Our Team

Please select an individual to read their bio.


Stephen J. Czech
Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8400
   sczech@czechamlp.com

Stephen J. Czech, Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer

Mr.Czech has over 29 years of credit and corporate finance experience as well as a distinguished track record of establishing and running direct lending credit funds. Said experience includes sourcing, structuring, underwriting, monitoring and restructuring corporate loans. Prior to founding Czech Asset Management, L.P. (“Czech”), in December of 2011, Mr. Czech was Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of SJC Onshore Direct Lending Fund, L.P. and the SJC Offshore Capital Finance Fund, L.P. (collectively, “SJC”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Mr. Czech joined SJC in January 2010. Prior to joining SJC, Mr. Czech was a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of Gottex -SJC (“Gottex”) from May 2009 to December 2009. Prior to joining Gottex, Mr. Czech was the founder, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager of Contrarian Capital Finance, L.P. (“Contrarian”) from 2003 to 2008. During this period, Mr. Czech created and ran a direct lending fund in a nearly identical strategy to the current strategy he is now managing for CAM investors. Prior to joining Contrarian in 2003, Mr. Czech was employed by Credit Suisse First Boston (“CSFB”), where he was the head of the Mezzanine Finance Group from 2001 to 2003. Prior to CSFB, Mr. Czech was employed by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (“DLJ”) from 1998 to 2001. At DLJ, Mr. Czech was a member of the Leveraged Finance Group. Mr. Czech was also a Senior Credit Officer of ABN AMRO’s Leveraged Finance Group and a Vice President at Banc of America Securities.

Mr. Czech and his family are significant donors to, and advocates of, causes related to: (i) terminally-ill children, (ii) active-duty and retired Navy SEALs and their families; (iii) first-responders (ie: Police, Fire and EMTs); and (iv) scholarships for underprivileged high-school students throughout the United States. Mr. Czech is the founder and Co-Chairman of The Mikey Czech Foundation, a member of The Navy SEAL Foundation National Leadership Council, a member of the Advisory Board of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a Laureate member of the Dean's Society of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, a member of Villanova University's President's Club & Parents Executive Committee, a member of the Van Andel Institute's Board of Governors, a member of the Aesclepian Society of Harvard / Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a member of the Harvard / Dana-Farber Presidential Visiting Committee for Pediatric Oncology. 

Mr. Czech received a B.S. from Marquette University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Aaron Dannenberg
Managing Director & Head of Loan Originations
   Direct Dial: 212-324-2834
   adannenberg@czechamlp.com

Aaron  Dannenberg, Managing Director & Head of Loan Originations

Mr. Dannenberg has over 21 years of capital markets experience, having raised over $100 billion in support of large and middle market corporate acquisitions, private equity-led buyouts, recapitalizations and restructurings.  Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Mr. Dannenberg was a Managing Director in Houlihan Lokey's Capital Markets Group in New York, raising private capital for the firm's clients.  Before joining Houlihan Lokey in 2011, Mr. Dannenberg was a Managing Director and Partner at North Sea Capital, a New York-based broker dealer.  Prior to that he spent 12 years at Citigroup, serving as a Director in the Leveraged Finance Group, where he structured and executed high yield and syndicated loan transactions for the firm's private equity, chemical and diversified industrial clients.

Mr. Dannenberg began his career as an attorney at Shearman and Sterling in New York, and subsequently spent time in the public sector in Washington, D.C. initially as an Assistant Counsel at the White House during the Clinton administration and, subsequently, at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Mr. Dannenberg holds a B.A. from New York University (Magna cum laude), a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center (Magna cum laude), and a MBA from Columbia Business School (Dean's List). Mr. Dannenberg has known and worked with Mr. Czech professionally since 2015.

Stephen P. DesJardins
Managing Director - Investments & Loan Originations
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8415
   sdesjardins@czechamlp.com

Stephen P. DesJardins, Managing Director - Investments & Loan Originations

Mr. DesJardins has over 26 years of  corporate finance, high yield, secured loan, structured product, M&A and restructuring experience, having spent a significant portion of his professional career on Wall Street with Salomon Brothers, Gleacher & Co., Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Credit Suisse and Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.  Prior to joining Czech and in his last role at Cantor Fitzgerald, Mr. DesJardins was a Managing Director, Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.’s Investment Banking Division (“Cantor”). Prior to joining Cantor and from 2004 - 2008, Mr. DesJardins was a Partner and Chief Operating Officer of alternative investment firm Ivory Investment Management, L.P. (“Ivory”). Prior to joining Ivory and from 2001 - 2004, Mr. DesJardins was a Vice President and Director in the Investment Banking Group at Credit Suisse. Prior to joining Credit Suisse and from 1999 - 2001, Mr. DesJardins was a Partner of Encore Venture Partners, L.P. (“Encore”). Prior to joining Encore and from 1997 -1999, Mr. DesJardins was an  Associate in the Investment Banking Division at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (“DLJ”). Prior to DLJ and from 1994 - 1995, Mr. DesJardins was an options principal on the American Stock Exchange with Rockrimmon Securities ("Rockrimmon"). Prior to Rockrimmon and from 1993 - 1994, Mr. DesJardins was an Associate with private equity firm Eos Partners ("Eos"). Prior to Eos and from 1992 -1993, Mr. DesJardins was an Analyst with M&A boutique Gleacher & Co. ("Gleacher"). Prior to Gleacher and from 1990 - 1992, Mr. DesJardins was an Analyst in the M&A group at Salomon Brothers. 

Mr. DesJardins earned an MBA (dual major in Accounting & Finance) from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Director’s List) and a B.S. (dual major in Finance & Entrepreneurial Management) in Economics (Magna Cum Laude) from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Mr. DesJardins has known and worked with Mr. Czech since 1998.

Randi Ditman
Head of Office Administration & Human Resources

Randi Ditman, Head of Office Administration & Human Resources

Ms. Ditman has over 26 years of office administrative support experience with specific emphasis on supporting senior executive management in their daily leadership processes.  Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Ms. Ditman was an Executive Assistant at FrontPoint Partners, L.P (“FPP”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, from March 2010 – December 2011 where she provided direct support for  three (3) Portfolio Investment Teams as well as for the  firm’s Director of Information Technology and his staff of 12 senior level executives.  During this time, Ms. Ditman also provided additional support to the firm’s Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officers as needed.  Prior to joining FPP, Ms. Ditman was an Executive Assistant in Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Institutional Advisory Group from November 2007 through November 2008.  Earlier in her career Ms. Ditman spent 10 years in executive assistant and administrative roles supporting senior executives at New York area hospitals including Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons as well as Beth Israel Medical Center.

Staci A. Dunn
Vice President - Client Services & Operations

Staci A. Dunn, Vice President - Client Services & Operations

Ms. Dunn has over 23 years of Operations and Investor Services - related experience within the financial services industry. Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Ms. Dunn spent over seven years at FrontPoint Partners, L.P. (“FPP”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, from February 2004 through December 2011. While at FPP, Ms. Dunn was an Operations Associate responsible for a broad set of Investor Relations - related processes including the management of investor documentation and funds transfer processes. Prior to joining FPP, Ms. Dunn worked at Ivory Capital Group LLC from May 1999 through January 2004, where she was responsible for Investor Relations support and all facets of administrative support for the Portfolio Management team. Ms. Dunn began her career in financial services with SC Fundamental Value Fund LLC where she was the executive assistant to the firm’s Managing Partner.

Kai Fang
Associate - Investments
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8424
   kfang@czechamlp.com

Kai Fang, Associate - Investments

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P. and since 2014, Ms. Fang spent nearly four years as a Corporate Lending Analyst and Associate at Deutsche Bank AG in New York City. Prior to Deutsche Bank USA, Ms. Fang spent a year at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") in Washington, D.C.  Prior to the SEC, Ms. Fang interned at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Shanghai, China.

Ms. Fang earned a B.S. - Major: Accounting & Finance; Minor: Economics (Cum laude) from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and is a Chartered Financial Analyst ("CFA").

Charles O. Freedgood
Managing Director & Head of Portfolio Company Restructuring
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8409
   cfreedgood@czechamlp.com

Charles O. Freedgood, Managing Director & Head of Portfolio Company Restructuring

Mr. Freedgood has over 36 years of credit, restructuring, workout and corporate finance experience.  He has extensive experience in workouts, restructuring and bankruptcy for large, complex syndicated credits as well as executing all facets of direct lending credit management.  He has managed a wide array of credit products, derivatives, foreign exchange, securities lending, commodities, and treasury management services across a wide variety of industries, including oil and gas exploration and production, mining and minerals, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, insurance, broker-dealer, mortgage finance, retail, transportation, media and high net worth clients. Mr. Freedgood joined Czech in October 2014 as a Managing Director and Assistant Portfolio Manager, reporting directly to Mr. Czech.  Prior to joining Czech, Mr. Freedgood spent 32 years at JPMorgan and its predecessors where most recently he was Managing Director in the Corporate and Investment Bank's Special Credits Group.

Mr. Freedgood earned a BS in Geology from Stony Brook University and an MBA in Finance from New York University.  

Richard Gonzalez
Fund Accountant

Richard Gonzalez, Fund Accountant

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Mr. Gonzalez was employed by Oxeon Partners in New York City as Director of Finance. From 2014 - 2016, Mr. Gonzalez was employed by Standard General LP in New York City in its Accounting and Operations Group. From 2012 - 2014, Mr. Gonzalez was employed as a Senior Associate - Assurance at Ernst & Young LLP in New York City.

Mr. Gonzalez earned a B.B.A. - Accounting from The University of Notre Dame and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Madison E. Hughes
Administrative & Marketing Assistant

Madison E. Hughes, Administrative & Marketing Assistant

Ms. Hughes joined Czech Asset Management, L.P. in April 2016. Ms. Hughes is responsible for supporting the administrative needs of the business and providing support to the firm's  Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer as well as the Head of Office Administration & Human Resources.

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Madison was employed by AQR Capital Management ("AQR") in Greenwich, CT. Prior to AQR Madison was employed by Fifth Street Asset Management in Greenwich, CT and SSR LLC in Stamford, CT.

Madison earned a B.A. - History from University of Connecticut and a minor in Business Fundamentals.

 

Roxanne N. Jenkins
Fund Accountant

Roxanne N. Jenkins, Fund Accountant

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Ms. Jenkins was employed by Prologue Capital, Inc. in Greenwich, CT as a Financial Controller. From 2012 - 2014, Ms. Jenkins was employed by Deloittte & Touche LLP in Stamford, CT as an Audit Senior. From 2011 - 2012, Ms. Jenkins was employed by Blum Shapiro Consulting LLC in West Hartford, CT as a Staff Auditor. From 2010 - 2011, Ms. Jenkins was employed by Ernst & Young LLP in Hartford, CT as a member of the Healthcare Staff.

Ms. Jenkins earned a B.S. - Accounting from the University of Connecticut.

Alex Lee
Associate - Investments
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8417
   alee@czechamlp.com

Alex Lee, Associate - Investments

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P. and since October 2015, Mr. Lee spent nearly three years at PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance LLC in Chicago, IL.  At PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Lee worked as an Analyst and Associate in the Investment Banking - Mergers & Acquisitions Group.  Prior to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mr. Lee spent nearly two years at BMO Capital Markets as an Analyst in its Healthcare and Higher Education Group.

Mr. Lee earned a B.A. - Economics (Dean's List) from the University of Chicago.

John P. Maguire
Chief Compliance Officer

John   P. Maguire, Chief Compliance Officer

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Mr. Maguire worked in New York as a Senior Vice President and Compliance officer for York Capital Management, a global event-driven hedge fund manager. From 2007-2012, Mr. Maguire was a Vice President - Compliance with Goldman Sachs Asset Management in New York. From 2005 - 2007, Mr. Maguire served as a Major in the U.S. Army and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. From 2000 - 2005, Mr. Maguire was an Associate in Operations and Compliance with Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York. From 1995 - 2000, Mr. Maguire served as a platoon leader and tank commander in the U.S. Army stationed at Fort Irwin, CA and Fort Knox, KY.

Mr. Maguire is a member of the West Point Association of Graduates Investment Committee.

Mr. Maguire earned an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Mark D. Newlun
Managing Director & Assistant Portfolio Manager
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8402
   mnewlun@czechamlp.com

Mark D. Newlun, Managing Director & Assistant Portfolio Manager

Mr. Newlun has over 37 years of credit and asset-based underwriting experience. He has extensive experience executing all facets of direct lending credit management, and has particular expertise in cash flow, asset-based lending and tangible asset valuation processes. Mr. Newlun has successfully restructured and has been directly involved in the work-out processes of corporate credits which have filed for bankruptcy. Mr. Newlun joined Czech in January 2010 as Executive Director and Assistant Portfolio Manager, reporting to Mr. Czech. Prior to joining Czech, Mr. Newlun was Director and Assistant Portfolio Manager at Gottex-SJC reporting to Mr. Czech. Prior to Gottex-SJC, Mr. Newlun was the Senior Vice President and Asset-Based Underwriter at Contrarian Capital Finance, L.P., where he also worked directly for Mr. Czech. Prior to joining Contrarian in June 2006, Mr. Newlun was a Senior Asset-Based Underwriter with Wachovia Capital Finance in Los Angeles from 2004-2006. Prior to Wachovia Capital Finance, Mr. Newlun was a National Underwriting Manager/Senior Credit Officer at GE Capital from 2002-2003 in Los Angeles, covering GE Capital’s Western U.S. Region. Prior to GE Capital, Mr. Newlun was a Portfolio Manager at Fleet Capital Corp. from 1995-2002. From 1984-1995, Mr. Newlun held a variety of positions, culminating as Portfolio Manager, at Foothill Capital Corp. in Los Angeles. Prior to Foothill Capital Corp., Mr. Newlun worked as the credit manager for Pacific Electricord Company from 1983 - 1984.

Mr. Newlun started his career at City National Bank in Los Angeles where he served as an auditor and field examiner from 1981 - 1983. Mr. Newlun received a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Joseph A. Samluk, Jr.
Managing Director & Head of New Transactions
   Direct Dial: 310-415-4800
   jsamluk@czechamlp.com

Joseph A. Samluk, Jr., Managing Director & Head of New Transactions

Mr. Samluk has over 24 years of large corporate and middle market investment and advisory experience with an emphasis on high yield, mezzanine and secured loan origination, structuring, underwriting and monitoring; distressed debt and special situations investing; and corporate finance, M&A and restructuring advisory having spent the vast majority of his professional career on Wall Street.

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, Mr. Samluk was a Portfolio Manager - Distressed Debt & Credit Opportunities - at Loeb Capital Management ("Loeb").  Prior to joining Loeb and from 2004 - 2006, Mr. Samluk was a Credit Analyst - Special Situations Group - at MSD Capital ("MSD"), Michael Dell's family office. Prior to MSD and from 1994 - 2002, Mr. Samluk was an Associate, Vice President and Director in the Investment Banking Division at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette in Los Angeles and its successor, Credit Suisse, AG.  From 1990 - 1992, Mr. Samluk was a manufacturing engineer at Sony Corp.  From 1988-1990, Mr. Samluk was a manufacturing engineer at NCR Corp.

Mr. Samluk received an MBA (Major in Finance and Dual Minor in Accounting and Entrepreneurial Management) from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a M.Eng. (Master of Engineering) in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a B.S. (Major in Mechanical Engineering; Minor in Economics) from the University of California. Mr. Samluk has known and worked with Mr. Czech since 1998.

Travis L. Taunton
Vice President – Investments
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8421
   ttaunton@czechamlp.com

Travis L. Taunton, Vice President – Investments

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P. and between June 2011 and May 2016, Mr. Taunton spent nearly five years at JP Morgan Chase in Dallas, TX and New York City.  At JP Morgan Chase, Mr. Taunton worked as a Summer Intern, Credit Analyst and Credit Underwriter in the Middle Market and Corporate Lending Divisions. Mr. Taunton is a graduate of the JP Morgan Chase Credit Analyst Training Program.

Mr. Taunton earned a B.B.A. - Finance (Cum Laude) from Texas A&M University.

Matthew A. “Chip” Toth
Managing Director – New Transactions
   Direct Dial: 203-769-8416
   ctoth@czechamlp.com

Matthew A. “Chip” Toth, Managing Director – New Transactions

Mr. Toth has over 32 years of experience executing large corporate and middle market cross-border transactions, secured loan originations, structuring, underwriting, monitoring, restructuring, bankruptcy and credit risk management, having spent the vast majority of his professional career rising through the senior transaction ranks of GE Capital. Prior to joining Czech, Mr. Toth spent 20 years at GE Capital in Stamford, CT and Fairfield, CT and was a Managing Director in GE Corporate's and GE Capital's Structured & Commercial Finance Group. Prior to joining GE Capital and from 1991 - 1995, Mr. Toth was involved in complex lease deal structuring at IBM Credit Corporation in Stamford, CT. Prior to joining IBM and from 1985 - 1989, Mr. Toth was employed in various positions at Equitable Real Estate, Equitable Capital Management, Equitable Corporate Audit and Strategic Planning & Treasury at The Equitable Financial Companies in Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA and New York City.  

Mr. Toth earned an MBA (Finance and Real Estate) from University of North Carolina School of Management and a B.A. (Biology) from College of The Holy Cross. Mr. Toth has known Mr. Czech since 2002 and worked with him since 2015.
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Tracy M. Urquiaga, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Tracy M. Urquiaga, CPA, Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Urquiaga serves as Czech Asset Management, L.P.'s Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Urquiaga has more than 26 years of experience in various aspects of the financial services industry including financial consulting, audit, tax and compliance.

Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P. and from 2013 - 2018, Ms. Urquiaga was the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Prostar Capital (US) LLC ("Prostar") in Old Greenwich, CT where she was responsible for overseeing the financial accounting, tax, compliance and operations of Prostar's global private equity funds, co-investment vehicles and management company. Prior to Prostar, Ms. Urquiaga was a Director in Credit Suisse's Alternative Assets Group specializing in private equity and the Chief Financial Officer of the Sprout Venture Capital Funds based in New York City. Prior to Credit Suisse, Ms. Urquiaga spent almost 10 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a Senior Manger in the Financial Services Group providing accounting, consulting and business advisory services to capital market clients. Prior to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ms. Urquiaga was a NASD Series 7 licensed Financial Consultant in Merrill Lynch's Private Client Group providing financial consulting and asset management services to high net-worth individuals and small businesses.

Ms. Urquiaga holds a B.B.A. from St. Bonaventure University and an M.B.A. from the William Simon Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Rochester. Ms. Urquiaga is a Certified Public Accountant.

 

Paula A. Vera
Administrative & Marketing Assistant

Paula A. Vera, Administrative & Marketing Assistant

Ms. Vera joined Czech Asset Management, L.P. in December 2013. Ms. Vera is responsible for supporting the administrative needs of the business and providing support to the firm’s Head of Office Administration and Human Resources. Ms. Vera also supports the firm’s Marketing and Investor Relations efforts. Ms. Vera has over 10 years of Administrative Assistant experience supporting senior executive management. Prior to joining Czech Asset Management, L.P., Ms. Vera was an Administrative Assistant at Choyce Peterson, Inc.