Introducing the Women in PE Class of 2023; Lincoln Road partially exits Brothers National

PE Hub and Buyouts honor the best and brightest of women in private equity.

Morning Hubs!

It’s a special day for us here at the Hub and Buyouts. Our annual Women in PE feature package drops today, featuring 10 mini-profiles of women doing big things in the industry.

This year, we’ve also done a look back on three women – Christine Hommes, Tara Gadgil and Katherine Wood – we profiled in the past, who have made their way to partner level.

Our 2023 Women in PE class:
• ACON’s Suma Kulkarni
• Carlyle’s Anna Tye
• Grafine Partners’ Elizabeth Weymouth
• Kayne Partners’ Nishita Cummings
• Coalesce Capital’s Stephanie Geveda
• Charlesbank Capital’s Caitlin Riederer
• Shamrock Capital’s Laura Held
• Apollo’s Veena Isaac
• Encore Consumer Capital’s Kate Wallman
• CPPIB’s Suyi Kim

Read the full feature here.

We’ll be featuring the profiles in the Wire throughout the next few weeks. See more below.

First, a deal: Lincoln Road Global Management partially exited Brothers National, a concrete and paving company it co-owned with Trivest Partners, writes Obey Martin Manayiti on PE Hub today.

In the deal, Lincoln Road, based in Miami, agreed to merge Brothers National with Pavement Partners, a portfolio company of Shoreline Equity Partners, to form pavement services company Pave America. The newly formed company provides maintenance work like repairs, milling, seal coating and striping services to commercial, municipal, industrial and utility customers.

The new company will be under dual control of Shoreline Equity and Trivest, with Lincoln Road maintaining a minority stake, Manayiti wrote.

Under Lincoln Road’s control, Brothers National completed 13 add-ons with founder-led companies, which added services to the company and expanded its geographic footprint. “This space didn’t see a lot of significant capital and we thought that was particularly attractive,” Jeff Magny, Lincoln Road’s founder and managing partner, told PE Hub.

Profile: Suma Kulkarni, partner at ACON Investments, had an all-consuming passion growing up: tennis. “I used to watch all the matches,” she recalls. “I even named my second dog after Boris Becker.”

Naturally, her first real job was working as a coach at a tennis camp in Potomac, Maryland, when she was 16. Fortunately for private equity, Kulkarni’s fixation never extended to playing professionally.

Since dropping her racket, Kulkarni has become a trailblazer for women in private equity. Hired 15 years ago as an associate at the Washington, DC-based ACON, she rose through the ranks to become a partner. Identifying as the “first female investment professional” at ACON, Kulkarni has prioritized diversity, helping to create a firm where 70 percent of US senior management are either women or individuals from diverse backgrounds. Compare and contrast this statistic to a decade ago, when the firm’s diversity ratio was at 50 percent.

She has also focused on cultivating and building relationships within and outside the firm, forging deep ties with management, lenders and industry bankers or mentoring junior colleagues. Kulkarni has helped foster a warm, collegiate company culture.

“We don’t give up,” she explains, when discussing work challenges. “We stick through issues and just work our way through a positive outcome.”

It is this kind of approach to relationships that resulted in a slew of notable deals in which Kulkarni played a key role. Among them are ACON’s 2014 buyout of iconic cooler manufacturer Igloo Products from PE firm JH Whitney (and its 2021 sale to Swedish outdoor company Dometic for $677 million); and the 2020 acquisition of food packager Novipax. For the latter, ACON generated a 33 percent return on invested capital in two years by growing company EBITDA. Read more here.

Coming back: Sometimes big stories are waiting right under our noses, in plain sight. It just takes a bit of focus to spot these kinds of things.

This week, Buyouts reporter Gregg Gethard noticed a minor note in the agenda of Chicago Teachers’ pension meeting that KKR is expected to come back with its next flagship fund later this year.

Then, at the pension’s investment committee meeting Tuesday, a representative of consultant Callan said KKR is expected to launch its fourteenth flagship pool later this year. The firm declined to comment. Check it out here on Buyouts.

That’s it for me! Have a great rest of your Wednesday. Hit me up with tips n’ gossip, feedback or book recommendations (especially historical books about financial scandals) at or find me on LinkedIn.