President and CEO, Board Member
Chris Hutter is President and Chief Executive Officer at Ascent. He is also Co-Founder and Manager of UPG Enterprises LLC, a successful high-growth operator of eight premier industrial companies across the metals, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics sectors. Chris founded UPG on the premise that focusing on culture, respect, technology, and growth creates a best-in-class organization. He received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and an MBA in Finance from Lewis University.
Chief Financial Officer
Bill Steckel brings to Ascent more than two decades of extensive experience in operational finance, financial planning and analysis and treasury across a wide range of industries, as well as expertise in capital markets and M&A. Prior to joining Ascent, he spent over five years in multiple CFO assignments for manufacturing, distribution and technology companies. During these executive assignments, Bill was tasked with leading a variety of transformative efforts, including building out multiple finance organizations, developing operational metrics to improve sales and enhance profitability, carving out and restructuring operating segments, implementing new ERP systems and optimizing balance sheets.
Bill was also executive vice president and CFO at Telular Corp., a technology leader in IoT solutions for the commercial telematics, security and home automation markets. He previously served as CFO for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (Nasdaq: GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States with approximately $1 billion in revenue during his tenure. Bill is a Certified Public Accountant (Inactive) and holds a Master of Business Administration from Western Illinois University. Additionally, he has served on the board of directors for Daystar Technologies (formerly Nasdaq: DSTI) and Densei-Lambda KK (formerly TYO: 6917.T).
Chief Legal Officer
Doug Tackett brings over two decades of legal experience to his role as Chief Legal Officer at Ascent. Most recently, he served as chief legal officer of Support.com, where he oversaw all legal, governance, and compliance functions. Prior to that, Doug spent over seven years as the Global Chief Legal and Compliance Officer and Secretary for Startek where he led a global team of legal and compliance professionals serving a company operating in 13 countries. He also previously held leadership roles at Comdata, Sitel, and HCA. He began his legal career at the national law firm of Baker Donelson. Doug holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee.
J. Bryan Kitchen
President of Ascent Chemicals
Bryan Kitchen has nearly two decades of senior leadership experience in the chemicals industry, having held management roles for several global industry leaders. Most recently, he served as president, CEO and chairman of the board for Clearon Corp., a leading specialty chemicals manufacturer of essential sanitizers and disinfectants for household, industrial, institutional and water treatment applications. Prior to Clearon, Bryan served as the president of Xingfa USA, a division of Hubei Xingfa Chemicals Ltd, a global leader in specialty phosphates manufacturing. He also served as vice president of business operations at ANGUS Chemical Company, which was carved-out from The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW). Bryan previously spent over a decade in various management roles at Dow AgroSciences and later, Dow Chemical, one of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers. He is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Anderson University.
John W. Johnson
President of Ascent Tubular
John W. “Wes” Johnson is a results-oriented executive bringing over 20 years of leadership experience across a variety of global industrial-focused companies. Most recently, he served as the senior vice president and global general manager of Corrpro, a subsidiary of Aegion Corporation that offers total corrosion solutions to the energy, Department of Defense, municipal, and marine markets. Prior to Corrpro, Wes held senior-level roles at several notable oil and gas companies, including Shawcor, Weatherford International (Nasdaq: WFRD), Energy Alloys, and National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV). Wes has two Bachelor of Science degrees from Lamar University with the latter in Industrial Engineering and is an alumnus of The Wharton School’s Advanced Management Program. He currently serves on the advisory board for the state of Texas’ Midstream Science and Management Center. Wes is also a U.S. Army veteran.