Dave Donnini Managing Director, GTCR

Dave Donnini, Managing Director, GTCR

Acquisition Activity


platform acquisitions

*Additional information

Acquisition Activity

$14 +

billion of total purchase

*Additional Information

Acquisition Activity

175 +

add-on acquisitions

*Additional Information

Acquisition Activity Since 2000
Additional Information

Growth Business Services

Since the firm’s founding in 1980, GTCR has had a strong history of building companies that provide an essential service to other growing businesses.

GTCR selectively pursues these growth business investment opportunities in areas with strong growth and solid underlying fundamentals. Our private equity firm looks to partner with exceptional management leaders who have proven their ability to generate superior business growth through product or service innovation, strong sales management and integrated brand marketing excellence.

Portfolio Company

Fairway Outdoor Advertising

Fairway Outdoor Advertising is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the United States, operating approximately 20,000 bulletins, posters and digital billboard faces across key metro areas in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest. Fairway provides strong customer service, outstanding creative support and a local focus to make outdoor advertising the medium of choice for its clients.

Location: Duncan, SC

Phone: 864.485.1899

Initial Investment: 01/16/2015

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Kevin Gleason

Kevin Gleason serves as President and CEO of Fairway Outdoor Advertising. Mr. Gleason has over 35 years of experience in the outdoor advertising industry, including serving as President and CEO of Adams Outdoor since 1991. Mr. Gleason joined Adams Outdoor in 1987, serving as General Manager of various local markets, and then as Executive Vice President at the corporate level.

Prior to joining Adams Outdoor, he was Vice President of sales for Naegele Outdoor Advertising, responsible for Southern California markets from 1985 to 1987. Mr. Gleason has previously served as Chairman as well as the Vice Chair of marketing of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America and has been honored by the association with the L. Ray Vahue Memorial Award. He was also a board member of the industry’s measurement bureau, the Traffic Audit Bureau.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information
Portfolio Company

Park Place Technologies

Park Place Technologies is a leading third-party maintenance (TPM) provider offering post-warranty data center maintenance services to clients around the world. The company provides its services to more than 5,000 organizations in over 70 countries, including service providers, SMB and Fortune 500 companies.

Location: Cleveland, OH

Phone: 877.778.8707

Initial Investment: 12/09/2015, Fund XI

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Ed Kenty

Ed Kenty serves as Chairman and CEO of Park Place Technologies, a position he has held since 2004. Mr. Kenty has transformed Park Place into the leading service organization it is today. With the shift of reseller to service provider to multi-service provider, Park Place is known for its “Service First” philosophy, focusing on core competencies and values to drive best-in-class hardware maintenance.

Prior to Park Place, Mr. Kenty had over 25 years of experience working at major OEMs, including EMC, Data General, Wang Laboratories and Honeywell Bull.

Mr. Kenty earned his BSBA in marketing from the Boston College School of Management.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information
Portfolio Company

Sotera Health

Sotera is a global leader in outsourced sterilization and lab services, gamma technologies and medical isotopes, and the only vertically integrated sterilization company in the world. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Sotera is the sole provider of technology in all leading sterilization modalities, including gamma, ethylene oxide, electron beam and X-ray. The company has more than 6,000 customers and operates 60 facilities in 13 countries across North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Location: Deerfield, IL

Phone: 847.607.6060

Initial Investment: 03/25/2011

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Michael Petras

Michael Petras serves as CEO of Sotera Health. Mr. Petras has more than twenty-five years of leadership experience, most recently serving as President of Cardinal Health’s Post-Acute Solutions segment. Previously, Mr. Petras was the CEO for AssuraMed, a leading medical products supplier, which Cardinal acquired for approximately $2 billion in 2013. He also worked at General Electric for more than two decades, including serving as President and CEO at GE Lighting and Industrial, a $6 billion GE business unit with more than 30,000 employees in over 100 locations worldwide. Mr. Petras also serves on The Cleveland Clinic’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Petras holds an MBA degree in marketing from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor's degree in finance from John Carroll University.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information
Portfolio Company
Eric Vassilato and Jerry Bednyak

Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats is the largest independent marketplace for tickets to live sports, concert, and theater events. Founded in 2001, Vivid Seats’ proprietary technology platforms and robust data analytics efficiently connect its vast network of sellers with live event customers. The Company offers consumers industry-leading affordability across one of the widest selections of premium tickets and event packages. Vivid Seats supports all orders with a comprehensive buyer guarantee and an in-house customer service team to ensure the safest and most convenient purchase experience.

Location: Chicago, IL

Phone: 866.848.8499

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Eric Vassilato and Jerry Bednyak

Co-CEOs Eric Vassilatos and Jerry Bednyak founded Vivid Seats in 2001. Messrs. Vassilatos and Bednyak started Vivid Seats as a professional broker before launching the online marketplace in 2005. Over the following decade, they developed proprietary technologies and product offerings to deliver exceptional value and service levels to consumers as well as tools to enable professional sellers to more efficiently operate their businesses.

Messrs. Vassilatos and Bednyak hold Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Iowa.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information
Leadership case studies are for Management Leaders only and should not be used for investment purposes.Click to proceed Leadership case study
AssuredPartners: Building on Success with Exceptional Management Leaders
Jim Henderson  |  AssuredPartners

Building on the firm’s success in the insurance brokerage industry—where it built Alliant Resources into a leading U.S. middle-market broker in the early 2000s—GTCR worked proactively over a five-year period to find a proven management team to build another middle-market brokerage firm through consolidation within the highly fragmented industry. In executing its Leaders Strategy™, GTCR first identified and then developed a deep relationship with industry veterans Jim Henderson and Tom Riley. Both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Riley had extensive leadership experience at industry leader Brown & Brown. Throughout this time, the industry landscape remained fragmented with valuations that GTCR believed to be compelling relative to historical averages due to the recent recession.

In early 2011, GTCR partnered with Mr. Henderson and Mr. Riley to form AssuredPartners. To build a premier middle-market insurance brokerage firm, Assured’s strategy was to selectively acquire small- to-middle market property casualty and employee benefits insurance brokerage agencies across the U.S. When integrated into the Assured national platform, the acquired local agencies benefitted from stronger carrier relationships, deeper specialty expertise, expanded product offerings available to customers and enhanced operating efficiencies.

With management’s deep industry relationships and strong operational experience, AssuredPartners established itself as an acquirer of choice within the mid-market insurance brokerage industry. Within four short years, Assured acquired over 100 agencies, both regional platform agencies and smaller, highly accretive tuck-in acquisitions. Throughout this period, GTCR provided management with the necessary capital and support to capitalize on these transformational opportunities and position Assured for long-term growth. By executing its Leaders Strategy™, GTCR was able to create a leading national insurance brokerage firm, resulting in GTCR’s successful exit in late 2015.

Ultimately, it was GTCR’s partnership with an industry-leading management team that positioned the firm to successfully execute its transformational investment thesis and create a market-leading insurance broker.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information
Leadership case studies are for Management Leaders only and should not be used for investment purposes.Click to proceed Leadership case study
Cambridge Protection Industries/Honeywell Security Monitoring/Protection 1: Building Success by Building Relationships
Jim Covert  |  Cambridge Protection Industries/Honeywell Security Monitoring/Protection 1

While researching the security alarm monitoring industry in the early 1990s, GTCR met Jim Covert, a resourceful, experienced leader in the industry. At the time, Mr. Covert was CEO of SecurityLink, one of the industry’s leading consolidators and the second-largest company in the industry. Even after Mr. Covert sold SecurityLink to Ameritech in 1994, GTCR continued to cultivate a relationship with him throughout the remainder of the decade. GTCR’s patience paid off. In 1999, we collaborated with Mr. Covert to form a management start-up, Cambridge Security (“Cambridge”).

A proven leader, Mr. Covert was an ideal choice for a partner with whom we could take advantage of the attractive growth and cash-flow dynamics surrounding the security alarm monitoring industry. The industry was growing at attractive rates as security concerns and, thus, alarm monitoring penetration rates increased in both residential and commercial environments. The plan was to acquire several attractive, growing companies and transform them into a single integrated entity, resulting in large synergies and additional earnings. Based on his industry experience and reputation, GTCR had strong confidence in Mr. Covert’s operational capability, especially his ability to create a sales organization that would accelerate the company’s growth.

In 1999, shortly after the formation of Cambridge, the company purchased several smaller security alarm monitoring businesses throughout the Midwest and the western United States. Then, in 2000, GTCR contacted Southwestern Bell (“SBC”) and offered to purchase SecurityLink, which SBC had acquired when it purchased Ameritech. SecurityLink had deteriorated significantly since Mr. Covert’s departure, and the business was experiencing substantial cash losses. SBC had received a mandate from the FCC to divest this business as a condition of its acquisition of Ameritech.

GTCR, Mr. Covert and Mr. Covert’s former SecurityLink colleague Tim Whall worked for almost a year to develop a financial plan to carve out the company from SBC and return it to its previous level of profitability under Mr. Covert. GTCR was able to develop confidence in the plan due to Mr. Covert’s and Mr. Whall’s informational advantage in having previously built and managed the business. Cambridge purchased SecurityLink in early 2001.

Mr. Covert, Mr. Whall and their Cambridge team moved quickly to carve out the business and operationally transform the company’s critical cash-flow metrics such as churn, cost of customer acquisition and overall profitability. Substantial cost cuts were initiated with negligible impact on business performance. As well, Mr. Covert and Mr. Whall were successful in reducing attrition, improving customer acquisition costs and leveraging SecurityLink’s strong brand and number-two market position.

Shortly thereafter, Tyco/ADT, the largest company in the industry, expressed interest in buying Cambridge. Mr. Covert and Mr. Whall had operationally transformed SecurityLink back into a strong competitor, particularly in the commercial sector of the market. In July 2001, six months after GTCR had purchased SecurityLink, Tyco/ADT purchased the business.

GTCR maintained a strong relationship with Mr. Covert, Mr. Whall and the other managers throughout their non-compete periods. Mr. Whall remained with Tyco/ADT and was ultimately appointed president of that business. In early 2004, with six months left to go in Mr. Covert’s non-compete period, Honeywell decided to sell its very attractive commercial security alarm monitoring business (“Honeywell Security Monitoring”). Honeywell stated publicly that it had let this business shrink in order to avoid fallout from direct competition with the monitoring company customers of its much larger security equipment business. GTCR had pursued the purchase of Honeywell Security Monitoring with Mr. Covert in the 1990s, and GTCR pursued it once again following these market developments. Mr. Whall was a critical contributor to this effort, and he left his position as President of ADT to assume the same position at Honeywell Security Monitoring upon closing.

Honeywell Security Monitoring was the second-largest player in the attractive commercial segment of the market, and its sale generated significant strategic interest. One strategic buyer offered Honeywell a materially higher price than GTCR, but failed to consummate the transaction due to the nature of the non-compete Honeywell was willing to provide. Honeywell stated it anticipated similar issues with other strategic buyers and decided to sell to a financial buyer. However, this transaction proved challenging to other financial buyers due to the need to carve out the business extensively from Honeywell branches, call monitoring centers, IT systems and back-office processing. It also required the immediate re-establishment of a larger sales force to maintain and grow the business. In contrast, GTCR believed it was uniquely positioned as the only viable financial buyer due to its management relationships with Mr. Whall and Mr. Covert and their track record in the industry.

GTCR purchased Honeywell Security Monitoring (renamed “HSM”) in June 2004. Mr. Whall was in place prior to closing to begin making needed changes, and Mr. Covert and the other managers joined the business shortly after closing. Management initiated the arduous carve out from Honeywell operations and completed a number of small acquisitions to leverage the fixed-cost operations of HSM and strategically transform its geographic footprint. Equally as important, Mr. Whall and Mr. Covert completely reversed the revenue decline in the business.

In mid-2006, two years after GTCR’s acquisition of HSM, StanleyWorks began to express strong interest in the company. StanleyWorks had a large presence in the physical security space (i.e., locks) and stated a desire for a turnkey platform to enter the electronic side of the business. In January 2007, StanleyWorks purchased HSM.

Seeing further opportunity in the security monitoring industry, GTCR maintained an active relationship with Mr. Whall and Mr. Covert after the sale of HSM. Mr. Whall had agreed to stay with StanleyWorks for a year post-closing to help it achieve synergies by folding parts of its operation into HSM. When he left a year later, GTCR and Mr. Whall teamed up again to acquire another company in the industry. Mr. Whall and GTCR immediately targeted Protection 1 as the most sizable remaining integrated electronic security monitoring platform in the industry. GTCR and Mr. Whall first approached Protection 1 in 2008. Dormant credit markets, however, made a transaction difficult to consummate. As credit markets improved, GTCR re-approached the company in the fall of 2009. Relatively soon thereafter, the board of Protection 1 announced a sale process for the company.

Using their extensive experience in the industry and with Protection 1, Mr. Whall and GTCR benchmarked Protection 1 performance on a range of critical growth, cost and cash-flow metrics against levels that were achieved in the SecurityLink and HSM transactions. Ultimately, this work culminated in a detailed operational transformation plan for the business. In April 2010, GTCR announced an agreement with the Protection 1 board to purchase the business. The acquisition closed in June 2010. Upon closing, Mr. Whall became CEO of the company and Mr. Covert joined GTCR on the board.

Please click here for a complete list of portfolio company investments made by GTCR since its inception as well as past representative management leaders. Please see Terms of Use for important additional information