Chris Taylor is a Senior Vice President at Bluestone Capital Partners, a boutique investment firm for middle-market companies. WashingtonExec contacted Taylor to bring a new prospective to our usual government contracting community interviews. In his position at Bluestone, Taylor looks towards building long term relationships with a diversified strategy and response, breaking away from the standard fast, quarter to quarter growth agendas of his industry peers. Taylor also discusses how he believes industry-related organizations are great for outreach when building a company and personal brand.
WashingtonExec: What are some of the biggest challenges within investment banking today?
Chris Taylor: One of the biggest challenges within investment banking today is enhancing our industry’s reputation. Rather than prioritizing the interests of their clients, some of our competitors are heavily influenced by the agendas of their parent organizations and the “quarter-on-quarter” growth mantra. Approaching the market with such a short-term view, these investment banks have tarnished our industry’s reputation, making transaction advisors seen as fee-hungry, process
Bluestone’s philosophy is one that fosters a long-term approach to trust and relationship building. We recommend strategies to our clients that will enhance their future successes. Our advice is always formulated and delivered with the clients’ best interests at the fore, despite the possibility of missing a short-term gain for our firm.
WashingtonExec: What sets Blue Stone Capital Partners apart from your competitors?
Chris Taylor: Our value proposition is a unique fusion of sector focused, middle-market investment banking experience, operational finance expertise, corporate strategy, and P&L operational leadership. Our competitors have more limited perspectives and diversity due to the concentration on one area of expertise. We have a real-time understanding of the policy, regulatory, legislative, budgetary, operational and competitive mechanics that influence our clients’ businesses. This allows us to elevate our thinking and subsequent advice to a level that is truly value-add, beyond the typical advice
offered by one-dimensional investment banks competing in our arena.
WashingtonExec: What companies in the market today set the standard for you? Who are your benchmarks and examples of success?
Chris Taylor: We do not strive to be like other companies but rather set our own standards and have exceptionally high expectations for ourselves and each other within the team. We are mindful and respectful of the
achievements of other firms, but we do not aspire to be or to replicate them.
In terms of examples of success, I’d point specifically to three of my colleagues at Bluestone. John Allen, Susan Gabay and Greg Van Beuren are three of the most highly regarded advisors in the aerospace, defense and government services middle-market. Collectively, they have executed over 150 M&A transactions, resulting in billions of dollars for shareholders, owners and investors. These individuals served as lead advisors on some of the most high profile middle-market transactions of the past decade including Veritas Capital‘s sale of McNeil Technologies to AECOM, the sale of PAE to Lockheed Martin and the sale of Dimensions International to Honeywell.
WashingtonExec: How do you build and maintain your personal network and how do you see social networking enabling this?
Chris Taylor: The power of the personal network never fails to amaze me and for that reason I invest a significant amount of my time in establishing and building relationships. Regardless of who the person in question may be, if asked, I never refuse a meeting. It’s foolish to go into any situation thinking “what’s in this for me?” If you answer the question with “nothing,” it can and will often lead to missed and unforeseen opportunities. Participating in industry related events and organizations such as the Professional Services Council, National Defense Industrial Association, and Intelligence and National Security Alliance, are all key elements of building the personal network. I also invest time in staying in touch with people regardless of how far our spheres of interaction may appear to be drifting apart – you never know when they may reconverge.
Social media tools are really taking networking to a new level. Portals like LinkedIn have changed the way we find, learn about, and meet people in the business world. I actively use these tools of virtual networking to enhance my network.
WashingtonExec: What activities do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Chris Taylor: I am passionate about sailing, which has been a core part of my life for over 25 years. At some stage in the future, I look forward to sailing around the world, but for now the Chesapeake offers plenty of enjoyable scenery. My wife, daughter and I also enjoy spending time outdoors hiking with our two golden retrievers. I also have a true passion for
learning, so reading is something that I enjoy both for work and rest.