Investing in the Lower Middle Market


Formed in 2010, Blue Creek Equity Partners is a private investment company focused on the lower‑middle market. We are a value‑oriented, operationally focused investment firm that seeks to create value by driving the execution of defined performance improvement plans. Our team works closely with existing management teams or seasoned CEOs with proven track records and brings a high level of experience to this segment of the market. The Blue Creek team has experience in a broad array of industries, including business services, distribution & logistics, consumer products, government contracting, education, health care, industrial manufacturing and eCommerce.

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Our Team

Learn more about the managing partners of Blue Creek Equity Partners. Our experience and track record speaks for itself.

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The Hillman Group

The Hillman Companies, Inc. (“Hillman” or the “Company”) is a leading distributor of fasteners, key blanks, letters, numbers, signs, and other related hardware items. Hillman also provides value-added merchandise managing services such as reviewing and replenishing stock levels.

Our Team

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Dan Russell

Dan Russell is a founder and Managing Partner of Blue Creek Equity Partners. Since 1998, he has completed more than $750 million of investments in over 40 transactions. He has served as Chairman or board member of 16 different companies and has completed transactions in multiple end markets, including distribution, logistics, transportation services, consumer products, business services, health care, and education. Prior to founding Blue Creek, Dan was a Managing Director at Allied Capital Corporation in Washington, D.C. Allied managed over $4 billion and was invested in over 100 portfolio companies. He served on the management committee and the investment committee. Dan led a team that originated, invested, and managed a portfolio of companies in the middle market. Prior to joining Allied, Dan worked in the Washington, DC office of KPMG in its Financial Services Group. Dan is the former Chairman of Mercury Air Centers, Palm Coast Data, SunSource, Startec Global Communications, MHF Logistics, Service Champ, Penn Detroit Diesel Allison, Hot Stuff Foods, Stag Parkway and Legacy Partners. He is a former board member of The Hillman Company (NYSE-AMEX: HLM_P), Industrial Air Tool, Nobel Learning Communities (NASDAQ: NLCI) and Cable and Connections, Inc. He received a B.S. from Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania, with a major in business and a concentration in accounting. He passed the CPA exam in 1992 in the State of Delaware.

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Paul Tanen

Paul Tanen is a Managing Partner of Blue Creek Equity Partners. Since 1991, Paul has completed over $1.0 billion of principal investments in 70 transactions. He has served as Chairman and Board Member on dozens of corporate boards of directors. He has led transactions in a multitude of industries in which he acted as a principal investor in both control and non-control opportunities. Additionally, Paul has invested in securities up and down the capital structure from senior secured loans to common equity. Paul has spent the vast majority of his professional experience as either a principal investor or as an intermediary with a focus on capital raise, sell-side, and financial and operational workout and turnaround projects.

Prior to Blue Creek, Paul was the Managing Member of Torn & Frayed Advisors LLC, which provided capital raise assistance, sell-side representation, and financial restructuring guidance to privately held, middle-market companies. Prior to Torn & Frayed, Paul was a Managing Director of Allied Capital in Washington, DC. Allied managed over $4 billion of capital and was invested in over 100 companies. He served on Allied’s Investment Committee and chaired the portfolio development committee. Paul was hired in 2000 to start Allied Capital’s workout and turnaround practice. Paul led a team of professionals that worked through 50+ restructurings and recapitalizations. In many cases, Paul and the team negotiated a control position in portfolio companies from a position of passive investor. The workout and turnaround group enjoyed full repatriation of “at-risk capital” when analyzed on an aggregate dollar basis. Additionally, Allied enjoyed both a current investment return and capital appreciation on new monies invested into pre-existing portfolio companies.

Prior to Allied Capital, Paul, along with a Partner, founded the Private Investments Division of the hedge fund Charter Oak Partners. Charter Oak is one of the oldest hedge funds in the United States, originally founded in 1965 by Steinhardt, Fine, and Berkowitz. While at Charter Oak Partners, Paul invested in nine platform companies that encompassed traditional middle market leveraged buyouts, the purchase of distressed assets out of bankruptcy, and Green Field Ventures. Prior to Charter Oak Partners, Paul worked as an Associate at The Argosy Group, North Star Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Coopers & Lybrand.

Paul received his B.S. from Northeastern University, where he participated in the Cooperative Business Program. Paul Graduated in 1990 with the distinction of Magna Cum Laude. In 1992, Paul graduated from the Stern School of Business at New York University with a Master's Degree in Finance.