Fortress Investment Group Privately Improving America’s Infrastructure

It’s hard to imagine a private company owning a train rail system. Train tracks span out over hundreds of miles and the private company must own all of that property. It seems easier for a government to operate a train system, but the first privately owned rail line in the United States just opened in South Florida with resounding success.

Brightline is the name of the train that connects Fort Lauderdale to Miami. The sleek train is capable of reaching speeds of 79 mph. The train screams by the usual traffic on Interstate 95. Drivers on the interstate trying to commute between Fort Lauderdale and Miami are treated to traffic that slows average speeds down to 34 mph.

Fortress Investment Group and one of its founding members, Wes Edens, owns the Brightline train. Fortress Investment Group has always had a knack for understanding business opportunities. They see a need for commuters to get between Fort Lauderdale and Miami while avoiding Interstate 95 traffic. The difference in commute times and average speeds should make Brightline a massive success.

Fortress Investment Group was founded back in 1998. Its first investment came in 1999 with real estate purchases in New York City and Toronto. The investment firm then diversified and began commanding billions of dollars in assets. It is the first and only private equity firm to go public with an IPO in 2007. The firm, which employs more than 900 people in New York City, is now in charge of more than $40 billion of assets across the globe.

Fortress Investment Group has big plans for its privately owned train system. Wes Edens envisions a time when his Brightline train reaches all the way up to Orlando. He is also eyeing real estate in Texas to connect Dallas to Houston. The investment group is pushing for privately owned train lines to connect Chicago to St. Louis as well as Atlanta to Charlotte.

Wes Edens owns a stake in the Milwaukee Bucks. That is perhaps why he is pushing for his Brightline train to connect Chicago to Milwaukee. These privately owned trains are a much needed upgrade to America’s infrastructure.

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Southridge Capital is a private equity company that offers financial advisory and structured capital to public companies. Steven Hicks, the Chief Executive Officer, founded the company in 1996. Since its inception, the company has invested over $1.8 billion in over 250 companies with financial constraints globally. Southridge Capital has an executive team that understands the market well and comes up with customized financing plans for each client. The company offers structured finance and financial advisory to growing companies.


Growing companies need financial analysis to project the future. The financial experts at Southridge Capital provide their clients with detailed financial projections of their expected performance. The company also helps companies optimize their balance sheet by coming up with a balance between debt and equity. Southridge Capital also helps their clients’ in the transition procedure from a private company to a public company.


Growing companies often merge with similar companies, but the process of finding a matching company can be quite cumbersome. Southridge helps their clients find companies whose model align with that of the existing client. The company also provides bankruptcy advice by negotiating and restructuring a client company out of bankruptcy as part of its financial advisory services. Southridge Capital helps their clients realize financing opportunities that are available whenever they are in a financial constraint. You can check out



In an interview with IdeaMensch, Steven Hicks explained how he started Southridge Capital. He was working with a small hedge fund when the principal decided to go back to Australia marking the end of his career at the firm. In the remaining one year when they would wound up the company, Steven requested the principal to start his own company while still working for him. Steven Hicks has over 30 years’ experience in the investment industry.

Southridge Capital is socially responsible and contributes to a number of charities. The management believes that volunteering impacts the society positively while at the same time strengthening the company. Steven Hicks and his wife began the Daystar Foundation that contributes time and monetary resources to the less fortunate in the society. The foundation has supported numerous charities as part of Southridge Capital’s corporate social responsibility making direct impacts on the lives of the needy. You can follow their Twitter page.




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Mike Burwell Of Willis Towers Watson Shares Thoughts On Success And Life

Michael Burwell works with Willis Towers Watson as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the team at Willis, Burwell spent 31 years of his career with Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP.


Burwell prepared for his career with an undergraduate degree in business administration obtained from Michigan State University. Burwell is also a certified public accountant and was named alumni of the year by MSU in 2010. View Additional Info Here.


Michael Burwell took a moment recently to share a few thoughts.


What Does Your Day Look Like Typically


On most days I am out of bed at 5 AM. I make my bed immediately, even when on the road. Doing this makes me feel as if I accomplished something. Exercise is usually the first order of the day and I like to ride a stationary bike. While riding, I have the chance to plot my day.


What Is A Habit Of Yours That Promote Productivity


I have always been interested in learning how to do more with less. To this end, I think technology can be used to make talented people even more productive. I always tell friends and acquaintances the apps that I use to increase productivity and they share the same information with me.



Is There Any Advice You Would Give A Younger Version Of Yourself


Yes. Be careful of seeking to appease others while collaborating. While it is nice if everyone can be happy when working as a group, people pleasing can be a surefire way to failure.



What Is A Business Strategy You Have Benefitted From


Remember that everyone will always be able to explain to you why your ideas will not work. It is a necessity to be both positive and relentless. I always take the time to celebrate with team members and carefully assess the reasons behind our wins and losses.



What Is A Habit You Do Over And Over That Has Brought You Success


I learned long ago the importance of becoming a good listener. Everyone has interesting information to offer. The question is always if time will be invested in discovering it.



What Is The Best $100 You Have Recently Spent


Well, I paid $100 for a briefcase chord organizer. I do a lot of traveling and it has been extremely helpful to have all my cords organized.


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