This month we would like to introduce you to our forensic and valuation team member Lee Diestelow and share his extraordinary story with you all.
From the age of six Lee has lived in Pennsylvania after undergoing a relocation (from Chicago!) when his father was transferred.
In the mid-1970s, Lee spent some time as a co-op student at a chemical company called PQ Corp where he first met Frank Merenda and Tom Gudowicz. When he graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and a Masters in Business he went on to another company where he remained for 29 years. During those three decades, he juggled a variety of responsibilities starting at the proverbial drafting table and moving on to roles that included operations and engineering, collecting data and helping to develop new plant processes. His experiences also included areas such as sales, marketing, business operations, business management and business restructuring. Over the tenure of his career, he had many employees who reported directly to him.  He also had as many as 30 employees who he was indirectly responsible for. As a result, he grew a deep proficiency in understanding profitability and finances – such that he could draft budgets and other financial documents that reflected his knowledge of taking a profit versus cost approach based on the market influences on the economic situation.
It seemed like he was in a groove that would last for his entire career, but then the recession of 2008 came along and changed everything.
In fact, serendipitous circumstances collided in a unique way. The leaders of his company had assured him they were hoping to keep him as an employee. Just as they were discussing his future one afternoon, he stepped into the elevator and bumped into Tom and Frank. After not having seen each other for almost 30 years, they recognized him and started a conversation. They were visiting the company on a sales call – and when they had finished talking to management, they circled back to continue their impromptu meeting with Lee. They agreed to keep in touch. But nine months passed when again by chance Lee met Tom at a technical society networking meeting. Lee was in a transitional phase and Tom jumped on the opportunity. They asked him to join them as an independent contractor in sales and marketing but they could not overlook his years of experience in chemical engineering. He was one of those rare professionals who can truly walk, as well as, walk and talk the talk – having gained perspective from within a chemical company while at the same time understanding chemical economics – all with the added benefit of having been successful handling sales and marketing functions. His credibility when speaking with business owners and senior leaders far exceeded that of anyone fulfilling a general sales position.     
Lee is a man with many interests besides his professional and business acumen. An avid Phillies fan, he still quietly cheers for the Cubs (who can resist that team!). But being a spectator is not really in his DNA. For 50 years he has been an accomplished long distance runner, with two Boston Marathons and an invitation to participate in the NY Marathon as an elite runner to name just a few of his outstanding milestones. Today his two sons are carrying on the family legacy as accomplished runners while Lee cheers them on.
Along with running, Lee has been passionate about skiing for more than 50 years. He was privileged to have been mentored and encouraged by members of the 10th Mountain Corps – a group that formed during World War II and at the war’s conclusion got together and single-handedly were responsible for importing the sport of skiing to the United States.
Lee brings a combination of skills to Sobel Valuations that sets him, and the practice, apart from all competitors. His insights, all acquired through boots-on-the ground experiences along with his academic background in chemical engineering and business, have set him apart when working with our clients. His expertise is the perfect complement for our client-centric philosophy.   
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