Problem Solvers

We don’t just offer a standard solution. We deploy a unique approach to each client’s set of challenges.

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Our clients are important to us. We commit more than just a deal team; our whole firm is committed and involved in your deal.

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In addition to being experienced investment bankers, we’ve operated companies as CEOs and CFOs. We leverage this experience to ensure we get you the right deal at the best possible valuation.

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We’ve advised countless clients through a broad range of transactions and situations. We help our clients recognize opportunities and avoid pitfalls throughout the transaction process.

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We’re not your typical investment bank. We are today’s investment bank. We are always looking for cross-platform solutions that will best meet your business or transaction objectives. For example, could your real estate management company benefit from an ESOP? We can help.

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Our Services

Capital Formation

Capital Formation Services including acquisition capital, growth capital, middle market capital, and project finance

Real Estate

Real Estate Equity Capital Sourcing, Structuring, and Sale-leaseback Financing- JV equity, preferred equity, mezzanine

Intellectual Property

Complete Intellectual Property service, strategy, commercialization, and funding.

Additional Services

Merger and Acquisition and Advisory Services tailored to meet the unique needs of middle market companies

The Candlewood Team


Glenn Pollack


Glenn Pollack, Founder


Glenn has over 25 years of investment banking and restructuring experience. He has advised over 150 middle market companies in various corporate finance transactions and in that role has developed and implemented innovative capital structures and alternatives to traditional financing methodologies.  He was recently the CEO and Investment Banker for a $1.1 Billion troubled container terminal project in Damietta, Egypt, and has also served as CEO of a $180 million food distributor.   Glenn has been responsible for managing dozens of transactions, including: mergers & acquisitions leveraged capital transactions, restructurings, Chapter 11 reorganizations and bond exchange offers.

Prior to founding Candlewood Partners, Glenn was the Managing Director and Principal responsible for the Restructuring Practice at Brown, Gibbons, Lang & Co., a middle market investment banking firm. He was also the CEO of one of the country’s largest wholesale meat distributors, a turnaround consultant with a national practice, and a “Big Six” accounting and systems professional.  Glenn has served as a director for a number of public and private companies.


William Vogelgesang
CEO and Founder


William Vogelgesang, CEO and Founder

Bill Vogelgesang

William W. Vogelgesang is CEO and co-founder of Candlewood Partners, an investment banking company addressing the capital formation needs of the middle market, and South Franklin Street Partners, its private equity affiliate. Bill works with companies to help build long-term value as they pursue their own vision for success. Having experienced the strength of a stakeholder-focused business model, he has been active with employee-owned business and is a frequent speaker on the subject of ESOPs and employee ownership.

Bill has experience in a broad array of businesses, including distribution, manufacturing, and business services, as well as all areas of capital formation and realization. Through his experience as a director at a number of privately held companies, an officer in a material processing business, and his involvement in many company start-ups, Bill understands the struggles of building a successful business.

Prior to founding Candlewood Partners and South Franklin Street Partners, Bill worked for seven years as a Managing Director and Principal of Brown, Gibbons, Lang & Company, L.P. (BGL), a middle-market investment banking firm with offices in Chicago and Cleveland. He served as Chairman of BGL’s Management Committee and was active in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and restructurings. Before joining BGL, Bill spent three years as a Principal and the Chief Financial Officer of a hazardous waste acquisition and management company. He also served as President of Colonial Capital, Inc., a NASD broker-dealer specializing in corporate development engagements for corporate and investment fund clients. In addition, he worked for several years as a banking officer at KeyCorp and Citicorp after starting his career as an accountant for General Motors. Bill is board member of Breakthrough Charter Schools and is Chairman of Conscious Capitalism of Northeastern Ohio.


Steve Latkovic
Managing Director


Steve Latkovic, Managing Director

Steve Latkovic

Steve focuses on getting deals closed for Candlewood’s real estate clients. He spends his time structuring deals, designing strategy, running financial analysis, completing property underwriting, and contacting and negotiating with potential equity partners.

Steve’s career has provided him the diverse skill set needed to take on the challenges of deal execution. He has over a dozen years of experience in real estate, finance, and capital markets, and has been involved with real estate transactions and raising capital as a real estate broker, attorney, investment banker and most importantly, owner. Steve most recently co-led the capital markets group for CBRE in Cleveland. Before joining CBRE, Steve practiced commercial and real estate law for McDonald Hopkins, a Cleveland-based business law firm. He began his career with PwC providing public assurance and advisory services. He received his B.A. from George Washington University, and obtained his J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

When he is not crunching deal metrics, he is usually training for some crazy athletic competition, like a Tough Mudder or triathlon, and enjoying the workout from keeping up with his 4 young boys and equally active wife Anna.


James Cocita


James Cocita, Analyst

Jim Cocita

As an investment banking analyst at Candlewood, James’ role primarily focuses on the detailed analysis and valuation of client businesses. Additionally, in this role, James is keenly involved in helping prepare clients and their business for the next step along their respective journey, whether it is an exit, partial sale or raising capital for growth.

Prior to joining Candlewood Partners, James worked as the lead-associate analyst at the sell-side equity research firm, Northcoast Research, covering heavy industrial equipment manufacturing companies. In this role, James developed a keen understanding of the equity markets along with strong experiences in dissecting merger and acquisition and capital raising transactions.

James graduated from John Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and returned to John Carroll where he earned his Masters in Business Administration. During his time at JCU, James was a member of the University’s Men’s Ice Hockey Team where he served as team Treasurer and representative. When James isn’t at Candlewood, you can find him at the rink either playing or coaching hockey.


Christopher Wagner


Christopher Wagner, Director

Christopher Wagner

Chris has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, including Mergers & Acquisitions and Equity Capital Markets. He is responsible for originating new business opportunities and executing advisory assignments for Candlewood’s clients. Chris has advised clients through Initial Public Offerings, Follow-On Offerings, Mergers & Acquisitions, ESOPs, Private Placements of Debt and Equity, Fairness Opinions, and Valuations. His industry expertise includes advising clients in the industrial, business services, healthcare, and information technology industries.

Prior to joining Candlewood Partners, Chris worked with P&M Corporate Finance and KPMG Corporate Finance in their Merger & Acquisition practices and RBC Capital Markets in their Equity Capital Markets group. Chris has raised over $1 billion in capital and advised over 70 clients over the course of his career.

Chris is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Master of Business Administration in Finance. He is a FINRA registered securities professional, holding the Series 24, 7, 79 and 63 registrations.

Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters boating on Lake Erie during the summer and skiing with the family in western New York during the winter.


Kate Shafer
Marketing and Communications Manager


Kate Shafer, Marketing and Communications Manager

Kate Shafer

Kate is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Candlewood Partners. She focuses on building awareness for Candlewood’s service offerings and is responsible for all of the marketing strategy and execution. Some of her daily responsibilities include the creation and design of any print and online materials, social media, and any other marketing and communication activities that are needed by Candlewood or any of the divisions.

Prior to joining Candlewood Partners, Kate was responsible for marketing at Solon Manufacturing Company. At Solon, she managed all aspects of domestic and international trade show planning (about 15 per year), led top management in a “Corporate Culture Transformation,” and was in charge of communication activities, among other marketing responsibilities. Kate was also the Marketing Manager for CLS Facility Services and a Marketing Specialist/Account Manager for a promotional products company. In between CLS and Solon, Kate took a break from marketing to get her Master of Education and became a teacher.  After teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades for 3 years, she decided that she greatly missed marketing and left education to get back into business.

Kate graduated with her B.S. in Marketing from the University of Dayton and her M.Ed. from John Carroll University. She is an Associate Board Member of Boys Hope Girls Hope Cleveland. She is also a member of the American Marketing Association and the Cleveland 20/30 Club. When she’s not at work, you can find her on the golf course or at Crossfit.


Scott Pollock
Director, Real Estate


Scott Pollock, Director, Real Estate

Scott Pollock

Scott has actively been involved in the commercial real estate capital markets for over 12 years with a diverse background ranging from asset dispositions and acquisitions, Tenant and Landlord representation, debt & equity finance, and development. Scott co-leads Candlewood’s real estate practice and is responsible for new business origination as well as relations with high net worth individuals, family offices, private equity real estate firms, and institutional capital. His industry expertise includes sourcing and structuring Joint Venture, mezzanine, and Preferred Equity investments for assignments ranging from $3,000,000 to $100,000,000 in required capital.

Prior to joining Candlewood Partners, Scott worked with leading commercial real estate firms CBRE and Grubb & Ellis where he led Capital Markets and Investment properties teams. His responsibilities included the disposition and financing of income producing properties for national REIT’s, pension funds, private equity firms, and developers.

Scott is actively involved in industry organizations such as ICSC, NAIOP, PERE, and ULI. He is also an active participant and volunteer for many civic and non-profit organizations throughout Northeast Ohio and enjoys spending time with his family, playing paddle tennis, and golf.


Michael Karder
Business Development


Michael Karder, Business Development

Michael Karder

Michael is the newest member of the Candlewood team, but has been in the financial services industry since 1999 serving high net worth and institutional clients throughout North America.  Prior to his role at Candlewood Partners, he managed his own hedge fund.  For the 22 years prior to 1999 Michael managed his family machine company serving as CFO and President. Michael’s years as an independent advisor gives him the ability to create the best, unbiased, unrestricted solutions for his client’s financial success.

In addition to Michael’s depth of experience, his extensive education gives him the ability to assist his clients. He graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and furthered his post-graduate education in the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Akron.  Michael has earned:  his Certified Financial Manager™ designation, Series 7 and 66 and is a Candidate for the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation.

Michael’s level of community involvement is unrelenting.  He is deeply involved in fund raising for such organizations as:  University of Akron Scholarship Program, U of A Foundation, U of A Business College, Diocese of Cleveland, United Way, the first Distinguished Chair in C.O.B. at the U of A.  In addition to fund raising, Michael is the Founding Chairman for Summit County CRIMESTOPPERS™, has sat on the Investment Committee for U of A Foundation, and on the boards for: Boy Scouts of America, First Tee of Akron, Ohio Ballet, Akron Civic Theater, ARC and many other charitable boards. Michael is an accomplished snow skier and billiards player. Michael and his wife, Cathy-Ann enjoy spending time together with their dog, extensive travel, and their community involvement.


Brian K. Lampl
Business Development, IP and Commercialization


Brian K. Lampl, Business Development, IP and Commercialization


Brian specializes in intellectual property (IP) monetization strategies, IP licensing, and commercialization. For over 14 years he has worked with both startup and established companies facilitating and negotiating their IP transactions through licensing, sales or acquisition in a variety of diverse industries in the United States, Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Over the years, Brian has also been a principal in several startup companies where he had the opportunity to be involved with IP transactions as both the licensee and licensor. This provides him with a unique prospective in understanding the intricacies of IP transactions from the client’s perspective.

Prior to joining Candlewood, Brian held executive positions with several companies in the following industries: business consulting, wholesale, software development, motion picture, and retail.

Brian holds a Bachelor of Science in Management with a Major in Entrepreneurial Studies and a Concentration in Management Information Systems from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He is an active member of the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and has served on the Advisory Board of various start-up and online companies. In his free time he enjoys playing golf and tennis.


Deborah Lipstreu
Office Manager


Deborah Lipstreu, Office Manager

Debbie 2

Deborah has been with Candlewood Partners since the beginning. She wears many hats, so the best way to describe her is, Office Manager. However, she is also the Accounting Manager, HR Manager, and Bookkeeper for not only Candlewood Partners, but three of its entities as well. With all of these jobs, Deborah has many responsibilities, including: management of accounts payable, accounts receivable, financials, banking transactions, account reconciliation, payroll, benefit administration, and vendor contacts. She also manages billable time and expense tracking as well as being the point of contact and quarterly reporting to the SBA and NASD.

Prior to joining Candlewood Partners, Deborah was responsible for the general bookkeeping and payroll taxes for Thomas Wilkens CPA, J.W. Sales and Marketing, and Sherwood Food Distributors.

When she’s not at Candlewood, Deborah enjoys hiking, white water rafting, and kayaking.