Operating Partners

TPE is committed to helping our management teams create long term value by leveraging our network of industry leading operating executives. Our operating partners bring proven strategies, relationships and industry and operational knowledge to our portfolio companies. Our operating partners traditionally participate as Directors or Advisors to the Boards of our portfolio companies.

Jay Shuster
Jay Shuster currently serves, since 2000, as President and Managing Member of Shuster Group, LLC. Shuster Group provides consulting services to buyout firms and industrial businesses in operations, acquisition analysis and support, and post acquisition governance. In conjunction with his consulting practice, Shuster most recently served on the Board of Directors of Verso Corporation, a publicly traded publication papers business (Executive Committee, CEO search, Audit, Finance and Planning Committees), as Chairman of American Blanching Company, a food manufacturer focused on Private Label Peanut Butter as well as Chairman of the advisory Committee at KPAQ, a premium lightweight virgin pulp and linerboard company; both companies were sold in highly successful transactions. Shuster also served as Chairman of Orchids Paper Products, a publicly traded tissue manufacturer (branded and private label) from 2007 to May 2013. Shuster has also served on four other Boards of Director, two of which were publicly traded companies. Shuster also consults for INDEVCO from time to time (no active engagements at the present time), the largest independent producer in the Middle East of diapers, feminine napkins, corrugated boxes, tissues, plastic films and bags. INDEVCO is headquartered in Lebanon with significant manufacturing presence in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well as having a significant US subsidiary – Interstate Resources. Many of Shuster’s engagements involve working with management teams to improve results and improve strategy and related execution for owners- either pre or post acquisition.

From 1979 to 2000, Shuster worked for Rock-Tenn Company, a $1.5 billion (for fiscal 2000) packaging and paper company, in three broad areas.

  • Shuster spent ten years as Chief Operating Officer during which time the Company tripled in revenues and substantially increased profits.
  • Successful financial roles led to Shuster graduating to operating roles where he led the Company’s largest division, the Folding Carton Division, and two other divisions that were substantial money losers for the Company; Shuster led turnarounds for all three divisions before being promoted to COO and President.
  • Shuster started work at Rock-Tenn Company as Asst. Controller and later served in numerous financial roles (Asst. Controller, Controller, VP and Controller, VP and Treasurer, Sr. VP and CFO) including five years as the Company’s CFO.

At Rock-Tenn Company, Shuster participated in twelve acquisitions and two joint ventures, upgraded the management team, improved strategies where necessary, led changes in the Company’s health insurance and pension plans, introduced and installed continuous improvement programs and was instrumental in the Company’s Initial Public Offering. Shuster had a leadership role in integrating all of the Company’s acquisitions for twenty years.

Shuster began his career with Arthur Andersen & Company (1975-1979), where he served as a CPA. Shuster earned a CPA certificate at age 22 having won gold medal honors on the CPA exam as well as national recognition.

Shuster is a graduate of the University of Florida (1972-1975) with a BSBA, concentrating in Accounting.

Show More

Donn Viola
Donn serves as a Director of REV Group, a manufacturer of fire apparatus, ambulances, recreational vehicles, buses and terminal equipment, and a Director of Defiance Metal Products, a precision fabricating manufacturer of metal parts and assemblies as well as a Director of Unique Fabricating Inc., a die cut, form and fabricator of non-metallic parts. Donn previously was a director of Williams Controls (NYSE MKT: WMCO) until its sale in December 2012, and a Director of Manac, Inc., a North American manufacturer of custom semitrailers. In addition, Donn is the Chairman of the Navistar Retiree Supplemental Benefit Plan Trust.

Donn served as Chief Operating Officer of Donnelly Corporation, an automotive parts supplier, from 1996 until his retirement in 2002. From 1990 to 1996, he held positions as Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Director of Mack Trucks, a heavy truck manufacturer. Before Mack Trucks, Donn worked as the Executive Vice President of the Cars and Concepts Division of Masco Industries. Prior to Masco, Donn was a Vice President of Manufacturing Operations for Volkswagen of America which followed his thirteen year career with General Motors Corporation. Donn has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University and completed the Stanford University Executive Program.

Show More

R. Eugene Goodson
Dr. Goodson has held leadership positions in academia, government, and industry. He holds AB and BS degrees from Duke University and MS and PhD degrees from Purdue University. As a Purdue professor, he published over thirty refereed journal papers and consulted in the aerospace, process, and transportation industries. He was U.S. DOT Chief Scientist from 1973 through 1975. From 1975, as director, he, with his colleagues, led Purdue’s interdisciplinary institute to national prominence in transportation, energy, manufacturing, and biomedical research. In 1981, he led Johnson Control’s automotive seating business in nine years from a $150 million build-to-print supplier to a $1.3 billion tier one systems supplier. Over forty new JIT plants were built in North America and Europe. These plants epitomized lean, best practices in supplying seats and interior trim to Japanese, U.S., and European automotive OEMs. As Chairman and CEO of Oshkosh Truck Corporation from 1990-1997, his team took Oshkosh from primarily a defense contractor to market leadership in fire trucks and concrete ready-mix equipment.

Dr. Goodson returned to academia in 1998 as Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business teaching operations management. Dr. Goodson’s lean tool, described in the paper “Read a Plant—Fast,” published in the May 2002 Harvard Business Review, is used by many companies as a tool in their lean journey. He continues an active consulting practice on lean transformation and business development. In 1998, after serving on several boards, he became Chairman, CEO, and President of Williams Controls, a public company with significant AIP investment, from July 2002 to September 2004. He continued as Chairman until December 2012 when the company was sold to Curtiss Wright. Williams made electronic throttles for the specialty vehicle and heavy truck industries.

In 2006, Dr. Goodson became CEO, President, and Board Chairman of Southwall Technologies Corporation, a public company in Palo Alto. Southwall made sputtered film that controls energy and light transmission. He remained a board member and consultant until the company’s sale in 2011. He also serves on several other boards, including REV Corp., a $1.7 billion dollar revenue specialty vehicle private company, Bergstrom, Inc., a private tier one suppler of HVAC equipment to the heavy truck and off-road vehicles industries, and Defiance Metal Products, a private company and a supplier of metal components also to the heavy truck and off-road vehicle industries. He also consults regularly with companies on their lean transformation journey.

Show More

Mark Vaughan
Mark Vaughan started his career in produce over 35 years ago in his family’s local produce distribution business. He re-organized that business and started Vaughan Foods in 1988. Vaughan Foods grew into a large regional producer of fresh-cut vegetables, fresh prepared salads and other fresh food products with customers in 40 states, Mexico and Canada. Mark oversaw all operations including production, purchasing, transportation and agricultural activities with over 500 team members across several facilities. Along the way, his ability to see underutilized value in people and ideas allowed him to pioneer several innovative products and developed a regional service model that supported the firm’s substantial growth with revenues exceeding $125MM annually. Mark vision took the firm public in 2007 and then ultimately marketed the business to a strategic buyer in 2012.

Since 2016, Mark has served as managing partner of Fresh Avenue Partners, LLC, a group specializing in procurement, warehousing and logistics of produce and refrigerated foods with customers throughout the US in the restaurant, foodservice and retail segments.

Mark also serves as an advisor to Oklahoma State University’s Food and Agriculture Products Center and supports the community through volunteer and civic organizations.

Show More

Steve Mance
Mr. Mance retired in April 2020 from MEC where he had the role of COO. MEC purchased DMP, a Taglich Portfolio Company, in December of 2018. Prior to the divestiture of DMP, Steve was the Chief Executive Officer of Defiance Metal Products since October of 2011. As CEO, he was responsible for overseeing the Sales & Marketing, Operations, Finance, Human Resources, Engineering and Purchasing functions of the company. Defiance Metal Products had over 1100 employees working at its four plants located in the United States.

Mr. Mance is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of increasingly senior experience, with his last role being General Manager of the Charging Business at Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC in Elyria, Ohio. Here, he had full P&L responsibility for over $230 million US in annual sales with multiple facilities. Steve has a strong background across multiple areas, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Six Sigma, International Experience, and Product Development. Previously, he held roles at Hendrickson International as Vice President/General Manager of the Components Group and Allied Signal as Vice President of Operations and Six Sigma, both who supply parts predominately to the heavy truck and construction markets. Steve has outstanding success in driving key operational, productivity, and financial improvements throughout his career. Steve has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo, New York and has taken graduate courses at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Mance is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors for Red Dot Corporation, which designs and manufactures HVAC equipment for the commercial vehicle market. He joined the Board of Directors of Barriere Corporation in mid-2017, which is one of the largest asphalt and road construction companies in the state of Louisiana. In 2016 he was elected Chairman of Heavy Duty Business Forum, which he served honorably in 2017.

Show More

Kennon Guglielmo
Dr. Guglielmo holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduating from Georgia Tech in 1992, Dr. Guglielmo moved to San Antonio and began his professional career at Southwest Research Institute in the Engine Research division. In 1994, he left SwRI and founded EControls – a provider of advanced powertrain control systems for industrial and heavy-duty equipment. EControls merged with FW Murphy Production Controls in 2009 to form what is now Genisys Controls, LLC. Today, with approximately 1000 employees and 6 global facilities, Genisys provides advanced control solutions for engine and electric powertrains in the industrial, heavy-duty, and oil & gas markets worldwide. Dr. Guglielmo currently serves as CEO of Genisys, and a director of Rush Enterprises (NASDAQ:RUSHA/RUSHB). Dr. Guglielmo serves on the Board of Directors of Racing & Performance.

Show More

Jack Warden
Mr. Warden, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers (GoodwillSR), is an experienced executive with a 35+ year career within the food industry. His former roles include President of Golden Boy Foods – a division of POST Holdings with international sales of $300 million and President & CEO of American Blanching Company, a large private label manufacturer / processor of peanuts with sales of $140 million. In these positions, Jack built teams which exceeded investor expectations in areas such as financial performance, systems optimization and leadership development.

A Tennessee native, Jack earned a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from Tennessee Technological University. In 1980 he started his career in the snack food industry with Tom’s Foods, a division of General Mills,where he held positions as Corporate Engineer, Director of Engineering, Plant Manager and General Manager. In 2011 he left Tom’s and was named President / CEO of American Blanching in Fitzgerald, Georgia.

Jack assumed his current position with Goodwill Southern Rivers in May 2018. Goodwill SR operates as a non-profit serving 50 counties in SW Georgia and East Alabama providing job coaching, training and educational opportunities to over 25,000 people annually.

Jack presently serves on the board of The Sugarman of Vermont Food Company and on the board of the B.R.I.D.G.E. He has also served as an advisor to MANA, a manufacturing company suppling ready to use therapeutic food to 3rd world countries. Jack has previously served on boards for the American Heart Association, Columbus Riverfest, Columbus Tech Curriculum Advisory Board, TFI Pension Committee and United Members Credit Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Columbus. . Jack is an avid golfer and is married to Joanie Kilgore Warden, who is a nurse practitioner. Together, they have three children – Henry, Benton and Hannah Jean and three grandchildren.

Show More