The Team Behind Prairie Capital Advisors

Our Team

Ken Serwinski

Chairman

Kenneth Serwinski co-founded Prairie Capital Advisors with Robert Gross in 1996 after the pair of industry veterans recognized a universally under served need for objective financial advisory consultation for closely-held businesses. Currently, he serves as Chairman of Prairie’s Board of Directors and is a shareholder in the firm. Ken has dedicated his vast experience to providing closely-held companies with the guidance and expertise needed for some of their most critical business decisions. He continues to grow Prairie’s reputation as a widely-respected firm of its kind, designing, structuring and implementing customized ownership transition strategies, including private sales, management buyouts (MBOs), employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and more, for businesses nationwide.

As a lifelong educator and respected industry expert, Ken is widely published in a variety of formats and is a frequent speaker around the nation on subjects including valuation, ESOPs and ownership transition planning. Notably, he co-authored Making Sense of Your New ESOP: A Leader’s Guide. Whether sitting across the table from clients or speaking at workshops and seminars, he strives to ensure business owners have the complete, accurate information they need for confident decision-making. Ken sits on the board of directors of four companies – a service provider to the life sciences industry, a healthcare solutions provider, a billion-dollar+ bank as well as a general contractor and design builder. Ken is a current member and past chair of the Advisory Committee on Finance, and he is a past delegate to the Interdisciplinary Committee of Fiduciary Issues for The ESOP Association in Washington, D.C.

Corporate Directorships:

  • Shared Imaging, LLC, Streamwood, IL - Member, Board of Managers
    January 2009 - Present
  • Village Bank & Trust, Arlington Heights, IL (a Wintrust Bank) - Member, Board of Directors
    October 2013 - Present
  • Meetings & Events International, Inc., Chicago, IL/Evansville, IN (a 100% S-corp ESOP/WBE) - Member, Board of Directors
    June 2017 - Present
  • FCL Holdings, Inc., Itasca, IL (a 100% S-corp ESOP) – Member, Board of Directors
    March 2020 – Present
  • Interior Systems, Inc., Milwaukee, WI - Member, Board of Directors
    September 2005 - January 2017, sold to Elkay Manufacturing Company, Oak Brook, IL

Professional Experience

Prior to forming Prairie, Ken was a Senior Vice President at Merrill Lynch Business Advisory Services, where he initiated its succession planning strategy, was responsible for the management of Merrill Lynch’s middle market investment banking business development staff and headed the ESOP Advisory Group. In this executive role, he coordinated all private company mergers and acquisitions (M&A), ESOP and valuation assignments on a nationwide basis. Before joining Merrill Lynch, he held various corporate and commercial finance positions for ABN LaSalle National Bank, Chemical Bank and Société Générale, a French bank.

Education

Ken received his Master of Business Administration degree in International Business from DePaul University in Chicago. He also received his Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce, with a concentration in Finance, from DePaul University.

Professional Affiliations

  • Personal Finance Employee Education Fund (PFEEF), 501(c)(3) - Chair
  • Private Directors Association (PDA)
  • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)
  • The ESOP Association
  • National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)

Middle - Market Focus

Middle - Market Focus

Prairie Capital Advisors is dedicated to serving the investment banking and financial advisory needs of middle - market business owners

Ownership Transition

Ownership Transition

A successful transition needs a well-thought- out strategy. We will help define, shape, and implement a plan that meets your short-term and long-term objectives

Corporate Growth

Corporate Growth

Build or buy? It could be both. Prairie Capital Advisor’s strong relationships with debt and equity capital sources will help you realize your corporate growth strategies

Business Sustainability

Business Sustainability

Sustainability requires strategies that grow the enterprise and minimize risks. Prairie advises companies on strategies that result in long-term shareholder value