PHILADELPHIA -- Municipal finance veteran Rick Kolman has joined Academy Securities as a managing director and head of its municipal securities group.

Kolman, who built U.S. Bank's muni underwriting group from scratch before leaving last year and taking a year off, began in New York with the veteran-owned investment bank and broker-dealer on Monday.

"I’m impressed with the growth they have made in a few short years and what they try to accomplish for our veterans," said Rick Kolman.

“It’s less about municipal securities and more about Academy Securities and its mission,” Kolman said in an interview on Wednesday.

“With Academy Securities, it’s a different perspective. I’m impressed with the growth they have made in a few short years and what they try to accomplish for our veterans. And I’ve had family members that attended the Naval Academy.”

Kolman will also serve on the firm’s operating committee.

Former U.S. Navy officer Chance Mims founded Academy in 2009. Its history coincides with financial industry contraction after the 2008 crisis and the winding down of the post-9/11 conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It prides itself as the nation’s only post-9/11 disabled veteran owned investment bank.

“It’s ideal for us to have an industry veteran next to military veterans. That benefits our social mission,” said Mims, who previously ran a San Diego boutique real estate brokerage, mortgage, and property management firm. “We’re extremely pleased to have someone of Rick’s caliber.”

Mims is chief executive and the firm’s controlling shareholder. The firm’s president is former football wide receiver Phil McConkey, who helped the New York Giants win the Super Bowl in January 1987.

According to McConkey, Kolman’s mentoring skills will be invaluable.

“Having Rick work with young military veterans will accelerate the learning,” said McConkey. “His experience will help transitioning military veterans establish themselves in municipal finance and fixed income and learning from someone of Rick’s caliber.

“Rick coming in will help our growth as a company and our social mission.”

Academy specializes in equity and debt capital markets, public finance, equity and fixed-income institutional agency trading, and investment banking.

Its social mission includes providing employment opportunities for veterans -- unemployment among returning veterans is nearly triple the national average, according to the firm.

Academy also encourages veterans to apply for every open position at Academy and offers to help veterans find a job elsewhere if necessary. In addition, the firm is developing, in conjunction with JPMorgan, a training platform to help veterans transition into financial services.

Kolman established U.S. Bank’s muni underwriting business over his five years there. He worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. from 1978 to 2007, including a stretch as co-head of municipal finance from 1999 to 2004.

Between those jobs, he worked to launch the now-defunct Municipal Infrastructure and Assurance Corp. and did some work with Australian investment bank Macquarie.

Kolman’s alma mater, Villanova University, has an endowed scholarship in his name. He has also been a panelist at Bond Buyer conferences.

During his year off, Kolman had turned down some offers until Academy called.

“I wasn’t looking to get back in,” he said “People kept asking me if I’d reconsider and I said no.”

Academy’s work with clients includes briefings on the geopolitical environment and the impact of foreign affairs, wars, and terrorist attacks on global capital markets.

Its public finance services include municipal finance banking, underwriting, marketing and innovative structures for tax-exempt commercial paper and exchangeable offerings.

Issuers include state and local governments, higher-education institutions, school districts, school districts, health care, economic development, utilities and essential services, and transportation- and housing-focused agencies.

The firm has offices in San Diego, New York, Boston, Chicago and Chapel Hill, N.C.

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Paul Burton

Paul Burton

Paul Burton is the Northeast Regional Editor for The Bond Buyer and the author of the book "Tales from the Newsrooms." He is a sought-after public speaker and has appeared on radio and TV shows, including former CBS News White House correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s public-affairs program, “Full Measure.”