Dec 16 2015

Sequel Announces Additions to its Team, Expanding Capabilities Within its Focus Areas

Sequel is pleased to announce several recent additions to its team. 

In its Food and Beverage and Agribusiness industry verticals, Sequel has recently added Bill Bonner and Gene Graves as Operating Partners.  Mr. Bonner will focus primarily on Food Ingredients and Processing within the Agribusiness vertical, leveraging his background and capabilities in product development, ingredient manufacturing and quality.   Mr. Graves will focus on opportunities in the Food and Beverage sector, utilizing his depth of knowledge in food manufacturing, particularly refrigerated foods.

Bill Bonner’s areas of expertise include consumer food products, food ingredient manufacturing and agribusiness. Prior to joining Sequel, Mr. Bonner held various senior positions in product development, technical sales/service and quality. He was Senior Vice President of Research and Technical Sales/Service at 21st Century Grain Processing and its subsequent entities, through Sequel’s sale of 21st Century to Viterra.

Bonner began his career as a food scientist at Quaker Oats, specializing in grain-based foods and product development. His career also included senior positions at M&M/Mars, Nabisco Foods Group and ConAgra Foods. Mr. Bonner received his B.A. in Chemistry and Mathematics from Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL.

Gene Graves’ area of expertise also includes food products and manufacturing, particularly refrigerated foods.  In 1988, Gene founded Lakeview Farms, a manufacturer of refrigerated products refrigerated desserts, gelatins, dips, and sour cream under the brands Lakeview Farms®, Winky, Luisa’s and Senor Rico®. Gene served as CEO of Lakeview Farms until his recent retirement.

Before founding Lakeview Farms, Gene spent 8 years as Vice President of T. Marzetti, and 12 years with Allen Dairy Foods, prior to its acquisition by T. Marzetti.  Gene has been a leader in various trade associations, including the Refrigerated Foods Association and the Midwest Dairy Foods Association.

Ron Klein, Managing Director of Sequel, added, “We are very pleased to add this depth and capability to Sequel Holdings.  Both Bill and Gene bring very respected industry expertise which will assist in our continued efforts to find opportunities for growth and value creation in our expanding Food and Beverage and Agribusiness industry verticals.“

In its Plastics/Specialty Materials sector, Sequel added Erik Holmsen as a Principal and Kevin Kuhnash as an Operating Partner.  Mr. Holmsen has responsibility for sourcing, executing and managing Sequel’s investments in the sector and Mr. Kuhnash will evaluate new investment opportunities and oversee select investments.  Both Mr. Holmsen and Mr. Kuhnash bring extensive experience across the industrial, specialty materials, building products and plastics manufacturing industries.

Prior to Sequel, Mr. Holmsen spent over a decade with a private equity firm, The Riverside Company.  While at Riverside, he worked on close to 20 transactions across the industrial, specialty materials, building products, consumer, medical, business services, and energy industries.  He also served on nine Riverside portfolio company boards. Before private equity, Mr. Holmsen worked as an investment banker focusing primarily on M&A advisory services to middle market manufacturing businesses.

Mr. Holmsen received a B.S. in Finance at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and his MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.   Mr. Holmsen also completed a two-year officers training program at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy, graduating with the rank of Second Lieutenant.

Kevin Kuhnash joined Sequel Holdings in October 2015 as an Operating Partner.   He is responsible for evaluating new investments as well as overseeing select new investments in the Plastics/Specialty Materials sectors. He will work directly with the CEOs to develop the strategic paths for growth and to assure the successful execution of those plans. Prior to joining Sequel, Mr. Kuhnash was the CEO of Lucent Polymers, a custom compounder in Evansville, IN. During his 5-year term as CEO, Lucent achieved substantial growth in sales and profitability.  Lucent Polymers was successfully sold in December 2013. Prior to Lucent Polymers, Mr. Kuhnash was CEO of Arkay Industries, a plastics manufacturing and decorating company built on a lean culture based on the Toyota Production System. After a 7-year period of rapid growth, including five new greenfield plants, the Arkay plants were successfully sold. 

Mr. Kuhnash received a BA in Business from Miami University in Oxford, OH and an MBA in Finance from Wright State University in Dayton, OH.

“We are very fortunate to have added this depth of expertise and capability to our organization.  We have strategically built a platform investment in the Plastics/Specialty Materials sector through Critical Process Systems Group (CPS) and the addition of five (5) additional businesses within the CPS portfolio,” commented John Madden, Managing Director of Sequel.  “Given the growth and innovation occurring in this sector, we believe there are significant opportunities for Sequel to continue to create value,” added Madden.  

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