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Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012

20 emerging leaders in local businesses, nonprofits, government, education and law

(page 21 of 21)

Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Digeronimo

MATTHEW Digeronimo  age 38

Managing director, Smith Floyd Enterprises Inc.

Mergers and acquisitions isn’t a common field in Hawaii. And with his quiet, calm manner, Matthew DiGeronimo’s approach isn’t what you might expect from an M&A man. Above all, he listens rather than persuades.

After growing up in New Jersey and moving frequently as part of his Navy career, DiGeronimo has put down roots in Hawaii Kai with his wife, Aimee, and their three dogs.

“It’s not going to get any better than Hawaii,” he says.

Business is good, too. People from all over the world want to invest in Hawaii, he says. “We have way more buyers than sellers. ... I don’t believe that’s true in other markets.”

The Hawaii market is different in so many ways, so it’s important to understand the market in depth, he says. “It’s what I study, what I read. It’s what I breathe and what I live.”

DiGeronimo got his start in M&A in 2010 when he bought the VR Mergers & Acquisitions franchise in Hawaii, becoming president and owner of the eight-year-old company. Since then, the number of active clients has grown from five to 70, and the company is now known as Smith Floyd.

Previously, DiGeronimo was a nuclear submarine officer, but retired due to an injury. He has an MBA from the University of Connecticut and a B.S. in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

Kyle Maschhoff, VP of business sales at Smith Floyd, says it took just one meeting with DiGeronimo to know he wanted to join the team. “After speaking to him in person just one time, I was completely on board with his direction and goals.”

One of DiGeronimo’s goals is to mentor business owners and future business owners rather than simply developing relationships when a business owner is ready to sell, as is typical with M&A.

“My passion is teaching,” he explains. There are people who should be starting their own businesses and existing businesses that should be doing better, he says.

So far, Smith Floyd is mentoring five clients and hopes to have 20 by year’s end. The group meets for weekly classroom training, and goes over topics such as the need for service providers for advertising, human resources and other areas.

“Mergers and acquisitions are wonderful, but what really brings me joy is helping people,” DiGeronimo says.

— JOR

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