Fine named vice president by mergers, acquisitions firm

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
09/30/2020 02:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Derek Fine
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Cherokee Nation citizen Derek Fine is making a big move out of Oklahoma and into the buying and selling of entire businesses.

E|Enginuity recently announced Fine as its vice president and principal of its greater Kansas City operations.

“A lot of what I’ll be doing will be middle market mergers and acquisitions,” Fine said. “I’ll be representing businesses, either on the buy or sell side – those looking to sell a company or buy others to grow it.”

Other services Fine will conduct include evaluations, including business readiness evaluations, which he compared to “fixing up your house before you sell it.”

“We will look at things that the business is doing really well or not so well, and help a business prepare to be able to sell,” he said.

E|Enginuity, a mergers and acquisitions firm, is based in Lawrence, and is a division of The Enginuity Group.

The flexibility will allow Fine to represent a couple of companies that conduct evaluations, though he won’t actually be an employee of either.

“One service is for companies doing $100 million or more in revenue,” he said. “This company will audit different expenses, trying to find savings in some form or another. If they don’t find any, then it doesn’t cost the client anything. The other company is geared more toward small businesses, and they will audit for any kind of tax savings. That could be cost aggregation on the property or looking for work opportunity tax credits for employers looking to hire. If they can find these credits, the company can use them to add more capital. This company also doesn’t charge the client if no savings is found. If they find savings, they split them with the client. It’s a pretty good deal.”

Fine said his start in mergers and acquisitions with another company in 2019 wasn’t auspicious, but he did accumulate experience in the financial sector with analysis, bonds and insurance.

“I really wanted to go the direction of M&A, but I had to cut my teeth and learn on my own,” Fine said. “Within the last year, I did sort of a health assessment of my career, and I just wasn’t happy doing insurance or bonds. It just wasn’t my long-term solution.”

It wasn’t a direct path. Since 2013, Fine has been a financial adviser for Morgan Stanley, and handled insurance and bonds for his most recent employer in Oklahoma and helping businesses of all sizes with risk evaluation, along with mergers and acquisitions.

Before that, Fine played in the NFL from 2008-10, and was team captain at the University of Kansas. Playing tight end, Fine made 36 receptions for 394 yards during his final season with the Jayhawks, who posted a 12-1 record and won the 2008 Orange Bowl over Virginia Tech, 24-21.

Fine has become more acquainted with his Cherokee lineage in recent years, and E|Enginuity – when announcing his hiring – said he would “have a national focus assisting tribes with their corporate development.”

“I would say that my heritage over the last five years has become more of a focus for me. I’ve done more investigating into my family and Cherokee heritage. The biggest part is the spiritual nature for a lot of people. We embody charity for each other and care for each other and our tribe. All of that has really stuck out for me and I’ve followed it a lot more.”

As a result, Fine said he wants to become more “invested” with the CN and other Natives nationally.

“I’m always trying to find different ways to advocate for our people, citizens and Natives across the country in whatever form that may be,” he said. “If there is anything I could ever do, if it’s some of the different experiences I have, that could help our people with sovereignty or self-sustainability within our communities, that is something I want to work toward.”

Born in Sallisaw, Fine, 37, lives with his wife Lindsey and three children ages 5, 2 and 1.
About the Author
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. 

He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...
david-rowley@cherokee.org • 918-453-5560
Sean Rowley was hired by the Cherokee Phoenix at the beginning of 2019. Sean was born a long time ago in Tulsa, where he grew up and attended Booker T. Washington High School as a freshman before moving to Pawnee County and graduating from Cleveland High School in 1987. He graduated sans honors from Northeastern State University in 1992 with a bachelor of arts in mass communication with emphases in advertising and public relati ...

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