Who We Are
AND WHY WE FOUNDED VALLEY RIDGE

A note from John Sheffield and Mark Tedford

When we mention our “values,” people sometimes say, “Yeah, we get it, you don’t break up companies like some private equity investors, but isn’t the most important value the value of a company’s shares?”

To which we say, yes…and no.

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Mark (left) and John

We will explain.

We first met each other as oncoming trustees at our church in 2011. We each had ongoing careers in corporate operations, finance, advising, and strategic planning, and we’d each helped build a wide variety of companies. So we had plenty to talk about besides the church budget.

We quickly saw that our professional experience wasn’t the same, though. John was an experienced public- and private-company CFO with nearly 20 years of M&A investment banking under his belt. He had significant experience in analyzing, acquiring, integrating and building companies as an external advisor and senior corporate executive.

John is by no means only a “numbers guy,” but he did major in accounting in college (at SMU in Dallas), is a CPA, and earned a masters in management from EM Lyon (France) and an MBA in finance from the University of Texas. So, yes, he is a valuable asset on the financial side to any company.

JOHN AND MARK: THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Mark, meanwhile, had spent more of his career “on the ground” with small- and middle-market industrial manufacturers where he gained extensive experience streamlining supply chains and expanding distribution channels. He’d also led operations improvement consulting engagements for around a dozen industrial manufacturers.

Mark has an MBA too—from the Fuqua School at Duke—but if you look back a little further, you can see where his heart lies: He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Industrial Management from Tufts. He loves “things” and companies that make them, and he knows how to make product planning and manufacturing more efficient and customer-centric from end to end. (Mark was also a Navy ROTC scholarship student at MIT and served on active duty for five years.)

What we realized, and what got us pretty excited, was that our experience and skill sets were very complementary, with John’s investment banking and finance background and Mark’s manufacturing and industrial management background clicking together to create an ability to see and understand industrial businesses from every side—financial, operational, technological, across product, markets, and people—and to know how to assess, solidify, improve and grow these businesses.

JOHN AND MARK:
THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT

Mark, meanwhile, had spent more of his career “on the ground” with small- and middle-market industrial manufacturers where he gained extensive experience streamlining supply chains and expanding distribution channels. He’d also led operations improvement consulting engagements for around a dozen industrial manufacturers.

Mark has an MBA too—from the Fuqua School at Duke—but if you look back a little further, you can see where his heart lies: He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Industrial Management from Tufts. He loves “things” and companies that make them, and he knows how to make product planning and manufacturing more efficient and customer-centric from end to end. (Mark was also a Navy ROTC scholarship student at MIT and served on active duty for five years.)

What we realized, and what got us pretty excited, was that our experience and skill sets were very complementary, with John’s investment banking and finance background and Mark’s manufacturing and industrial management background clicking together to create an ability to see and understand industrial businesses from every side—financial, operational, technological, across product, markets, and people—and to know how to assess, solidify, improve and grow these businesses.

But the values matter, too

No matter how complementary our experience and skill sets, we would not have decided to create Valley Ridge Investment Partners if something else had not been true as well: A company’s bottom line is only one of the factors we both care deeply about. Also critical to us are factors like the well-being of a company’s employees, including a chance for them to “grow” in their careers…the well-being of a company’s greater community, including local vendors who have served the company well…and contributing to manufacturing in America and to the U.S. economy, which we believe needs, and absolutely can support, “businesses that make things.”

That’s why we will participate in an investment only when we believe all the factors we value—the good of the company, its people (including the seller), its community and the country—can be served.

Of course, a company must be stable, profitable, innovative and assertive to provide a foundation for all the other good stuff. And our aim is to make every Valley Ridge company the leader in its space, which is good for us, good for the employees and good for our capital partners.

That’s who we are and why we created Valley Ridge—thanks for reading.

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John Sheffield

Founder, Managing Director

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Mark Tedford

Founder, Managing Director