Our Team

David Howitt

Founder & CEO

David Howitt is an entrepreneur, operator, and innovator with over 20 years of experience providing business strategy, financial and legal counsel to global Fortune 100 companies and early stage start-ups.

His experience working with iconic consumer brands started in 1996 when he assumed the role of Corporate Counsel for adidas, a role he had for 4 years, during which time the company experienced explosive growth. He then moved into the Vice President position of licensing and business development where he oversaw a 250 million dollar licensing portfolio and supported several corporate acquisitions, including TaylorMade and Salomon.

Prior to his career at adidas, David and his wife launched Oregon Chai – an iconic and explosive growing brand that they sold successfully in 2004. Post adidas and the sale of Oregon Chai, David founded the Meriwether Group. As the company Founder and CEO, he has created a powerful private equity, business accelerator and advisory firm that is committed to change how human values are expressed in business by helping disruptive consumer brands and entrepreneurs “Fulfill their Journey.”

His career accomplishments include investing in, securing funding for, and helping to develop a business vision for successful brands like Oregon Chai, Stumptown Coffee, Pendleton, adidas, Voodoo Doughnut, Salomon, yogitoes, Klim, Bloch, Dave’s Killer Bread, ABC Carpet & Home, Living Harvest, and many others.

David is also the author of Heed Your Call. A modern-day manifesto that weaves together myth, science, spirituality and business, and applies these ideologies to real-world lessons, showing readers how to integrate soul and purpose with their professions.

He earned his B.A. from Denison University and his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and resides in Portland, OR.

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Mark Blake

Meriwether Family Office

Mark Blake is a proven financial executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years investment advisory experience working with high net worth families, individuals and small institutions.  Prior to joining the Meriwether Group to manage the Meriwether Family Office, Mark was with the Private Client Group at Wells Fargo Advisors in their San Francisco office for 20 years. Mark specializes in very high touch wealth preservation and growth by matching individuals and families with outside investment managers to preserve, grow and transition their wealth.  Mark does this work in a way that not only produces great financial results but also aligns with the client’s personal and philosophical goals. Mark also has founded and sold several domestic and international companies in the tourism and wine industry and is an avid cyclist, fly-fisherman, lacrosse player and coach.  Mark graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in Economics.

Mark and his wife live in Ross, California with their three children.

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Russell Cree

Russell Cree

Principal

Russell Cree is an experienced entrepreneur, and brand builder. A third generation Oregonian, Russell has successfully founded, operated, and grown multiple businesses. He is a pioneer in health and fitness delivery through the use of cutting edge technology. Russell has proven successful in uniting communities through authentic values and experiences.

Prior to joining Meriwether, Russell created a concierge health and fitness studio based on Internet of Things service delivery and a monthly membership payment model. This service design was later used by ZoomCare, where he worked as a business designer, to develop the world’s first neighborhood and smart-phone based health system. Russell has a keen ability to predict trends in industries and develop businesses and brands that resonate with consumers.

Russell has worked with startups to develop ventures from concept to a profitable enterprise. He has also created strategy and brand development for national publicly-traded health systems.

As a professional level cyclist in his younger days, Russell recognizes  teamwork and strategy as his core values. Russell holds a Bachelors of Science from Northern Arizona University, a Masters in Physical Therapy from University of Wisconsin, and a Doctorate degree from Temple University.

When he is not working, Russell can be found pedaling through the West Hills or Portland, hiking in the Gorge, or at a cafe in the Pearl District.

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Paul Dickson

Principal

Paul has 30 years of international business experience in sales, marketing, law and finance. Paul has negotiated over $500M in business transactions of various types on multiple continents (especially Asia), including business startups, product and service sales, intellectual property, licensing, financing and company acquisitions in various industries: including high technology, clean technology, manufacturing, consumer products, services and software. Paul has considerable experience working with companies of all sizes, from Fortune 50 companies such as Intel and Hewlett Packard, to startups. Paul started up his own high tech software company, built it and sold it to a large public company. He also helped start a successful HVAC company. He has invested in, advised and served on the Board of Directors of startups. He has raised capital for and sold multiple companies and divisions of companies. Paul has volunteered with several local entities in helping the local business community, including the CleanTech Open, Innotech and the Oregon State Bar. He holds a J.D. degree from the University of Oregon and undergraduate degree from the University of Santa Clara. He is a member of the California State Bar, and holds Series 7, 63 and 24 FINRA/Securities Licenses.

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Tyler Edwards

Principal, Mergers & Acquisitions

Tyler has over 15 years of investment banking and corporate development experience with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising. He has substantial transactional experience focused on buy and sell-side mergers and acquisitions, corporate divestiture, valuations, and capital raises of senior debt, mezzanine and equity securities. Tyler worked for D.A. Davidson and A.G. Edwards as an investment banker and during his tenure he completed over 50 transactions worth over $3.0 billion in transaction value.

Tyler also has Fortune 500 corporate development and corporate finance experience where he was responsible for M&A initiatives, venture capital investments, strategic planning, capital budgeting, product management, and other strategic projects. Tyler grew up actively involved in family owned, highly entrepreneurial businesses and has expertise in the consumer, manufacturing, distribution and retail industries. Tyler holds an M.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Finance from the University of Montana.

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Tim Haney

Managing Director

Tim has 25 years experience in license related product development, branding, and go-to-marketing strategy development. As Senior Director of Licensed Properties at adidas, Tim was responsible for overseeing all of adidas licensed products and partnerships with the biggest of the big leagues, including the NBA, NFL, MLB, and over 100 NCAA collegiate institutions. From the licensing division’s start to Tim’s departure 2010, Tim grew it to $200 million in revenue. In addition to that department, Tim was also responsible for negotiating contracts for all of adidas’ athlete partnerships. Under his leadership, adidas leveraged these partnerships to significantly enhance the brand’s awareness and visibility. Tim graduated from Blossom Gulch Elementary School with honors and earned his B.S. in Financial Management from Oregon State University.

Tim has been married for over 20 years and is the proud father and sports coach to two very active teenage sons.

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Mary Hart

Chief Operating Officer

Meet our resident problem solver, a bona-fide people person, and the calm within the chaos.  Before joining Meriwether, she held an important position at Lewis & Clark Law School’s continuing legal education department and served as a paralegal assistant at Portland’s law firm Stoll Berne, a firm that handles complex litigation matters, including securities class actions and intellectual property litigation. Her legal experience gives her the ability to see the big picture and lend valuable insights to every project.

Mary oversees every aspect of Meriwether’s operations and manages all branding, marketing, and public relations projects.  She also provides administrative leadership, innovation, and vision while assisting the Founder and CEO. Mary received her B.A., with honors, from Willamette University and studied and volunteered while traveling in Quito, Ecuador.

Mary enjoys cooking, dining, hiking, camping, and all things outside.  When she is not working, she is likely found spending time with her dog or hanging out with good friends. 

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Tucker Hart

Chief Greeting Officer

Meet our Chief Greeting Officer. His tail is always wagging and the smile on his face goes from ear to ear. He continually brings love, happiness and friendship to all those who come to the office. Before joining Meriwether, he walked in his neighborhood and marked trees, bushes and yes, fire hydrants. He spent long days with his human roommates and his cousin dogs. Tucker oversees every aspect of Meriwether’s greeting department. He likes to let us know when other dogs are outside and occasionally gets to play with other pups that visit the office.  He loves showing visitors his babies, and sometimes brings guests more than one to show them how much he cares. He calms us down, makes us take a moment to acknowledge that we need to breathe, relax, and connect. He also provides snuggles, cleans up after lunch meetings, wags his tail like crazy, and encourages his fellow humans to take him on walks throughout the day.

Tucker received his B.A.R.K., with honors, from the school of life and has brought happiness to countless friends and clients.

Tucker enjoys walking, cookies, naps, hugs, snuggles, head presses, stuffed toys, and all things outside.  When he is not working, he is likely found spending time with his mom or hanging out with good friends.

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Heather Howitt

Managing Director

Heather will go to any lengths for a great business idea—in some cases, even as far as the Himalayas. Heather discovered Chai while trekking in India and brewed the first batch of Oregon Chai in her kitchen in 1994. The company grew to 35 people and was distributed in all 50 states, Canada and Europe, growing to over $32 million in sales.  Within 10 years, the company sold for $75 million. Heather has been featured in numerous national business publications, including Forbes and Inc. Oregon Chai was consistently featured as one of the fastest growing privately held companies in the United States, capturing over 80 percent of the Chai category and topping the list as the fastest growing company in the tea category.

Since the launch of Oregon Chai, Heather has shared her expertise on the Board of Advisors of several natural product companies including Living Harvest/Tempt and Kombucha Wonder Drink. Heather currently holds a position in Leadership Council for the Portland Children’s Museum.

Heather earned her B.A. in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and completed many urban planning courses through Portland State University before devoting all of her time to Oregon Chai and its rapid growth.

When Heather is not working or juggling her children’s busy calendars, she is likely jogging through Forest Park or doing something outside.

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Kim Parker

President, Head of Accelerators

Kim has been a business strategist working across multiple platforms and industries for over 20 years.  She has extensive experience both domestically and globally in leading businesses and teams, creating a vision and a strategy across consumer brands and organizations, including Nike, adidas, Pendleton Woolen Mills, Gatorade, Oakley, Foot Locker, NCAA, MLB, NBA, NFL, BCBGMAXAZRIA and Disney, to name a few. Her focus has been working for or in partnership with brands to set strategies for marketing, merchandising, product creation, brand, licensing, events, go-to-market and retail. She excels at identifying emerging trends and opportunities that ultimately optimize consumer touch points and experiences, brand positioning and overall profitability.  

Kim comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and independent business owners. Kim’s upbringing provided her with an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique perspective on businesses, big and small.  She is very active in the community, having served on the Board for the Women’s Center for Leadership for many years.  She earned her B.A. at Oregon State University and her certification for Project Management at Portland State University.  

 

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Dana Riggio

Associate

Dana is Meriwether’s jack of all trades. She spent the first part of her career learning the ins and outs of day-to-day businesses operations offering administrative support, then graduated to being a right hand man to top executives and disruptive entrepreneurs. Excited by new challenges and always eager to learn, Dana’s skill set never stops growing.

With experience across many industries, Dana has a natural flexibility to adapt to the different worlds our clients live in. When it comes to support, Dana’s willingness to take on any task, and her acumen to run with it, allows our more specialized team members to pinpoint their efforts so our clients can get the maximum benefit from the Meriwether team.

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Jenson Tuomi

Associate

Our resident young blood, Jenson is a renaissance man of sorts, and the full embodiment of the term “go-getter”, bringing innovation, enthusiasm, and a unique millennial perspective to the office.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Jenson attended both the Honors College at Oregon State University, and Claremont McKenna College, graduating in 2014 with B.A. degrees in Economics and Philosophy, and a minor in Leadership Studies. During college, Jenson was a three time Academic All-American, as well as a NCAA Division III Champion in Men’s Water Polo while launching multiple entrepreneurial ventures from campus. Since graduating, Jenson has worked in the music/entertainment industry, and is now a co-owner of the largest electronic dance music (EDM) record label that publishes and distributes content in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to bridging the gap between the artistic and athletic communities locally, Jenson has consulted for and worked with a variety of growth-stage organizations in industries ranging from tech, to finance, to business development.

Now as an Associate with Meriwether Group, Jenson leverages his broadly diversified portfolio to aid both the Accelerators and the Advisory divisions.  Jenson and his gregarious personality are central to maintaining client relationships and managing projects, ultimately exceeding expectations.

Jenson has a deep passion for music and the creative arts, as well as for integrating this creativity into business. Outside of the office he can be found writing music, exploring Oregon’s waterways in search of a good fishing spot and cheering for the Portland Trail Blazers, all the while keeping his finger on the pulse of innovation and developing trends in business and popular culture throughout the world.

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Rob Wright

President, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions

Rob has 15 years of experience as an investment banker with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising. He has significant transactional experience in a financial advisory role to private and public companies providing a full range of corporate financial services including public and private equity offerings, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, exclusive sales, valuations, poison pills and fairness opinions.  Prior to joining Meriwether Group, Rob spent over 7 years (2006 – 2013) with D.A. Davidson, a full service middle-market focused investment bank headquartered in Portland, Oregon.  Prior to D.A. Davidson, Rob spent 6 years (2000 – 2006) with Needham & Company, a leading New York City based full service investment bank focused on growth companies.  During his career as an investment banker Rob has completed over 50 financial advisory transactions worth over $4 billion.  Rob holds an M.B.A. from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University and a B.A. in Finance from Pacific Lutheran University.

Rob and his wife Christina have two daughters, Taylor and Hailey.

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Sawyer Howitt

Project Manager

Sawyer is a second semester senior who has focused his studies, internships and efforts on business and finance. Combining artistry and analytics helps drive his work. At a young age, Sawyer has the keen ability to understand the operational and financial needs of a business– while also appreciating a brands soul, resonance, and connection to the consumer.  Sawyer is up for any task – from complex spreadsheets and nuanced presentations to filing and note taking during key meetings – there is no job too big or too small.

The breadth of Sawyer’s experience is diverse and wide-ranging. Despite his age, Sawyer has directed a variety of philanthropic organizations aimed at supporting such causes as educational funding and affirmation of women’s rights. He has lead international ethnic studies groups, helped mentor troubled youth and occupied a number of administrative internships. He also worked at Kure Juice bars – learning the important job of customer service.

Currently a high school senior, Sawyer has set out in pursuit of a degree in Entrepreneurial Finance at University of California, Berkeley, and is on the track to help business and entrepreneurs grow in meaningful ways.  Outside of the office, Sawyer can be found on Oregon’s rivers casting a fly to rising trout, and cheering on the Portland Trail Blazers, all the while staying abreast of trends in music, culture, fashion, health and wellness and how business intersects with each of these throughout the world.

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Our Board of Advisors

We have our own mentors — here are a few of them.

Clare Hamill

Vice President of Nike Global Growth Initiatives, Nike, Inc.

Steven Wynne

Executive Vice President, JELD-WEN

Jake Kindrachuk

Village Family Capital

Our Extended Family

Strategic Partners who share their journeys with us.

Nathan Judd

Master Broker and Managing Partner, CCI

Riley Judd

Senior Sales Executive and Managing Partner, CCI

These prior partners are now pursuing their own journeys.

Tripp Baird

Managing Partner, Cloud Mountain LLC

Butch Bannon

Partner, Curious Beast

Michael Dorr

Managing Director

Joe Flannery

President, Canadian Mountain Holidays

Curt Mudd

Director of Human Resources, Johns Lyng Group