Chris C. Edelen is a recognized leader of private equity and family-owned businesses. He currently is a CEO-In-Residence with Texas Next, working with the firm to identify and evaluate businesses for investment purposes.
Chris started his career with Fox Photo, a NYSE-listed photo processing company that was also the largest operator of Hallmark Card and Gift Stores globally. He advanced from a Store Manager/Manager Trainee to the position of Executive Vice President/COO of company operations with sales over $250 million. He participated in the LBO of the company from Eastman Kodak, as well as numerous acquisitions and the sale of the company to another NYSE-listed firm. In each assignment, the sales and profitability of the operations he managed exceeded prior year and budgeted financial results. In addition, Chris was awarded the Fox Photo President’s award for highest overall performance and improvement. Chris worked closely with the President of Fox Photo to develop a strategic business plan that included selling off non-core markets and reinvesting in core business markets and new acquisitions. In 1997 Chris and the management team attempted to purchase Fox Photo, but it was eventually acquired by a strategic buyer.
Chris returned to Austin and joined Travelfest as President and senior consultant to the founder. Travelfest was the third startup by Gary Hoover. His first two were Bookstop (acquired by Barnes and Noble) and Hoovers.com (acquired by Dunn and Bradstreet). After Travelfest, Chris returned to San Antonio as President and CEO of Grand Openings, a $20 million manufacturing, wholesale and retail distribution company that was on the verge of bankruptcy. In less than a year, Chris and his team bought the bank debt, sold an unprofitable division, tripled the sales backlog and returned the company to profitability.
In 1999, Chris joined Norwood Promotional Products with sales of almost $500 million as the Vice President of Marketing for San Antonio based RCC Koozie (a $70 million dollar manufacturing supplier company). During his five years at Norwood, he held the positions of Senior Vice President of Marketing, President and General Manager of RCC Koozie, Corporate Division President and Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
In 2005, Chris joined Beldon Enterprises as the President and CEO of the LeafGuard division. During his time, Chris built a talented management team, enhanced the sales and marketing organization and implemented operating strategies that tripled company sales and achieved strong levels of profitability. Chris also negotiated a contract with one of the country’s largest retailers to sell LeafGuard products through a broad network of big box stores. Most recently, Chris launched a new division that capitalizes on the fast growing baby boomer/senior market.
Chris is a member of Young Presidents Organization/World Presidents Organization. He was formerly a board member of Boundless Network, a high growth private equity-owned promotional products distributor. He is on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society board. He has twice been named one of four nationwide finalists for the Fred Case Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He serves on the board of a privately held company in the food testing business. He is also a board member of the St. Mary’s University Greehey School of Business.
Chris is a native of San Antonio, where he attended St. Mary’s University and earned a BBA with a concentration in Marketing.