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Meet Bill Durham of Birnam Wood Capital in Old Parkland Office Complex

Today we’d like to introduce you to Bill Durham.

Bill, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Computer Information Systems. Following I moved to LA and unintentionally ended up working as a production assistant on a feature film, Big Momma’s House. One thing led to another, and I worked in production on 4 more movies before deciding I needed to revert back to my passion, in lieu of the love of the challenges film making brought. I attended Pepperdine University for my MBA after completing X-Men II. Following I got a job as a land acquisition analyst and market strategist for a public home builder, Ryland Homes, in Phoenix Arizona. I rode a great wave there – up and then down with the housing market (06-09). After about 85% of my office got laid off, my wife and I decided to move to Dallas where I got a job in Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group. I advised high net worth families. I stayed with Merrill until the culture shock of their acquisition by BofA set in.

From there I joined a boutique wealth management firm, View Capital Advisors. I was with them for 7 years, and loved the alternative investment side of their business. I left View Capital in 2015 to start my own business, Birnam Wood Capital, and firm focused on nontraditional investments. My goal, and I feel like I’ve done well achieving it, is achieving market-like returns with much less risk and volatility in assets such as first-lien loans, real estate, oil and gas, and private equity. I work with about a dozen families and manage a little over $100mm in assets. Last year I also helped seed and launch a hedge fund, Scalar Gauge Fund. I also act as their Chief Operating Officer. The fund has done phenomenally well and I am very proud of it.

On a personal level, I have 2 daughters. We live near White Rock Lake in Dallas. We have three Great Danes, three guinea pigs, and a cat. I started and am chairman of a nonprofit, Friends of Solar Prep, that supports my daughters school, Solar Preparatory School for Girls. Solar Prep is an all-girls school, economically diversified, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) focused. It’s amazing and a template of what public education needs to look like. I also am very active with Best Buddies, a nonprofit helping individuals with developmental disabilities (IDD). I cohost a gala annually and we raise about $1mm per year for the cause.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Being an entrepreneur is never a smooth road. There are always bumps and I’m in work mode all the time. It has been very rewarding though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Bumps include having hired the wrong people, and implementing insufficient or the wrong systems/software platforms.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Birnam Wood Capital – what should we know?
I invest in nontraditional assets. Investors trade some liquidity for market like returns with much less risk and volatility. I only work a small group of families, and provide a high touch level of service. I am known for great communication, a strong investment platform, and a great diligence process. I am different than others because I’m not selling a commoditized product (i.e. stocks and bonds). I have a truly unique value proposition.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Honesty – whether the news is good or bad, and good communication always.

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