Meet the Team

Rick DeStefane - Founder, CPA | Premier Business Brokers
Rick DeStefane
Founder, CPA

Rick is the owner and President of Reliant Care Management Company and a number of other well-established businesses in different industries. Reliant is affiliated with Premier Business Brokers and regularly partners with us in a variety of essential support services, including legal, accounting, and human resources. As a lifelong entrepreneur and business leader, Rick has built his stellar professional reputation around a drive to excel and create value for those he serves. The businesses he owns include skilled nursing facilities, long-term care management, in-home services, therapy services, senior living facilities, medical equipment, medical supply management, and many more. Among his numerous civic and professional commitments, Rick has been a member of the Associate Board at The Business Bank of Saint Louis since 2011.

Benjamin Strake, President - Founder, Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Benjamin Strake, President
Founder, Business Intermediary

Ben has a passion for helping business owners simplify the process of selling their most valuable asset – which is why he launched Premier Business Brokers in 2014.

Ben’s business career began in the hospitality industry (although his degree is in Non-Profit Administration). He owns several award-winning restaurant concepts that are highlighted in many national publications. One of his current partnerships includes the St. Louis Blues.

In 2012, Ben shifted his focus into business transactions for a large Midwestern firm, where he quickly learned that outdated processes could be improved. That awareness led to the creation of Premier Business Brokers. He founded our company on the belief that a positive organizational culture based on mutual respect would attract the top people, who could then provide the best experience and results for all involved. Today Premier has a staff of 26 professionals serving clients in over 40 states.

Brian Canavan
Director of Acquisitions

Brian has earned a well-deserved reputation as a successful business broker after compiling an impressive track record — more than 100 transacted business sales — over the past decade. He believes that successful business brokerage is all about the result. With that in mind, Brian’s approach is based on a commitment to thoroughness, because all of the details affect the outcome. A former business owner himself, Brian specializes in expediting the buying and selling of mid- to large-size businesses around the country. His motto is that he will make you a customer for life, no matter what it takes. Brian graduated from Maryville University in St. Louis with a BS in Marketing and a Minor in Management. He currently resides in what he describes as “the wonderful city” of Ellisville, Missouri.

Robert Craddick - General Counsel | Premier Business Brokers
Robert Craddick
General Counsel

After graduating from the prestigious Washington University School of Law, Bob began his legal career as a prosecutor for the City of St. Louis. Over twenty years, he established himself as one of the most respected and successful prosecutors in the history of the State of Missouri. He transitioned from his public servant position into private business practice, where he provided valuable legal service for a thriving, diverse, and multifaceted organization with revenues over $150 million a year. Currently, Bob serves as counsel to over 120 different business entities, representing clients in the food, entertainment, real estate, intellectual property, aircraft, and healthcare businesses, as well as a number of clients involved in local cultural endeavors. Premier Business Brokers relies on Bob for his many specialized skills in areas such as Transactional Law, Corporate Practice, and Arbitration.

Brandon Holtmann - Controller | Premier Business Brokers
Brandon Holtmann

Following an impressive high-school baseball career, Brandon accepted an athletic scholarship to Illinois’ McKendree University, from which he graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. In college, his areas of study emphasis included finance, economics, and business management. Since then, Brandon’s distinctive professional career has focused on specializing in a comprehensive range of business and financial strategies within the industries of long-term health care, commercial real estate, restaurants/food service, and pharmacy. Brandon is also a small-business owner and manager himself, as he and his wife Megan own and operate a popular daycare facility. When he’s not busy serving Premier Business Broker clients, Brandon enjoys spending time with the couple’s two young daughters, Zoey and Olivia.

Sarah Sarkissian
Office Manager

Sarah can easily be described as a “do it all” kind of person when it comes to professional support and administrative management capabilities. Her distinctive resume covers 35 years of experience successfully working with executives at all levels, from Presidents and Vice Presidents to members of Sales teams and their associates. For the past 15 years, Sarah has been using her versatile abilities to assist in the many specialized and demanding aspects of office management and administrative services for business brokerage professionals. Throughout her career, Sarah has earned a reputation for excellent customer service, attention to detail, and a professional attitude. While she is also known for her ability to produce a large quantity of work, Sarah believes that quality is first and foremost her main objective.

Destiny Dickerman, Director of Marketing

Destiny Dickerman
Marketing Director

Destiny Dickerman, our esteemed Marketing Director, is a dynamic force in the world of digital marketing. With a career spanning over a decade, she has consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence in her field.Destiny’s journey in the realm of marketing began as a passion and quickly evolved into an unparalleled expertise. With over 10 years of hands-on experience, she has honed her skills to a razor’s edge. Her remarkable journey is not just a testament to her tenacity, but also a celebration of her relentless pursuit of knowledge and perfection. What sets Destiny apart is her versatile skill set that encompasses every facet of digital marketing. From crafting compelling content that resonates with the audience to executing data-driven marketing campaigns that yield impressive results, Destiny’s expertise knows no bounds. Her ability to seamlessly navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape is a testament to her adaptability and forward-thinking mindset.

Brian Jones
Business Intermediary

Brian has over three decades of C.E.O. experience running a number of successful companies in the U.S. and Canada. This includes 20 years of buying, building, and selling his own businesses. As a result, he quickly grasps a company’s value drivers in order to obtain the optimal transaction price for the seller and buyer. Beyond the quantitative factors, he uniquely also understands the qualitative elements which in many cases, are equally important.

He has been a member of YPO since 1988, a global leadership organization. He is currently on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Chapter.

Pam Ludwinski
Business Intermediary, Real Estate Agent

Pam has compiled close to forty years of professional experience in a variety of industries and financial service institutions, highlighted by almost a decade as a business broker. Her rich and diversified background provides Pam with a tremendous amount of relevant insight and expertise, all of which is extremely valuable when helping a client navigate the process of buying or selling a business. As a former owner of retail and service businesses herself, Pam acutely understands the many challenges related to small business ownership and management. In addition, her experience as a Vice President and Director of Human Resources gives Pam a deeper appreciation of the human aspects that can come into play during the life-changing process of a business transfer. In her life away from work, Pam loves sports, gardening, and rehabbing houses.

David Yochum
Intermediary to the team of Pam Ludwinski

Meet David Yochum, a seasoned Buyer’s Intermediary at Premier M&A Advisors. Hailing from St. Louis, David holds a degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Missouri St. Louis. With a passion for facilitating successful transactions, David steps into the role of Buyer’s Intermediary, ensuring a seamless process from assignment to closing. Beyond the world of M&A, he channels his interests into building and racing cars, reflecting his dedication to precision and speed. An avid gun collector in his free time, David brings a unique blend of expertise and personal pursuits to the forefront of strategic business acquisitions.

Susan Stonecipher
Seller Intermediary to the team of Pam Ludwinski

Susan has forty years of professional experience ranging from interior design, business development, direct sales and owning a small business. She received BS from Auburn University and an MBA from Webster University. Susan started her career in the Barber and Beauty Salon equipment industry in design and sales, working for both manufacturers and distributors. She then took a job in business development with a large electronics company and eventually moved into eCommerce sales. Susan joined Premier Business Brokers in January 2023 and continues to operate a small promotional apparel business, Stadium Sportswear. With her vast experience in multiple industries, Susan will apply her creative, consultative selling skills and attention to detail in working with Premier’s clients. Away from work, Susan enjoys sports, volunteer work and spending time with family.

Samantha Newman - Outbound Marketing Coordinator | Premier Business Brokers
Samantha Newman
Business Intermediary

Samantha’s versatile skill set represents a variety of opportunities for her clients. In addition to talents as an artist, she has expertise in marketing, analytics, social media campaigns, and more.After attending St. Louis Community College and The University of Missouri – St. Louis, she earned a Degree in Applied Arts and Communications, and then established her own graphics firm, Sunti Designs, in 2004. Sunti’s specialty is helping small- to medium-size businesses create a branding image comparable to Fortune 500 companies, but at much lower prices. Samantha’s own business experience includes banking, retail, telecommunications, and other top industries. Sunti is now a division of WS Newman, LLC, which also provides services in public relations, sales training, speaker series coordination, and event promotions. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys tennis, singing karaoke, and performing with a professional dance team.

Doug Heller
Business Intermediary

Doug has been advising business management most of his career, through financial services management consulting, and business and commercial real estate brokerage. This includes having worked as a consultant with PwC Consulting, KPMG Consulting, and as an independent management consultant; as well as with a few large and regional commercial real estate firms.

Doug has assisted those running Fortune companies, as well as those who own and/or run small-to-medium sized businesses; companies located across the US.

He also founded and currently runs a small business focused on sourcing sustainable seafood and an array of meats for high-end restaurants and online specialty protein-providing retailers.

Doug grew up in St Louis, received his BA from Brown University, an MBA in finance from UCLA Business School, and is a licensed real estate broker in California and Missouri. He’s an active youth hockey dad and supporter of his college daughter’s film, photo and video production career aspirations.

Natalie Lester
Executive Assistant

Natalie attended Lindenwood University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications, with a minor in broadcast. During her time at Lindenwood, she belonged to numerous honor’s societies and she was always a member of the dean’s list. Outside of work, she has a desire to travel, and to expand her horizon’s by meeting new people and trying new adventures.

Natalie has a passion for assisting the team in setting goals, and exceeding expectations. In 2023, she proudly joined Premier Business Brokers as an executive assistant to Ben Strake. She utilizes her skills and experience to assist Ben, and the team to grow to greater heights and to achieve high quality results.

Liam Knobbe
Business Intermediary,Analyst

Born and raised in St. Louis County, Liam graduated from Saint Louis University with a B.S. in Finance. During his time at Saint Louis University, Liam was a member of the Men’s Ice Hockey team while also working on the team’s board. He joined Premier Business Brokers in 2021 and adds value to the Premier team through financial analysis, data reporting, and daily coordination with every member of the team.

Mark Sauter
Business Intermediary

Mark is a credible and inspiring resource, with a track record that speaks of his ability in conceptualizing & identifying paths to successfully navigate the waters of buying or selling a business.

Mark is armed with an array of knowledge from various industries starting with twenty years of industrial sales and management roles. As a business owner, he has extensive experience in the commercial & residential real estate markets. Two internet service companies, a restaurant service business, a laundromat, and sales consulting firm round out his owner experiences.

His thirty-plus years of corporate and business ownership responsibilities, paired with his strong work ethic, streamlines & enriches the process of making that life-changing decision. Skilled at confidentially networking the market and backed by a team of like-minded professionals ensures you a fruitful transaction.

Joseph Coppola
Business Intermediary

Joseph Coppola is a serial entrepreneur and has owned several business ventures since a young age. He has spent the last few years as a business broker in the Saint Louis Metro area and has been providing small business consulting services for the last decade.

Joseph also has a deep passion for education and has been teaching both business and marketing courses since 2013. His combination of experience as both an educator, business owner, and business consultant, provides him with a unique perspective

Joe Lansing - Intermediary, Real Estate Broker | Premier Business Brokers
Joe Lansing
Business Intermediary, Real Estate Broker

A proud native of St. Louis, Joe has had a long and productive career which includes 32 years with AT&T. During his tenure there, Joe served in many essential capacities, such as network sales, business planning, and business development. His specialized capabilities include guiding business owners in the use of technology to streamline their processes and improve profitability. Along the way, Joe has also owned small businesses around St. Louis, which he credits for reinforcing his personal emphasis on the importance of honesty, trust, and commitment. Joe believes in a smooth, non-threatening approach to business brokering, which helps everyone involved to clearly understand and successfully navigate the process of selling or purchasing a business. Joe and his wife of 24 years have a college-aged son and daughter, both of whom have always been active in sports – where Dad was often their coach.

Alexander J.Schwent - Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Alexander J.Schwent
Business Intermediary

A Cum Laude graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas, Alex originally embarked on a career in politics, working in the U.S. Senate. He eventually returned to his hometown of St. Louis to work in finance, starting at Eagle Bank and Trust, where he quickly climbed the ranks and became the youngest-ever member of its “President’s Club.” A series of bank mergers led to other positions, including Regional Manager of Pulaski Bank’s lending division. Given the opportunity to start his own business, Alex then founded a consulting firm to advise clients on strategies regarding analysis, acquisition, management, and development of commercial, industrial, and investment real estate. Alex has owned a portfolio of several businesses and commercial real estate, and is an Advisory Board Member for St. Louis Bank. He also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Jefferson County Port Authority and Industrial Development Authority.

Steve Normand - Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Steve Normand
Business Intermediary

Steve is a transplant to our region, having been born and raised in the great state of Louisiana, where he graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Since then, the career path that ultimately led Steve to Premier Business Brokers has been long, colorful, and extensive. During his years in the business world, Steve has held successful management positions in a number of different companies – ranging from privately owned enterprises to multi-national corporations. With the vast experience he has accumulated throughout the decades, Steve is now uniquely qualified to advise Premier’s clients and help them make the best decisions. He has been a full-time business broker for over ten years and is a licensed Real Estate Agent in Missouri. Along with his wife, Steve has also been a small business owner since 2003.

Mark Brockling - Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Mark Brockling
Business Intermediary

Mark’s deep business background, creative marketing approaches, and years of relevant experience make him ideally suited to advise any stakeholders on the complex processes involved with mergers and acquisitions. His comprehensive real-world knowledge and business acumen are a valuable resource for his clients. Prior to becoming a business broker, Mark was President and CEO of HH Coleman Company, a century-old St. Louis-based distributor of laundry and dry-cleaning supplies. Under his entrepreneurial leadership, the company grew into a $9 million business with branches in multiple cities. During his years with the company, Mark also developed an innovative, cost-saving manufacturing process which sparked the interest of his customers and clients throughout the industry, eventually resulting in a new collaboration with Europe’s largest manufacturer of wire hangers. That manufacturer, MEVO, then entrusted Mark to establish their US operations in 2017.

Len Behnen - Intermediary, Real Estate Agent | Premier Business Brokers
Len Behnen
Business Intermediary, Real Estate Agent

Len’s entrepreneurial pursuits over the last 30 years have allowed him to be involved in starting, acquiring, and operating numerous businesses. Since 2010, he has been directly focused on business sales and purchases throughout the St Louis region. Len’s diverse background as both an owner and operator of businesses enables him to relate to the exact same challenges his clients face when they are buying or selling a business. With a dedicated approach to client service and passion for results, Len has built his reputation on successfully leading buyers and sellers through the complex lifecycle of business acquisition. He recognizes and appreciates the dynamic relationships between current market conditions, emerging trends, and price, and he uses this paradigm to his advantage when negotiating. Understanding the factors that set price is critical, and it’s one of the keys to how Len gets deals done.

Jordan Shumate - Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Jordan Shumate
Business Intermediary

Born and raised in Webster Groves Missouri, Jordan graduated Cum Laude from Maryville University with a B.S. in Financial Services. While at Maryville, he was also the captain of the men’s lacrosse team and a member of the university’s Financial Management Association chapter. He joined Premier Business Brokers in 2017, initially working as an analyst and marketing advisor. The majority of his experience with the company has been with buy-side clients in our nationwide off-market search program. Through his efforts with those searches, Jordan has located hundreds of potential acquisition targets for our clients and has been instrumental in the success of four related acquisitions. Away from work, Jordan’s interests include watching the St. Louis Blues, playing lacrosse, relaxing at his family cabin, and simply spending time with family and friends.

Bill Biermann
Business Intermediary, Real Estate Agent, CVA Certified

Bill’s impressive blend of business experience, academic credentials, and personal achievements makes him a valuable member of the Premier team. His professional background includes retail, wholesale, technology services, and small business ownership. A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Saint Louis University, Bill also holds a Master’s degree in Finance and is a CPA. His 30+ years of experience in accounting and operations enable Bill to understand both the challenges and benefits of small businesses. He can quickly get to the root cause of an issue to help companies address and solve problems. In 2001, Bill and his wife established a non-profit organization, “The Foundation for Children with Atypical HUS,” which they continue to run and serve as volunteers. Bill is also involved with Prison Ministries. For recreation, he enjoys spending time with his family, but admits he has a passion for “all things outdoors” and amateur astronomy.

Sam Hassoun
Business Intermediary, Real Estate Agent

With over 35 years of experience across various industry platforms, Sam brings a unique level of insight to Premier. By combining a natural ability to understand client needs with his advanced communication and marketing skills, Sam is distinctly qualified to serve as an intermediary in business transactions. His goal is to equip both entities with the most realistic valuation along with the most realistic expectations. Sam’s versatile business background includes 13 years as a financial consultant plus vast experience in electronics and computer hardware, with specific emphasis on management of small and midsize electronics firms. In those management positions, he directed all aspects of operations from purchasing to sales and marketing. For the past ten years, Sam has been providing a range of project management and business development services for owners of small companies as well as Fortune 500 corporate clients.

Dirk Massie - Intermediary | Premier Business Brokers
Dirk Massie
Business Intermediary

Dr. Dirk is an Optometrist, but he views himself more as a businessman than eye doctor. Owning his own practice since 2003, he now operates several locations throughout the St. Louis metro area. In 2008, Dirk started working as a consultant and intermediary to help fellow Optometrists with buying and selling their practices. As part of the Premier Business Broker team, he now utilizes his extensive knowledge and experience as a business owner and broker to help clients in all types of industries. He is very committed to helping clients achieve their goals when it is time to make the big decision to buy or sell a business.

Dan Buescher
Business Intermediary

Meet Dan Buescher, our seasoned business intermediary and real estate agent extraordinaire. With over a decade of experience navigating the intricate realms of business transactions and property dealings, Dan brings a wealth of expertise to the table.

Beyond the boardrooms and property tours, Dan’s passion lies in the world of automobiles. A true enthusiast, he spends his downtime meticulously building cars and immersing himself in the vibrant atmosphere of classic car shows and auctions. Whether negotiating deals or fine-tuning engines, Dan’s commitment to excellence shines through in everything he does.

Dave Overton
Outbound Marketing Representative

Dave Overton is a Client Acquisition Specialist at Premier Business Brokers, bringing decades of experience and an impressive track record to the table. In 1988, Dave set telemarketing records at Thomas Construction, where he was honored as Telemarketer of the Month for six consecutive months and successfully closed over $10 million in home improvement transactions. He was among the pioneering cold callers in St. Louis, Missouri, making his mark in the industry early on.

Dave’s extensive background spans speculative home building, automotive and RV sales, and marketing. His relentless drive for success and steadfast commitment to leadership have established him as a consistent trailblazer in his field.

Outside of his professional life, Dave enjoys golfing and exploring culinary delights. He deeply values the quality time spent with his cherished family, which remains his top priority.

Suzanne Williams
Outbound Marketing Representative

Meet Suzanne William, a distinguished professional and dedicated client acquisition specialist at Premier Business Brokers. Stationed in the vibrant city of St. Louis, Missouri, Suzanne has been an integral part of the Premier team for several years, consistently recognized as one of our elite marketers. Her expertise lies in her ability to connect with clients, understanding their unique needs, and guiding them through the complexities of business transactions with ease and confidence.

Suzanne’s commitment to excellence doesn’t just end with her professional achievements; it extends into her personal life as well. An avid traveler, she cherishes the opportunity to explore new cultures and landscapes, finding inspiration and relaxation in her adventures. Family time is paramount for Suzanne, as she values the moments spent with loved ones, creating memories that last a lifetime. Her passion for the outdoors further reflects her adventurous spirit and love for nature.

At Premier Business Brokers, Suzanne embodies the values of integrity, expertise, and a client-first approach, making her a trusted advisor and invaluable asset to both our team and the clients we serve.

Morgan Reed
Marketing Strategist

Meet Morgan Reed, a dynamic marketing strategist and invaluable member of the Premier Business Brokers team. With roots in Missouri, Morgan’s journey in the realm of marketing and design commenced at Missouri State University in Springfield, where she honed her creative talents and strategic acumen, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with an emphasis on Illustration.

Morgan’s career is marked by a passion for connecting businesses with their target audiences in innovative and effective ways. Her expertise is not just in crafting compelling marketing strategies but also in analyzing market trends and consumer behavior, skills she refined during her tenure as a marketing analyst at Bass Pro. This experience has imbued her with a unique perspective on the intersection of design, strategy, and consumer engagement, making her an asset to our clients at Premier Business Brokers.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Morgan is an avid traveler, always eager to explore new destinations and cultures. These experiences enrich her understanding of diverse market landscapes, further enhancing her strategic approach to marketing. When not charting new courses for business success or globetrotting, Morgan cherishes time spent with her family, grounding her adventurous spirit in the love and support of home.

At Premier Business Brokers, Morgan applies her vast experience and passionate approach to help our clients navigate the complex business marketplace. Her strategic insights and creative outlook are integral to our mission of connecting sellers and buyers through personalized, effective marketing strategies.

Terry Bridges
Outbound Marketing Manager

In memory of Terry Bridges February 25th, 1960 – Tuesday, June 16th, 2020.