Leading you to the water…

Fervent Capital was founded in June of 2020 by Ross Smolen in partnership with John Manes, Robby Dunn, and Erik Osterhus. The company was formed at a time when the partners were aggressively acquiring self-storage properties and engaging with the capital markets on every transaction. In doing so, they were met with pain and contingency that rivaled any other challenge they faced along their journey. However, with great pain comes great knowledge and what they learned in those moments is that a balance sheet, a business plan, and tenure is not enough to avoid surprises in credit committee, last-minute re-negotiations, and unreliable third parties. Fervent is run by and for operators who have direct experience on the borrower’s side of the table.

“At Fervent, we’ve found that capital strategy, storytelling, and dogged execution are the keys to assure the original goal achieved, set a deal apart for prospective capital partners, and significantly reduce an operator’s stress when engaging with the capital markets. We make the effort and leverage the resources necessary to understand the client’s business to the extent that we can effectively communicate with capital partners on their behalf. This means we answer questions and find solutions to problems before they surface as opposed to forwarding emails and covering oversights.”

Ross Smolen, Managing Principal

Ross Smolen | Managing Principal

Self-Storage | Independent Insurance | Operating Businesses

Ross serves as the managing principal of Fervent Capital and is responsible for leading the team in capital strategy and business development.

Ross excels in strategy, storytelling, and execution with lenders, institutional investors and acquisitors.

Ross is also a principal in Wolf Hill Investments, an owner-operator in the Outdoor Hospitality space engaged in the acquisition and development of RV Parks & Campgrounds. In addition, Ross is a co-founder and board member of Your Policy, an national independent insurance agency with rapid growth through mergers and acquisitions.

In his previous role as Vice President of Acquisitions at Pinnacle Storage Properties Ross underwrote and coordinated 400+ prospective acquisitions, twenty-seven of which successfully acquired and exited. Prior to joining Pinnacle, Ross was founder and CEO of Exostretch, a technology transfer start-up, which produces a stretchable, thin-film battery material with aerospace and defense applications.

Ross is a graduate of the Wolf Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business.

Sterling Dodd | Capital Advisor

Outdoor Hospitality – RV Parks, Campgrounds, & Adjacent Operating Businesses | Specialty Chemicals

Sterling is an avid outdoorsman who is passionate about the evolution, and innovation of RV Parks & Campgrounds. Sterling manages Fervent Capital’s Outdoor Hospitality vertical.

Sterling also serves as Principal in Wolf Hill Investments an owner-operator in the Outdoor Hospitality space engaged in the acquisition and development of RV Parks & Campgrounds. 

Sterling has extensive experience in commercial banking, capital structuring, and risk analysis & underwriting. He brings sophisticated experience in business & corporate development, operations, management, finance, and strategic leadership. In his previous role as a Business Development Manager for a distressed specialty chemical Company headquartered in Houston, Texas; Sterling assisted the senior management team in winding down and preparing the Company for sale to strategic industry buyers. Sterling led and arranged the financial, operational, and supply chain due diligence documentation that would be used by the advisory group bringing the Company to the open market.

Sterling started his professional career as a Credit Analyst for the middle market commercial lending group at Cadence Bank. While serving with Cadence Bank, Sterling underwrote ~$750MM worth in senior term debt and revolving lines of credit for the General Commercial & Industrial, Specialty Chemical, Midstream Oil and Gas, Commercial Real Estate, and Technology groups.

Sterling spent six years as an Airborne Infantryman in the U.S. Army where he saw combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is currently a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves serving as the Aide-de-Camp to the Deputy Commanding General of the 75th Innovation Command. He received a BBA in Entrepreneurship from the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston.

Sherrie LeCrone | Marketing Coordinator

In her role as Marketing Coordinator, Sherrie is responsible for all marketing materials, CRM management, campaigns, social media, and content.

As an experienced financial services professional, Sherrie has 10+ years of experience in credit union and affiliate marketing, executing communication and marketing strategies for a $700M institution with 55,000 members. She holds a BA in Communication with concentration in Journalism from the University of Arkansas.