02 Aug Meet Andrew Hakim, Blackford’s Vice President & Emerging Leader
Blackford’s Vice President Andrew Hakim was recently named a recipient of The M&A Advisor’s Emerging Leaders Award! The award was no surprise to us – Andrew has been a key member of the Blackford Capital team since he joined the firm in 2018 and we are very pleased to learn of this outstanding recognition. As an experienced and knowledgeable PE professional with impressive business acumen, Andrew’s leadership helps drive a variety of Blackford initiatives forward. He leads our Portfolio Company Operations team and plays a critical role in new investments, investor relations, and recruiting as well.
Congratulations, Andrew – we’re grateful for all you do each day to help make Blackford a success!
An Interview with Andrew Hakim
Q: What motivated you to join Blackford Capital in 2018?
A: I began my career working in Management Consulting with Kearney. It was a great way to start a career – it was fast paced, opened doors, and exposed me to a diverse set of businesses and business challenges.
Most of my work there was helping companies improve their P&L– top-line focused projects or operational improvements to reduce their cost structure. The Associate role at Blackford appealed to me because it let me use that experience and expand it. I wanted to experience the full lifecycle of buying, growing, and selling a company – the due diligence, valuation, financing, structuring, acquiring, and exiting processes. In addition to the opportunity to learn, I was drawn to the experienced team, and pace of the Blackford organization.
Q: Your education is in industrial and operational engineering – how did you end up in PE?
A: Industrial and Operations Engineering is a bit of a hybrid engineering and business degree. A good amount of the course work overlapped with the business school, and many of my college classmates have gone on to careers in management consulting, finance, business management roles, or launched start-ups.
PE had been on my radar for some time. I have family members who have had successful careers in Private Equity, and within West Michigan I was aware of Blackford and their portfolio companies. Blackford is an organization that fits well with my skillset and ambitions. This alignment gave me the confidence to originally apply when they had an opening in their Portfolio Company Operations team.
Q: You wear a lot of hats at Blackford, what is your favorite part of your current role?
A: It might sound a bit strange, but my favorite part of the job is when we exit our companies. I work very closely with our portfolio companies and develop relationships with their leadership and employees. The closing is a culmination of years of hard work investing in people, processes, and systems so that the next owner is acquiring a company in which our team has led the growth of both strategic value and organizational strength.
Q: What is a deal or achievement that you’re particularly proud of?
A: In May of 2022 we exited our investment in Grand Equipment, selling it to a family office based in Chicago. Blackford purchased the company 2.5 years prior to me joining the firm, and Grand Equipment was one of the companies I worked with the closest. Every relationship we have with our portfolio companies is unique, and I’m particularly proud of how we worked with the Grand Equipment team to navigate a successful exit and help set them up for the next phase of growth with their new ownership.
Q: What’s been your most challenging experience at Blackford and how did you overcome it?
A: When I first joined Blackford, it took me some time to get used to the number of projects occurring simultaneously both internally and at our portfolio companies. I had to learn to manage my time and when to seek support from other team members. One of the main reasons I joined Blackford was to learn from the talented team they had in place. What was a bit unexpected for me was the additional resources– our operating partners, board members, portfolio company leadership and even our accounting and legal partners. Blackford truly has a team culture. This is an organization and culture where everyone dives in and does what it takes to get things done. Learning from my colleagues has really helped me grow and learn these past 4+ years