A Midwest girl, Katie Hockman grew up in St. Louis, the youngest of three siblings. Today she serves as a managing director at middle-market lending firm Antares Capital where she manages various aspects of the deal process including new business development.
Hockman first became intrigued by M&A as an undergraduate at Ohio State University. While double-majoring in finance and accounting, she took an investment course that she simply “gravitated towards.” During the same period, one of Hockman’s sisters was working in the finance industry investment sector at the time, and she served as both role model and sounding board.
Hockman began her M&A career at ABN AMRO’s investment banking division. In the early 2000s, she made a foray into the venture capital world, before deciding that VC was not her “cup of tea” and that she preferred working with mature companies. That led her to Antares, in 2002, where she joined the underwriting team and worked on debt transaction structuring, underwriting and management.
“I wanted to go into something where I could live with the investment after deploying the capital,” Hockman reminisces. “I wanted to be more involved in the corporate strategy and those strategic decisions.”
More recently, Hockman has helped lead several key deals, including the merger of Ridgemont Equity Partners-backed Unishippers Global Logistics with Worldwide Express to form a new provider of third-party logistics, and Norwest Equity Partners’ purchase of WestStar Aviation in 2016. The latter deal is notable in that WestStar continued to be active in 2017 with add-on acquisitions and expanded operating and debt facilities.
Hockman was the only woman from her graduating class to choose a career in investment banking, and today at 95 percent of her meetings with management she’s the only woman in the room. The good thing about that, she jokes, is that management doesn’t get her name confused.
The downside, Hockman notes, is that the dearth of women means fewer role models to learn from. Aware of the deficit, Antares hosted a conference early last year that brought together more than 20 senior professional women from private equity and investment banking. The event served as a forum on diversity, with discussion of how to encourage women to remain in the industry and attract others to it.
Antares is also promoting a women’s network within the firm, which Hockman is helping to launch. The initiative is aimed at promoting diversity and concomitant recruitment efforts throughout the company.
Outside of work, Hockman spends a great deal of time attending to her biggest passion—her family. In her spare time, she likes to run half-marathons, play soccer and coaches her kids’ soccer team. For this M&A dealmaker, work and life appear to have struck a pretty good balance.