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Our Team

For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs

Merit Investment Bank is an award-winning, client-focused team of collaborative advisors. We listen to your goals and objectives, then use our deep-rooted experience, relationships, and proven processes to help achieve them. Our advisors will work alongside your existing team and remain at your side throughout the entire transaction process.

Building a successful business requires confidence, integrity, and grit. We can help you optimize your exit, guide you through the sales process, or find the right acquisition target or investors to grow your business.

Meet the Team
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J. Craig Dickens

CEO

Craig Dickens - CEO

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 31

Merit Investment Bank CEO Craig Dickens is an experienced entrepreneur, certified M&A advisor, investment banker, and angel investor. He is responsible for creating a culture of boutique personalized service and for recruiting experienced and excellent people to build the Merit Investment Bank team. Mr. Dickens’ experience with virtually every kind of business dynamic allows him to best guide clients towards rapid growth, business optimization, and profitable exit.

Mr. Dickens serves on the management committee for CDI Global, Merit Investment Bank’s sister organization, which represents cross-border merger & acquisitions in over 30 countries globally. His access to world-class buyers and capital partners is an important part of the service the company provides for all Merit Investment Bank clients.

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Joel Price

CCO, COO

Joel Price - CCO, COO

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 17

As the Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Operations Officer for Merit Investment Bank, Joel Price is focused on facilitating and maintaining compliance while emphasizing effective and scalable processes. He has accumulated a broad and diverse background in financial services during his career. Price spent 12 years as President of a broker-dealer, four years managing and overseeing more than $200 million in assets, and 10 years as the HNW Accounts Portfolio Manager.

Price lives in Gig Harbor, Washington with his wife and four children.

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Nick DeVaney

President

Nick Devaney - President

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 16

Nick DeVaney is an M&A advisor, investment banker, and entrepreneur. He has built multi-million dollar organizations, has implemented and executed systems and processes designed for rapid growth, and strives to deliver the best possible outcomes for his clients. Throughout his decade of experience, he has worked in industries from construction to technology. Holding Series 24, 62, and 63 licenses, DeVaney specializes in sell-side M&A, institutional and private debt, and equity placements, as well as helping high-growth and development companies to raise capital.

In his most important role, he enjoys raising his three kids with his wife Lauren.

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David Wanetick

Managing Director

David Wanetick - Managing Director

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 24

As Managing Director, David Wanetick provides clients with unique perspectives in articulating the value of their companies. His ability to communicate business strategy to our team and clients has resulted in great success. He is an expert in valuing intangible assets as he has valued thousands of patents and created the Certified Patent Valuation Analyst designation. As the author of Business Model Validation, Wanetick has a keen sense for explaining companies’ business models to investors and strategic acquirers. He has negotiated a wide variety of financial transactions and even authored The Strategic Negotiator and created The Institute for Strategic Negotiations.

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Chris Barnes

Managing Director

Chris Barnes - Managing Director

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 31

Chris Barnes is a Managing Director at Merit Investment Bank with three decades of experience in investment banking, principal investing, and corporate development. He has successfully structured, negotiated, and closed over $1 billion in capital raises and $1 billion in M&A transactions.

Barnes has worked with a number of leading financial services firms including Lehman Brothers, Tucker Anthony Sutro, and Cleary Gull. He also successfully ran his own investment banking firm (Sarowdin Partners) for 10 years which focused on providing senior-level, Wall Street-quality investment banking services to companies at the lower end of the middle market.

Barnes holds the FINRA Series 7, 79, and 63 licenses.

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Todd Ostrander

Managing Director

Todd Ostrander - Managing Director

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 31

As Managing Director, Todd Ostrander runs the Tech practice for Merit Investment Bank and co-leads the TMT practice for its global affiliate CDI Global. He has closed multiple transactions worth in excess of $160 million.

As a four-time venture-backed Founder / CEO in the tech industry, Ostrander is able to turn complex problems into significant market opportunities due to his understanding of finance, procurement, strategic marketing, and product strategy. Collectively, he has raised nearly $100 million for his own companies and has created in excess of $1 billion in market value throughout his career. Ostrander currently sits on the Board of Directors of Zxerex Corporation, Cellar Door Media and Lockr.io.

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Sean Ostrander

Vice President

Sean Ostrander - Vice President

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE: 6

Sean Ostrander is a Vice President with Merit Investment Bank and has been with the company since 2014. He has executed sell-side and buy-side transactions on over 20 closed transactions totaling over $500 million in enterprise value. His expertise includes financial analysis, valuation, deal structuring, data analysis, and market positioning across multiple verticals. He is also the in-house Excel shortcut wizard.

Previously he spent two years as an Account Manager with Corelytics, serving various technology and business services clients. Ostrander is a Series 79 and 63 Registered Representative and a Certified Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor (inactive).

Erich Woermann

Erich Woermann

Associate

Erich Woermann - Associate

Erich Woermann is a first-year Associate at Merit Investment Bank & Company. Erich initially joined as a spring intern and is now with the firm full-time. He is responsible for providing analytical support on Capital Offerings, Mergers and Acquisitions and other advisory services. Prior to Merit Investment Bank, Erich served as a Project Manager at a local Property Management company.

He graduated from the University of Washington Bothell School of Business and received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

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Core Values

Our core values reflect what it takes to deliver complex transactions that achieve above-market outcomes.

Integrity

We commit to delivering our best ideas, best efforts, and best results. We honor our agreements and always pursue our clients’ best interests. We maintain integrity in all relationships to ensure that we are trusted advisors, honest brokers, exceptional colleagues, and respected for the results delivered.

Intelligence

We have the analytical and emotional intelligence to analyze vast amounts of tangible and intangible data and then formulate compelling arguments to advance our clients’ objectives.

Insight

We envision unique solutions by drawing on our decades of experience, and by asking the right questions, in the right way, at the right time. We share the wisdom gained from experience and the lessons learned serving others to create innovative outcomes.

Instinct

We have an aptitude for getting deals done, for analyzing data, for making sense out of chaos, for crafting engaging stories, and for relating well to others, and have the ability to find a way forward where others may not.

Intensity

We like winning for our clients and ourselves.
Our History
Our team has over 300 years of collective experience and expertise. Our proven professionals collaborate at scale to deliver great outcomes for clients. Together we have released billions in transaction value while completing hundreds of complex transactions for middle-market entrepreneurs.

What our clients are saying

Meet Our Clients

Jeff Rubenstein

"The team at Merit Investment Bank works hard and puts in a lot of time and energy. And because of that, they're talking to people with a lot more sincerity than just putting out a deck. They went deeper and not only understood our strategy, but they understood how to pitch the right strategy to the folks on the other end of the transaction. They explained our business so a potential suitor understood how it could be integrated into their business.

Merit Investment Bank thought of a more strategic transaction and they built a better story. It's what's created more offers and what made the offers higher."

Tom Fleck

"Merit Investment Bank not only did everything they promised, they provided significant strategic guidance required to help us navigate the path of getting this transaction across the finish line. Their patience, tenacity, and professionalism when things got tough was the difference in completing this transaction for us."

Chris Noorda

“I greatly appreciated Merit Investment Bank’s expertise and guidance throughout this process and appreciated, even more, their attention to the intangible things that were important to me and my company beyond just getting a deal done.”

Marco Allegretti

“I enjoyed working with Merit Investment Bank—they made an enormous contribution in such a complex but successful transaction. I would be happy for the chance to give a reference in the future for what a great job they did!”

Bill Adams

"I wanted to work with an Investment Banking firm that was going to be able to understand our business, get to know me and my team, and then not only help us secure the investor, but help us find the right investor because they understood what we really needed. We got that and more with Merit Investment Bank. Their strategic guidance, patience, and diligence were critical in getting this transaction finished, and was the difference maker in this process.”

Howard Perea

"We are thrilled with the outcome Merit Investment Bank delivered for our family through the sale of the business. With their guidance, we were able to unlock significant shareholder liquidity while positioning the employees of the company for continued success within a growing platform.

D. Roberts

"We hired Merit Investment Bank over other investment bankers because of the responsiveness to our questions, aggressive approach to winning, persistence in following-up, and the many creative ideas the team presented. Merit Investment Bank added significant value beyond just running a process."

Dave Carr

"Unlike many investment banks I've worked with during my career, Merit Investment Bank was attentive at all stages of our transaction, which really made a difference in achieving a great outcome."

Mike Olson

“Through the broad auction, Merit Investment Bank got us another 75% above the offers that originally came in. We still have a piece of the company and I’m still able to run it. I feel good that our key employees are going to be secure in the future. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Keith Jackson

"The team at Merit Investment Bank have provided invaluable assistance in stabilizing and growing my company. They’ve helped with both short-term challenges and long-term planning. Their experience running multiple businesses like mine and vast network of contacts have brought value to my company and to me personally. If you want help taking your business to the next level, I highly recommend Merit Investment Bank."

Carl Peterson

"As a business/transactional attorney, I have had the opportunity to work with many investment bankers in the M&A arena. The Merit Investment Bank team is, without question, the best in the local middle-market space. They make clients feel comfortable by both listening to and provide thoughtful advice for legal counsel. Most importantly, they are able to negotiate a great deal.

Quite refreshingly, Merit Investment Bank puts the needs of the client above closing a deal – something very rare in the M&A world. I give my highest possible recommendation to the Merit Investment Bank team."

Gary Goeldner

"The Merit Investment Bank team has provided my company with professionalism and valuable counsel on multiple transactions. They listened to our needs, and as business operators themselves, they understood the opportunities open to us and the challenges we faced to grow. They fought hard for us at every stage. We would absolutely look to them for our future investment banking needs."

Walt Maas,

“The Merit Investment Bank team has extensive M&A and capital-raising experience in the middle market, both as investment bankers and entrepreneurs. They are great to have on an engagement team and are committed to helping clients succeed, whether buying or selling a business or sourcing capital to scale a growing business.”

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