Rick Dahlson: Finding Solutions That Work

May 12, 2020 | Spotlight

It’s an all-too-common scenario: A company or entrepreneur has a brilliant business concept, excellent strategic vision, and the talent to execute it – and then the cold, hard financial reality sets in.

Finding a way to finance growth can make or break a business. That’s where Rick Dahlson comes in. With a unique blend of business knowledge and experience-based perspective, Rick helps clients find a way to get deals done, no matter how tough the market.

“My job is to be a deal maker, not a deal breaker,” he said. “And that means understanding my clients’ issues not just from a legal perspective but from a business one as well so that I’m able to help them come up with solutions that work.”

Rick manages Jackson Walker’s Corporate & Securities group in addition to maintaining his own wide-ranging practice, which includes representing clients in mergers and acquisitions, financing, and securities transactions. He has particular expertise representing emerging growth companies at all stages of the process, from startup funding through public offerings. He has also worked extensively with technology and telecommunications companies, helping them survive – and thrive – in good markets and bad.

“I’ve been through boom and bust cycles and learned from those experiences,” he said. “You have to help clients ask the right questions, and you have to be able to assess the risk because that is a crucial part of getting deals done.”

Rick’s deep understanding of both the legal and business aspects of financing transactions enables him to help clients effectively analyze potential deals. He holds a bachelor’s in business administration and has completed master’s level coursework in finance. More important, however, he has the real-world experience of having helped clients craft strategies for success in a wide variety of business sectors.

“For my clients, it may be the first time they’ve faced a particular problem and they can only see it from the perspective of that industry,” he said. “They have blinders on, so to speak. But because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’m able to say: What if you took a solution from this other industry and applied it to your own?”

“I’ve been through boom and bust cycles and learned from those experiences. You have to help clients ask the right questions, and you have to be able to assess the risk because that is a crucial part of getting deals done.”
– Rick Dahlson

Rick’s ability to think outside the box is a valuable asset to clients in today’s difficult credit environment. From venture capital to angel investors to private equity, Rick has helped clients navigate a rapidly changing and increasingly challenging funding arena. “There are so many deals teed up and ready to go, but trying to get the banks and investors to come in has been tough,” he said. “You have to be creative to get these deals done.”

That kind of strategic thinking is Rick’s forte. He has done groundbreaking work in the active area of investment funds and has helped connect emerging businesses with family office investors eager to explore new opportunities to diversify their portfolios. He has worked with clients throughout the country and across the globe, helping companies and investors expand to new markets and ink successful licensing, manufacturing, and distribution deals. And he has built long-standing relationships with clients, who have come to trust his judgment and problem-solving capabilities. For example, Rick has represented one technology company for more than 10 years, helping it grow from a startup to a publicly traded company and guiding it through several rounds of capital and numerous acquisitions and divestitures.

Working with entrepreneurs and companies engaged in innovative business concepts is one of the perks of the job for Rick, who shows genuine enthusiasm for helping his clients succeed. “It’s fun working with the people who come up with the big ideas,” he said. “In some cases, they may have a fantastic concept, but they don’t always have the experience to know how to realize its full potential. I have that experience, and I feel fortunate to be able to help them achieve their goals and aspirations.”

For more than 30 years, Rick has done just that, helping clients find a way to get their business ideas off the ground and moving forward in any investment climate.