Rick Brown, CPA is a senior financial executive and consultant, who thoroughly enjoys drawing on his remarkably broad-based business background spanning over 35 years, to deliver unquestioned value to every client of Shamrock Advisory, LLC. This comes from C-Level positions of significant authority in substantial organizations such as Honeywell and Johnson & Johnson, but also from a great deal of time, in the U.S. and internationally, including smaller entrepreneurial enterprises, with important roles on the front line and in the trenches, visiting bankers, suppliers & customers, in the field with the sales force and distributors, and especially on the plant floor.
Known for taking on challenging business problems with an imaginative, multi-perspective approach to find logical, practical solutions. Expertise in most financial disciplines: strategic planning & tactical execution, bank relationships/financing/covenant restructuring, plant throughput & inventory valuation techniques, cash conservation & forecasting, M&A, FX, business relocation & asset redeployment, vertical integration, financial procedures & controls, and more.
Joined Shamrock Advisory in 2016, providing consulting services to a major municipal enterprise, developing & presenting key financial procedures, and created an Excel model to generate monthly financial statements from client trial balances.
Rick earned his MBA from UofM-Ann Arbor, CPA at E&Y-Detroit, and is a CMA. Prior to joining Shamrock Advisory, LLC, founded Gordian Partners, LLC in 2013. Provided interim CFO services to a major client throughout a contentious company breakup, and cut the monthly accounting close from 3 weeks to 7 days with more reliable variance explanations, by streamlining procedures, eliminating waste and time-shifting GAAP-permitted closing activities away from month end, while also delivering, on time, the exact financial information demanded by key decision makers to maximize the bottom line.
From 2001 to 2012, Rick worked at Saturn Electronics & Engineering, a $200+ million international Tier 1/Tier 2 automotive supplier where he was the CFO & Treasurer. The company was sold to a strategic buyer in late 2012. At the helm during the recession, averted imminent bankruptcy with a creative tactic to greatly accelerate a tax refund for a game-changing amount of cash, and renegotiated payment and other terms & conditions with banks, shutdown-risk suppliers, and key customers.
Successfully executed a long-term plan to enhance the company’s free cash flow valuation position by selling targeted underperforming assets in the U.S. & Asia, and redeploying proceeds to design, develop, and manufacture technically-superior, higher-margin products.
From 1994 to 1998, the Corporate Controller at a $35 million specialty medical implant manufacturer in California, and from 1998 to 2001, the financial VP for Johnson & Johnson, following J&J’s acquisition of the company. Teamed with Operations to vertically integrate a essential CNC outside process, resulting in a NPV IRR > 35% (vs 15% WAAC), payback under 2 years, and significant improvements in contribution margin, plant utilization, throughput and inventory investment.
Rick enjoys talking about any new business challenge, big or small, and is usually available to listen & give out free advice. So, don’t hesitate to contact him.
James J. Connor, CPA,(Jim) is a seasoned executive that has excelled in leadership roles in C-level positions spanning a career of over 40 years. He has specialized in difficult situations and enjoys sharing his experience by guiding others to a successful execution of a turnaround plan.
Directly out of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Jim was recruited by JP Industries, Inc. (JPI) a Fortune 500 company. His contagious personality, work ethic and desire to learn all functions of the business made him a strong team member at JPI. Jim was appointed Vice President Controller, reporting directly to the President and Chairman. He was later asked to be a member of the Office of the President, a three- member group responsible for the strategic and management direction of the company. Through these roles he was directly involved with several acquisitions and a key member of the post-acquisition interim management teams.
At the JPI Board’s divestiture direction, Jim learned M&A in real-time, with line responsibility as part of the divestiture team. He assisted in the marketing and successful execution of the sale to a publicly held UK company traded on the London Exchange. He was instrumental in the preparation of the selling prospectus, road shows, presentations, and subsequent buyer due diligence of T&N Industries, Ltd, the successful acquirer of JPI.
T&N appointed Jim as President of the US holding company, and also as President of Glacier Vandervell, Inc. (GVI) the largest, but underperforming, US subsidiary. At GVI, Jim replaced all the direct reports, implemented numerous operations improvements and adopted a passionate admiration for lean concepts and principles. GVI, during his leadership, moved from negative EBITDA to one of the top 10 performance leaders of T&N worldwide in two years. Jim recalls this turn around as his first attempt to truly lead a turn-around team. He was 39 years old.
During his experience at JPI and GVI, Jim developed a rich appreciation for people and the power of a team given leadership and direction. Jim can often be quoted and commonly says: “I believe every employee comes to work every day and wants to do a good job. It’s up to us, as management, to help them do it.”
After a change in ownership at T&N, Jim moved on to Rockwell Medical Technologies, Inc. RMTI was a small start-up medical device manufacturer making hemodialysis solutions for patients with end-stage-renal-disease. Serving as the VP and CFO, and later adding the responsibility as the VP Operations, Jim had the financial lead in the company’s successful initial public offering (IPO). The funds raised allowed the company to move forward with its growth plans and implement his work on the target market approach in distribution.
Newcor, Inc. an automotive parts manufacturer in distress, approached Jim to again move into the CFO role with the succession plan of becoming the CEO. He felt very comfortable in the automotive and heavy manufacturing environment and readily accepted the position. Jim moved into the CFO role, and appointed CEO of Newcor six months later.
At Newcor, as CEO, Jim closed three facilities, reduced head counts, implemented lean principles and moved the company to positive cash flow and a strong EBITDA. Prior acquisitions had gone wrong however, and left Newcor with significant debt, which, even considering the restored profitability and cash flow, would be infeasible to pay off.
Newcor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with Jim as the CEO. During that time Newcor gained two major Automotive OEM production parts contracts and a third contract to design and build a multi-million automated welding and assembly line for rear truck axles. He accomplished this despite the Chapter 11 status. Observers completely credited Jim with the ability to manage the company through the restructuring. One customer referred their vendors to Jim as an example of “How to get through the Chapter 11.”
Considering the hands-on involvement in the successful restructuring of Newcor, Jim was recruited for, offered and accepted a position as Managing Director of BBK, a turnaround advisory firm in the automotive and industrial markets. Jim gained further experience in the restructuring arena working on the advisory side with other professional firms. He quickly learned the restructuring advisory world is very different, and rules of order are often not intuitive. Relationships tend to be cautious but valued.
While at BBK, Tecumseh Products, a public company client in considerable distress, approached the firm for assistance. Jim led a team of BBK professionals and developed cash flow control techniques for this billion-dollar revenue international company. The company was a manufacturing enterprise of 8,000 employees with a diverse global footprint. After difficult proxy battles regarding control, Jim was asked to come to Tecumseh as CFO. He was appointed to CEO of Tecumseh a little over a year later.
While at Tecumseh, he replaced the management team. He endorsed the implementation of TOPS, the Tecumseh Optimized Production System, implementing lean techniques globally. Successful examples were considerable but of note was the improved quality, moving one plant in India from multiple thousands of defects per million pieces to zero, a goal that few felt could be accomplished. Jim will insist that the people always had the ability to accomplish this and it was all about leadership, motivation, some training, and continuous accountability.
After leaving Tecumseh after the sale of the company Jim returned to consulting in the distressed environment where he practices today as Shamrock Advisory, llc.
Jim has an undying belief in people when he sees a spark of motivation, intellectual curiosity and the basic core values of honesty, integrity, and an appreciation of others’ value. A good sense of humor is always a plus with Jim.
Personally, Jim is an extrovert, loves people, and feels as comfortable on the plant floor as he does in the Board room. He strongly believes that a team, working together towards a common objective can accomplish anything. He has a contagious enthusiasm for the “BHAG” and a propensity to simply get it done.
Jim is active outside the corporate world with his wife and their six children. He is a very active Advisory Board member in Life Directions, a nonprofit organization mentoring young adults in the Detroit Public High Schools.
Shamrock Advisory, LLC
Jim Connor or Rick Brown