Alerion Capital Group is a private equity and management advisory firm. Alerion’s investment philosophy focuses on companies that will benefit most from our experience and knowledge, centering around technology product and service providers.
Companies we seek are typically interested in Alerion’s on-going management assistance, mentoring and guidance, in addition to the capital we provide. This collaboration coupled with access to our significant network of expertise and talented management candidates enables companies to more effectively realize their potential and generate attractive returns.
Alerion was founded by James Unruh, former Chairman and CEO of Unisys, as a means of helping managers build their companies, leverage his 30+ years of technology industry experience, as well as benefit from his ongoing participation in corporate boards, including CSG, Prudential, Tenet Healthcare, and CenturyLink (formerly Qwest). The Alerion team extends on this foundation bringing extensive experience from the technology and investment banking fields. Alerion is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and has a Salt Lake City, Utah office.
Alerion means an eagle crest in heraldry and signifies our ability to assist companies in their flights to reach new heights of business performance.
The Power of Capital and the Insight of Experience © enable us to help companies expand their potential.
The management team is led by James Unruh, founding partner of Alerion. The group brings together the diverse skills and background which drive our investments and on-going relationship with the management team of our portfolio companies.
Mr. Unruh’s extensive experience includes general management, marketing and financial positions in several large publicly held companies where he successfully completed turnarounds, joint ventures, acquisitions, divestments, and debt and equity financings. His industry background has been with multinational businesses providing computer hardware and software, semiconductors, information technology systems integration, consulting and support services, as well as electro-mechanical products for consumer and industrial markets. Immediately prior to founding Alerion, Mr. Unruh was the Chairman and CEO of Unisys Corporation. When Mr. Unruh became CEO in 1990, Unisys was in serious distress. By mapping a new strategic course and implementing his vision through a restructuring of the business portfolio, reengineering the cost structure and spearheading organizational and cultural changes, Unisys was repositioned, financially revitalized and growing again with information technology services representing two-thirds of its $6.6 billion in revenue. Earlier in his career as Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Unruh was key to the revitalization of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation (semiconductors) and of Memorex Corporation (storage devices and media). Mr. Unruh has also served as an outside director with nearly a dozen Fortune 500 corporations including Prudential Financial Inc., private mid-market firms, entrepreneurial ventures and charitable organizations. Current board memberships include CSG International and Tenet Healthcare Corporation, in addition to Apex, Isonas, and Navigator.
Mr. DeAvila’s background includes traditional corporate, merchant and investment banking activities. Prior to joining Alerion, Mr. DeAvila was an Associate at Banc One Capital Partners Inc. (BOCP), assisting in the establishment of its Western regional office supporting mezzanine investment opportunities in acquisitions and recapitalizations. Prior to joining BOCP, Mr. DeAvila was a Commercial Loan Officer for LaSalle Bank, NI in Chicago, focusing on the middle-market. Mr. DeAvila received his B.S. in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a minor in Spanish from Marquette University. He received his MBA from Arizona State University, and he is a CFA charter holder. Current board memberships include UMB Bank Arizona, Apex, and Navigator.
Mr. Lindfelt has enjoyed a distinguished career in aerospace, defense businesses and identity management. Prior to joining Alerion Capital Group, Mr. Lindfelt was Deputy to the Chairman for Operations for L-1 Identity Solutions. Prior to L-1, Mr. Lindfelt held senior executive positions at Lockheed Martin as Vice President of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance business units. Prior to Lockheed, Mr. Lindfelt held a variety of roles, including executive and operational management positions at Loral Space & Communications Ltd., Scitor Corporation and the Loral Corporation. He is a graduate of American International College and has a Master’s Degree from Northeastern University. Mr. Lindfelt has served on numerous non-profit and governmental boards and currently serves on the board of Learning Services, a brain injury rehabilitation company, in addition to the company board of Apex.
Mr. Unruh’s experience has focused on new business development, strategic alliances, and product/service introduction within the technology industry. This experience has included functional roles spanning business development, marketing, finance, procurement, supply chain management, engineering, support, and general management. Prior to joining Alerion, Mr. Unruh was a Senior Director of Business Development with Oracle Corporation. Prior to Oracle, he was primarily involved in formation and development of new divisions, business units, products and services within Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Memorex, and Fairchild Camera and Instrument. Mr. Unruh has been a long time advisor and advocate of technology and of science education including as an elected trustee of the Arizona Technology Council, board member of the Arizona Technology Foundation, board member of The Leonardo science and technology museum, long-time elected trustee of the Utah Information Technology Association, member of the Utah Science Advisory Council, and member of the Westminster College MBA Technology Advisory board. Mr. Unruh has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Current board memberships include Apex, Isonas, and Navigator.
Mrs. Sonders diverse background includes business development and administration, senior level executive support, sales and account management, digital marketing and entrepreneurship. Prior to joining Alerion, Mrs. Sonders was with Atkins Nutritionals providing senior executive support, strategic sales analysis, digital marketing, and developing and managing cross functional product launch teams. Following Mrs. Sonders’ early experience as a construction technology entrepreneur, she pursued her interest and expertise in wine and became a very successful high volume key accounts sales representative for Southern Wine and Spirits. Mrs. Sonders received her BS from the University of Calgary.
Tech Cowboy occupies a place in each of our spirits. He is as at home in our hearts as he is at home on the range (so long as his WiFi, iPhone or Galaxy is in range). He embodies the spirit of the West and that adventurous quest which brought each of us to be in the West and immersed in the world of technology, the frontier of science for humanity. While the technology sector has burgeoned since our early days in the apricot orchards of what is now Silicon Valley, when Moore’s Law was a twinkle in Gordon Moore’s eye, it still captures that original spirit of the West and enthusiasm that continues to yield new frontiers…of science.
Our investment partners are active in Alerion transactions on a case specific basis. These partners start with our network of private individuals and extend to institutional partners as appropriate to the scale and particulars of a given transaction.
Alerion maintains a network of private high net worth individuals who participate in our transactions. These individuals are successful entrepreneurs and business people who have interest in technology and technology enabled companies. They may have an affinity for particular investments we make or have related experience. They are principally passive investors but may provide an additional extension of experience or advice specific to a particular firm in the portfolio or related to that firm’s industry.
These partners include traditional bank lending institutions providing lines of credit and senior debt facilities. These partners also include mezzanine debt providers, whose lower priority debt incorporates equity based options. Financial partners may provide one or more components for the capital structure of a given transaction. Participation by financial partners is on a case by case basis in order to provide the optimal cost of capital structure reflecting the unique circumstances of a specific transaction.
These partners include funds of institutions and other types of institutional wealth sources. Institutional partners generally seek to diversify their investment portfolios to include technology and co-invest with Alerion providing expertise in the industry segment and technology area for the case specific investment.
Our network comprises current and former technology industry executives, managers, and experts accessible by our portfolio management teams to provide specific expertise, extend the firm’s capabilities and development, and assist management in their development.
Our advisory board comprises highly successful industry leaders and experts. These individuals extend the scope of experience and expertise available to Alerion and add further breadth to the management team.
Ed Nafus is former President and CEO of CSG Systems International (NASDAQ: CSGS). Nafus joined CSG in 1998, serving as EVP and later as President of CSG’s Broadband Services Division. Prior to joining CSG, Nafus held numerous management positions during his 14-year tenure at First Data Corporation, including Executive Vice President of First Data Resources from 1984 to 1989; President of First Data International from 1989 to 1992; and Executive Vice President of FDC from 1992 to 1998, where he oversaw the company’s international credit card services operations, which was responsible for nearly 25 million accounts.
Reed recently retired as General Partner of Vestor Partners private equity firm. Prior to Vestor, Reed was Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Union Camp Corporation. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of several other publicly held companies and is a former general partner of Vestor Partners, LP. Currently, he is a Trustee of Simpson College, Indianola, IA, and the Chairman of the Desert Foothills YMCA & Community Center in Arizona.
Will West is CEO at Silvervue. Will is a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of three previous firms, including an active Board member and former CEO of Control4. He has also been Chairman of Utah Capitol Investment Corporation (Fund of Funds), and served as Chairman of Utah Technology Council. Will has raised more than $400 million in private capital for three previous ventures. In 1998, he co-founded STSN (now iBAHN), the worldwide leader in broadband services for business travelers. Prior to founding STSN, Will was president, CEO, and co-founder of PHAST Corporation, a leading manufacturer of high-end home automation equipment. Will’s other professional experience includes Proctor & Gamble, the Federal Savings and Loan Corporation, and Wasatch Advisors. He holds a degree in Finance from the University of Utah, an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and he holds the CFA designation. Will is currently on Utah Business Magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the state, and on the list in 2010. He was named Utah Valley Entrepreneur of the year in 2004 and in 2006 he was named the Ernst & Young Master Entrepreneur Of The Year® in the region. In 2008 he was named the Utah CEO of the Year by the Utah Technology Council.