Who We Are

Rooted in Agriculture

The foundation of Ascendant Partners is agriculture. We began advising middle market agribusinesses in 2005 and have become the boutique investment bank and business advisor of choice for clients across North America. Our expertise is along the agriculture value chain from row crop farming and commodity processing to renewable fuels refining and food ingredient manufacturing. Our experience includes working with our clients to create greater clarity and alignment in their business, securing capital for growth, and pulling it all together to successfully complete strategic M&A transactions. We are dedicated to agriculture and steward every opportunity to make a positive contribution to the industry.

Dedicated to Results

Our mission is to help our clients achieve superior results through trusted insight. We do this by providing a sophisticated, yet practical, approach to navigate significant challenges and opportunities. Engagement with Ascendant not only gets the job done, but gets it done better than doing it alone. We work to understand your objectives up front, then get to work in a collaborative way to deliver success — always putting you first. While no one person can see the full picture, we believe that with experienced advisors, plans succeed. That’s our focus — to bring comprehensive clarity to our clients and get the job done.

A Trusted Extension of Your Team

At Ascendant, trust matters. We work to earn and keep our client’s trust for the long term through complete integrity, honest communication, and ownership mentality. We put the interests of our clients first, not ours. We share information, both good and bad, early and often. Our client’s challenges and opportunities are our challenges and opportunities. We live where our clients live, share a passion for what our clients value, and are dedicated to their success first.

Meet Our Team

Mark Warren
Mark Warren

Partner

Mark Warren is the Managing Partner of the firm, based in Denver. Mark brings over 25 years of financial and industry experience to our clients. His experience includes strategic, financial, and business advisory services in the food, agribusiness, and bio-energy industry segments. His experience includes strategic development, mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and formation, turnaround initiatives, and performance improvement assessments. Prior to cofounding Ascendant Partners, Mark was one of the founding principals of Business Advisory Services for CoBank. His prior experience also includes being chief financial officer for a start-up manufacturing firm. A native of Tennessee, Mark received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Kentucky and his master’s in business administration from Xavier University. He is licensed with FINRA as a registered investment banking representative. Mark lives in Denver with his wife, son and daughter and in his spare time, he enjoys all things outdoors — skiing, snowboarding, hunting, fly fishing, biking, hiking and kayaking

Dusty Clevenger
Dusty Clevenger

Dusty Clevenger

Partner

Dusty Clevenger is a Partner at the firm, based in Kansas City. Dusty brings over 20 years of agribusiness experience including commercial, senior leadership, and business development roles at Archer Daniels Midland, Gavilon, Agspring and Ceres Global Ag. He’s built successful teams and businesses in collaboration with founders, owners, banks, and private equity partners. He is licensed with FINRA as a registered investment banking representative. Dusty grew up in his family’s agribusiness in central Nebraska and received a BA in Agribusiness and his M.B.A. from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and two daughters who are active in volleyball, band, and horse riding.

Trevor Warren
Trevor Warren

Trevor Warren

Principal

Trevor Warren is a Principal at the firm, based in Omaha. Trevor brings over 15 years of agribusiness and investment experience including corporate development, strategy, and private equity roles. He most recently served as Vice President with AGR Partners, a private equity fund focused on investing in businesses across the food and agriculture value chain. Earlier, Trevor served in corporate development roles for Agspring and Gavilon where he focused on agribusiness strategy, finance, and M&A. He began his career in investment management and equity research. Trevor earned a BA in Business Administration from New Mexico State University and an M.B.A. from Creighton University; he is also a CFA Charterholder. Trevor was raised on a family farm in Central Nebraska and is married with four children.

Daniel Zelazik
Daniel Zelazik

Daniel Zelazik

Vice President

Dan is Vice President at the firm and is based in Chicago.  With over a decade of experience in agribusiness and finance, Dan brings a comprehensive skill set to our team.  His background includes roles in mergers and acquisitions, strategic advisory, capital raising, credit underwriting, and commodity trading at Lakeshore Food Advisors, Rabobank, and StoneX Group. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.   Dan resides in his hometown of Chicago with his Golden Retriever and enjoys cycling, podcasts and cheering on the Fighting Illini.

Timothy Lipman
Timothy Lipman

Timothy Lipman

Associate

Tim Lipman is an Associate at the firm, based in Minnesota. Tim previously worked for two agriculture focused startups, Pairwise and Vayda, where he gained valuable experience in agribusiness including modeling, analysis and forecasting. Prior to these roles, Tim covered the U.S. feed ingredient market at IHS Markit as a commodities analyst. Tim has a BA in Applied Mathematics/Statistics and Geography from Macalester College, as well he is completing his M.B.A. from the Wisconsin School of Business. His anticipated graduation is December 2024. Tim currently resides in Rochester, Minnesota with his fiancée.

Max Breshears
Max Breshears

Max Breshears

Analyst

Max is an Analyst at the firm, based in Missouri.  Prior to working with Ascendant Partners, Max worked as a pricing analyst at Yellow, an LTL freight provider, where he gained valuable experience in logistics, data analysis, and forecasting. Max earned a BA in Accounting and a M.B.A from Missouri State University. He currently resides in Kansas City, MO, where he enjoys rooting for his hometown teams, the Royals and Chiefs.

Decades of Relevant Experience

Our team brings a unique combination of executive leadership, commercial management, ag banking and financial expertise to our partnerships with our clients — all in an effort to ensure their success. We understand your business because we’ve been there. With over $3 billion of closed transactions, we have a track record of success ready to back you up — this is what we do.