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McKinley Capital Management Acquires McDowell Group

Feb 5, 2020 | Monitor

Global asset manager adds Alaska economic research capability

ANCHORAGE—McKinley Capital Management has acquired McDowell Group, Alaska’s largest economic research firm. Susan Bell, McDowell Group principal, will join McKinley Capital’s management team as director of economic research and consulting, a new role and business unit at the company.

“This acquisition is great for McKinley Capital, for McDowell Group and for Alaska,” Rob Gillam, McKinley Capital CEO/CIO said. “It provides McKinley Capital with a new business unit and complementary capability, it provides a long-term ownership plan and expanded clientele for McDowell, and it strengthens and solidifies two Alaska businesses, which together provide more than sixty high-paying jobs.”

As a multidisciplinary research and consulting firm, McDowell Group has provided economic impact and cost-benefit analyses, market research, business feasibility studies, survey research, economic development planning, needs assessments, and program evaluations to community leaders, public agencies, and private companies since 1972. The company has an in-depth understanding of Alaska’s people, communities, and economy.

“We are very excited about joining forces with McKinley Capital,” said Jim Calvin, McDowell Group principal. “We see this transition as a natural evolution for our firm, giving us greater opportunity to meet Alaska’s research and consulting needs.”

McDowell serves a broad range of clients in Alaska and across North America. McKinley Capital will use McDowell’s nearly fifty years of experience and Alaska knowledge to create a new economic research team, led by Bell. In her new role, Bell will provide clients the same breadth and depth of research work conducted by McDowell Group. She will work closely with CEO/CIO Rob Gillam and McKinley Capital’s management team.

Bell brings experience to the McKinley Capital management team from the various leadership positions she has held throughout her career, including her experience at McDowell Group, serving as Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, and as vice president of Goldbelt. Throughout her career, she has been responsible for many Alaska Native corporation business ventures, led efforts to market Alaska domestically and internationally, and developed Alaska’s renewable and traditional energy resources. She has extensive experience in Alaska’s visitor industry and she serves as a board member of Spruce Root, a nonprofit that enhances the economy in Southeast Alaska.

Gillam believes bringing the two businesses together to create McKinley Capital’s new economic research unit under the leadership of Bell will be good for Alaska’s economy, development, and financial stability. He says the acquisition will improve the firm’s ability to market the economic benefits available to investors in Alaska and further demonstrate that Alaska shares the high economic upside of an emerging market.

“The research we do at McDowell goes hand-in-hand with McKinley Capital’s data-driven method of investing,” Bell said. “To lead McKinley Capital’s new economic research unit is an honor and I look forward to seeing how integrating McDowell and McKinley Capital will bring new possibilities to Alaska as a whole.”

McDowell has offices in Juneau and Anchorage. McDowell Group employees, including Jim Calvin, McDowell Group principal, will be retained and integrated into McKinley Capital.

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