Partners in Growth and Value Creation


ZRF Partners is a private investment firm focused on building value through operational and strategic improvements.  Working side-by-side with management to drive growth through relentless operational execution and deploying transformative initiatives, our approach ensures the Company’s full potential is realized.  Customer value creation is central to our core beliefs and the cornerstone of every plan.  We align interests of ALL stakeholders and aim to build sustainable industry leaders.     




Target Characteristics

Value Creation Approach  

operational excellence
STRATEGIC / disciplined growth
platforms via partnership & acquisition
STAKEHOLDERS interest alignment
Established / Growing Market
Annual revenue $10+ million
Special Situations or Company in transition



Faisal Nisar is the Founder and Managing Director of ZRF Partners. He has over twenty years of experience in private equity and investment banking. Prior to founding ZRF Partners, he was an investment partner with Baker Capital, a $1.5 billion Telecom, Media and Technology fund. Previously, he was an investment banker in the Global Communications group of Merrill Lynch. He has served on the boards of multiple private companies including MediaNet (acquired by SOCAN), Dotster (acquired by Endurance International Group), EM4 (acquired by Gooch & Housego) and Teem Photonics.  

Mr. Nisar holds an MBA from Columbia University, a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BA in Economics from the University of Rochester.


Gary Evans is an Operating Partner at ZRF. He served as the President and CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communications, an alternative entrant telecommunications provider headquartered in his longtime home of Winona, Minnesota.


A community activist, Evans is a former chair of the Winona Health Board, is a past president of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, former chair of the Great River Shakespeare Festival Board and has held numerous other civic and church positions.

Under his direction, HBC was awarded some of the telecom’s most prestigious awards, including Broadband Properties’ Cornerstone Award and the Fiber to the Home Council’s initial Chairman’s Award for outstanding service to the fiber-optic industry.

Evans has also received major community and state honors, including the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce Leader of the Year, Adith Miller Community Service Tribute, Steamboat Days Harbormaster, Winona State University Distinguished Service Award, Upper Mississippi Valley Volunteer Fund Raiser of the Year and Minnesota Hospital Trustee of the Year.



Stephen Barraclough is the Executive Chairman of Blue Mountain Networks, a fiber-optics platform investment of ZRF Partners. Most recently, Stephen was the CEO of Burlington Telecom, a fiber-to-the-home network in Burlington, VT where he led a successful transformation and sale of the company. He has a track record of over 30 years of leading and delivering results at blue chip companies including Marks & Spencer, News Corp and EMI Music.

Mr. Barraclough holds an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College and a BA from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK.



Alfie Kane is a senior advisor at ZRF Partners. He has over 30 years of experience in the Communications industry leading, developing and transforming a range of businesses in the fixed line, mobile, cable and datacenter sectors.  He held leadership positions at world leading companies including Eircom, British Telecom and Vodafone.  As CEO of Eircom, he successfully transformed the business and led company through a public listing process.  He has ten years of private equity experience affiliated with Baker Capital where he served on the boards of several companies including Interxion (NYSE: INXN), DigiTV Plus (acquired by Teracom) and Adaptix (acquired by Acacia Research).


Michelle Bergman is the General Counsel of ZRF Partners. Ms. Bergman has over 24 years of legal and business experience.

Previously, Ms. Bergman has served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel of Duane Reade Inc. where she served as a member of the company's Executive Committee, Real Estate Committee and numerous other senior level committees. Ms. Bergman has also served as Vice President/Counsel for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette/CSFB Private Equity. Ms. Bergman held a position of Assistant General Counsel for AEA Investors Inc., a leading global private investment firm with approximately $10 billion assets under management. She began her legal career at the New York office of Latham & Watkins where she developed a broad-based corporate and securities practice. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Emmis Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EMMS).

Ms. Bergman holds a J.D. from Tulane Law School and an M.B.A from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.



ZRF Creates Blue Mountain Networks to Deploy Fiber in Northwest

City of Burlington signs LOI with Schurz/ZRF to Acquire Burlington Telecom



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