Our Firm

Trusted Advisors & Partners


High Rock Partners is a boutique firm of strategic and M&A advisors, located in Raleigh, North Carolina (in the RTP area), serving leaders of emerging growth and middle market companies. We assist owners and management in selling their company; making acquisitions; making key strategic decisions; navigating and executing on transitions of ownership; accelerating growth to the next level; and to re-position their company to optimize performance.

As a boutique firm, we combined the best of investment banking and strategic consulting to bridge the market’s need for high value-added services in the lower middle market segment. We use a unique and proven blend of experiences and tools in strategy, mergers & acquisitions, financing and deals coupled with leadership and creative solutions to achieve your desired outcome. As a firm, our focus is on strategy, exits (selling your business), acquisitions, financing and turnarounds.

With our focus on long-term client relationships, we look for a match in key facets of your business and ours. We invest valuable time, intellectual capital, long-standing relationships and money; it’s important that we choose our clients well (and visa-versa). Below are many of the elements that we scrutinize when evaluating a potential client relationship, and we hope you’ll do the same when seeking a trusted advisor:

  • Values & Philosophy (see below)
  • Management
  • Opportunity for us to add significant value
  • Leverages our core strengths, network and relationships
  • Opportunity for us to be successful
  • Company stage
  • Industry & market

In partnership with HRP, company leaders can leverage our global operating, corporate finance and transaction experience. As value creators we provide both the leadership and tactical support to assist companies in developing, implementing, and executing integrated solutions to their strategic needs and opportunities.

“Our Mission is to be the go-to advisors for M&A projects and strategic problem solving for the shareholders of emerging growth and middle-market companies.”

Kenneth Marks

Founder & Managing Partner

“Our Mission is to be the go-to advisors for M&A projects and strategic problem solving for the shareholders of emerging growth and middle-market companies.”

Kenneth Marks

Founder & Managing Partner


It’s important how we conduct ourselves, who we do business with, and why we enter into client engagements. Below is a list of core values that drive our decisions and actions:

  • Accept engagements that we assess to have a high probability of successful completion
  • Accept engagements with clients that we would personally invest in
  • Accept engagements that add value to our practice and have financial reward
  • Always make decisions for the good of the client; not the practice
  • Take the high road, always!
  • Be willing to take a bullet for our client’s best interest
  • Call out our mistakes and diminish our successes
  • Fairness, openness, integrity, and humbleness
  • Tell the client the truth and the facts, even when it hurts or may cost the relationship
  • Maintain life balance
  • Do our homework and be prepared
  • Be responsive and attentive to client needs
  • Do what you say and say what you mean


We believe that the following factors are critical to our firm’s long-term success and prosperity:

  • Client success
  • Performance & results
  • Strong relationships
  • Recognized technical competence
  • Contemporary knowledge & base of information
  • Strong client and resource referrals
  • Contemporary network of resources, investors, lenders, & go-to advisors
  • Consistent flow of quality deals & opportunities
  • Capable & effective team
  • Institutionalized processes & standards to assure quality & consistency
  • Base of assessment & analysis tools to allow quick & accurate diagnosis of client situations

Awards & Recognition


High Rock Partners has been named the Boutique M&A Advisory Firm of the Year NC 2024

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High Rock Partners was honored as M&A Advisory Firm of the Year for North Carolina 2017 by M&A Today


High Rock Partners has been awarded the Mid-Market Boutique Advisory Firm of the Year 2015 by Finance Monthly magazine in their annual M&A Awards


High Rock Partners was awarded the M&A Advisory Firm of the Year for North Carolina in 2014 by Corporate LiveWire.


High Rock Partners was a finalist for the M&A Advisor of the Year 2015


  • "After 600%+ sales growth over 21 years, we had a great company to sell but had limited ideas how. Our cash basis accounting, capitalization policy, and seasonal variations had to be restated in terms a buyer understands. Enter High Rock Partners Kenneth and Buddy who were experienced and skilled in what to do and how to do it. They were also careful to accommodate our needs and concerns for the best personal and business outcome. Kenneth and Buddy competently packaged our company and aggressively conducted a national search that produced multiple prospects in short order. They coolly negotiated  and quickly concluded a successful sale on our behalf. We appreciate and are grateful for their expertise, their friendship and their ability to wed our business with a new owner. We heartily recommend them."

    Vicki & Charles Phaneuf
    Vicki & Charles Phaneuf Co-founders, CE Rental
  • "My decision to engage High Rock Partners, and specifically, Kenneth Marks was absolutely critical to the success of my deal. I involved Kenneth from the start in preparing and presenting the company to M W, including building the financial model that supported the 3 year growth strategy that I developed. Kenneth was invaluable throughout the deal process, helping me to negotiate at every step, regardless of whether it was face to face or during phone conversations. The check I wrote to High Rock Partners at the end of the deal was hand delivered with a smile, knowing that they were worth every penny that I paid them and more, THANK YOU Kenneth! "

    Randy Nelson
    Randy Nelson President, NSTAR Global Services, Inc.
  • "Buddy and Kenneth helped us refine our growth strategy and focus areas. Through their strategy process, they worked with our management and board to gather feedback, develop/prioritize key value-creating initiatives, and build consensus. By the end of the assignment, we had great clarity to act."

    Gregory J. Clary
    Gregory J. Clary Ph.D., CEO, Mi-Co
  • "I've closed two corporate sales that relied on Ken's strategic thinking around liquidity, licensing, and deal structure – he’s able to see all sides of the transaction. That ability created confidence in the buyers and the sellers; transforming fear into focused thinking, communication and action which resulted in a win/win liquidity event for our investors. "

    Todd Ballenger
    Todd Ballenger Founder & CEO, Kendall Todd, Inc.
  • "As a privately held company, Mount Olive periodically has requests to assist in providing liquidity for our shareholders. High Rock Partners assisted our financial management team in identifying and evaluating share purchase strategies. Kenneth and Buddy combined their broad business experience with a flexible, tailored approach that allowed our team to achieve its objectives through a cost effective engagement."

    Bill Bryan
    Bill Bryan Executive Chairman, Mount Olive Pickle Company
  • "American Support engaged High Rock Partners as strategic and corporate finance advisors to assist in the process of acquiring Evergreen Sales & Marketing. Kenneth Marks and his team helped us understand the likely sources and alternative deal structures, and to prepare our financial outlook in a format that would be understood by the various lending institutions being pursued to finance the acquisition and fund working capital. The High Rock Partners team adapted the analysis to accommodate the requests of the lenders and helped us understand the impact and outcomes of the credit facilities being presented to us; offering real world perspective on what was market and the relative benefits and risks. Once we selected the lending institutions, the High Rock team stayed involved during the due diligence process to provide guidance and support. We enjoy working with High Rock Partners and would highly recommend them. "

    Matthew Zemon
    Matthew Zemon CEO, American Support

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