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Our Team

The Associate Equity Group team is successful because of our people. With decades of experience across business, industry, and finance fields, we bring knowledge, personal experience, and market expertise to our clients. This experience, combined with personal attention and an unwavering commitment to helping each client fulfill his financial objectives, allows us to be responsive to the challenges involved in the labyrinth of the business transaction arena and a leader in the investment banking field.

Tex Garner

Tex, the President of Associate Equity, has over 30 years of executive sales and marketing experience. A graduate of West Point with an MBA in finance, Tex combines his education with extensive experience in new market development of both large and small businesses, business-to-business sales, mergers, and acquisitions to provide a strong base for business transactions. As a senior executive, he has experience in hospital administration, industrial chemicals, manufacturing, product development, and marketing. He specialized in the turn-around of distressed and start-up businesses and in developing growth in unattractive, saturated markets. Using his experience, he is able to find creative solution for a wide variety of business problems and facilitate smooth, successful business transactions for both the general business and M&A transactions.

Tex combines creative problem solving with keen business sense to be a strong advocate for both sellers and buyers. He is a Certified Business Intermediary, Certified Machinery & Equipment Appraiser, member of the International Business Brokers Association, the Texas Association of Business Brokers, and is a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker.

Sara Baker

Sara joins Associate Equity to provide Certified Machinery and Equipment Appraisals to business owners, lenders, attorneys, and CPA's. She has a background in marketing, management, communications, and economics from Stephen F. Austin University and the University of North Texas. Sara has over 7 years of sales, marketing and management experience consulting with companies nationwide to increase sales and bottom line profits.
Sara has been awarded the CMEA designation (Certified Machinery/ Equipment Appraiser) by the NEBB Institute. As such, she adopts and complies with the regulations and ethics rules of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). She provides expert court testimony at the District and Federal Court levels when called upon to do so.
Sara also holds the professional designation, SBA (Senior Business Analyst), awarded by the Society of Business Analysts. Professionals holding this designation have performed over 16,000 business appraisals worldwide including appraisals for the World Bank, FDIC, and IRS.

Troy Cooper

Troy has over 35 years experience in ownership and management of entrepreneurial businesses ranging in size from $200,000 to $20,000,000 in revenue. A graduate of the University of Louisiana with a BS degree in engineering, Troy has had a successful entrepreneurial career in a variety of industries including manufacturing, distribution, publishing, equipment rental, retail, and direct sales.

During his career Troy has been involved in the acquisition of 14 different businesses, the start-up of 6 businesses, and has franchised 4 different concepts. One of Troy's companies was recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the country's fastest growing companies for 3 years in a row and was on the Dallas 100 list of fast growing companies for 4 years.

Troy's vast personal experience as an entrepreneur and small business owner provide him with a strong basis for assisting sellers and buyers alike.

Shawn Heaton

Shawn joins our Associate Equity team to work with both existing businesses and new franchise sales. He has a background in accounting and finance from Brigham Young and Texas Christian Universities, is devoted to his family and his church, and is an avid reader. With over 20 years in national and international hotel management, Shawn's experiences encompass financial management, operations management and planning, acquisitions, restructuring, financing, and human resources. His years of experience in hotel management, marketing, and sales as well as now in new franchise business development brings added insight to assist Main Street and franchise buyers alike. Shawn is well prepared to help buyers as they pursue the numerous business opportunities available. His knowledge and commitment to our buyers assists them in making good business purchasing decisions to meet their needs and financial goals. You can count on Shawn to help you get 'the right deal done right.'

Terry Jackson

Terry brings 20+ years of sales and financial experience to our Associate Equity team. With 14 of those years in the financial services industry, he is well aware of the personal and financial issues and stresses involved in business sales and acquisition, and he is ready to put that experience to work for you. Both buyers and sellers alike will find Terry's business expertise tremendously beneficial as they move forward to meet business, financial, and family goals through the sale or purchase of a business.

Terry graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in Finance and has lived in the DFW area for over 25 years. He knows the Metroplex! His strong commitment to both family and community allows Terry the opportunity to be well-versed in the business and social climates of the various communities, making him a particular asset to buyers new to the community as well as to sellers who want the best marketing package available for their businesses.

Dean Marth

Dean brings almost 30 years of accounting and small business ownership experience to our Associate Equity team. A graduate of the University of Texas with a degree in accounting, his experience encompasses the defense and hospitality industries, experience as corporate comptroller of a $100M+ wholesale company, and both partnership and ownership of prominent accounting firms in the Dallas area. Dean is active in the community, having taught accounting and tax courses at Richland College and CPA classes for a CPA Review company, membership in area CPA societies, and having served as a Board Member for the Dallas Business Association, North Dallas Ambucs, and Marketing Executives of Dallas. Because he has worked with over 100 companies and 300 individuals in his career, he has much experience helping individuals who wish to both sell and buy a business as well as personal experience with small business growth in his own CPA practices. This experience, combined with his business insight and ability to see growth potential in distressed businesses, makes him an excellent choice to assist buyers and sellers alike with their business needs.

Gary Tanel

Gary offers more than 25 years of operations, business consulting, technology and entrepreneurial experience in electronic manufacturing. His business career has been extensive and diverse. He was the founder of NPRC Inc. (New Product Resource Center) in Dallas Texas with the core competency of building electronic prototypes using state-of-the-art equipment and manufacturing processes. He sold his business to a large international electronics manufacturing firm that was searching for technology capability and customer relationships in the United States. He also is the founder and managing director of TechBiz Consulting LLC, focusing on electronic training and factory automation. Gary was the co-founder of Acquisition Allies Inc. and worked as an independent intermediary until joining the Associate Equity Group.

He began his professional career with Texas Instruments and rose through the ranks over his 20 years there to the position of Technology Development Manager for military electronic circuit board manufacturing. Gary was the director of manufacturing for a start-up high-technology manufacturing operation called Micro-ASI Inc. and is a prior member of the board of directors for an international technology association called SMTA where he remains active as the Dallas chapter president.

He is the winner of the "Excellence in Leadership" award for SMTA-International, the "Quality Award for Excellence" from Texas Instruments, and the "Service Excellence" award from Circuits Assembly magazine. Gary understands the importance of developing an outstanding network of C-Level contacts which allows him to contribute as a collaborative resource to senior management and allows him to offer a competitive edge in today's business acquisition marketplace.

Gary has a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University.

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