Steelhead Partners, LLC
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Investment Team


333 - 108th Ave NE, Suite 2010
Bellevue, WA 98004
(425) 974-3787 (Fund Information)
(425) 974-3788 (Main Line)

partner bios

Investment Team

J. Michael Johnston
Scott Schaefer
Brian Klein
Michael Ridgeway
Chris Brown
J.D. Kritser
Nick McFarland
Kyle Pickens

J. Michael Johnston

Co-founder, Managing Member, Equity Strategies
  • Michael co-founded Steelhead Partners, LLC in late 1996.  He manages the firmís equity strategies.
  • As senior vice president and senior portfolio manager at Loews Corporation, he co-managed over $5 billion in corporate bonds and managed an equity portfolio.
  • Michael began his investment career at Prudential Insurance as a high yield and investment grade credit analyst. He was promoted to co-portfolio manager of an $11 billion fixed income portfolio.
  • Other applicable experience includes responsibilities as a credit analyst at Texas American Bank.
  • He graduated with honors from Texas Christian University with a BA in finance and received his MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Business at Cornell University.
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Scott Schaefer, CFA

Senior Portfolio Manager, Convertible Strategies
  • Scott joined Steelhead in 2005 from Loews Corporation. He and firm co-founder Michael Johnston were previously colleagues at both Loews and Prudential Insurance.
  • In 1992, Scott joined Loews as a senior vice president and senior portfolio manager. As co-manager of the investment-grade corporate portfolio, he was responsible for over $5 billion in assets. During this time he developed an interest in convertible securities and, with Loews' support, launched an in-house portfolio. By 2003 he was running convertible funds totaling $800 million.
  • Upon completing his MBA, Scott joined Prudential Insurance as a portfolio manager. He assumed responsibility for two fixed-income mutual funds, as well as the fixed-income components of two asset allocation funds. He became the designated investment-grade corporate bond expert in the mutual fund group.
  • Scott began his career at IBM in Bethesda, Maryland as a computer programmer.
  • He interned at The Travelers as an investment analyst, modeling optionality in corporate bonds.
  • Scott was educated at Duke University (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa). He graduated with dual majors in economics and computer science and received his MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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Brian Klein

Co-founder, Managing Member
  • Brian co-founded Steelhead Partners, LLC in late 1996.
  • As vice president and executive director in the equities division at Goldman Sachs, Brian worked with some of the world's largest institutional investors in Frankfurt, Germany, and Boston.
  • Brian was trained in credit analysis at the Bayerische Vereinsbank in Munich, Germany. He started in the credit department before serving as assistant to the director of investment banking.
  • He graduated from Texas Christian University with a BA in history and earned his MBA at Southern Methodist University .
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Michael Ridgeway

Trader and analyst
  • Mike joined Steelhead Partners in 2000 to assist Michael Johnston with research and trading.
  • Prior to joining Steelhead, he was vice president and manager of institutional sales at Ragen MacKenzie, a regional, value-oriented research broker in Seattle. Mike also served as interim research analyst, covering telecommunications, software, and network equipment companies.
  • Mike spent four years at Stellar International, a Seattle private holding company. He constructed, recommended, and implemented portfolio investment strategies based on fundamental analysis and a contrarian value methodology.
  • He received his undergraduate and MBA degrees from Seattle University.
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Chris Brown

  • Chris joined Steelhead as an analyst on the Pathfinder team in May 2014 upon graduating from University of Washington.
  • His undergraduate work experience included internships with Deloitte & Touche's Audit group and Morgan Stanley's Private Wealth Management group, as well as assisting with teaching a UW MBA accounting course.
  • His undergraduate research focused on fraudulent financial reporting.
  • Chris is a 2014 Level I Candidate in the CFA Program and a CPA candidate.
  • He graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance. 

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J.D. Kritser

  • J.D. joined Steelhead Partners in 2005 to support the firm's research activities.
  • Before joining Steelhead, J.D. was an associate at Newbridge Capital, LLC, an Asia-focused private equity fund formed by Texas Pacific Group and Blum Capital Partners. During his time at Newbridge, he participated in all aspects of transaction execution, including deal sourcing and legal, accounting and financial due diligence across Southeast Asia and Australia. He also participated in the monitoring and supervision of portfolio companies.
  • J.D. was a investment banking analyst for Lazard Freres, LLC in their New York mergers and acquisitions group. While at Lazard, he performed extensive valuation and strategic analysis for companies across a wide range of industries.
  • He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington & Lee University and received his MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Nick McFarland, CFA

Assistant Portfolio Manager
  • Nick joined Steelhead Partners in 2008 to assist Scott Schaefer with research and analysis in the convertibles arena.
  • Prior to joining Steelhead, Nick worked with several value/credit-oriented funds (including Franklin Templeton Investments), performing credit analysis, building financial models, and developing trading strategies.
  • Nick spent six years in derivatives research and trading at Russell Investment Group (formerly Frank Russell Co.) and Rotella Capital Management.
  • He graduated with a B.A. in Business Leadership (Finance emphasis) from University of Puget Sound and received his MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Kyle Pickens, CFA

  • Kyle joined Steelhead Partners in late 2009.
  • Previously, he was with Cadogan Management LLC, a fund-of-funds firm, where he was a director and an investment committee member. He interned at Cadogan while an undergraduate student, then joined full time as an analyst upon graduating.
  • In 2005, Cadogan launched a fund of funds/hedge fund hybrid vehicle for which Kyle was given day-to-day responsibility. As a senior analyst, he conducted fundamental research in several sectors and countries, managed the fundís operational issues, and developed client relationships.
  • Kyle received a B.S. in Finance and Information Systems from New York Universityís Stern School of Business.
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