Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Managing Partner, CFO
Technology, Manufacturing, Real-Estate Development, IT Service
Will Connell has worked across a variety of industries as an entrepreneur, business owner, and advisor. In addition to his business-management background, Connell also has experience as both principal and advisor in sell-side and buy-side transactions.
Prior to joining Abraxas Business Services, Connell served as a Principal at Swiss Avenue Partners where he advised privately held companies on exit strategies, value enhancement, and financial-performance improvements. In that role, Connell worked with business owners who were planning an exit of their companies within three to five years to help them achieve the highest possible valuations. In performing these engagements, Connell worked closely with prominent accountants, attorneys, wealth managers, and other trusted advisors of the owners. Additionally, he led his firms business-development activities for the Atlanta region.
After graduating from business school, Connell led the buyout and turnaround of an Austin-based, $20-million, ready-mix-concrete business that had been in serious financial distress. As the Chief Financial Officer of the 80-employee company, he restructured business processes, implemented financial controls and reporting, and implemented an enterprise-wide IT infrastructure. Within one year after acquiring the Company, management grew gross margins from 45% to 51% and net income from -6% to 8.2%. A year later, the Company was sold to a large, regional, building-materials company, resulting in a significant return for the business owners.
Over several years beginning in 2005, Connell was the managing partner of an Austin-based portable-storage company. He managed all aspects of the business, including capital raising, operations, and sales and marketing. He led the sale of the business in 2007 which included his responsibility for negotiating and structuring the sale.
Also during this period, Connell provided turnaround management, financial modeling, acquisition analyses, and business-valuation consulting to privately held businesses. Industries served included real-estate development, enterprise IT services, consumer-products manufacturing, and building-materials manufacturing.
Early in his career, Connell served in various roles in technology companies. He recruited for iXL, a venture-backed company headquartered in Atlanta. Upon iXLs initial public offering, Connell left to join a fledgling start-up, CareerStream. At CareerStream, he managed the software-development and client-operations teams. Further, Connell was instrumental in raising capital to fund the growth of the company prior to the sale of the business to a strategic acquirer.
Connell received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management degree from the University of Georgia. He received a Master of Business Administration degree from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and his MBA had a specialization in Finance and Entrepreneurship. While pursuing his MBA, Connell was the president of the Entrepreneur Society and was selected as a Venture Capital Fellow. He interned with Verity Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital fund, and with Focus Strategies, a mid-market investment bank. In these roles, Connell conducted market research and due diligence in a variety of industries and created financial models to analyze firm investments and portfolio returns.
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