CHICAGO -- Sycamore Advisors LLC, one of Indiana’s top financial advisors, has hired a former public finance official with two Indiana administrations who is now based in Georgia to help expand the firm’s footprint in the southeast and Chicago.

Courtney Tobin joins Sycamore as a senior vice president from Athens, Ga., where she most recently worked for the University of Georgia.

Tobin held several positions under former Indiana Govs. Evan Bayh and Frank O’Bannon. As executive director and general counsel for the Indiana Development Finance Authority -- now the Indiana Finance Authority -- Tobin launched the state’s first brownfields program and worked on several other state finance programs, according to the firm.

It was while working for the state that Tobin met Diana Hamilton, president of Sycamore Advisors, who was Indiana’s public finance director for eight years, until 2003.

“We had offices right next door to each other from 1997 to 2002,” said Tobin in a telephone interview from Georgia. She noted that Indiana then, as now, has a constitutional ban on issuing general obligation bonds.

“Diana was one of the first to take leadership and acknowledge the state’s debt issuances, and I de facto served as her counsel on a number of deals -- she was a one-woman shop at that point,” Tobin said.

For the last nine years, Tobin has worked as both faculty and in administration for the University of Georgia. Among other things, she taught bond financing and was associate director of the university’s Fanning Institute, an outreach and economic development program.

“I come from an issuer’s perspective,” Tobin said. “We’ve all been issuers ourselves, and that helps us understand our clients in a different way.”

She had been consulting periodically for Sycamore and decided last September to join the firm full time.

“It just seemed like the right time,” Tobin said. “Diana has been trying to strategically grow the firm, and my contacts in Georgia seem like a good match.”

Tobin will work with Hamilton for the Regional Transit Authority of Illinois, a new client that qualified Sycamore as an FA for the first time in October 2012.

Other clients include the Indianapolis Airport Authority, the Indiana Finance Authority, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the City of Indianapolis Transportation, and the Indiana State Fair Commission. The firm recently expanded into Pittsburgh as an advisor to Veolia N.A., which manages the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

Cook County, Ill. last year qualified Sycamore to work as one of its advisors.

The firm snagged the top financial advisor spot in Indiana in 2011, in part due to its work with Citizens Energy Group’s $1.9 billion purchase of Indianapolis’ water and sewer systems.

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