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  Professional Team
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Karen Kassouf, Managing Member and founder of Cedar Ventures
kassouf@cedarventures.com

Ms. Kassouf has 25 years of experience in the health care, insurance and financial service sectors, serving in different capacities including that of a securities lawyer, investment banker, business development officer at an operating company and investor. Cedar has been active in the areas of business development, mergers and acquisitions and assisting with capital raises for growing companies. From 1993-2001 Ms. Kassouf initiated and ran Cedar Equities, the venture capital subsidiary of Western Indemnity Insurance Company, an insurance entity in Texas. While at Western Indemnity/Healthcare Insurance Services, she also generated 45+ new accounts, including 7 of the top 70 accounts, $33 Million in Premiums (Approximate), $3.3 Million in Commissions (approximate) for this provider of medical malpractice insurance.

Prior to that, she Initiated and spearheaded the healthcare investment banking unit in the Southwest for Chemical Banking Corporation, (now Banc One and JP Morgan Chase) and built up the unit to where it ranked 3rd in state of Texas for hospital debt financings (1989-1990) generating $4-$5 million in fee income with 20+ new accounts. She was a significant deal team member on two health care leveraged buyouts while at Chemical Banking Corporation, including 1989 AMI buyout using $1.6 billion financing.

Before joining Chemical Banking Corporation and Texas Commerce Bank, she served as a securities lawyer for Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon, New York, New York where she worked on financings for electrical utilities, public power and power cooperatives, water districts and hospitals.

Ms. Kassouf is a member, New York and Texas Bar Associations, an advisory board member for one of the Cancer Research projects at Emory University, a member of the New York and Texas Bar Associations, prior member of the National Venture Capital Association  and the Birmingham Venture Club and was a founding advisory board member for Women Business Leaders, US Healthcare Industry Foundation, a Washington, D.C. a group comprised of senior healthcare executives across the country and overseas. She has also been a member of Leadership Health Care in Nashville.

She is currently a member of the Alley to the Valley, www.alleytothevalley.com, a network of influential deal making women.


Karen and client meeting with
Telecommunication Minister in Beirut, Lebanon, 2009

Ms. Kassouf has served as a board member for Create Your Dreams, a program for at risk youth in Atlanta and is a current board member of an international organization, ATFL, www.atfl.org and has traveled to the Middle East and met with governmental officials there.

Ms. Kassouf has a B.A., Economics and Political Science, Cum Laude, Bucknell University, is a graduate of Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor, where she was a Law Review Associate Editor and studied finance at New York University Graduate School of Business Administration. Languages studied include Arabic and French. Ms. Kassouf enjoys playing competitive tennis, swimming, hiking and golf and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
                   

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Jim Jackson, jackson@cedarventures.com. Mr. Jackson has been assisting Cedar Ventures in marketing services to Senior Housing Facilities and Health Care Facilities. He has an extensive background in this sector. As an investment banker, Mr. Jackson has executed senior housing financings using tax exempt bonds, HUD loans, conventional mortgages, account receivable financings, mergers and acquisition financing. He has had operating experience in the Senior Housing sector having served as Interim CFO and Financial Consultant to Wesley Woods Senior Living, Inc. from February 2005 to November 2007 where he used HUD for financing, prepared operating budgets, capital needs assessments, and presented and reviewed acquisition and development opportunities. Mr. Jackson was also a controller at The Robinson - Humphrey Co., Inc. Mr. Jackson has a BSBA degree in Finance and Transportation from Northwestern University and a Masters in Business Administration from Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Mr. Jackson is based in Atlanta. 

 


 


James D. Daher
daher@cedarventures.com


Jim and associate

Mr. Daher joined Cedar Ventures to assist with its healthcare service and behavioral care clients. In terms of large company experience, Mr. Daher was with Charter Medical Corporation, Macon, GA, from October 1981 until 1990 as Executive Vice President-Hospital Operations, 1987-1990; while there he was responsible for all hospital operations during Charter’s most aggressive development period; 72 to 98 hospitals. The company’s GPR grew from $890 million to $1.25 billion, while earnings for hospital operations increased from $320 to $330 million under his leadership. Charter’s 12 medical/surgical hospitals also recorded record growth in census and earnings from 1987-1990, participated in presentations to institutional investors on Wall Street representing operations for the successful LBO Charter conducted in the late 1980s. Other positions within Charter Medical Corporation: Senior Vice President, Hospital Operations, Vice President, Hospital Operations, Group Administrator, Hospital Operations, Executive Director, Peachford Hospital (204 beds) Atlanta, GA.

Prior to joining Charter, Mr. Daher was with Hospital Affiliates International, Inc, Nashville, TN, Vice President, from July 1974–1981. He was responsible for all operational and financial aspects for seven southeastern, owned- medical-surgical hospitals consisting of a total of 1,135 beds, $84.2 million revenues and $6.7 million profit. Efficiencies of operation were implemented to improve contribution margin, simultaneously with expense reductions. Pre-tax margin for group increased 2.9% during the year. Other positions within Hospital Affiliates: Regional Vice President, Management Company; Administrator, Lykes Memorial Hospital (140 beds); Brooksville, FL; Administrator, St. Thomas Hospital (61 beds); Colby, KS (1974–1977). From July 1970–1974 Mr. Daher worked at University of Alabama Hospital/Medical Center, Birmingham, Ala, as Assistant Administrator; and from 1970-1973 as Management Engineer/

From July 1990-1999 Mr. Daher was an entrepreneur having founded his own company, Quality HealthCare, Inc., Brunswick, GA, where he developed and implemented the company’s business plan the third largest psychiatric Management Company, September 1997 issue of Modern HealthCare. Services included the management of inpatient psychiatric programs, owned and operated Community Mental Health Centers, provided services to nursing home patients, owned and managed Psychiatrists’ practices, and billed and collected for these services. The company was sold in 1998.

From mid 2006 to 2008 Mr. Daher was a consultant to America Work, an outpatient psychiatric company, where he worked alongside Cedar Ventures on the sale of the Company. He was retained by Ken Whiddon, Founder and CEO to position the company for sale. The Company was successfully sold in 2008 to Providence Service Corporation (NASDAQ: PRSC).

Mr Daher has written two novels in past five years; most recent published/released March 2010. Mr. Daher has the following degrees: MBA - Business Administration, University of Alabama, Birmingham (1974); Birmingham, AL; BS - Business Administration, University of Alabama, Birmingham (1973); and AE - Industrial Engineering/Industrial Management, Southern Technical Institute, Marietta, GA (1970).

Mr. Daher is active in his church: St. Simons United Methodist Church, where he has been Chairman-Long Range Planning Committee-2005, Lay Delegate-2005, Chairman-Trustees-2003 & 2004; and has been a Board member in 2003 and 2004 of the Hamilton Landing Homeowners Association. He is also a Member—International Thriller Writers Assn., Affiliate Member—Mystery Writers of America.

Mr. Daher enjoys golfing on St. Simons Island where he lives with his wife Betty. Mr. Daher also has family/cousins living in the Middle East/Levant.

 


 

Robert Greer
greer@cedarventures.com

Robert Greer is currently working with Cedar Ventures on a renewable energy project. He has served as attorney, consultant, investor and executive in both the U.S. and overseas for middle market companies and major public corporations. Mr. Greer recently served as a strategic, financial and legal advisor to a variety of companies including: Pacific LLG (Mexican LNG liquefaction /export project); Texas Atlantic Capital (venture partner), a venture firm focused on software and digital media; True Grit Trucking, a start up provider of truck transportation services to the energy sector; Delta-X Research, developer of software for utilties; The Galway Group, an energy focused strategic and financial advisory firm; DL Texas Properties, an investor in income producing commercial real estate; and Green Star Energy, a project development group focused ont he Mexican natural gas market. From 2010 to 2011, Mr. Greer served as General Counsel for Energy Maintenance Services, an integrated provider of construction, repair, operations and maintenance services to major pipeline operators, utilities, oil and gas producers and other energy related companies. In 2004, Mr. Greer was based in Asia where he served as General Director designate for AIG Consumer Finance Group's operations in Vietnam, and as a senior advisor to Arctas Capital Group in connection with its advisory work for Meiya Power Company, a Hong Kong based independent power producer with plants in China, Taiwan and Korea. 

From 1997 to 2004, Mr. Greer was with Enron Corp., as part of a team establishing strategic alliances with major industrial users of electricity and natural gas; then later as Vice President in the Principal Investments Group originating and negotiating Enron North America's private equity investments; and finally serving as legal counsel to the post-bankruptcy Enron estate with respect to the liquidation of its commodity trading positions. Prior to Enron, Mr. Greer was an investment banker with Bear Stearns & Co. and also with Lehman Brothers' Energy and Natural Resources Group. Mr. Greer began his career as a lending officer with the Mexican Group at Chemical Bank (now part of JP Morgan Chase). He left the bank to attend law school after which he joined the Houston law firm of Vinson & Elkins where he practiced from 1982 to 1987. 

Mr. Greer is an honors graduate of both Amherst College and the Georgetown University Law Center. 

Mr. Greer is based in Houston. 

 

 


 


Julianne Kampling
principal@cedarventures.com

Ms. Kampling provides Cedar Ventures with business development expertise, M&A experience and research analysis. She is experienced in the industry sectors of food ingredients, polymers, energy and chemicals. She has done corporate development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic planning for Cargill Corporation, BP Amoco and Dow Corning. At Cargill, she led mergers and acquisitions activities internationally and in a variety of industries. While with BP Amoco, she was responsible for investments and transactions ranging from $2 million to $1 billion and oversaw the divestiture of the engineering polymers business for the Engineering Polymers and Carbon Fibers business unit. She also worked in Chemicals Development and Petroleum Products, providing strategic and financial analytical expertise. Prior to this, Ms. Kampling was a Development Engineer at Dow Corning Corporation in Midland, Michigan where she focused on their fluids and resins business, developing and commercializing new products valued at $70 million.

Ms. Kampling graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Chemical Engineering (Magna Cum Laude) and Chemistry (High Honors) and an MBA (with High Distinction). Ms. Kampling is based in Kansas City. 

 


 


Ken Fox
principal@cedarventures.com

Mr. Fox provides marketing expertise to Cedar Ventures and is based in Charleston, South Carolina. He has held senior marketing and business development positions with Hill-Rom (a division of Hillenbrand Industries), the Nutra-Sweet Company and Hunt-Wesson. Mr. Fox has overseen the opening of an outpatient wound care clinic in a hospital. He has extensive experience with obese patient care; set up and assessed in-hospital trials for new medical devices; conducted market assessments for the wound care industry, the MRI service market, the cosmetic surgery market, hospital infection control devices. His international experience includes market assessments and market entry for medical devices in Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan.

Ken Fox presentation - China

Mr. Fox received a BBA from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He is adjunct faculty member at The Citadel and Webster University, teaching marketing and international business. Mr. Fox has lived in Chengdu, China while teaching an MBA marketing course. He is a mentor in The Citadel's Charleston, South Carolina-based MBA program and is the former chairman of board for the South Carolina World Trade Center. Mr. Fox and his wife are also active in many community organizations in South Carolina.
 

 


 

 

 


Andrea Serate
advisor@cedarventures.com

Ms. Seratte, CPA, is a consultant to Cedar Ventures and has assisted in closing two transactions with Cedar: a surgery center merger in 2006 and American Work, a behavioral company sold in 2008. She has been a consultant to hospitals, physician practices, specialty service providers and health plans in the areas of revenue cycle management, practice assessments, managed care program/IPA product development, process improvement, financial analyses, budgets, information system selection, implementation and strategic planning.

Ms. Seratte’s most recent position is Executive Vice President for POC Network Technologies, Inc. (PNT) where she developed and implemented a nationwide reimbursement and network solution for vaccines.

 


Andrea and Karen at the Grand Canyon

PNT is now the industry’s leader in vaccine billing representing over 20,000 medical providers and contracts with over 90% of the country’s Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Part B and commercial plans. She also held the positions of Vice President of Operations in the Southwest region for BMJ Medical Management, Inc., Vice President of Operations for Rehab Managed Care of Arizona, and Vice President of Finance for the Medical Rehabilitation Hospital Division for Novacare.

Ms. Seratte completed her accounting work at Florida Atlantic University and received a BS from the University of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Ms. Serrate lives in Phoenix with her husband and daughter and enjoys vacationing with them in Florida.

 


 


David Gaither
principal@cedarventures.com

Mr. Gaither is a consultant to Cedar Ventures and has assisted on a variety of transactions and engagements since 2009. His professional background has primarily centered on strategy and operations. Mr. Gaither has held a variety of executive roles throughout his career. One of his earlier roles includes his work as founder and CEO of Goldenchild, Inc., an intellectual property think-tank he launched that focused on licensing patented innovations he invented within the firm. Later, Mr. Gaither was a strategy consultant for Accenture where he worked on numerous engagements which included pre- and post-acquisition strategies, restructurings, turnarounds, growth strategies, market entry strategies and cost reduction/management strategies. While at Brook Venture Partners in Boston, Mr. Gaither spearheaded due diligence that led to the acquisition of a Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") company. Mr. Gaither leveraged his experience from various roles within his career advise senior management on their most critical, strategic concerns.

Mr. Gaither obtained a BA in Business Administration with highest distinctions from Morehouse College and an MBA in General Management from Dartmouth College where he was a Tuck Merit Scholar. Mr. Gaither has been very active in the community, contributing his support and time to several initiatives such as the Adopt-A-Student Program for Atlanta, Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church and other organizations. Mr. Gaither enjoys painting, exercise, running, and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and lives in Atlanta.

 


 


Middle East Representative

Antoine Abiyounes is Cedar Ventures’ representative in the Middle East and is based in Beirut. He is currently one of the founding partners of SteriTech Holding/Offshore/Lebanon SARL, a manufacturer and distributor of a complete line of sterilants and disinfectants for the medical, dental, veterinarian, hospitality, and home markets.

Antoine’s background in both micro- and macro-economics, combined with his extensive knowledge of the geopolitics of the MENA region and his extensive networking channels is an asset to any client. While based in Beirut, he travels throughout the MENA region.

His prior experience includes: Owner and President of Southern Investment Mortgage in Atlanta, Georgia (2001-2008); Partner and Vice President of Finance for Atlantic Aviation Services in France (1996-2001); Owner and President of Cosmopolitan Trading, Inc. with three showrooms in the Atlanta Apparel Mart (1986-1996). From 1979 to 1985 Antoine worked in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”). During his time in the KSA he presided over AA Turkie Corp., a construction and waterproofing distributor that included products from Catnic, Rust-Oleum, and Dow Corning.

He returned to the United States during this period to earn an MBA degree from the University of Toledo in 1980. He is fluent in Arabic, French, and English and is a U.S. citizen. He now splits his time between the U.S. and the Middle East. 

Contact for Mr. Abiyounes: 

Advisor@cedarventures.com; tabiyounes@gmail.com. 

In Beirut: 
O: + 961 1 739 868
M: + 961 70 68 39 68