About Us

We're not consultants.
We're operating partners.

We come from industry.

We have been in your shoes and know exactly what you're dealing with.

OUR FOCUS: Middle Market Manufacturing

Years making meaningful impact for Middle Market business owners
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Average annualized ROI
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Operating partners with an average of 22 years of C-suite experience

The Operating Partner Advantage

We have led companies, built middle market businesses, and owned and exited those businesses successfully — many times over.

Organizations tend to embrace our team internally, realizing that our folks have walked in their shoes, faced similar challenges, and solved similar problems.

Our approach is collaborative and non-threatening.

We’re working hand-in-hand — which allows us to deliver greater (and faster) results.

What we believe

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Expertise is key

Only years of hands-on industry experience brings the unique understanding needed to quickly fix, assist, or successfully exit a business. We are able to maximize the value of your business because we’ve been there and done it before.

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We’re partners – working with you

We work alongside your team to rapidly implement improvements, and believe the business owner should approve all critical decisions. We’re working with you – not against you – every step of the way.

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Every business is unique

We don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Every business is unique, and we customize our team – and recommendations – for every client.

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Middle Market experience is required

ALL of our operating partners have hands-on experience in middle market companies. Our experts have built, run, turned around, and grown middle market businesses and understand the unique cultures involved.

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Humility and emotional intelligence are essential

We understand we are guests in our clients’ businesses. We want to become a valued member of your team, and work WITH you to accomplish your goals.

Our Leadership Team

Craig Speed

Craig Speed

President, FortéOne

Craig Speed is the President of FortéOne, where he focuses on firm operations, strategy, and growth through innovative service offerings and digital expansion.

Mark Rittmanic

Mark Rittmanic

Founder & CEO, FortéOne

Mark is the founder of FortéOne, and he leads business development and identifies growth opportunities for the firm.

Mark Jacobs

Mark Jacobs

Practice Leader

Mark Jacobs has spent 30 years guiding major growth initiatives and turnaround efforts using Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, Sales & Operations Planning, Category & Leadership Development, & Technology-Driven Processes.

Edward Pooley
Edward Pooley
Chief Financial Officer

Ed is the Chief Financial Officer of ForteOne. In addition, Ed engages in Administrative functions for the firm including, Operations, IT and Human Resources.

Manda Szewczyk

Manda Szewczyk

Chief Marketing Officer

As the Chief Marketing Officer Manda is responsible for directing and implementing FortéOne’s marketing strategy, driving brand awareness, and promoting our Accelerator Solutions.

Simon Ferns

Simon Ferns

Operating Partner Relations

Simon Ferns is FortéOne’s Consultant Relations liaison. He is a highly experienced Competitive Intelligence and Executive Search Professional with over 25 years’ global experience.


We don’t work with just anyone. And that is a statement borne of humility, not arrogance. Our senior partners meet with every business owner who contacts us in order to understand their issues in detail. If we believe we can help, we say so (and mean it). If we don’t believe we’re the answer to your problems, we’ll tell you that as well and recommend someone for you to work with that would be a better fit.

Middle market businesses and large public companies are worlds apart, and our focus from day one has been exclusively the middle market. We don’t hire young MBAs and teach them how to be consultants. We hire middle market operators and merge their experience with our processes. Our executives and industry experts have been business owners and operators. So the Operating Partners who would be working with you understand the culture in middle market firms. They roll up their sleeves and work inside your company, with your people, to help it make rapid, productive changes that quickly lead to increased profitability.

Our people have run hundreds of companies in dozens of industries. In many cases, they have already solved the very issues you are now facing. Often more than once at different firms. As for your particular business, we invest the time upfront to make sure we both understand your specific needs and will be able to help you address them successfully.

If we agree – after learning the details of your current situation and goals – that we are the right firm to assist you, then the risk to you is low. Our team is led by successful middle market veterans. We work alongside you, integrating with your team to discover what could be done, deciding what should be done, and helping get it done. Most importantly, you are always in control – of the process and the purse strings.

And, if we don’t meet or exceed our projections for annualized EBITDA growth? We will refund the difference or continue working (at no additional cost) until we do.

Because we have delivered for hundreds of clients over the past two decades. As previous business owners and operators ourselves, clients trust we understand their challenges, especially those unique to the middle market. And we know how to solve the toughest problems without impacting the ongoing business.

Yes. While the bulk of our efforts take place in the first few months, we are available for as long as our clients need us. In fact, many clients continue to work with our advisory services because they trust our opinions and value our insights.

A core FortéOne value is that a company’s most vital assets are its people. We understand the importance of quickly building a strong working relationship with not only management teams but also individual employees. By working with us, you are making an investment in the future for yourself and your people.

In a word, results. Our work revolves around improving profits in both the short and long term, with a target of delivering at least two- to three-times our fees in improved profits within 18 months. In many cases, the financial results we deliver for clients far exceed these targets.

Because business is getting more complex and all the specialized skills needed over time are simply not possible for a middle market company to have on staff. As you grow, you’ll naturally encounter issues that people in your firm – even very smart people – just aren’t equipped to solve. And it can be a full-time job to run a company (or department) and a full-time job to implement needed change. The effective solution is using industry leaders and specialists, who can devote themselves to assisting you for a short time, who have already solved similar problems. Solving tough issues for middle market firms is what we do at FortéOne.

Get in touch

North Shore Office (HQ):

500 Skokie Blvd,

Suite 515

Northbrook, IL 60062

Chicago Office:

350 N. Orleans,

Suite 9000N

Chicago, IL 60654