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News | October 14, 2019
4 minute read

Warner Partners Receive MiBiz Dealmaker of the Year and Deal of the Year Awards

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP partners Timothy L. Horner and Charlie Goode have been recognized by MiBiz as Dealmaker of the Year for their role as U.S. legal advisors on the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The firm’s representation of Structural Concepts Corp. has also been honored as Manufacturing Deal of the Year.

The partners, along with Stephen C. Waterbury and Michael J. Jones, will be honored on Thursday, Oct. 17 at the High Five located in downtown Grand Rapids during the publication’s dinner reception and awards ceremony. They are two of 13 winning teams in categories recognizing West Michigan’s Top Deals and Dealmakers, an annual event presented by MiBiz in cooperation with the Association of Corporate Growth West Michigan.

Winners were determined based on best practices and excellence related to mergers, acquisitions and deal-making. Senior executives, attorneys and advisers served as judges.

Dealmaker of the Year: Gordie Howe International Bridge

Goode and Horner’s nomination reads in part: “For more than the past decade, Tim Horner and Charlie Goode have led a team of nearly 60 Warner attorneys representing the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority, an international public-private partnership that successfully closed a $4.4 billion concession agreement on Oct. 15, 2018. The concession agreement provides for the design, construction, finance, operation and maintenance of the Gordie Howe International Bridge and is the largest single transaction with West Michigan roots finalized between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.”

When completed, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be among the top five longest bridges in North America. It has received multiple international awards, including being named 2018 Transport Deal of the Year for the Americas by Project Finance International and Best Road/Bridge/Tunnel Project at the 2019 P3 Awards hosted by P3 Bulletin.

Goode has nearly two decades of transaction experience, practicing in mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, securities regulation and corporate governance. He has broad experience working with community banks and the financial services industry in Michigan and beyond. Goode works on transactions relating to infrastructure and in public-private partnerships, or P3, in addition to the Bridge.

Goode also represents community development financial institutions and other nonprofit organizations in nationwide debt securities offerings that focus on catalytic and impact investing.

He chairs the firm’s Finance Committee and is a former Chair of the Business Practice Group and a former member of the Management Committee.  He has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer in Michigan.

With nearly three decades of experience in corporate, securities and financial services law, Horner works extensively in the negotiation and implementation of complex commercial, business and finance transactions, with a focus on infrastructure, governmental and nonprofit finance and P3 transactions. He serves as legal counsel to public and private business clients, governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and financial institutions. Horner co-chairs the firm’s Infrastructure and Public-Private Partnership Practice Group.

Manufacturing Deal of the Year: Sale of Structural Concepts

MiBiz has also recognized the firm’s work on the sale of Structural Concepts Corporation to Mason Wells. Previously awarded alone by size, deals will now be recognized by industry. Key players in the sale of SCC included Phil Gilbert of P&M Corporate Finance based in Southfield, and Joseph Wagner and Mike Congleton of P&M Corporate Finance based in Chicago.  Key SCC players steering the transaction included President David P. Geerts and Chief Financial Officer Tammi S. Milewski.

The sale of SCC, a West Michigan family-owned business, to a private equity firm was structured utilizing an F-reorganization instead of a more frequently used 338(h)(10) election.

The Muskegon-based company designs and manufactures temperature-controlled food and beverage display cases for supermarkets and food-service establishments. The company utilizes innovative designs focused on presenting refrigerated food and beverages in aesthetically attractive formats that save energy, preserve food and beverages longer and minimize operation costs. Until the sale of the business in October 2018, SCC was owned by founder James Doss, his family and members of the SCC management team.The deal’s nomination read in part: “The sale allowed for a seamless transition to ownership by Mason Wells, a leading Midwest-based private equity firm with $1 billion in assets under management. The Mason Wells team was headed by Senior Managing Director Jay J. Radke. Since Mason Wells was formed in 1998, its buyout funds have invested in four specific areas: consumer packaged goods, outsourced business services, engineered products and services and packaging materials and converting.”

Throughout his career, Waterbury has led or participated in hundreds of deal teams involving clients in manufacturing, medical devices, energy, insurance, human resources, software, construction, agriculture, packaging and other areas. In addition, Waterbury is experienced in international business transactions and corporate governance best practices. He serves as counsel to a variety of leading Michigan businesses, including multigenerational family businesses.

In fall 2018, Waterbury was recognized by MiBiz and the Association for Corporate Growth as the first recipient of a new Hall of Fame Award that honored his successful career in mergers and acquisitions. Waterbury has also been recognized by Best Lawyers, Michigan Super Lawyers and Chambers USA.

Jones co-chairs the firm’s Mergers & Acquisition Practice Group and focuses his practice on M&A work. He has successfully completed more than 100 transactions involved billions of dollars in various industries, including manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, automotive suppliers, energy, technology, software and furniture.

Jones was honored by MiBiz as Dealmaker of the Year in 2016 for his leadership and creativity in completing key transactions during 2015-16. Jones has also been recognized by Best Lawyers, Michigan Super Lawyers and Chambers USA.

About Warner

By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP builds a better partnership with our clients. One of Michigan’s largest law firms, we’re focused on providing the best legal solutions and exceptional client service to organizations throughout the world. Connect with us on, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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