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Investment Staff

J. Ellwood Towle

J Ellwood Towle Woody has researched and invested in publicly traded deep-value companies since the 1970's. During his investment career, Towle & Co. has owned over 90 companies that have been acquired from the company's portfolio. His cumulative knowledge of and experience in the small-cap universe provides a foundation for Towle & Co.'s investment management process. Before starting Towle & Co. in 1981, Woody worked for nine years at Brown Group, Inc. lastly as Manager of Corporate Development. In this capacity, he was involved in the implementation of the firm's merger and acquisition strategy including the identification, due diligence and analysis of acquisition candidates. Woody received his BA in history and business administration from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois and an MBA from the University of Missouri.

Christopher D. Towle
President, CEO & Portfolio Manager

Christopher D Towle Chris joined Towle & Co. in 1994 and has been instrumental in all aspects of the firm’s growth and development. As an integral member of the investment team, he shares responsibility for the investment management process including portfolio management, trading, and research. Prior to 1994, he served as a General Manager of H. H. Brown Shoe Co., Inc., an operating subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, with full line responsibility for a division of the company. He started his professional career as a Senior Credit Analyst at Manufacturers Hanover Trust in New York City. Chris graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, MA with a BA in history and received an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Peter J. Lewis, CFA
Portfolio Manager

Peter J Lewis Peter joined Towle & Co. in 2001 and is a key member of the investment team. Previously, he was President of Principle Research, Inc. From 1991 to 1998, Peter was a partner and department leader at Edward Jones & Co., where he developed a seven-person research team responsible for determining the suitability of all products sold by the company. Before 1991, he worked as a Senior Credit Analyst for three years at the Bank of New York. More recently, he served as a visiting professor of Economics at Principia College in Elsah, Illinois and professor of Finance at Webster University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Peter graduated from Principia College with a BA in chemistry and business administration and received an MBA with concentrations in accounting and finance from Washington University in St. Louis. Peter holds the distinction of Chartered Financial Analyst.

James M. Shields, CFA
Portfolio Manager

Wesley Tibbetts James joined Towle & Co. full-time in the summer of 2013. Having served the firm in a consulting role while finishing his MBA, he came onboard fully engaged with the research and investment process. Previously, James was a Manager at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services and an Analyst at Marshall & Stevens in the Business and Intangible Asset Valuation groups. While at these organizations, he managed a team of analysts, valued privately held companies, and valued intangible assets for multinational transactions. James graduated with a BBA in finance & banking / real estate from the University of Missouri and received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. James holds the distinction of Chartered Financial Analyst.

Wesley R. Tibbetts, CFA
Portfolio Manager

Wesley Tibbetts Wes joined Towle & Co. in 2010 as a valued member of the investment team with broad duties across the portfolio management and research process. Previously, Wes was an analyst at Lehman Brothers under the Private Equity division and at Neuberger Berman within the NB Alternatives group. While at these organizations, he analyzed buyout, venture capital and distressed debt funds as a part of his group’s private equity fund of funds platform. In addition, Wes shared duties in the analysis, management and reporting of a listed private equity fund. Wes graduated summa cum laude with a BBA in finance from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. Wes holds the distinction of Chartered Financial Analyst.

G. Lukas Barthelmess
Portfolio Manager

Wesley Tibbetts Luke joined Towle & Co. in June 2018 after serving the firm in a consulting role while completing his MBA. Prior to business school, Luke was an analyst at Kinderhook Partners, an employee-owned investment manager that invests globally in public and private companies. While at Kinderhook, he analyzed search funds, micro-cap and small-cap stocks, and leveraged control investments. Prior to joining Kinderhook, he played quarterback for the Stuttgart Scorpions in the German Football League. Luke graduated cum laude with BA degrees in mathematics & economics from Lawrence University and received an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Support Staff

Joseph W. Bradley
Chief Operating Officer & Director of Client Relations

Joseph Bradley Joe joined Towle & Co. in April 2009, after a nine month period serving the firm in a consulting role. Today, he is responsible for all non-investment aspects of the day to day business. He leads the operations effort, manages vendor relationships, and sheperds new and existing client relationships. Prior to his work at Towle, Joe managed portfolios of investment property, including oversight of daily operations, sales, and acquisitions for a group of private investors. He graduated from Principia College with a BS in history and environmental science.

Jessica A. Kardos
Director of Investment Operations

Jodi Layman Jessica joined Towle & Co. in June 2021. Her responsibilities include oversight, execution and process improvement of the investment operations domain. She has over 20 years of trading and operations experience, including tenures at Oak Associates, ltd., Denver Investments, and most recently at Knowledge Leaders Capital where she served as Trader/Operations Manager. Jessica graduated from the University of Phoenix with a BS in business and received an MBA from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management.

Laura K. Diersen
Operations Associate

Laura Dierson Laura joined Towle & Co. in September 2006. She shares the responsibility of administering our back office operations and provides client service support. Previously, Laura worked as an Accountant at Reinsurance Group of America, General American Life Insurance, and Browning-Ferris Industries. She graduated Cum Laude with a BS in business administration and accounting from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

CFA® is a designation issued by the CFA Institute. To earn the designation, candidates must pass three course exams, each requiring approximately 250 hours of self-study, and have completed four years of qualifying work experience. Chartered Financial Analyst® and CFA® are registered trademarks owned by the CFA Institute.