HBM welcomes Charles Mullenger as an Associate and a member of the firm’s Accelerated Development Program. Charles will work with Daniel Wright, VP of Corporate Development, and the Associates team on internal consulting projects and strategic projects focused on adding value to HBM’s portfolio companies.
CC: Can you share your educational background and work experience?
CM: I am a 2010 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. My military career was brief, but comprehensive in terms of the positions held and the experience accrued. I joined the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant where I served as a Field Artillery Officer for just over five years, earning the rank of Captain. In 2013, I was deployed to Afghanistan where I served as a Platoon Leader, overseeing 30 – 50 soldiers. During my military career, I also served as a Fire Support Officer, a Battalion Logistics Officer and a Battalion Operations Officer before determining it was the right time to hang up the uniform and transition to a new career.
This past June I graduated from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a concentration in finance and entrepreneurship. While completing my MBA, I accepted internship opportunities in management consulting and private equity at A.T. Kearney and NextGen Growth Partners. In these roles, I accumulated financial analysis and project management expertise from completing freight sourcing analysis for a private equity client’s recent acquisition and also performing strategic financial analysis for the CEO of a big box retailer.
CC: What attracted you to HBM’s Accelerated Development Program?
CM: Making the decision to leave the military was a difficult one, therefore I carefully considered the criteria that would fulfill me in my next career. I arrived at the following three “must haves.”
First, I sought a position that would give me experience at the intersection of finance, investing and operations.
Second, I wanted to join a team that felt as tight-knit as the teams I led in the Army and who had a higher purpose of creating jobs and growing businesses in the U.S.
Third, I sought a position where I would have the opportunity to get outside, get my hands dirty, and put on a hard hat every now and then.
HBM’s Accelerated Development program met all my criteria. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the growth of our portfolio companies.
CC: What are your career aspirations two years from now? How do you envision HBM’s Accelerated Development Program preparing you to reach your career goals?
CM: Over the next two years I am looking to soak up as much experience and knowledge as possible by rolling up my sleeves and diving into M&A transactions and commercial and operational projects at HBM’s portfolio companies. Long-term, I hope to leverage my experience to assume a general manager position at one of HBM’s businesses. I am confident that HBM’s Accelerated Development program will both prepare and challenge me to reach my long-term career aspirations.
In addition to the opportunity with HBM, what were the factors that led you to choose St. Louis as your home?
Both my wife and I grew up in the St. Louis area and are thrilled to be returning home after a decade away. Aside from the incredible atmosphere that provides a great family lifestyle, we are attracted to the architecture, baseball and the great Midwestern people. I was fortunate to find the opportunity at HBM in the city that we both love.
CC: Based on your professional experience, what characteristics do you believe differentiates HBM?
CM: What truly sets HBM apart, in my mind, is their unique approach to investing. HBM has a buy-and-build approach to investing, bringing a sense authenticity to the acquisitions the firm looks to pursue. They consider target investments for the right reasons and truly seek to help management teams grow upon their previous successes, even if the benefits are not realized until a decade from now.
Additionally, HBM has a strong investment thesis on the markets they pursue. The knowledge and experience they have accrued from years in the manufacturing space, simply make HBM a higher quality partner for management teams.
Above all else, they treat their portfolio companies and people as family. HBM’s culture is exactly what I was envisioning: a close-knit family all working towards a greater purpose.
CC: Please share a fun fact about yourself that most people would not guess.
CM: I can say and/or spell any word backwards on command. In my younger years, I created a language I call Sdrawkcab Hsilgne (Backwards English). I have yet to meet anyone with this utterly useless skill!
Charles joined HBM in August.