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The M&A Advisor Recognizes Two Ascend Capital Group Team Members as Emerging Leaders

Thien Tran And Trevor Lunsford Announced As Recipients Of The 15th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards

Washington, DC (June 20, 2024) -The M&A Advisor has awarded Ascend Capital Group’s Thien Tran and Trevor Lunsford as recipients of the 15th Annual Emerging Leaders Award.

The M&A Advisor, a globally renowned organization known for recognizing and showcasing leading M&A, financing, and turnaround professionals, established this awards program to honor excellence and foster mentorship and professional development among emerging leaders in the corporate finance and dealmaking industries.

Thien Tran, Managing Director, and Trevor Lunsford, Vice President, were chosen from a pool of prominent nominees for their notable accomplishments in business and in service to the community. Evaluation of the nominees and selection of the winners was completed by an independent judging panel.

“The world of dealmaking is always changing, and, over the past 15 years, The M&A Advisor has recognized the brilliance of over fifteen hundred professionals—experts who set the bar high in their fields. The Emerging Leader Award recipients, who have the spirit of innovation and ambition, are ready to shape the future of our industry. By creating a network of business visionaries, philanthropists, educators, and personal growth mentors, we are building a vibrant ‘leadership community.’ Our mission is clear: to give these rising stars the tools and motivation to not only succeed in their careers but also to make a positive difference in the lives of others, thus sparking a wave of transformation,” said Roger Aguinaldo, Founder and CEO of The M&A Advisor.

Thien Tran

Thien Tran is a Managing Director at Ascend Capital Group, where he has been instrumental in growing the firm into a successful middle market investment bank. He has over a decade of experience in M&A, capital raising, corporate finance, and investment banking. Recently, he managed and led the sale of Fidelity Building Services Group to Oaktree Capital and subsequently advised Oaktree Capital on its HVAC roll-up with Fidelity. His efforts have also led to multiple transactions in the HVAC space, both on the buy-side and sell-side, and opened up avenues with a reputable family office to advise on the sale of their portfolio companies. He also served a key role in navigating the sale of Capital Seaboard to The Chefs’ Warehouse (NASDAQ: CHEF).

In addition to his professional achievements, Mr. Tran is dedicated to giving back to the community. He regularly volunteers with St. Martin des Porres Catholic Church Neighbors in Need and Habitat for Humanity in Greater Birmingham. He also mentors for the Society of Women Engineers and coaches wrestling for Manassas Park City Schools.

Trevor Lunsford

Trevor Lunsford is Vice President at Ascend Capital Group, bringing over eight years of experience in M&A, restructuring, and software advisory experience to the table. His expertise has been instrumental in advising on over $5 billion in deal volume within the software and technology sectors. In recent years, Trevor played a pivotal role in multiple investments by Episerver (including the acquisition of Optimizely), as well as Insight Partners’ investment in CivicPlus, and HotSchedules’ merger with Fourth.

Trevor’s leadership in high-profile transactions highlights his deep domain expertise and influence in the software and technology sectors. His substantial experience in buy-side M&A has been complemented by notable sell-side successes, including the sale of RecDesk to ClubEssential Holdings and the strategic investment of Kaseware by The Riverside Company.


The M&A Advisor will welcome the winners of the Emerging Leaders Award at a formal black-tie Awards Gala in New York City as part of the 2024 Leadership in Dealmaking Summit on September 23-24, 2024. This event connects current and former recipients of the Emerging Leaders Award with industry leaders.

For a complete list of the 2024 Emerging Leaders Award Winners, click here.



Established in 1998, The M&A Advisor offers expertise and knowledge on mergers and acquisitions. To learn more, please visit our website at or contact us at +1 (212) 951-1550.


Emily Morgan | 240.401.5137

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