Rising Stars: Class of 2016
Meet The Bond Buyer's inaugural class of Rising Stars. Click here to access the 2016 magazine.
Tom Aaron
Title: Vice President, Senior Analyst
Firm: Moody's Investors Service
Age: 33

"Tom is leading the charge on pensions for Moody's. He is educating the market and his firm on a very misunderstood topic." Tom Kozlik, Managing Director and Municipal Strategist, PNC Financial Services
Ryan Barrow
Title: Executive Director
Firm: Office of Financial Management, Commonwealth of Kentucky
Age: 38

"Ryan served as the lead for one of the Commonwealth's largest infrastructure projects, the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) inaugural issuance to pay the $1.3 billion Downtown Crossing (Interstate 65) in Louisville. This project was the final component of a critical regional mobility project that was more than 40 years in the making." William O'Mara, Commissioner of Finance, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
Andrew Belinfanti-Knight
Title: Vice President, Public Finance Investment Banking Group
Firm: Wells Fargo Securities
Age: 33

"Andrew supports a company culture that is inclusive and leverages the diversity of Wells Fargo and the communities served. He has worked on many initiatives to bring diversity into our industry, including providing classroom supplies for schools across the nation. He works with his alma mater, Howard University, to provide students and faculty with access to practical knowledge, skills and real-world environments for researching and analyzing business issues." Peter Hill, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Securities
Jason Capizzi
Title: Member
Firm: Waters, McPherson, McNeill, P.C.
Age: 38

"Jason has impressed me as an inspired attorney unlike any other that I have worked with during my 50 year career. I am gratified that Jason is building upon the tradition of excellence I established as New Jersey's first bond counsel, evidenced by his exceptional judgment and analysis of the laws governing public finance." John L. Kraft, Of Counsel, Waters, McPherson, McNeill, P.C.
Emma Chapman
Title: Senior Manager, Debt Administration
Firm: Chicago Transit Authority
Age: 29

"Emma is an extraordinarily talented young woman who has dedicated her career to transportation finance. I cannot recall meeting anyone who has been so proactive and purposeful in learning all aspects of the business. She is destined to be a major force in the field." Lois Scott, Corporate Director, MBIA
Kevin Chen
Title: Head of Municipal Bond Pricing
Firm: IHS Markit
Age: 35

"Under Kevin's leadership, Markit's municipal offering is viewed as a viable evaluation service that competes with vendors that have lead the industry for decades. Kevin's ability to adapt to new regulations around transparency and liquidity demonstrate his keen awareness towards the future of the municipal market." Anthony Hoesterey, Manager, Commerical Planning, Medidata Solutions
Christine Choi
Title: Senior Managing Consultant
Firm: The PFM Group
Age: 31

"Christine demonstrates a commitment to public finance that is rare among young people in this industry. She exemplifies collaboration in an industry that does not always reward teamwork, and has shown leadership in improving the representation of women and people of color in our industry." Kevin Kone, Managing Director, Finance, San Francisco International Airport
Wes Ellins
Title: Vice President
Firm: Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Age: 34

"Wes has never failed to deliver and is always up for a challenge. He truly embodies the spirit of a leader and has the smarts to find solutions. Wes is one of the few people I have ever encountered who really enjoys the world of municipal finance." Sue Woo, Deputy Treasurer, Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA)
Erica Gonzalez
Title: Managing Director
Firm: Stifel
Age: 35

"As a first generation American graduating college with high honors, Erica is an exemplary role model. She has worked with urban high schools with large Latino populations to educate students and their parents on the steps required to apply to four-year colleges and universities and empowers them to take advantage of available resources. She's also a role model to young professionals in her field while balancing being a mother of two very energetic boys with the fast-paced work environment of a public finance banker." Raul Amezcua, Managing Director, Stifel
David Hammer
Title: Executive Vice President and Head of Municipal Bond Portfolio Management
Age: 38

"Dave has spearheaded PIMCO's thought leadership on the Puerto Rico debt crisis and other pertinent topics regarding the municipal bond market. He's led PIMCO's municipal team through a successful leadership transition since taking over the business. His accomplishments, leadership skills, and future prospects make him an ideal 'Rising Star.'" Agnes Crane, Senior Vice President, PIMCO
Natasha Holiday
Title: Director
Firm: RBC Capital Markets
Age: 34

"Natasha is known not only as a go-to, approachable colleague for her work in public finance, but she is also admired by other young analysts and associates for her career advice and support. She's a leader at work and in her professional activities away from work. She is a rising public finance star." Daniel Heimowitz, Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets
Megan Kilgore
Title: Principal
Firm: H.J. Umbaugh & Associates
Age: 34

"What is impressive is that not only has Megan always sought to become more knowledgeable herself, she has sought to foster the understanding of others and the integrity of the industry itself." Kym Arnone, Managing Director, Jefferies
Eric Kim
Title: Director
Firm: Fitch Ratings
Age: 36

"Eric is known for his keen intelligence, sharp analytical mind, and strong collaborative focus. He is always suggesting new and better ways to do things and his contribution is consistently very positive. Eric is gaining steady recognition from issuers and investors in our market." Laura Porter, Managing Director, Fitch Ratings
Nadine Mentor
Title: Senior Vice President
Firm: Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc.
Age: 37

"Nadine is a true leader in every sense of the word. She is dedicated to her clients and strives to always put her clients' needs first and to work with them to meet their objectives." James Haddon, Managing Director, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., Inc.
Leigh Nader
Title: Director, Public Finance, Eastern Region
Firm: Assured Guaranty
Age: 38

"Leigh's is consistently a top producer and capable of underwriting a wide spectrum of credits ranging from healthcare/higher education to more traditional general government credits. She has become a 'go-to' underwriter for high profile transactions." Jim Binette, Managing Director, Assured Guaranty
John Palmer
Title: Senior Associate
Firm: Orrick
Age: 39

"California school districts have argued for more than 30 years that the credit risk on their bonds should be evaluated solely on the strength of their tax base. It was an issue that long plagued the industry. John came up with a forward-thinking and innovative approach that was enacted into law SB 222." Eugene Clark-Herrera, Partner, Orrick
Poonam Patidar
Title: Member
Firm: Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
Age: 33

"Poonam is a brilliant practitioner representing all seats in a bond transaction with skill. She is a leader within the firm, serving on the firm's associates committee and as assignment coordinator for the firm's summer associate program. She performs her work with grace and collaboration and helps bring working groups together to get deals done." Richard Moche, Member, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
Rudy Salo
Title: Partner
Firm: Nixon Peabody, LLP
Age: 39

"Rudy is very modest, but I know he has successfully represented, on a pro bono basis, a number of refugees and asylum seekers who have suffered hardship in their home countries and are seeking a better life in the United States." Dominique de La Chapelle, Partner, Nixon Peabody, LLP
Shaloo Savla
Title: Research Analyst
Firm: Fidelity Investments
Age: 33

"Shaloo brings an unusually diverse set of experiences to his work in municipal finance, which has caused him to think differently about municipal investing. He demonstrates leadership, commitment to collaboration, innovation, and creativity." Mathian Vali, Fixed Income Research Associate, Fidelity Investments
Marti Shew
Title: Director
Firm: Hilltop Securities
Age: 35

"Marti has a natural ability to deliver bad news gracefully yet forcefully, an art seldom utilized in Texas given our positive economic activity! She understands the numbers and is able to efficiently deliver quality advice to clients in a way that is understandable to the client." Boyd London, Financial Advisor, FirstSouthwest, a Division of Hilltop Securities
Carol Spain
Title: Director
Firm: S&P Global Ratings
Age: 30

"Carol always makes time to help others. She mentors junior analysts and analysts in training, helping them untangle criteria questions, facilitating effective communication with issuers, and helping young professionals develop an understanding of public finance credit fundamentals. We are lucky to have Carol on our team. She is a strong voice for the municipal market." Nora Whittstruck, Associate Director, S&P Global Ratings
Kareem Spratling
Title: Shareholder
Firm: Bryant Miller Olive
Age: 36

"Kareem lives by the mantra to try to 'be the best at everything that you do and if you are not the best, let it not be because you haven't given it your best.' His commitment to excellence in both personal and professional pursuits has been a cornerstone in his development as a highly respected bond lawyer and community leader." Grace Dunlap, Managing Shareholder, Bryant Miller Olive
Kristin Stephens
Title: Senior Municipal Credit Strategist
Firm: UBS Wealth Management
Age: 38

"I have known Kristin since she was a junior analyst at JP Morgan Securities and have had the pleasure of working with her at ACA Financial Guaranty Company and on the board of Municipal Analysts Group of New York (MAGNY). She is an insightful, diligent, intelligent, and tenacious analyst, generous with her time and thoughtful in her opinions, both published and in private." Sandra Brinkert Director, Municipal Products Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Juliet Stiehl
Title: Vice President, East Region Public Finance
Firm: Build America Mutual
Age: 36

"Juliet is a great communicator and educator, working hard to explain the structure and benefits of our guaranty to the market and identify transactions where we add value. She is highly respected by her peers and truly committed to and excited about public finance, which shines through when she is introducing new analysts to the industry." Don Farrell, Head of East Region Public Finance, Build America Mutual