Officer of Equify, LLC, Carla functioned as CFO of multiple op-cos owned by a family office including Equify Financial, LLC (an independent asset-based lender) and Innova Technology, LLC (a start-up SaaS company). Prior to joining Equify, she was a fractional CFO/COO advising start-up and emerging companies in a variety of industries. Previously, she served as CFO of London Broadcasting Company, a private equity backed media company. Prior to that, Carla held corporate and divisional positions with various media companies including ABC Radio Networks, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Belo, and CBS. Carla has played a lead role in sourcing capital and managing relationships with banks, closing senior credit facilities ranging from $30 million to $500 million. In addition to her extensive M&A experience, she has over twenty years of experience in broadcasting, a highly regulated, asset intensive industry with B2B and B2C components.
Carla has a BBA in Accounting from Tarleton State University, a division of Texas A&M University. She has a certificate in Private Equity Portfolio Company Governance from the Private Directors Association issued in April 2022. She also has an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Governance from the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance issued in January 2017. Carla is a member of the Private Directors Association (PDA) and functions as a PDA National Sponsor Advisor to Grant Thornton. She is also a member of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance, the Financial Executives Networking Group and Chief.
Mike TopaOperating Advisor
Mike Topa has extensive experience encompassing five private equity portfolio companies, three in which he was an investor as well an operating executive.
His public company experience includes interim CFO and Director of MISCOR Group, a publicly traded company, prior to its successful merger into Integrated Electrical Services.
Mike’s international experience includes president of a company with locations in the UK, Canada, Singapore and Brazil. This included licensing agreements with Italian, French, German and Russian aircraft manufacturers. During his tenure as president, he developed the highly profitable Brazil joint venture as well as sitting on the Board of Directors for both the Singapore and Brazil joint ventures.
His experience encompasses C-level and Director positions with businesses ranging in revenues from $5M to $250M.
- Aviation (flight services & MRO)
- Manufacturing (multiple sites)
- Remanufacturing (automotive)
- U.S. government (DOD) and international military
- Consumer retail and distribution (online direct to consumer)/li>
- Construction (electrical & mechanical contractors)
- Transportation (trucking & airfreight)
- Packaging (bottle filling & capping)
- Electro-mechanical industrial equipment (repair and maintenance)
- Wire harness manufacturing (specialty vehicles, lawn care equipment, automotive)
Mike has BA degrees in Accounting and Business Systems Analysis.
Additionally, he holds a certified public accountant license from the State of Ohio (non-practicing).
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Astria Group Operating Advisors
At Astria, we pride ourselves on standing out from the crowd by skillfully blending world-class transaction advisory expertise with a relentless pursuit of operational value creation. Our seasoned team of professionals is committed to delivering exceptional results for our clients, driving value simultaneously through M&A and operational optimization – a truly unique offering in today’s market. This includes those clients looking to sell their business; we provide comprehensive guidance to ensure you achieve your strategic goals.
When you partner with Astria, you not only gain access to our top-tier M&A advisory services but also to our outstanding roster of Operating Advisors. These highly skilled professionals, adept in both hard and soft skills, seamlessly integrate with your team to unlock hidden value and fuel growth. We recognize that operational excellence is crucial to realizing the full potential of any transaction, including when you’re ready to sell your business. Our unwavering commitment to this dual approach sets us apart from conventional transaction advisors and investment banks. Discover the Astria difference and let our innovative, value-driven approach propel your success.
Astria Group was named after the goddess Astraea, symbolizing justice, purity, and precision. Just as stars represent limitless potential, we aspire to achieve stellar results with integrity and excellence.