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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 over 30 years of experience in the  commercial real estate, 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 (affiliates of the Galtney Group) ,  where she started in 1991, 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 and its subsidiary, Texas Commerce Bank, (now 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 and is a current member of 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 has been 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  for about 20 years, has been a  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. 

 


 

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. 

 


 

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. 

(404) 247-1924