Chris Nielsen, Founder & Managing Principal
Chris grew up in a Colorado military family. His father was a career officer in the Air Force and both grandfathers were in the Army Air Corps. Following in their footsteps, Chris attended the United States Air Force Academy where he graduated as a distinguished graduate. Upon graduation, he pursued a graduate degree in Operations Research at MIT and then served as an operations analyst. Chris finished his military career as an instructor at the United States Air Force Academy. Following his Air Force career, he spent eight years as an investment analyst at an asset management firm where he analyzed companies in sectors ranging from energy to industrials, an opportunity that started with a summer internship. While the challenge of investing was rewarding and dynamic, a return to operations became increasingly desirable. This led him back to MIT to pursue a business degree and explore ways to get back to operations in a small, team-driven environment.
Chris has a passion for engaging with others to accomplish a common goal. During his time in the military he saw the power that grit, hard work, and a can-do attitude can have on creating a culture defined by mutual respect, support, and excellence. During his time in the asset management industry he came to appreciate the importance of proper alignment and follow-through. These experiences have defined how he envisions engaging with the team of an existing small business that is focused on continuing to win.
Board of Advisors (BoA)
PURPOSE. Spruce Lake Partners' BoA was created to provide perspective and accountability during the process of engaging with potential sellers. While their backgrounds are diverse, each member of the BoA brings decades of experience in building, operating, and aligning small teams toward accomplishing a common goal.
Eric S. Holt, CFA
Mr. Holt is the Founder and President of 7258 Wealth Management. The inspiration for the formation of 7258 was experiencing the results of active management on Wall Street and seeing the mismatch of client objectives and their asset allocation. He oversees all aspects of the firm’s operation and works with each of the firm’s clients. He chairs the 7258 Investment Committee and led the development of the firm’s innovative Asset Allocation Process. He has worked with Fortune 500 CEO’s, entrepreneurs from virtually all industries, legacy family wealth, University Endowments, trusts, Family Foundations, and retirement plans.
Mr. Holt was the founding member of Bessemer Trust’s Denver Office. He was responsible for building the Bessemer Trust brand in the Rocky Mountain Region and his efforts resulted in the firm having almost $2 billion in new client relationships under his leadership.
Prior to joining Bessemer Trust, Mr. Holt was one of the founding members of AllianceBernstein’s Denver office. Prior to that, he ran the Investment Group and a multi-billion portfolio for Frost Bank in Austin, Texas.
Mr. Holt spent nine years in the Air Force where he was an award-winning Finance Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and received commendations for the role he played in developing the acquisition strategy for the replacement of the nation’s overhead imaging assets. He taught the Investment Course in the CFP Program at the University of Texas.
He serves on the Board of Trustees for the Alliance for Choice in Education (ACE), serves on the Falcon Foundation Board of Trustees and Investment Committee. He also is a member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Legacy Planning Advisory Council. He is a Co-Founder and President of the Mile High Five Foundation and former President of the Rocky Mountain Estate Planning Council.
Mr. Holt graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with academic distinction and received an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a CFA Charterholder.
General Charles (Chuck) H. Jacoby, Jr.
Gen. (Ret) Charles H. Jacoby, Jr. is the Senior Vice Chairman for Capitol Peak Asset Management Company. He also serves as the Distinguished Chair of the Modern War Institute at the United States Military Academy at West Point. General Jacoby is also a faculty member at the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point. The General consults with the Institute for Defense Analyses, the Defense Science Board, and Stellar Solutions. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Association of the United States Army. He is a Trustee of the El Pomar Foundation and the Korbel School of International Relations at Denver University.
After 37 years of commissioned military service, General Jacoby retired as the Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, the first non-aviator to hold that post. He hails from Detroit, Michigan and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1978. He holds a masters degree in history from the University of Michigan. His military education includes the Infantry Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College.
He has commanded at all levels in joint and Army assignments, from Company to Geographic Combatant Command, including combat operations in Grenada with the 82nd Airborne Division; Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq. He also served as Instructor and Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy. As the Deputy Commander of Combined/Joint Task Force-76, he was responsible for the 18,000 troops conducting combat operations in Afghanistan; as the Commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq, he commanded the 135,000 troops conducting combat operations across the country of Iraq. General Jacoby served as the Director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy for the Joint Staff, where he led planning for coalition and NATO operations in Libya, assisted in the Middle East peace process, and served as the U.S. Military Representative to the United Nations.
Ward Polzin, CFA
Mr. Polzin is CEO of Camino Natural Resources, LLC, (Camino) a Denver based oil and gas company. He was recently CEO of Centennial Resource Development, LLC, (Centennial) which currently trades on NASDAQ under the ticker CDEV. Prior to forming Camino and Centennial, Ward served as a Managing Director in Investment Banking at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. He has a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from Rice University. Mr. Polzin is also a CFA Charterholder.