Management Team

Competent deep experience with a bend toward social impact.

"If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake."

~ Frank Wilczek

Kenneth L. Fikes

Managing Director

A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mr. Fikes graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 with a degree in African Studies. His professional positions have been:

  • Risk Management (City Bank N.A. – New York)
  • Options Trader (Susquehanna Investment Group – Philadelphia)
  • Portfolio Manager & Analyst (Smith-Breeden Associates – Durham/Chapel Hill)
  • Fiscal Analyst (Oklahoma State Senate – Oklahoma City)
  • Chief Operating Officer (Oklahoma Supreme Court – Oklahoma City)
  • Regional Manager & Broker (Banc One Securities – Oklahoma City)
  • Managing Director (Sydney Capital & Sydney Group – Oklahoma City/Knoxville)

The combination of market forces and an impending Chase buyout of Banc One Securities led Mr. Fikes to entrepreneurial pursuits and eventually the start of Sydney Capital, LLC. After engagement in a variety of ventures ranging from rural real estate development to financial consulting on electric power infrastructure pricing and construction in Mozambique; he presently focuses primarily on construction and transportation projects. Kenny has worked and built a tremendous wealth of knowledge in the construction industry over the last 11 years working with several small to large companies on projects with municipalities, a major university and the federal government. In addition to financial analysis, proposal preparation, and business development, he has also managed projects. While still involved in the construction process, the focus has now shifted primarily to the financial side of the construction industry.

Given a somewhat eclectic body of work across industries, he is called upon sparingly for customized consulting projects – particularly when there isn’t an accomplished expert for the issue at hand or the solution must be developed along the course of work.

Key Team Members

Sandino Thompson

Construction Analyst

Profile

Oklahoma State University 2002, BS – Construction Management Engineering Technology

A native of Spencer, Oklahoma Sandino graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Construction Management Engineering Technology and a minor in Political Science (Gov’t Law). Mr. Thompson’s current expertise in running multi-million dollar jobs began as a construction project assistant while in college for AMDATA in Oklahoma City – responsible for duties such as payroll, transporting people and equipment, and post clean up. He continued his work as an assistant while in college with ERC Development, also in Oklahoma City – responsible for coordination of utility needs, delivery materials, completing permits, onsite inspections, and project proposal preparation to government agencies. Based on this experience, by graduation in 2002, Mr. Thompson was ready for new duties as a Project Engineer for a major company in Tulsa, Manhattan Construction. Here he worked with subcontractors, architects, and owners to resolve construction issues. He was also responsible for coordinating/preparing subcontractors, pricing, costs, change orders, billings, managing RFI’s, submittals, or the organization of project files in addition to pricing and bidding projects. From 2005 – 2010 Mr. Thompson was a Senior Project Manager at Sauer, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida. Here he was responsible for major projects from start to finish, including but not limited to: managing personnel; construction budgets; negotiating and writing subcontracts, creating and managing job schedules, and coordinating post award design and project buyout. He had projects all over the country with a concentration at NASA in Houston, Texas. Sandino now works in various entrepreneurial capacities in addition to being an associate here.

Ethan Garber

Strategic Advisor

Profile

Wesleyan University 1990, BS – Religious Studies

Garber has more than thirty years of experience analyzing, advising, and financing businesses in a wide range of industries. As a restructuring specialist, Mr. Garber frequently serves on creditor committees of major national and international companies. Prior to joining Bear Stearns, Garber was a proprietary trader for Credit Suisse First Boston and a well-regarded distressed debt and restructuring expert at a number of firms including Lehman Brothers, where he was ranked by Institutional Investor magazine as an “All-Star” analyst. Garber has also been a senior debt analyst at Jefferies & Co. and Chase Manhattan and has co-founded several successful startups in the emerging telecommunications and “green” industries. In addition to these start-ups, several years ago he purchased Idle Aire of Knoxville, Tennessee and sits as its CEO splitting time between New York City and Knoxville. Garber graduated from Wesleyan University in 1990 with a B.A in religious studies.

Mr. Garber and Mr. Fikes attended boarding school together in Massachusetts and  have known each other for more than 35 years.

Vanessa L. Johnson

Corporate Advisor/General Counsel

Profile
  • Tulane University 1995, BS – Management;
  • New York University 2001, MBA;
  • University of Houston 2006, JD;
  • University of Houston 2015, LLM – Tax Law;
  • University of Houston 2015, LLM – Health Law

Vanessa is a Texas Attorney and Counselor at Law and Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Houston – Clear Lake. She has an extremely diverse professional background, which includes more than 15 years of experience with non-profits, start-ups, franchises, private organizations, and large, medium-sized, and small public corporations. She also has various articles published.

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Home Ownership

Residential Down Payment Assistance for those with everything in place but disposable cash on hand. It’s not normal to have that kind of cash anyway.

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Workforce Development

Exploring and developing relationships and strategic partnerships with community agencies, groups, companies and schools to create avenues for both short-term and long-range workforce development opportunities.

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Non-Gentrification

For a healthy return right out of the gate, support acquisition and promote growth through leading companies in their communities that pay it forward.

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