continued on page 40
over the years, professionally and
personally. A close friend of mine,
Maureen Pacheo—I’ve known her since
we were 5—is an attorney in California
and is very active in the juvenile
I have two friends who I started at
Honigman with. None of us works
there anymore, but we all still keep
in touch, and we’ve been a support
system and inspired each other over
the years. One is now an appellate
judge in Oregon. Darleen Ortega
is the first Hispanic woman on the
appellate bench there. The other,
Gayle McGregor, works in the workout
industry for one of the local banks.
One of my sisters is also an attorney
in Chicago. We went to law school
at the same time, and we have also
supported each other over the years.
I guess people who have been able to
get through adversity and still persevere
and try to make a difference in the
lives of other people also inspire me.
All of them have tried to do that. We’ve
encouraged each other along the way.
Professionally, most recently working at
AlixPartners, there were a lot of people in
the TRS (Turnaround and Restructuring
Services) group who I admire and who
were very inspirational. One would be
Al Koch. He was the CRO for GM. He is
very inspirational in that he works on
great cases and is a great practitioner, but
he is also genuinely concerned about
people. So he mentors people in the
firm, and no matter how busy he is, he
will go out of his way. If a receptionist
is leaving and they’re having a going
away party, he’ll be sure to be there. He’s
a very down to earth and caring person.
John Castellano is another. I really
enjoyed working with him. He’s really a
smart guy and worked on some exciting
cases. He handled DeepOcean, which
won a TMA award along the way. Alan
Holtz, who represented the committee
in Residential Capital, also had great
restructuring and bankruptcy skills and
was fun to work with. Lisa Donahue,
the global leader of the TRS group, is
inspirational. She has managed to do
well in an industry that’s very male-dominated. She’s an inspiration, along
with a couple of other women there,
Carrianne Basler and Michelle Campbell
Ross, who I worked pretty closely with.
Jim Mesterharm, who worked on
General Growth Properties, is brilliant,
Jeff Johnston and Tom Morrow, who
work in AlixPartners’ Southfield office,
have also been great mentors.
It’s a very powerful group, so I’m
thrilled to have had the opportunity
to work with them.
Q If you could start your career over, would you do anything differently?
Overall, I would think not.
You can’t really go back and do anything
over, so it’s really a moving forward
process. I think everything I’ve done in
the past, every experience, had its own
benefits. Those experiences have helped
me get where I am today and have given
me the opportunity to go out on my own
and try the entrepreneurial track. I’m sure
I made mistakes along the way, but I
hopefully learned from them.
Q What have been some of your favorite cases along the way?
I’d have to say General
Motors. At AlixPartners, I spent a great
deal of time on that case. It was very
exciting to be in court in the Southern
District of New York in front of the judge
in that case. I wasn’t arguing or anything,
but I did have the opportunity to go there
a couple of times. That was a huge
turning point in Detroit with the
automotive companies actually going
into bankruptcy. That was one of the
highlights of my career.
Prior to that, I worked on a couple
different automotive Chapter 11
bankruptcies. One was Intermet
and then Venture Industries. It was
also very exciting to work with an
It’s rewarding in the sense that if you can
turn the company around, you’re saving
jobs, local jobs, that are important to people.
We unlock existing equity and
convert it into working capital.
Utica Leaseco, LLC specializes in providing asset-based financial
solutions in the form of sale/leaseback transactions for complete operations
utilizing machinery and equipment as collateral.
To learn more about how Utica Leaseco can be the key
to solving your cash flow issues:
Utica Leaseco ¸ 44225 Utica Road ¸ Utica, MI 48317
Info@UticaLeaseco.com ¸ www.UticaLeaseco.com