PE-backed ASC appoints Comly as CEO

American Safety Council, a portfolio company of Falfurrias Capital Partners, has named John Comly as CEO. Previously, Comly worked at Red Ventures where he served as president of several operating units. ASC is a provider of online safety training and education programs.


CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Falfurrias Capital Partners, a Charlotte-based private equity firm focused on investing in growth-oriented, middle-market businesses, today announced that John Comly has joined portfolio company American Safety Council (ASC) as chief executive officer.

Comly succeeds Jeff Pairan, who will be assuming the role of non-executive chairman of Orlando-based ASC, a leader in regulatory-driven online training and education programs.

Comly previously served as president of several operating units of Red Ventures, a high-growth digital marketing and technology company he joined in 2011. Comly spent 10 years in investment banking and middle-market private equity before leaving a partner-track career to gain operational, entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the ASC management team as well as Jeff and the rest of the board to continue to scale and further diversify our business to provide an even more robust suite of products to current and prospective customers,” said Comly.

“We are pleased to welcome John to the American Safety Council team,” said Marc D. Oken, managing partner of Falfurrias Capital Partners. “John has the combination of operating experience and leadership skills that will help ASC build on its strong position in the regulatory-driven online training and education market.”

“John’s experience with SEM and building direct-to-consumer digital distribution channels will be a significant asset in his new role at ASC,” said Todd Taylor, partner of Falfurrias Capital Partners. “His skill at cultivating strategic relationships and fostering internal culture to drive superior P&L results also will be valuable as he continues the work of Jeff and the ASC team in growing the business organically and through acquisition.”

Falfurrias Capital, founded by Hugh McColl Jr., former Bank of America chairman and CEO, and Oken, former Bank of America CFO, acquired ASC as a platform investment in May 2014 after identifying the regulatory-driven online training and education industry as a significant growth opportunity. Falfurrias and ASC continue to see attractive opportunities to scale the company through future acquisitions in a fragmented industry and better leverage its technology and partnerships with state and federal regulatory agencies.

About American Safety Council
The American Safety Council pioneers e-Learning solutions and provides alternative delivery method courses to over one million individual users annually. ASC and its affiliated organizations offer online traffic and workplace safety training and regulatory-driven, professional continuing education programs in association with state and federal regulatory agencies and court systems. For more information on American Safety Council products and services, visit the company website at

About Falfurrias Capital Partners
Falfurrias Capital Partners is a Charlotte-based private equity investment firm founded in 2006 by Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Marc Oken, former CFO of Bank of America. The firm is focused on acquiring or investing in a diverse portfolio of growth-oriented middle-market companies. By leveraging the extensive strategic and operational experience and business relationships of the firm’s principals, Falfurrias Capital Partners is positioned to be a value-added partner for both its portfolio companies and its limited partners. For more information, visit