* Name: John L. Graaff
* Organization: Core Capital Group (CCG)
* Position: Founder & CEO
* Hometown: Des Moines
* Lived in Colorado Springs: 24 years
* Education: BSEE – University of Minnesota, Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) – International Business Brokers Association and private pilot.
* A few words about your company: CCG was incorporated in 1991 as a boutique investment bank. The company provides merger and acquisition, and corporate finance services for middle market companies. We actively represent both buyers looking to invest in or purchase companies as well as sellers looking for a change in their capital structure. In addition to Colorado Springs, CCG has branch offices in Denver and San Diego.
* Recent accomplishments: CCG was recently accepted into the Network of Merger & Acquisition Partners (IMAP), a prestigious global organization of highly qualified investment banks that are second in the world in number of transactions completed in 2003. The dollar value of those transactions exceeded $3.4 billion in value.
* Biggest career break: My biggest career break came early in my engineering career, when I decided to leave a promising job with a large aerospace company and strike out on my own. That decision helped define my business path as an entrepreneur and has provided me with a rich and rewarding career.
* Toughest part of my job: Having to allocate my time between providing resources necessary to grow and support the company, and working with clients in a deal making capacity.
* Someone I admire: As a SCORE consoler to small businesses, I work with an on-going number of younger entrepreneurs. These people are working, sometimes against long odds, to provide a better and more rewarding future for themselves, their families and the people in our community. They will always be an inspiration to me.
* About your family: My family includes one sister, Sue Jensen in Des Moines, my wife Mary Knorr, and two sons Chris, who lives in Las Vegas, and Craig who lives in Chicago.
* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Continuing to be a good grandpa, and building CCG to a point that it will survive my retirement.
* How your business will change in the next decade: Our company will continue to grow geographically as well as provide more internal resources for the benefit of our clients. We operate in a highly dynamic marketplace that will continue to challenge us to provide better and more responsive services for our clients.
* What book are you currently reading: “1,000 Places to See before You Die” by Patricia Schultz.
* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs: I intentionally moved to Colorado Springs 24 years ago for its quality of life and I have not been disappointed. However, as a business community, we have two glaring weaknesses: A lack of home-grown corporations that have matured to provide a more stable business environment for our area, and diversity in the types of industries within our community. Through several (volunteer) channels, I have been dedicated to helping smaller companies grow and prosper in order to help effect change in our business community. What a great place to live!