First Analysis Team
Rick Conklin is a managing director in investment banking. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2012, he spent four years as a managing director at Robert W. Baird & Co., where he headed the firm’s private placement efforts and equity capital markets coverage of the real estate and industrial sectors. Prior to Baird, he was a principal at William Blair & Co., where he spent seven years managing the firm’s efforts in capital raising for small-cap public companies across industry groups. He also spent seven years combined in the real estate industry, most recently as managing director of investment management at ProLogis and senior vice president and head of equity capital markets at Jones Lang LaSalle. He has completed over 100 M&A, private placement, and public offering transactions with a gross value in excess of $15 billion. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Marketing and Communications Manager
Alice Epstein is the marketing and communications manager for First Analysis. She leads the creative process and focuses on publishing, graphic design, PR and event planning. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2010, she worked at the renewable energy startup Solargenix Energy. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Chicago.
Clement Erbmann is a managing director coordinating international activities and focuses on educational and environmental investing. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1989, he worked for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in securities sales, fund management, special equities, and private placements. He is a member of the the Anti-Defamation League's executive board and is treasurer of the Education Industry Association. He earned an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
David Gearhart, CFA
Senior Vice President
David Gearhart has worked in finance and investment for nearly two decades and joined First Analysis in 2011. He works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading Internet of Things and e-commerce software businesses. He has played a key role in building First Analysis’s Internet of Things and e-commerce franchises and is a thought leader in his sectors, having authored several widely read white papers. He serves on the boards of Freeosk, SmartCommerce and Smartwitness. Prior to joining First Analysis, he was an accountant with The Northern Trust Co. and an options broker with American Option Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University with a concentration in economics and finance and his MBA at DePaul University with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship. He is a CFA charterholder.
Managing Director, Office of the President
Corey Greendale, with over two decades of experience at First Analysis, works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading software and human capital businesses. He leads the firm’s efforts in the future-of-work area, learning technology, and the human capital sector, and his thought-leading research in those areas has been cited for excellence in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” survey, Forbes and the Financial Times. He serves on the boards of Amplifund, Learning.com, Netchex, SynergySuite, Visage and Yello. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2000, he was a development analyst at Systema Corp., where he designed training programs for several large pharmaceutical companies. He earned an MBA with high honors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
David Hess is a vice president leading marketing for the firm’s venture capital activities and integrative industry research. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1992, he was a member of the institutional sales staff of Cowen & Co.’s Chicago office. His work included managing relations with institutional clients and analyzing and recommending investment opportunities. Earlier, he worked as an investment analyst for Institutional Capital Corp., CTT Investment Management Group, and Daseke & Co. He earned an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in economics from DePauw University. He holds the CFA charter.
Riaad Khan is treasurer and specializes in financial administration. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2005, he worked as an intern in the firm's accounting department for two years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Terry Kiwala, CFA
Terry Kiwala has worked in finance and investment for more than two decades and joined First Analysis in 2019. He works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading enterprise productivity software businesses. He is a thought leader in his sector, having authored widely read industry research. He serves on the boards of PCMI, SmartCommerce and Visage. Prior to joining First Analysis, he was chief financial officer of Vokal, a software development company, senior vice president at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, and associate vice president at National-Louis University. Earlier, he was an investment banking analyst at Lehman Brothers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from the University of Notre Dame. He is a CFA charterholder.
Managing Director and Research Director
Dave Leshuk has more than three decades of experience at First Analysis, working closely with the firm's sector experts to help shape research that explores promising opportunities in emerging high-growth sectors in technology and healthcare and collaborating on research and investment efforts. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1989, he worked with Arthur Andersen & Co., the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the State of Wisconsin. He earned an MBA in finance and accounting from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a certificate in environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jim Macdonald has over two decades of experience at First Analysis, working with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses. With his widely read “SaaS Quarterly Insights” report, he is a thought leader in the area, and his work has been cited for excellence in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” survey, in Forbes and in other publications. He serves on the boards of Amplifund, Fleetworthy, Freeosk, Mediant, Netchex, SynergySuite, Transformative Pharmaceutical Solutions, ViralGains and Yello. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1997, he was a general manager at Nalco Chemical Co., where he played a key role in expanding Nalco’s service offering to include operating and leasing equipment at customer sites. This led to formation of a joint venture with U.S. Filter Co. Earlier, he was with a subsidiary of Ecolab Inc. He earned an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, where he also earned the university’s highest award in that discipline.
Tracy Marshbanks, PH.D.
Tracy Marshbanks, with over two decades of experience at First Analysis, works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading businesses where chemical and medical technologies are a key differentiating element. He is a thought leader in those areas, having authored widely read research papers. He serves on the boards of Checkpoint Surgical, CSA Medical, Current Ways Technologies, Medicinal Genomics, and VIDA Diagnostics. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1999, he held a number of positions with Amoco Corp. with responsibilities ranging from refining research and development to capital planning (first in petroleum refining and then in marketing). He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, a doctorate in chemical engineering from Purdue University, and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Colorado State University.
Liam Moran is an analyst with First Analysis. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2020, he was in the Executive Development Program with Macy's Inc. where he was responsible for managing the financial modeling surrounding Macy's $3 billion asset-based loan, capital project valuations, and corporate forecasting. Liam graduated from Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a concentration in Integrated Program in Humane Studies. He was a four-year member of the Kenyon Varsity Swimming Team.
Senior Vice President
Joe Munda has worked in finance and investment for 15 years and joined First Analysis in 2015. He works with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading businesses in healthcare technology. He has played a key role in building First Analysis’s franchises in drug development technology and medical technology and has published several thought-leading white papers in those areas. He serves on the board of VIDA Diagnostics. Prior to joining First Analysis, he was an equity research analyst covering medical device and healthcare services companies at Sidoti & Co. Earlier, he worked in institutional sales at Bear Stearns/J.P. Morgan. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Managing Director, Office of the President
Matt Nicklin is a managing director and head of investment banking. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2010, Matt spent 10 years at William Blair & Co. as a key member of its technology and healthcare corporate finance practices, where he completed over 70 M&A and equity financing transactions. Before beginning his investment banking career in 2000, Matt studied marine ecology as a doctoral candidate for three years at Northeastern University in Boston. Earlier, he held lab and patient care technician positions at the University of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Matt earned an MBA from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lehigh University.
Founder and Chairman
Oliver Nicklin founded and is chairman of First Analysis. Prior to forming First Analysis, he worked at William Blair & Co. as chief operating officer, director of research, and an investment analyst. He also founded the First Analysis Institute of Integrative Studies, a not-for-profit educational institute that co-sponsors interdisciplinary seminars and research with universities including Loyola University Chicago, Catholic Theological Union, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Largely as a result of the work done through First Analysis and the Institute, he accepted the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago’s Interreligious Leadership Award in 2016, the Arab-American Business & Professional Association of Illinois’ Humanitarian Award in 2019, and the Illinois Venture Capital Association’s Richard J. Daley Award in 2019. In addition to serving on many corporate boards, he has served on the boards of the Field Foundation, the Regenstein Foundation, the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, the University of Chicago Divinity School’s Advisory Council, and the Illinois Technology Fund. He earned an MBA from Harvard University and a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Texas.
Novisa Petrusich is an associate with First Analysis. Novisa joined the firm in 2018 from Crosstree Capital Partners, a boutique health sciences investment bank, where he was responsible for sell-side M&A processes and Financial Advisory. He previously worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was a part of the Private Company Services Group providing customized audit, tax, and advisory services for privately held businesses and private equity portfolio companies. Novisa graduated from the Florida State University College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in applied economics. He was also a member of the Florida State Seminole Football Team.
Managing Director Emeritus
Michael Siemplenski is a managing director emeritus. He joined First Analysis in 1983, shortly after its founding in 1981, and currently coordinates the firm’s capital markets activities. From 1985 to 1995, he built and managed the firm’s domestic institutional sales team. He transitioned into the investment banking group and led the department from 1998 until 2010, originating many of the firm’s banking mandates. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1983 as an institutional salesperson, he marketed general business computer systems, terminal systems, and computer-aided design systems for Burroughs, ITT Courier, and Sanders Associates, respectively. He earned an MBA in marketing and information systems from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northern Illinois University. He has taught computer science at the undergraduate level and has published in the Journal of Industrial Marketing Management.
Daniel Smereczynski is a vice president specializing in research and investment in selected information technology sectors. He also coordinates the firm’s communications infrastructure. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1997, he owned and operated a computer consulting business, whose clients included OSHA and the City of Chicago. Earlier, he served as an aide-de-camp and corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He earned a master's degree in information technology from Northwestern University's Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in information and decision science from the University of Illinois.
Managing Director, Office of the President
Howard Smith has nearly three decades of experience at First Analysis, working with entrepreneurs as an investor and as an advisor on growth transactions to help build leading technology businesses. He leads the firm’s work in the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and internet infrastructure sectors. He also built the firm's historical franchises in call centers and computer telephony. His thought-leading research in these areas has been cited for excellence by the Wall Street Journal and other publications. He serves on the boards of AppDetex, Fortress Information Security, SmartWitness, VisiQuate and ObservIQ. Prior to joining First Analysis in 1994, he was a senior tax consultant with Arthur Andersen & Co. He earned an MBA with honors from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in accounting with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is a certified public accountant.
Angela Soliz is a vice president and has been the chief fund financial officer since 1999. She coordinates all fund accounting, reporting, and limited partner communications. She joined First Analysis in 1997 as a member of the accounting department. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Miami University and is a certified public accountant.
Shanti Soman is an accounting assistant with First Analysis. Shanti joined the firm in 2021 from The Warwick Allerton Hotel where she was an internal auditor. Shanti graduated from DeVry University with a bachelor's degree in technical business management with a concentration in accounting.
Christopher Stiegal is a vice president with First Analysis. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2017, he spent a year at Heartland Angels, where he focused on financial analysis, due diligence, and valuation analysis. Before beginning his career in finance, he spent his collegiate years jumpstarting and founding a million dollar construction company and a technology startup. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Senior Vice President
Eric Terhorst is a senior vice president specializing in corporate finance activities in the chemistry-enabled sector. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2000, he worked for sixteen years in engineering and management consulting, based in San Francisco and Vancouver. His work involved primarily manufacturing firms, including semiconductor equipment and device makers, and electronics, petrochemical, mining, energy, pulp and paper, and aerospace industry firms in the U.S. and Canada. He earned a master's degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University, another master's degree in industrial administration from Purdue University, and a bachelor's degree in chemistry and environmental engineering from California Polytechnic State University.
Christopher Tran is an analyst with First Analysis. Christopher joined the firm in 2020. Before graduating from DePaul University in June 2020, Christopher spent his senior year working at Praxis Capital Management, a Chicago hedge fund, where he was responsible for equity research across many sectors. He previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a sergeant and martial arts instructor, spending time in Europe and the Middle East.
Andrew Walsh is a managing director in investment banking. Andrew has over 20 years of experience as a healthcare entrepreneur, executive and operator. Prior to joining First Analysis in 2019, Andrew was part of the senior leadership team of Ciox Health, a large private equity-backed healthcare technology company. Andrew brings a wealth of experience to the investment banking team and has served in senior executive roles at some of the most respected healthcare companies in the United States including UnitedHealth Group, Optum and Davita. Andrew also founded, grew and sold a successful population health company focused on helping vulnerable, high-risk populations. He saw this company through two exits, ultimately selling a combined entity to Guidewell in 2017. Andrew earned an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois.