Professional Team

The professionals at Dowling Hales are diverse, highly experienced, dedicated and have developed a reputation for “getting things done” regardless of a transaction’s complexity or dynamics.   Our professionals average 20 years of experience and, combined, have completed hundreds of M&A, capital raising and other transactions for insurance brokers, insurance carriers and other financial services organizations nationwide.

John J. Kraska, President

John is President of Dowling Hales.  He joined Hales & Company in 2001 and led the management buyout of the firm from Arch Capital Group, Ltd. in 2004.  As a Managing Partner of the firm, he oversaw the firm’s growth both internally and through acquisition, culminating in a sale to a private investor group and the formation of Dowling Hales, an affiliate of Dowling & Partners.  John has nearly 20 years of experience as an investor and advisor in the insurance industry, completing over 100 transactions throughout his career.  He began his career as an actuary at Aetna and Equitable Cos. (now AXA).  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and The Wharton School with degrees in Mathematics and Economics. John is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 63) and a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79). John is a General Securities Principal (Series 24) and he is a FINRA Operations Principal (Series 99).

Email: jkraska@dowlinghales.com

Louis Caltavuturo, Partner

Lou joined Hales & Company in 2004 and has over 20 years of experience as an advisor to the financial services industry, with an emphasis on the insurance, brokerage and healthcare sectors. Prior to joining the firm, he was with Fox-Pitt, Kelton Inc. where he focused on advisory projects, demutualizations and equity capital raising worth in excess of $10 billion for clients in the insurance and healthcare sectors. He has extensive structured finance and lending experience from Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, as well as regulatory experience gained during assignments at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lou graduated with distinction from Colgate University with concentrations in Economics and International Relations and has earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. Lou is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 63) and a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79).

Email: lcaltavuturo@dowlinghales.com

Charles Norton-Smith, Senior Adviser

Charles has spent more than 20 years within the specialty insurance market, with senior banking roles in London, Sydney and New York, most recently as Chairman of The BMS Group's North American Specialty Group. Twelve years ago he switched to banking and joined Cochran & Caronia, which merged with Fox-Pitt Kelton and is now a part of Macquarie Group, where he specialized in providing corporate finance services to the property and casualty sector. Charles studied at Christ Church, Oxford and was a member of Lloyd's for more than 20 years and remains on the board of several U.S. distribution businesses.

Email: cnorton-smith@dowlinghales.com

Kenneth Pan, Senior Vice President | Partner

Ken joined Dowling Hales in 2014 and has nearly two decades of experience covering the insurance sector, including senior roles as both an investment banker and equity analyst. Prior to joining Dowling Hales, Ken was with Aon Benfield Securities and its predecessor Benfield Advisory where he specialized in advising clients on corporate finance transactions including sales, divestitures, acquisitions and equity capital raisings. Ken earlier in his career focused on the insurance sector as an equity research analyst, including tenures at JP Morgan Securities as an associate and FTN Midwest Research as a senior publishing analyst. Ken holds a BS from Binghamton University with a concentration in management and finance. He is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 63) and a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79).

Email: kpan@dowlinghales.com

Harshal Gorde, Senior Vice President

Harshal joined Dowling Hales in April 2015 and has seven years of experience advising insurance industry clients on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising. Prior to joining the firm, Harshal worked at Aon Benfield Securities, the investment banking group of Aon plc., where he managed and executed a range of corporate finance transactions. Harshal began his career in the medical device industry, where he worked in various operational and project management roles. Harshal holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University. He has an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Mumbai, India. Harshal is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 63) and a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79).

Email: hgorde@dowlinghales.com

Veronica Alvarez, Chief Operating Officer

Veronica joined Dowling Hales in 2012. Previously she was Director of IT at Dowling & Partners, where she started as an equity research analyst in the Property & Casualty research team. Ms. Alvarez graduated summa cum laude from the University of Hartford with a BS in Business Administration.

Email: veronica@dowlinghales.com

Etan Finkel, Director of Business Valuation

Etan joined Dowling Hales in 2014 and has a decade of transaction advisory experience. Etan has performed valuations for a variety of purposes, including financial and tax reporting, capital restructuring, as well as mergers and acquisitions. He has also valued intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, proprietary technology, subscribers, customer contracts and related relationships, and non-competition agreements in the context of purchase price allocations for financial reporting purposes. Prior to joining Dowling Hales, Etan was a Manager in Ernst & Young's Valuation and Business Modeling practice. Etan also worked in Ernst & Young's Transaction Tax practice. Etan is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), licensed and registered in Illinois, and is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV). He holds the Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) designation in the Business Valuation discipline with the American Society of Appraisers. Etan graduated with honors from the University of Maryland - College Park with a degree in accounting. Etan is registered with FINRA as a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79 and 63).

Email: efinkel@dowlinghales.com

Jeffrey Hathaway, Senior Vice President

Jeff joined Dowling Hales in 2013 and has spent a decade advising insurance industry clients on mergers and acquisitions and capital raising. Prior to joining the firm, Jeff worked at American International Group (AIG), where he managed and executed global restructuring transactions. He began his career at GC Securities, Guy Carpenter’s investment banking group, where he advised insurance underwriters and distributors on corporate finance transactions. Jeff is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds a Master of Business Administration and summa cum laude Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Temple University. Following his undergraduate studies, he worked as a research fellow in the Lower House of German Parliament in Berlin. Jeff is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 63), a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79) and a General Securities Principal (Series 24). Additionally, Jeff holds the Associate in Reinsurance designation.

Email: jhathaway@dowlinghales.com

Cissy Zhang, Associate

Cissy joined Dowling Hales in 2012. She previously worked as an analyst in Financial Institutions Group of UBS Investment Bank in New York. Her experience includes debt and equity capital raising and M&A advisory work for banks, insurance, specialty finance and financial technology companies. Cissy graduated summa cum laude from Sewanee: The University of the South with a major in Mathematics and honors in Business. Cissy is registered with FINRA as a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79 and 63).

Email: czhang@dowlinghales.com

Michael J. Yardley, Marketing Director

Michael joined Dowling Hales in 2012. He previously worked in the accounting and consulting industry at Grant Thornton LLP. Michael has over four years of experience advising retail and wholesale brokers, MGAs/MGUs, carriers and other insurance services companies. His experience includes buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and valuation analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia. Michael is registered with FINRA as a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79 and 63).

Email: myardley@dowlinghales.com

Will Imhoff, Chief Compliance Officer

Will joined Dowling Hales in 2015 and brings more than 25 years of institutional sales, marketing and management experience in the financial services and manufacturing sectors. Most recently, Will has been actively involved in regulatory compliance, as both an outside consultant and registered Compliance Officer for broker-dealers specializing in private placements and private equity investments. Earlier in his career, Will worked for several large and small member firms in the areas of Portfolio Analysis, Fixed Income Research and Institutional Sales and Trading. He also co-founded and managed a niche broker-dealer specializing in mortgage derivatives and structured agency securities. In addition to his broad financial services sector experience, Will served for many years as Vice President and Treasurer of a commercial foodservice equipment manufacturer. Will holds a BS in Finance from the University of Utah. He is registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative (Series 7 and 66), General Securities Principal (Series 24) and Operations Professional (Series 99).

Email: wimhoff@dowlinghales.com

Alexander Peck, Senior Analyst

Alex joined Dowling Hales in 2016. He previously worked at Swiss Re in its Business Development unit, where he advised on corporate finance and capital management driven reinsurance transactions for the company’s global P&C clients. Prior to Swiss Re, Alex was an analyst at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Alex graduated magna cum laude from The Florida State University with a double major in Finance and Applied Economics. Alex is registered with FINRA as a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79).

Email: apeck@dowlinghales.com

Chris Ward, Analyst

Chris joined Dowling Hales in 2017. Prior to joining the firm, Chris worked at Valuation Research Corporation where he provided financial opinions involving valuation, solvency and capital adequacy to institutional clients. Prior to Valuation Research, Chris was an analyst at Robin Hood Ventures. Chris graduated from the Fox School of Business at Temple University with a major in finance. Chris is registered with FINRA as a Limited Representative - Investment Banking (Series 79)

Email: cward@dowlinghales.com