Vice President Corporate Development | Vista Outdoor

After receiving a finance degree Brian joined Houlihan Lokey, an investment banking firm, where he combined his interests in selling, finance and strategy. He marketed and sold companies with revenues ranging from $50 million to $500 million. Taking a creative break, Brian left banking and published a book on mixology, called See Mix Drink. The book was awarded the “Best Cocktail Book in the World” by Gourmand and featured in GQ, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Brian then joined ATK, an aerospace, defense and sporting company where he led M&A deal execution, acquiring Savage Firearms and Bushnell Holdings, giving ATK’s sporting segment the scale to spin into a standalone public company (Vista Outdoor). Following the spinoff, Brian became VP of Corporate Development and since then has helped reshape the company to become a diversified outdoor recreation company.

EDUCATION & DEGREE(S) ACHIEVED: BS Business, Finance, Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

BIGGEST LIFE LESSON: My mom taught me empathy and the importance of validating people. We moved a lot due to my father’s work, and it wasn’t uncommon for me to attend multiple schools within the same grade. I developed a knack for quickly connecting with people by genuinely listening. Those repeated experiences formed the basis for who I am today and influence how I work.

BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT TO DATE: Within one year we completed three acquisitions totaling approximately $850 million in transaction value shifting the Vista Outdoor’s Outdoor Products segment sales from 35 percent of total sales to approximately 50 percent of total sales, balancing the Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products segments. We’re now successfully integrating the businesses into the Vista Outdoor platform.

BEST ADVICE I WAS GIVEN OR THAT I WOULD GIVE: “Sometimes you just need to put your head down and charge through walls.” That simple advice has enabled me to push through tough times.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU’VE OVERCOME: Time. I’ve learned to be more conservative on shorter timelines and more bullish on longer timelines.

WHAT OR WHO HAS ENABLED YOU TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL: A mentor told me “Your greatest opportunity is the one in front of you, no matter how mundane.” Focusing my energy on doing great work, no matter the topic or who sees it, has made the difference.

MOST IMPORTANT THING I HAVE LEARNED: Unless I’m receptive to multiple ideas and outcomes, I will continue to have the same thoughts and patterns of behavior.