Born in 1984, in the city limits of Ardmore, Oklahoma, Penn Little is a living testament to the power of financial smarts, feverish drive, and second chances. His roles as an entrepreneur, writer, and journalist all serve to remedy some of America, and the world’s most vexing problems.
A thriving entrepreneur, he directed operations as a Partner with Peak Consulting Partners, Inc., a management consulting firm that was first of it’s kind serving behavioral and mental health care providers. Peak enjoyed over 400 percent growth before merging, in September 2016, with C4 Recovery Solutions Inc.
In early 2015, he simultaneously co-founded, co-seeded, and managed Crestview Capital Partners LLC, an asset manager whose rapid growth and scaling returned more than 40 times his investment when the team exited the business to a premier global private equity firm in 2017. Outside investors in the first series saw a return of over three times their investment.
The following year, Penn formed Bar Nothin’ Capital Management, in order to focus on various other alternative and impact investments, specifically a bearish and directional focus on healthcare (with an impactful twist).
Little’s commitment to the health sector lead his unprecedented effort to reform the effectiveness and practices of one of America’s most vital industries: the once-exploding sector of treatment for substance abuse and other behavioral health disorders. His first strategies to accomplish this surrounded strategic finance and private wealth hoping that could finally produce the quality necessary to break the stigma in mental health care.
In so doing, he found his passion for writing. The quest in 2018 led him directly into the now-notable Acadia Healthcare series Penn published in SeekingAlpha in 2018, and 2019. His work was credited in Axios and Motley Fool.
He was asked by the Parliamentary joint committee on human rights to compose a white paper regarding his findings surrounding the maltreatment and seclusion of autistic children in the United Kingdon. The British Government published those findings in September of 2019, and two months later cited Penn’s account in their final report.
A third-generation entrepreneur, Little draws from his passion for finance and leadership, devotion to helping people, and the lessons of painful experience.
Nearly a decade ago, succumbing to addiction, and compulsive gambling, Little passed fraudulent checks. He was caught, sought treatment, cooperated fully with authorities, pled guilty to one count of bank fraud, served 14 months and emerged determined to make the most of his new start**.
“I’ve turned that experience into a positive – I’m driven every day to use my business skills to make sure facilities can provide good, quality behavioral health care to everyone who needs it,” Little said.
“I know the business from the inside and outside, and from the clinical and finance perspectives. I want to use strategic finance and operations to change people’s lives.” Penn began that work at Prescott House Inc.
Little completed a long-term regimen of treatment at Hazelden, Prescott House, and the Federal RDAP program. Once complete, management at Prescott House, one of the most respected recovery programs in the United States, saw Little’s potential and hired him to learn every aspect of the behavioral health treatment industry. Little rose to Director of Business Development/Admissions for Prescott House.
During graduate school, Little joined Peak Consulting Partners as a consultant in every aspect of behavioral healthcare operations and financial management. He assisted dozens of providers in building programs with an equal emphasis on clinical care for patients and a deft understanding of the industry’s rapidly – and uniquely -- changing financial landscape. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (often called “Parity”) required insurance companies to provide the same level of benefits as they would typical medical or surgical benefits.
Penn helped Peak grow simultaneous to earning his MBA in Finance at the University of Arizona's Eller College of Management in 2014. Little became an expert in the market for care, insurance pay and trends, as well as the crucial role of Private Equity. He researched the public providers, while also performing market research for notable public consulting firms working in conjunction with asset managers.
Little invested his life savings to co-found Crestview Capital Partners, LLC and was integral in directing its spectacular growth over two years. He led community-based counseling centers through the complexities of the changing industry landscape. This involved due-diligence, physical operations on-site, and strategic development of Crestview’s buy/sell-side. In that time, he was the CEO of KP Counseling, building a more robust team, and making Chicago, Illinois his new home. The impact expanded the quality of care from 1 to 7 sites in the midwest.
“If you focus on quality and you’re financially responsible, you’ll always produce an ROI,” Little said. “This area is so complex because the way you’re paid can change faster than the Google algorithm. One day you’re being paid properly for the services you and your team provide."
It's not 2000 -- there are leveraged buyouts and different revenue cycles. The winds blow around 360 degrees, in all directions, every day."
He continued: "If you have been in this space, on the business side, since 2011, you have as much experience as anyone else. So, I like to think of myself as a meteorologist in this space – a tornado might be coming, but no one knows until the meteorologist says to ring the siren. You have to understand this market from the inside out to recognize the coming storms.”
Penn is also a freelance writer and contributor for Forbes as well as a contributor for SeekingAlpha.com. He has, on multiple occasions had his work curated by Medium and Data-Driven Investor.
A native of Carter County, Oklahoma, just north of the town of Springer, Little attended Culver Military Academy before graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a BA, studying Economics. He has been an avid triathlete, Ironman finisher, and 3-time USAT National Championship qualifier. He co-founded Shatter Our Silence, a program that provides education and tools to help young adults have intimate conversations about depression and suicide.
Now living in Chicago, Illinois, Little supports growth in young leaders with financial need through his work with the Culver Educational Foundation. In 2017 he funded the Wilkinson-Dorrel Scholarship at the University of Oklahoma Foundation. Penn also has over 500 hours of aviation expertise, as a Private Pilot, and has used such expertise for writing pieces such as the story of Brandon Nelson.