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May 6, 2008


Over the past 15 years, Rick Knop has brokered more deals than Howie Mandel. The one-time lawyer and Hill staffer co-founded the Windsor Group in 1992 when he decided the government contracting industry was underserved—and he personally wanted to be more in the middle of deals than just on the side advising. Since then, he created the premier investment bank for middle market transactions in that area, ringing up $10 billion in M&A as he represented the likes of Nortel in buying PEC Soutions and General Dynamics in buying GTE Government Services. Rick sold Windsor to BB&T Capital Markets in 2005 (he was 75% owner), stayed with them as titular head, but is now moving up to head BB&T’s whole international investment platform.  


Windsor has 25 investment bankers and several analysts, headquartered in Reston Town Center, with an outpost in La Jolla. They focus on government IT, defense aerospace, and technical services, positioning themselves as a one-stop shop whose average transaction is $100 million, whether recaps with private equity, IPOs, secondaries, or lending. BB&T is the third biggest sell side investment bank for transactions under $500M, targeting not only government services, but environment and energy, logistics and transportation, retail and consumer, communications, financial, durables, and health care.


Rick says he’ll especially be busy dealing with international buyers looking to take advantage of the slumping U.S. dollar. “Most will come from England, but also other parts of Europe, the Middle East and the Far East,” he tells us.  He’s off this month to Europe for a week to set up strategic relationships with buyers and law firms who can make referrals or represent parties with money looking for acquisitions. Last month he handed full day-to-day Windsor operations to John Allen and John Hagan.


When Rick’s not making deals, he can be found smacking backhands at the Belle Haven Country Club, skiing the slopes in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., or relaxing at homes in either Smith Mountain Lake or Nags Head.  His work in intel brought him into contact with the National Cryptological Museum in Ft. Meade, on whose board he now serves.  An alumnus of GW law school, he’s on its advisory board and just raised it $2 million for a chair in government contract law.  One of the reasons he created Windsor was to get out of international travelling to spend time with his kids.  Now that his kids have kids, he can travel again.

David Stegon is Bisnow’s tech guru. He loves compliments, hates complaints and simply adores story ideas, so call him at 703-674-7718 or shoot him an email at David@Bisnow.com with any of the three.



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