Hank Torbert Biography
Hank Torbert: Executive |Board Member | Private Investor | Innovation in Industrials and Energy
Mr. Torbert is a seasoned business leader operating at the nexus of finance, strategy, innovation and operations within the industrials and energy sectors. Mr. Torbert is an expert on how new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, transmission technologies and synthetic biology, etc. are changing the industrial landscape and the implications on strategy and investment decisions. He serves as both a corporate strategist for Boards of Directors and organizations and as a private equity investor. He has worked with early stage to billion-dollar companies in the industrials, energy, media / technology, transportation and financial services sectors.
Mr. Torbert is the Founder of The Frontier Conference (www.thefrontier.co), an event focused on bringing key industrial sector leaders together to discuss and collaborate around innovation and disruptive technologies. Prior to The Frontier Conference, Mr. Torbert ran IdeaVillage’s ENERGYx Accelerator in New Orleans to support emerging technology companies focused on the energy sector.
Mr. Torbert currently is the President of Alta Max, LLC, (www.altamax.net) a privately-held, New Orleans-based company whose customers include General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Shell, Dow / DowDuPont, The Department of Defense and numerous other prime contractors and Fortune 500 companies. Founded in 2001, Alta Max, LLC provides a wide range of services, specialty packaging products and security seals, primarily for the munitions / pyrotechnics industry and the energy, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture and several other sectors. Mr. Torbert has lead Alta Max’s efforts to adopt new technologies, increase productivity and expand the company’s operations and sales throughout the Gulf States. Mr. Torbert has increased manufacturing productivity by 15%.
Prior to Alta Max, LLC, Mr. Torbert served as an Operating Partner for Potomac Energy Fund, LLC, which is focused on investing in energy/renewables and emerging technology companies. Mr. Torbert served as the CEO of Potomac’s portfolio company, Smith Electric Vehicles (“SEV”), where he led operations and the company’s restructuring efforts for SEV.
From 2014 to 2016, Mr. Torbert was part of a New Orleans-based private equity effort that acquired a Midland, Texas-based oil and gas services company whose clients included, Devon Energy, Pioneer, Chevron and other major operators. Mr. Torbert played a leading role in supporting the company during a difficult market environment for the oil and gas sector. His efforts with the company led him to his focus on disruptive technologies for the industrials sector.
In 2011, during a very difficult and distressed business environment, Mr. Torbert orchestrated the acquisition of two distressed assets in the aviation sector, Direct Air and Swift Air, with a plan to restructure both companies. Mr. Torbert served as Chairman of Swift Air, a passenger and cargo charter airline that was spun out of Swift Transportation. Under his leadership, the company was successfully reorganized and sold in 2013 to another private investor.
Throughout his career, Mr. Torbert has focused on investing in and enhancing early venture and middle market companies, notably in the context of roll up and platform company opportunities. As a founding investor and board member, Mr. Torbert played an integral role in the launch, development and $100MM Initial Public Offering of Mood Media (TSX: “MM”), a music services company serving retailers and other high traffic real estate. In conjunction with management, Mr. Torbert executed Fluid Music’s acquisition of Trusonic, Inc., which enabled the company to access the public equity market and expand in 2008. In addition, he has played a vital role in the formation and growth of several other middle market-sized companies, including Midas Medici (OTB: “MMED”).
Prior to his own private equity efforts, Mr. Torbert served as Chief Operating Officer of Broadcast Capital, a firm focused on investing in media and broadcasting sectors from 2004 – 2006. He focused on managing the company’s portfolio assets and expanding the investment mandate to include new media. Mr. Torbert oversaw the firm’s operations and investment portfolio. From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Torbert was an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase. He served as a Vice President of the Financial Sponsor Group, Middle Market Banking, at JPMorgan Chase Bank (a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase), where he was a member of a four-person team that covered the firm’s top tier middle market private equity clients. He was responsible for sourcing and financing private equity investment opportunities for financial sponsors investing in the middle market, with a special industry focus on media, transportation, healthcare, and consumer products transactions. Additionally, he completed over $100 billion in transactions in the media and telecommunications industry as a senior associate in the Equity Capital Markets Group, at JPMorgan Securities. Mr. Torbert also has held positions at AIG Capital Partners, where he focused on analyzing global private equity investments and on raising capital for the firm’s $1 billion Global Emerging Markets Fund.
Mr. Torbert served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and New Orleans’ oldest start-up incubator, The IdeaVillage. Mr. Torbert supports entrepreneurship and economic development in New Orleans through his volunteer efforts for Greater New Orleans, Inc., the leading regional economic development organization. He speaks regularly at industry seminars on venture capital, oil & gas, disruptive technologies and other sector investment-related topics and is a recipient of the Network Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, the New Orleans CityBusiness MoneyMaker Award and was a business leader in Louisiana Economic Development’s 2019 CEO Roundtable.
Mr. Torbert serves on the Securities & Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee. The Committee is designed to provide a formal mechanism for the Commission to receive advice and recommendations on Commission rules, regulations and policy matters relating to small businesses, including smaller public companies.
Mr. Torbert is deeply committed to issues related to education, the arts and homelessness. He has been a board member of Cultural DC and the New Orleans’ Contemporary Arts Center, both of which are focused on increasing access to and the awareness of fine arts.
Mr. Torbert holds a B.A. from Columbia University. He earned both an M.B.A. and a master’s degree in international finance from Columbia University. Mr. Torbert is also an alumnus and former Trustee of the Taft School.