Principal, SDA Ventures LLC
Mr. Abramson is currently a Principal in SDA Ventures LLC, a firm that advises emerging growth, middle-market companies and multi national companies primarily in the health and wellness, nutritional products, food ingredients and food service on matters including corporate development, business acquisition, customer relationships, growth strategies and corporate finance.
Mr. Abramson serves as an Operating Professional to the global private equity investment firm of Paine & Partners to identify and execute investment opportunities in the global human and animal food and nutritional products industries.
From 2003 to 2011, Mr. Abramson worked at Martek Biosciences Corporation (NASDAQ: MATK), serving as President of the Company beginning in 2006. Martek is a leader in the innovation, development, production and sale of high-value products from microbial sources that promote health and wellness through nutrition. The Company’s technology platform consisted of its core expertise, broad experience and proprietary technology in areas such as microbial biology, algal genomics, fermentation and downstream processing. This technology platform resulted in Martek’s development of a number of products, including its flagship brand, life’sDHA™, a sustainable and vegetarian source of algal DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) important for brain, heart and eye health. The product is now a branded ingredient in infant formula, pregnancy and nursing products, foods and beverages, dietary supplements and animal feeds. During Mr. Abramson’s tenure, market penetration grew to 99.5% in its core U.S. infant formula business.
Mr. Abramson played a key role in transitioning Martek’s business from a R & D company to a fully integrated, profitable, commercial organization with over $470 million in annual sales. During his tenure as President, annual revenues rose from $270 million to over $470 million; gross margins increased from 36% to over 53%; annual pretax income grew from $24 million to $91 million; and annual cash flow from operations went from $36 million to $146 million. Other accomplishments include Martek’s 2010 acquisition of Amerifit Brands, Inc. (where Mr. Abramson chaired its Board), a developer, marketer and distributor of branded consumer health and wellness products focused on women’s and digestive health benefits with annual revenues of approximately $100 million, and the sale of Martek to Royal DSM N.V. in 2011 for close to $1.1 billion. For a year after Martek’s sale to DSM, he served as a Senior Advisor to DSM Nutritional Products (Basel, Switzerland) advising DSM on various commercial relationships and new corporate opportunities.
Prior to joining Martek, Mr. Abramson was the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for U.S. Foodservice (1996-2003). In addition, Mr. Abramson served as Executive Vice President for Legal Affairs at Ahold, U.S.A. (2000-2003), and on the board of directors of U.S. Foodservice from 1994-2003. During his tenure with U.S. Foodservice, he directed acquisitions which increased the company’s business more than 500%. Mr. Abramson also played a leadership role in the ultimate sale of U.S. Foodservice to Royal Ahold, N.V. for a price in excess of $4.0 billion.
Prior to joining U.S. Foodservice, Mr. Abramson was the President of Levan, Schimel, Belman & Abramson, P.A., a corporate law firm specializing in corporate matters, mergers and acquisitions. He also has served on the boards of several non-profit community organizations, including Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Mr. Abramson currently serves on the Board of the Wellness Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, and Smart Tots, a non-profit organization funding research for pediatric anesthesia safety. Mr. Abramson graduated from George Washington University in 1975, where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. He received a Juris Doctor Degree, with honors, from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1978. Mr. Abramson is a member of the Maryland Bar.