Our Team

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Kenneth H. Marks, CM&AA

Founder & Managing Partner



Kenneth is the founder and Managing Partner of High Rock Partners, Inc. His past positions included President of JPS Communications, Inc., a fast growth technology subsidiary of the Raytheon Company and President / CEO of an electronics manufacturer that he founded and grew to $22 million. He was a director for a Research Triangle area investment bank focused on raising capital for early stage and middle-market companies during the late 1990’s.

He has been involved as management, advisor or board member with several dozen emerging growth and middle market companies ranging from a venture backed software startup, INC. 500 staffing firm, environmental construction company, safety products distributor, semiconductor services provider, software as a service company, biotechnology and clinical research organizations ….to a middle-market insurance services provider.

He was a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) ; the founding YPO Sponsor of the  Entrepreneurs Organization (EO formerly YEO) in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina Chapter;  a member of the Association for Corporate Growth; a former member of the board of directors of the North Carolina Technology Association and former director of the Partnership for Defense Innovation (the parent of the Defense & Security Technology Accelerator).   He founded the Research Triangle Chapter of the National Funding Association .  He is a member of the board of advisors of the Alliance of M&A Advisors and is an active board of directors of Youth Camps for Christ, Inc.

Mr. Marks created and taught a graduate level course at Boston College in connection with the Hult International Business School in Boston (formerly the Arthur D. Little School of Management) titled “Managing Emerging Growth Companies”. In addition, he teaches graduate level electives titled “Financing Early Stage & Middle-Market Companies” and “Middle Market M&A” at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. In addition, Marks lectures at Depaul University in Chicago as part of the Merger & Acquisition certification program.

He is the lead author of Middle Market M&A: Handbook of Investment Banking & Business Consulting and  “Handbook of Financing Growth: Strategies, Capital Structure and M&A Transactions, 2nd Edition” both published by John Wiley & Sons, and he authored the publication “Strategic Planning for Emerging Growth Companies: A Guide for Management“.

Mr. Marks obtained his MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and his undergraduate studies were in electrical engineering at North Carolina State University. In addition, he has attended executive programs at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He held series 62 and 63 securities licenses.  Marks is a Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA).




Buddy Howard, CFA, ASA




Buddy has more than 30 years of experience as a valuation and financial analyst. In addition to his work with High Rock Partners, Inc., he owns Equity Research Services, Inc. (www.equityresearchservices.com), a contract equity research, investor relations, and business valuation firm that was started in 1989. He also publishes financial reports on approximately 15 publicly traded companies, principally in the banking sector.

He has completed more than 200 valuations assignments, covering a wide variety of industries, and has served as an expert witness in the area of business valuation approximately 30 times. Mr. Howard has also been a financial adviser to many community banks and has, on multiple occasions, been listed in U.S. Banker as one of the 50 largest merger and acquisition advisors in the nation, based on transaction volume.

He has achieved his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation from the CFA Institute and his Accredited Senior Appraiser designation (ASA) from the American Society of Appraisers. He holds a Series 7 (General Securities), Series 24 (General Securities Principal), and Series 86/87 (Research Analyst) licenses.


Joshua Nelson




Joshua provides strategic advisory services to established mid-market and emerging growth companies. Services include strategic planning and business problem solving; corporate recovery services including crisis management and turnaround strategies; securing financing through our capital resources network; mergers and acquisitions due diligence; business valuations (as client advisers); preparation of financing memorandums; preparation of company budgets, business plans, and annual reports; and financial modeling and analysis. In addition to his work with High Rock Partners, Inc., Joshua is the principal and founder of Nelson Business Financial Consultants, Inc. (www.nelsonbusiness.com).

Mr. Nelson has developed a powerful template-based, financial modeling and analysis software package for performing M&A analyses, valuations, corporate recovery assignments, and preparing financial forecasts and projections, all based on his “Business Performance Management” approach.




Lauren Whitehead

Marketing & Events Coordinator



Lauren is the most recent addition to High Rock Partners.  She is responsible for the marketing and administrative activities of the firm.  After graduating with a BS in Hospitality and Business from East Carolina University, Lauren spent time working in sales and conference coordination.  She is also actively involved with the Entrepreneurs Organization of Raleigh-Durham as their Chapter Administrator.

The CM&AA designation is provided to individuals with expertise in M&A transactions for middle-market companies.
CFA Logo
The CFA charter is the designation of excellence in the investment banking community.
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ASA is the premier credential for professionals involved in private company valuation.

Contact Us

High Rock Partners, Inc.
8601 Six Forks Rd
Suite 400
Raleigh, NC 27615

Our Mission

....to be the go-to advisors for M&A projects and strategic problem solving for the shareholders of emerging growth and middle-market companies

© 2023 High Rock Partners, Inc.