We Are Edelen Strategic Ventures

WE LEAD FROM THE FRONT

Edelen Strategic Ventures (ESV) is a Kentucky-based management consultancy, offering a range of services to entrepreneurs at every stage of business development. From the start-up getting off the ground to the young business managing dramatic growth to the established company considering its future, ESV is a critical partner in maximizing opportunities for our clients.

Led by Adam Edelen, a dynamic leader with a record of accomplishment in both the private and public sectors, ESV brings to bear a substantial network of experience, expertise and a passion for doing big, important things. Our record is one of making organizations more effective, efficient and profitable. In the final analysis, Edelen Strategic Ventures leads from the front.

We help entrepreneurs win.
It's what we do.

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OUR SERVICES

We offer a range of services to entrepreneurs
at every stage of business development,
working as partners to help businesses
navigate the complex needs of today’s world
and tackle their most pressing challenges.

What We Do

WE OFFER A RANGE OF SERVICES

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MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

We become a full partner in driving your organization to optimal performance. After analyzing and assessing your current operations, we’ll develop a road map for increasing efficiency, effectiveness and profitability.

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

At ESV, we are able to galvanize a national and global network to expand your opportunities far beyond your current horizon. Whether it’s expanding your business across town or across the globe, we stand ready to activate our network for your benefit.

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STRATEGIC PLANNING

Proper planning is foundational to success. At ESV we have substantial experience driving successful strategic planning processes, resulting in a working performance management model premised on metrics. We’ve done it in the business, nonprofit and public sectors for organizations large and small—we can do it for you.

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ASSISTING STARTUPS

Launching a business can be overwhelming. We welcome the opportunity to assist startups in areas as diverse as getting legally organized to structuring your deal. We’ll assess and strengthen your business plan, develop a strategy for a successful launch and help you execute it.

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PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Every organization has highly intensive projects that must be delivered on a deadline. Not every organization has the manpower to dedicate to such pressing efforts. The ESV team is resourced to deliver high quality project management services that deliver on budget and on time.

WHAT WE DON’T DO

Lobbying or Government Affairs. Lots of former government officials and politicians become lobbyists after they leave government. There are many fine lobbyists—we’ll be happy to recommend a few—but it’s not the kind of work we do.

 “Adam and his team are extremely creative, energetic and experienced. ESV would be a strong resource for any business looking to do big and bold things..”  

Craig Greenberg, President, 21C Hotels

Our Team

 

Adam Edelen

Founder

 

Adam Edelen is a dynamic leader with a demonstrated record of accomplishment in both the private and public sectors.

He is the founder of Edelen Strategic Ventures, a Kentucky-based management consultancy designed to assist entrepreneurs at every stage of development. Additionally, Edelen is the founding general partner of Appalachian Horizon, a social impact private equity fund focused on developing and diversifying the economy of the depressed region. He is also a founder and partner in a number of ventures, primarily in the renewable energy space.

Recently, Edelen garnered significant attention for structuring an innovative partnership of a leading coal company with a global renewable energy giant. The partnership proposes the largest solar installation in Appalachia, built by out-of-work coal miners on a mountaintop removal site. The proposed project has been featured globally, from CNN and SkyTV to Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal.

As a chief of staff to a former Kentucky governor and later as the state’s elected state auditor, Edelen has earned a reputation as a modernizer and reformer in government. His efforts have resulted in prison terms for corrupt politicians and school administrators, uncovered fraud and abuse in Kentucky’s nearly $3billion system of “Ghost Government” taxing districts, and the testing of more than 3,000 previously unaccounted for rape kits.

The press has described him as “a man on a mission” and “a refreshing example”, his leadership “dazzlingly bipartisan” and “excellent and courageous.”

It’s a record that has won state and national recognition. He has been named the Outstanding Young Kentuckian and one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the United States Junior Chamber Commerce. The latter is among the most prestigious youth service awards and previous honorees include presidents Kennedy, Ford, Nixon, and Clinton. More recently he has been honored by the Aspen Institute, the German Marshall Fund, and the Kentucky Rural Health Association. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He is an avid sportsman, student of history, and University of Kentucky basketball fan.

 

 

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Nathan Cryder

Director

 

Nathan Cryder has a broad range of executive and leadership experience in the business, government, non-profit, and education sectors.

In business, he is a co-founder of Breakout, a rapidly growing family-friendly entertainment company, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky with forty-five locations throughout the United States. In just two and half years, Breakout has grown from a small family business with a single location to the largest real escape game company in the world with over 800 employees.

In the non-profit sector, Nathan was the first employee of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation-U.S., the organization founded by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi. He is currently a special advisor to Mr. Satyarthi, someone who has dedicated himself to ensuring children’s rights in India and globally since 1981. Over the next several years, the focus of Nathan’s work with Mr. Satyarthi and the foundation will be in Cuba, as that country and scores of others launch the 100 Million for 100 Million Campaign.

In government, Nathan was Senior Advisor and Policy Director to Kentucky State Auditor, Adam Edelen, where he was in charge of a variety of projects including legislation which provided taxpayers with unprecedented transparency of a $2.7 billion per year layer of “ghost government” (House Bill 1), as well as cybersecurity legislation requiring government to notify citizens whenever their personal information has been compromised.

In education, Nathan has taught economics, history, sociology, psychology, and history at Limassol International School in Cyprus and has taught web design, graphic design, and video editing at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

Nathan holds dual masters in diplomacy and sociology from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. in sociology from Miami University. He resides in Lexington, Kentucky with his daughter, Justina, and son, Noah.

 

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Phil Holoubek

ADVISOR

 

Phil Holoubek is founder, President and CEO of Lexington’s Real Estate Company (“LRC”).

Since 2000, LRC has been actively involved in the transformation of downtown Lexington, developing more than $30 million worth of real estate in the downtown Lexington area, with additional mixed used projects on the eastern end of Lexington’s downtown valued at $50 million currently in the works.

Two of LRC’s existing projects, the Nunn Building lofts, and Main & Rose, have added more than 100 loft condo units to downtown Lexington, adding life and vibrancy to this long neglected urban core.  As a result of this visionary project, and for the first time in many years, national retailers have located in downtown Lexington, improving quality of life for downtown residents and workers alike, and helping Lexington recruit knowledge based young professionals to town.

Recently, LRC has expanded its reach to Louisville, with development of a kitchen incubator, Chef Space, in Louisville’s Russell Neighbourhood,  This project was developed for one of LRC’s top clients, Community Ventures Corporation, and is a 13,000 sq. ft. project that turned an abandoned restaurant into a shared commercial kitchen space that incubates young, food based entrepreneurs and start ups. Across the street from Chef Space, LRC and Community Ventures have initiated development of approximately 30 energy efficient, single family homes, ranging in price from $100,000 to $150,000. These insulated concrete form homes will lower energy usage and costs dramatically, providing quality, affordable housing for low income families.

Phil earned his MBA from the University of Oregon, and kept the words of his mentor close to his heart…. “You can do good AND do well.  The two are not mutually exclusive.”  This is evident in many of his projects in Lexington and Louisville.

Phil is the founder of a civic organization known as LYPA (Lexington Young Professional’s Association), which is currently in its fifteenth year, and which strives to recruit and retain knowledge based young professionals. Each year LYPA hands out the prestigious “Rising Star” awards to Lexington’s top up-and-coming young professionals. In response to hurdles in recruiting minority based talent expressed by some of Lexington’s largest employers, Phil brought to Lexington the nationally known “Creative Cities Summit” attended by over 600 and featuring nationally recognized speakers Bill Strickland, Rebecca Ryan, and Richard Florida.

Phil has served on the boards of numerous local organizations such as the Lexington Center, Urban League, Bluegrass Community Foundation, Downtown Lexington Corporation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Knight Foundation, Community Ventures Corp, Fayette County Development Corp, and the Lexington Economic Development Board. He’s also served on a variety of task forces aimed at improving quality of life in Lexington, including the Budget Improvement Task Force, Downtown Streetscape Task Force, Downtown Circulator (trolley) Task Force, and many others.

 

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Jeremy Becker

ADVISOR

 

becker_cropHaving joined the firm as an advisory member in 2016, Mr. Becker’s unique and significant background in law, politics, non-profits and commercial real estate make him a unique asset to Edelen Ventures. Mr. Becker holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law. He is admitted to the State Bars of New York and New Jersey.

Currently, Mr. Becker is an Executive Vice President in Jones Lang LaSalle’s (JLL) Public Institutions group. Since May 2013 he has led this business line throughout the Southeast. In this capacity, he provides real estate strategy, financing, development and transaction services to public and private sector clients.

Prior to joining JLL, Mr. Becker spent eight years as the Southeast Political Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

In this capacity, he maintained contact with Congress Members and candidates, tracking issues affecting U.S.-Israel relations and leading educational briefings to Senate and House candidates, and community educational programs related to local, national, and international political issues. Additionally, Mr. Becker worked closely with AIPAC’s most active membership in order to facilitate engagement in the political process.

Mr. Becker has practiced law with Renzulli, Pisciotti & Renzulli, LLP, in New York, NY, where he handled products liability, insurance coverage, and insurance defense litigation. Previously he practiced law with Levidow, Levidow & Oberman, P.C., New York, NY.

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D. Brian Patton III, PE

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND APPALACHIAN INITIATIVES

 

An engineer by education and vocation, Brian Patton has been a critical player in Kentucky’s coal industry for more than two decades.  His leadership and problem-solving skills make him an integral part of Edelen Strategic Ventures, where he directs the firm’s business development and Appalachian initiatives.

ESV’s clients benefit immensely from Brian’s extraordinary management and leadership experience.  He has led companies with hundreds of employees and hundreds of millions in assets.  His resume reads like a hall of fame of Kentucky coal companies.  Among others, Brian served as President and COO of James River Services and Laurel Mountain Resources.  He led the International Coal Group in Hazard, Kentucky as President of Operations.  Fittingly, Brian’s peers in the industry consistently elected him to the board of the Kentucky Coal Association, where he served as chairman.

Brian personifies ESV’s defining motto: “We lead from the front.”

As Appalachia in general and the coal industry specifically continue to experience a period of painful transition, ESV is aggressively pursuing opportunities in the region.  Brian brings his passion for the region and his experience in the industry in directing ESV’s efforts to develop and strengthen entrepreneurial efforts in the mountains.

An engineering graduate of the University of Kentucky, Brian is an avid outdoorsman—enjoying everything from hunting and fishing to snow skiing.  A proud member of the Big Blue Nation, Brian is also a member of Calvary Baptist Church were he has taught Sunday School.

 

 

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Robert W. Billingsley

CHAIRMAN

 

Robert W. Billingsley is a successful businessman with extensive experience in business, including executive management, acquisitions, start-up ventures, consulting and academia.

After graduation from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, he began his career with Shell Oil Co., first as a trainee and progressing through sales, marketing, and information systems.
Bob then joined Electric Reduction Co. (a chemical producing subsidiary of Tenneco, Inc.) as Sales Manager and then Division Manager, responsible for sales, production, R&D and Technology Sales of proprietary equipment and plants.  Bob then joined Hooker Chemical Co. a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum as a Division Manager of their Chlor-Alkali Division responsible for Chemical and Plant Equipment Production and Sales, as well as, R&D.
Bob was subsequently offered a job as Executive VP of Anglo Canadian Pulp and Paper Co. and Bob was made President and CEO and Director of Anglo Canadian Pulp and Paper Co (a public company) at age 34. He then became a Director and, later, Member of the four Executive Committees of the parent London-based company, Reed International.  Reed International, Inc. was a 6-billion dollar conglomerate (now RELX and formerly Reed Elsevier (between 1991 and February 2015)), which included the largest publishing company in the world and published the largest newspaper in the Western Hemisphere. Bob was the only non-Brit on the very political Board. Bob eventually decided to leave corporate life and become an entrepreneur.
Next Bob, with two partners, founded a sodium chlorate plant in Amherstburg, Ontario using a small amount of equity and a 12 million dollar non-secured loan from a consortium of banks. The plant, with an additional 12 million dollar non-secured loan, more than doubled in size. Three years later the company was sold to Olin Chemicals for a substantial profit of 48 million dollars, including the debt.
In 1978 Bob took a chair at the University of Virginia, Darden Graduate School of Business, teaching pro-bono one of two courses: Starting New Ventures and Acquisitions of Closely Held Companies. Bob continues teaching as a Visiting Professor of Business Administration at Darden.

During this period in Academia, Bob began working primarily with the writing and analysis of business plans and with start-ups.  He formed a consulting firm Volnay Technologies, Inc. to do similar work with non-students and alumni.

Bob then went on to found and become President and CEO of Sunroot Energy Ltd. a company to pursue the manufacturing and sales of alcohol (ethanol) from agriculture products. He raised several million dollars in equity and after receiving several Government grants and a term loan from 3 banks, built an Industrial fuel ethanol plant near Kincardine, Ontario adjoining a nuclear power plant that supplied steam.

Bob has participated in numerous start-ups, he has licensed patented technology for new companies, secured venture capital funding, served on numerous Boards, served as interim CEO for early stage companies and consulted with companies of various sizes and in nearly all aspects and phases.

 

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Jared Smith

DIRECTOR OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS AND STRATEGIC INITIATiVES 

 

 

Jared brings a wealth of political, entertainment, and leadership experience to Edelen Ventures . Jared grew up in Lexington where he graduated from Lexington Catholic, as well as the University of Kentucky. He then moved to Manhattan where he attended the New York Film Academy prior to relocating to L.A. where he worked for MTV Networks, CBS, Disney, Pressman Films and others.

Receiving a Master’s in Diplomacy from Norwich University, Jared returned to Kentucky in 2008, when he began his political career. He served as a Deputy Finance Director on the record-breaking fundraising Gubernatorial re-elect for Steve Beshear. After serving as Political and Finance Director for the Kentucky Democratic Party, Jared took on the role of Campaign Manager for Andy Beshear’s Attorney General’s race. Jared runs a successful Political Consulting/Public Affairs Firm, Smith Strategies with expertise in Independent Expenditures, Ballot Initiatives and Electoral Campaigns of any size.  Jared is based in our Lexington office and plays an active role in Business Development and Public Relations. He and his son Parker are members of Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Church. Jared is a volunteer youth football and soccer coach and a diehard Manchester United fan.

 

 

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Edelen Strategic Ventures
300 East Main St. Suite 210
Lexington, KY 40507

859.977.6267

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