Our Due Diligence Team

Centarus Companies is a trade name for three separate companies: Centarus Legal Services PC, Centarus Business Consultants, Ltd, and CBD Due Diligence Services. Below is the staff at Centarus Business Consultants, Ltd., and CBC Due Diligence Services.

Matt Dwyer

Compliance Management Consultant

Matt C. Dwyer specializes in compliance consulting for hedge funds, registered investment advisors and broker-dealers.  Specific areas of specialization included registration and formation of registered investment advisors and broker-dealers, annual testing, conflicts of interest, supervision, suitability, branch office operations and anti-money laundering.  He also provides litigation support and expert witness services in securities related arbitrations.

Prior to consulting, Mr. Dwyer ran the Internal Audit Department at Mesirow Financial, a leading regional brokerage firm.  While at Mesirow, Mr. Dwyer led the oversight of investment advisor and broker-dealer affiliates. Areas of review include retail and institutional investment management, private equity and hedge funds. Mr. Dwyer also created and directed the annual branch office review program, which included review of all investment advisory and broker-dealer branch offices on an annual basis. As head of Internal Audit, Mr. Dwyer also coordinated regulatory exams with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Matt Dwyer began his career at FINRA where he served in a number of positions, including Senior Compliance Examiner.  While at FINRA, Mr. Dwyer led and conducted investigations of FINRA firms and representatives opened through arbitration filings, customer complaints and employee terminations. He also conducted on-site investigations regarding potential rule violations by member firms and registered representatives in the areas of sales practice supervision, suitability, brokerage operations, brokerage accounting and Anti-Money Laundering. These investigations required that he issue reports of investigation and provided testimony at FINRA and NAC disciplinary hearings.

Matt Dwyer serves as an Adjunct Professor at Olivet Nazarene University, where he earned an MBA.  He teaches classes in the areas of Finance and Statistics.

David Robinson

Regulatory Legal Consultant

David M. Robinson is a tax attorney and CPA with over thirty years of experience practicing law and working as in-house counsel for several large diversified financial service companies. In his practice, David has worked in various areas of federal tax law including federal income, estate and gift tax law with high net worth individuals as well as small to medium sized businesses.  Mr. Robinson also has significant experience in federal securities laws as well as broker/dealer regulation. As In-house counsel, David has worked in numerous positions with responsibility for insurance regulation, product development as well as broker/dealer compliance with FINRA regulations. He also has significant legal and tax experience with pensions, 401(k) plans as well as non-qualified deferred executive compensation plans. David has also authored numerous tax opinions and memorandums of law regarding complex tax and legal issues in order to give clients needed guidance. His in depth tax analysis in the tax opinions have assisted clients in addressing complex business transactions. David understands the challenges that many businesses face in navigating the legal issues facing them, and he uses a collaborative approach with client input to reach out and find creative solutions to legal issues. Mr. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame, a Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi School of Law, an LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law and an MBA from St. Mary’s University. David is licensed to practice law in the States of Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida.

Eric La Brecque

Management Consultant

Eric is a branding and business story-telling expert. He has advanced the brand marketing discipline through the introduction of influential, highly regarded tools and processes. Eric has developed successful solutions to complex challenges for leading brands in virtually every category of business, including DisneyABC, Intel, Lexus, Nationwide, Neutrogena, Qualcomm and Roxy/Quiksilver, among many others.

In addition, Eric has generated corporate and product names under which billions of dollars of business are conducted annually. Looking past his experience with established brands, Eric is deeply engaged in startup and early stage business development. He is an advisor to a number of innovative companies in the financial services, data analytics and online peer-to-peer marketplace sectors.

Paul Belanger

Management Consultant

Mr. Belanger possesses over 20 years of finance and accounting experience, and for the past 10 years he has been providing consulting services to a range of clients that include everything from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Mr. Belanger’s specialties include raising capital, management turnaround and cost reductions. Over $100 Million Dollars has been raised for his clients over the past 3 years, and he has also initiated cost savings of $32 Million for companies. Some of Mr. Belanger’s Fortune 100 clients include: Waste Management, Staples, Timberland Footwear, Dunkin Donuts, and Bose. In 2010 Mr. Belanger raised $38 Million Dollars for Annie Leibovitz with Colony Capital to refinance her well publicized debt. He currently provides equity fund raising to enterprises in the technology, life science, and retail sectors.

Edward Rhodes

Management Consultant

Edward Rhodes possesses over 29 years of investment banking and consulting experience. Since 2000, Mr. Rhodes has provided M&A, valuation, capital raising, strategic advisory, due diligence, financial modeling and business plan writing services for startup, small and middle market clients. During his career he has closed transactions with an aggregate value in excess of $400 billion across a variety of sectors, including, but not limited to energy, utilities, social networking, industrials, media/telecom and healthcare.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Rhodes served as an Investment Banker in New York with JP Morgan and BMO Capital Markets. He has closed significant M&A, Leverage Finance, Project Finance, Equity, High Grade and High Yield transactions for a wide variety of Fortune 1000 clients and strategic buyers. Prior to his investment banking career, Mr. Rhodes managed the closure of defaulted savings and loan institutions as a Case Manager/Financial Analyst with the Resolution Trust Corporation in Washington.

Mr. Rhodes holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia.

John Russo

Management Consultant

John Russo possesses over 15 years of Financial Services and Investment Banking experience. Since 2000, Mr. Russo has provided New Business Procurement, Capital Raising, Structured Lending, Banking and Wealth Management Solutions for Small Businesses and Middle Market clients. During his career he has closed transactions with some of the largest Exxon Mobile Franchisees in the Northeast, where he assisted them with complex Cash Management Strategies.

Previously, Mr. Russo served as a Banker in New York with JP Morgan Chase, a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and a Risk Management Consultant at Goldman Sachs Position Control Group.

Prior to his Financial Services career, Mr. Russo Founded Wrapid-Pull, A Dispenser for the Restaurant Industry. He patented the design and sold the rights to a Restaurant Industry Manufacturer in New York City.

Mr. Russo Holds Multiple Financial Industry licenses including the FINRA Series 7, Series 66, Series 55 and Series 24 Licenses. He graduated From Pace University Lubin School of Business with a Bachelor Degree in Business.

Gobind Singh Khals

Management Consultant

Gobind Singh Khalsa is a Sr. Consultant at Centarus Business Services. He leads engagements providing business leaders and organizations with strategy, finance consulting services and business coaching. Gobind Singh’s knowledge and expertise include business planning, finance, creating and implementing strategy and leadership development. His extensive background includes 18 years experience in leadership, consulting and finance. He has led consulting engagements for executive management, human resources, operations, finance, and technology teams.

His engagement leadership includes servicing clients as a management consulting and CFO – providing leadership, developing creative solutions and project management in finance, business planning and strategy, organizational development, change management, merger integration, finance/technology transformation, process improvement and regulatory reporting. His clients include start-up, medium-sized, and Fortune 500 companies in the technology, energy, financial services, health care, LOHAS, marketing and consumer products industries. Some of the clients he has served include Eagle Energy, ECO Power Design, Kaiser Permanente, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Union Bank. His previous employment includes: Manager at Ernst & Young LLP within the FS – Business Consulting practice and a Controller at the boutique investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette.

Tim O’Connor

Management Consultant

Tim O’Connor is a tremendous asset to our Consumer Products practice area and brings the innovation and passion of a proven entrepreneur plus the enormous volume of results from his classic brand marketing experiences on some of the world’s best known brands including Betty CrockerR, TropicanaR Juice, CoorsR, Star WarsR and many more.

With more than twenty years of experience in traditional consumer marketing, Tim is a hands-on leader in product development, strategic planning, sales management and operations issues. As an executive leader, Tim has built a reputation as a marketing & sales driven executive in corporate turnarounds and brings a level of analysis and urgency to strategic decisions facing large and small organizations. Tim has developed countless strategic plans and presentations in such areas as marketing strategy, business model innovation, consumer research, channel management, new product development, brand renewal and product launches to name a few.

Tim is also the Founder of Brightspot Brands, the company he created to focus on the emerging functional candy segment. His company created the world’s first healthy candy brand known as, gimmeR. The brand featured great tasting, premium chocolate candy packed with nutrition like real dairy calcium, Omega3 from flaxseed and probiotics. The business was sold to a strategic investor in 2010.

Tim earned his undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Minnesota and earned his MBA from the JL Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with emphasis in Finance and Marketing.

Jan Knight

Management Consultant

Jan Knight’s primary focus is on providing customized secondary market research to consulting companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs and small-medium sized businesses. Much of her work in the past 13 years has helped to shape business plans, strategic marketing plans and new business development in a diverse set of industries.

Having access to professional, subscriber-based databases that provide authoritative data, nationally and internationally, helps her to research far beyond what the Internet alone can offer. Her information gathering skills are also incorporated in her research-driving writing of white papers, her reviewing of global information products for a UK publisher, and the multiple presentations and workshops she provides on the topic of market research. Jan also brings marketing and advertising experience to her role as a market research specialist.

Currently, a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals, she has been active in their committees and conferences since 2001. Jan has previously served as a Board Member for a local Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), is also active in various trade groups including the Arizona Technology Council and the Business Marketing Association, and is currently involved as a partner/mentor at a number of Arizona-based business incubators

Jan earned her M.A. in Information Resources & Library Science from the University of Arizona, and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Deree Kobets

Management Consultant

Deree Kobets brings to the team over 14 years of experience working with start-up companies. Her specialties include business plans, raising capital, cost reductions, creating organizational efficiencies, conducting due diligence and developing working cash flow and proforma financial statements.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Kobets designed a fundraising strategy and sourced target investors to raise $170 million for Apex Venture Partners, a technology-based private equity firm in Chicago. Not only does Ms. Kobets have experience with helping startup companies, she is an entrepreneur herself. Ms. Kobets is the founder of Grow Modern Kids, a unique brand which sold organic and modern products for children. Annual sales grew 20% consistently over five years. In 2012, she successfully sold her business for a profit.

During the last two years, she has provided consulting services to small companies in high growth stages and in need of funding. She assisted these companies with growth plans, systems restructuring, and the preparation of business and financial documents. From her experience with investors, she is skilled in writing business plans and knowing what investors want. Due to her experience with entrepreneurs, she is adept in assisting start-up companies prepare their systems and financials for investment sourcing.

Deree earned her undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her MBA from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University with emphasis in Management and Strategy and Marketing.

Dharmesh Patel

Management Consultant

Dharmesh Patel is a tremendous asset to our Management Consulting practice area and brings the innovation and passion of Silicon Valley plus the Strategic Planning domain expertise from blue chip firms like Adobe, Schwab, Visa USA, Merrill Lynch, and Prudential Financial.

With more than thirteen years of experience in Product Marketing and Business Development, Dharmesh is a hands-on leader in product development, marketing, strategic planning, organic/inorganic growth and operations/process improvements. As an executive leader and hands on strategist, Dharmesh has built a reputation as a quantitative “Growth Hacker” leading business growth while meeting ROI and ROE objectives. Dharmesh has developed numerous strategic plans and business cases in such areas as marketing strategy, business model innovation, market/product research, customer acquisition & retention strategies, new product development, M&A/Capital Raise and Investor Relations.

Some of the notable highlights from Business Development/Product Launches include:

  • Over $90 Million in Capital Raise stretching across the major stages—Seed (~$100k), Series A ($8M), Private Placement ($2M), IPO ($80M)
  • Eight M&A Deals totaling over $400M
  • Twenty + product launches for both startups and larger blue chip firms bringing in over $160 M in incremental Revenue

Dharmesh earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at the University of Maryland – UMUC and earned his MBA from the Warrington College of Business at University of Florida with emphasis in Finance and Strategy.

Hillary Finne

Operations Manager

Ms Finne is the Operations Manager and lead paralegal at Centarus Professional Services. She provides us with more than 20 years of business experience in industries, to include, legal services, financial, and manufacturing. Educationally, she possesses a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law and a Masters and a Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University.