GBWC Featured Profile

Paul Holian

Wheaton Class of '93

by Melissa Mader '88
December 2005

So, what does a former Boat Captain and group of friends do for fun? How does start one of the hottest bars in Boston sound to you? Unbelievable? Surprising? That's what I thought too as I sat across the table from Paul Holian '93 at a quiet table in the back of his bar, The Place, in the Financial District in downtown Boston. That is until, we started our conversation.

One thing that I like best about Wheaton alums is that we always seem to have very interesting paths to success. Luck, maybe? Or is it a by-product of the dynamic liberal arts education we receive at Wheaton? Paul Holian is no exception to this phenomenon.

Boat captain turned Corporate Finance Professional, Paul not only manages all aspects of operations at The Place, he also holds a full time job as a Vice President at NewStar Financial. Prior to joining NewStar, Paul spent 2 years working for FTI Consulting, Inc, the largest turnaround consulting practice in the U.S. as a Director in its Business Restructuring Practice. While there, he advised large, distressed companies (pre and post Bankruptcy) in the Retail, Manufacturing, and Service Industries on liquidity management, cost reductions, debt re-structuring and asset divestitures. Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Paul spent 8 years working with Fleet Bank in its Acquisition Finance Group working with large private equity firms on numerous leverage buy-outs and re-capitalizations for companies between $500 million and $5 Billion in sales.

In 2001, Paul and a group of friends decided to start a business “for fun.” Indeed, they did. Paul and his friends started The Place, a very happening hot spot for those who enjoy sports, or hanging out with friends where there is good music, good food and lots of people. The bars patrons have included the likes of Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Nomar Garciaparra, Huey Lewis, Tara Reid, Chris Berman, Joe Thornton, and numerous other Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics players.

I asked Paul if his work experience helps him with managing his investment.

This question sparked a very interesting conversation. In 2004, two of his main partners wanted to start another venture and needed equity capital to do it. Taking advantage of his corporate finance background, Paul reached an agreement to buy them out of the business, along with all his other partners. Paul completed a leveraged buyout of the business in October 2004 which included negotiating the asset purchase agreement, arranging the debt financing, negotiating the seller note provisions and intercreditor agreement, and managing all the various regulatory issues with the transaction.

Paul also confessed that on top of his work at New Star Financial and managing the bar, which he likes to refer to as "his neat investment," he has been exposed to other aspects of the Boston business community including the Boston City Counselors office, the Mayor's Office, Boston City Hall, Massachusetts State Senators, Boston Police, etc. Hmmm...perhaps one day there could be a Representative Holian or even a Senator Holian?! I wouldn't discount it based on my impressions of him.

Paul is a very energetic and engaging individual. He has a lot of passion for what he does and derives a tremendous amount of enjoyment from his "neat investment." He even met his wife there-now THAT is a return on investment!

If you find yourself in town and would like to check out The Place, you can find Paul Holian hunkered downstairs in the office after 6PM, usually until after midnight at 2 Broad Street in Boston. Online: The Place www.theplaceboston.com. Paul also mentioned that there have already been some Wheaton mini-reunion parties for some of the local alums in the area, and he is always interested in helping out his fellow Alums.

So, if you are looking for a great downtown sports bar, with a lively after work scene and DJs and good music, with friendly and outgoing staff, you are guaranteed to have a good time at The Place.