Since 2002, Colonnade has established an enviable track record making it one of the most experience third party managers of direct private equity investments. Five times – for world class investors including two of the five largest global private equity investors, one of the largest global banks and more than 50 institutional investors – Colonnade’s principals have managed assets and new investments to successful resolutions and liquidity events.
The Colonnade team is a cohesive group of individuals who have successfully worked together managing portfolio companies, legacy assets and funds. Other than the Founder, and Harry Baumgartner who provides services to Colonnade on behalf of his law firm, team members work on a consulting basis for Colonnade.
W. Dana LaForge
W. Dana LaForge is the Founder and Managing Partner of Colonnade Financial Group. In addition, Dana is a Partner of Brera Capital Partners, LLC which he joined in 2006 with overall responsibility for all aspects of this $680 million private equity fund with 55 institutional investors. Dana founded Colonnade in June 2002 with the support of Deutsche Bank to externally manage a portfolio of private equity investments owned by Deutsche Bank which Dana previously originated. Prior to Colonnade, Dana was a Managing Director, merger banker and ran the Financial Institutions Group in Investment Banking at each of Bankers Trust, Alex. Brown and Deutsche Bank as those three firms came together. As a senior member of the firm, Dana was the Chief of Staff for Capital Markets and Investment Banking and was a member of the Fairness Opinion Committee. He has extensive board and governance experience having been a Director or Observer at more than 15 companies including HBW, NHIC, Western Industries, Anaheim Manufacturing, Penn National Holding Corp, Dearborn Risk Management, Homestead Insurance Company and Bancorp Rhode Island. In addition, he has served as Chairman of GAB Robins North America, Inc. and Chairman of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Recent (2014) investments consist two founding investments, a specialty finance business, Themis Management, LLC and a digital commerce company, Bitnet, a team spinout from Cybersource (NASDAQ:CYBS) where Dana was also a founding investor and which was sold to Visa in 2010. Dana earned a BS from Washington and Lee University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City with his wife, Kathleen McCabe, and their two young daughters.
Harry M. Baumgartner
Legal, Risk Management
Harry is currently a Principal in the law firm of Bressler, Amery & Ross. The foundation of Harry’s expertise is built on his well-rounded career. Prior to joining Bressler, Harry served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of GAB Robins, an international property and casualty claims administration company with activity in more than 50 countries. At GAB Robins, he was responsible for global legal, compliance, risk management, and human resources activities, and he also directed a broad litigation portfolio involving insurance coverage, professional liability, employment and commercial disputes. While at GAB Robins, Harry also directed M&A activity and helped design and implement a successful exit plan for the company’s private equity owners.
Harry previously worked at BASF Corporation, where he served in senior legal, treasury and risk management capacities after beginning his legal career as a litigator for a large New Jersey law firm. Before pursuing a career in the law, Harry served as a corporate communications officer with AT&T after working as a newspaper reporter and editor in Florida and New Jersey.
Harry’s practice focuses on insurance law and litigation involving insurance coverage, professional liability, environmental and commercial disputes. Harry’s expertise includes the formation and management of captive insurance companies, as well as complicated issues pertaining to corporate compliance, corporate risk management, litigation management, human resources and other corporate matters.
Ed Grabowiecki, CPA, is an accounting/finance professional with over 25 years of diversified industry experience in both privately and publicly held companies, and with a Big Four experience. Prior roles included Corporate Controller for Brookwood Companies Inc., Global Controller for GAB Robins Inc., Director of Finance for Hartz Mountain Industries and VP Controller for Suburban Propane Partners LP. Hands on experience includes SEC/GAAP reporting, auditing, ERP implementations, Financial Planning, cash management, taxes, internal controls/policies, and acquisitions and divestitures. Ed resides in Morris County, NJ.
Patricia A. Chirichella
Pat Chirichella’s Human Resources career spans 30+ years. She is currently an independent contractor. From 2008 until the closing of GAB Robins North America, Inc. at the end of 2011, she held the position of Vice President of Human Resources, responsible for policy, incentive programs, benefits programs, regulatory compliance, employment, payroll, HRIS and ultimately all HR/Benefits/Payroll-related tasks related to the operation’s close. While at GAB, Pat managed complex HR arrangements required due to the sales of multiple divisions at different times and the implementation of multiparty shared service agreements and the run off of non-core businesses. From 2000 to 2008, she was Director of Compensation and Benefits. Prior to her employment with GAB Robins, she held positions of Human Resources Manager and Compensation Manager with TRW Information Services and Suburban Propane LP. She resides in Morris County, NJ.
Elizabeth J. Romani
Administration, Paralegal, Compliance Specialist
During Elizabeth’s ten year tenure at GAB Robins, she was responsible for maintaining corporate governance and regulatory insurance licensing for the group of companies. After the sale of the operating divisions, her responsibilities included surrendering corporate insurance licenses, cancelling individual and corporate bonds, preparing and filing corporate withdrawal from the state qualifications to finalize the winding up of the group of companies. Her additional responsibilities were assisting with the abandoned unclaimed property project and managing the records retention, and distribution of national retained records. Prior to joining GAB Robins, Elizabeth was a Paralegal at Bear Stearns for 9 years.
Administration, Investor Relations and Accounting
Elaine joined Brera in 2010 to assist in fund management, Investor Relations and communication. Prior to joining Brera, Elaine worked for nearly 10 years at Merrill Lynch in various accounting roles and prior to that worked at Barclays Bank. Elaine graduated from Monroe College with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.