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Investing in success Featured

6:41am EDT June 29, 2006
When John Turben founded the private equity firm Kirtland Capital in 1977, he focused on forming strong relationships to build the company.

Kirtland Capital, formerly Chagrin Valley Co., successfully partners with management teams of niche manufacturing, distribution and business-to-business service companies in order to increase the long-term value of those companies.

Any successful partnership needs mutual trust and understanding, so Turben has focused on building strong relationships with the management teams of the companies he buys. Turben’s ability to respect management teams’ leadership abilities and provide them with the resources needed to grow their businesses has lead to profitable growth for Kirtland Capital and its partners.

Management is given ownership in the companies they manage through option programs, loans and incentive compensation programs.

“They always have strong ownership, so they have identical interests with us in building value in their companies and the same kind of payoff at the end when we sell the businesses,” Turben says. “For years we’ve had get-togethers between our investor group and our partners and spouses where we develop a true sense of partnership with our management groups.”

As Kirtland Capital grew and evolved, Turben decided he needed a process in place to prepare his companies for the future.

“We decided that the companies we owned probably lacked strategic planning ... ,” Turben says. “We developed, relatively recently, a strategic planning mandate to our businesses that once we own them we would, at the appropriate time, embark on strategic plans for those businesses. And we’ve continually done it for ourselves to keep checking what the changes in the private equity business have been and what we need to do in the future differently than we have done in the past.”

After nearly 30 years of success, Turben is confident that if he keeps investing in people and relationships, his business will continue to prosper.

“The mistakes that we’ve made have almost never been financial, they’ve been people mistakes, and there have been very few of them,” Turben says. “It’s all a people-related success story.”

HOW TO REACH: Kirtland Capital, (216) 593-0100 or www.kirtlandcapital.com