Leawood Clayton Partners has assembled one of the most knowledgeable teams in the Midwest. Our firm’s investment professionals come from diverse backgrounds in private equity, investment banking, operations, strategic consulting, finance and entrepreneurship. The Leawood team has owned and operated businesses in a wide range of industries.

Led by Founders Kevin Short and Roger Payne, Leawood’s team of M&A professionals identifies entrepreneurial companies that we can help take to the next level.

Kevin M. Short

Founder, Managing Partner and CEO
Kevin M. Short

Kevin Short is the Managing Partner and CEO of Clayton Capital Partners, a St. Louis-based investment banking firm specializing in merger and acquisition advisement. Beginning in 2007, Thomson Reuters, FactSet Mergerstat and Investment Dealers’ Digest all ranked Clayton Capital Partners as a top U.S. M&A firm. In 2017, Acquisition International M&A Awards awarded the firm the distinction of being the Best M&A Investment Banking Firm. It was also named a 2017 finalist for U.S.A. Boutique Investment Bank of the Year by the M&A Atlas awards. Clayton Capital Partners is also the winner of the Wealth & Finance Investment Bank of the Year.

Kevin is also the author of Sell Your Business For An Outrageous Price published by AMACOM. The book has received 11 awards, including the Axiom Book Award bronze Medal for Entrepreneurship, Indie Book Award, USA Best Book Award, The Great Midwest Book Festival Award, San Francisco Book Award, National Indie Excellence Award, New England Book Festival, International Book Award, The London Book Festival Award, Book Excellence Award and was a New York Book Festival Finalist. Many of the awards are from international competitions! The book synthesizes Kevin’s experience in selling mid-size companies ($10MM - $250MM in value) for twice the industry average EBITDA multiple.

Recognized as a leader in purchase and sale transactions of mid-size businesses spanning a wide range of industries, Short has orchestrated more than 150 purchase/sale transactions with an aggregate value of more than $1 billion. Years of experience (both as a business owner and as an adviser in this marketplace) enable Short to aggressively pursue his clients’ objectives during the turbulence that characterizes every transaction.

As an expert in mergers and acquisitions, Short has been named a judge for the M&A Advisor Award, an annual national award that recognizes excellence in dealmaking, restructuring and finance.  He writes and speaks frequently on these topics to groups of business owners, advisers to business owners and academics.  Groups include: Business Enterprise Institute, Inc., the St. Louis Association of Evaluation Professionals, Edward D. Jones, St. Louis University Entrepreneurship Program, Enterprise University, Business Intelligence Institute and Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to contributing to various national trade and business publications, Short is also the co-author of Cash Out Move On: Get Top Dollar–And More–Selling Your Business (Business Enterprise Institute, Inc. 2008).

Mr. Short devotes his free time first to his family, and second, to the education of children from low-income families.He serves as: the Chairman of the Board for the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation, the Chairman of the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Vice-Chairman of the Show-Me Institute, a board member of the Mercy Hospital System and The Children’s Scholarship Fund.

In 2018, Mr. Short was a recipient of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Education Association, honoring his lifetime commitment to the education of children in poverty. He is also a recipient of the FOCUS St. Louis “What’s Right With The Region” Award.

Roger L. Payne

Roger L. Payne

Roger Payne is a partner at Leawood Clayton Partners, and has responsibility for managing the senior leadership teams of its subsidiaries.

Early in 2012, Roger purchased Mack Hils, Inc., a 100-employee high quality metal fabricator and OEM part manufacturer. He had previously owned Industrial Supply Products, an industrial hose and gasket distributor.  Mergers, acquisitions, organic growth and the addition of partners, brought Industrial to a point where, in 2008, the company was sold to a national roll-up, Lewis-Goetz.

Since 2011, Roger has served as CEO of Canyon Stone, Inc., a regional manufacturer of masonry stone veneer. He has led them through explosive internal growth in the face of a weak housing market, in addition to acquiring another firm within the industry.

In 2005, Roger founded FLA Properties, a real estate investment company specializing in residential rentals and “flips” which he continues to own and operate today.

Prior to owning his own businesses, Roger held a number of operations and sales positions in both field and corporate locations for Yellow Freight System which is the company that brought him to Kansas City, where he now resides with his family.

These entrepreneurial and corporate experiences have made Roger an expert in turning around companies and managing profitable growth.  His philosophy is to teach others to manage the business, so that he can focus on determining where the business needs to go in the longer term.

Roger has an Economics degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York and an MBA from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri.

He also serves on the managing board of GreenNurture Board, Inc.


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