CHARLOTTE – Meet the leaders of Raleigh-based QHP Capital in these profiles that accompany a corporate overview from Business North Carolina:

After working for healthcare technology companies for more than 30 years, Davenport joined NovaQuest Capital Management in 2017. His early career involved working for global operators IBM, Siemens and Eastman Kodak before he returned to Raleigh in 2007 as CEO of Misys Healthcare Solutions. St. Louis-based Allscripts bought the company a year later and Davenport stayed on a couple of years, then led Triangle-based healthcare companies  M*Modal and Medfusion before moving to NovaQuest.

A key part of Davenport’s role is helping QHP’s portfolio companies establish clear operating procedures to track performance and promote accountability. The systems-oriented approach that he developed through his CEO experience has repeatedly paid off in accelerating revenue and profits, he says. It’s also a differentiator from other PE groups competing for acquisitions, he adds.

Davenport is a former varsity football player at East Carolina University, where he is a former chair of the board of trustees. He’s now on the board of ECU Health, which oversees the largest hospital network based in eastern North Carolina. Understanding the perspective of hospitals is helpful for his QHP work, particularly given financial struggles facing many providers, he says.

The first QHP partner worked for hospital systems HCA Healthcare and Carolinas Healthcare (now Atrium) before moving into the finance sector in 2008. He worked for Raymond James Capital Markets and State Street Global Advisors before moving to Teacher Retirement System of Texas, one of the largest U.S. endowments with more than $180 billion in assets.  His healthcare investing experience there from 2012-15 led to contact with Quintiles founder Dennis Gillings. He joined affiliate NovaQuest in 2015 and helped build the foundation of the private-equity group, which renamed itself QHP in 2021.

Edwards earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee and has an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill. 

After working as a consultant in Washington, D.C., Jenkins returned to North Carolina 20 years ago to focus on health care investing. From 2005-11, he worked at health-records company Misys and its acquirer, Allscripts, taking part in growth of revenue from $350 million to $1.3 billion. He then spent four years at health information services vendor M*Modal before joining RTI International as head of corporate development and private equity investments.

The not-for-profit, Durham-based RTI is one of the largest U.S. research organizations with nearly 5,900 employees and annual revenue of $1 billion. It was started by the Triangle universities, who wanted to promote research.

Jenkins helped start a private-equity unit that co-invested with QHP in Winston-Salem-based Clinical Ink, which supports clinical-research trial organizations.

He’s a big believer in QHP’s role in expanding the Triangle’s life sciences industry. “Many Raleigh-Durham businesses would like to do more business with local firms. There are lots of entrepreneurs trying to bring new drugs to market.”

Jenkins has bachelor’s and MBA degrees from UNC Chapel Hill.

Poole joined in December 2019, bringing 19 years of experience as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in New York. He advised companies in many industries, including the power and utility sectors. He returned to Raleigh in 2013 to become president and a director at Triangle Capital, and later succeeded founder Garland Tucker as CEO in 2017. 

A year later, Triangle Capital sold its assets to a New York investment firm with management oversight shifting to Charlotte’s Barings.  

Poole’s interactions with Vern Davenport, a veteran Triangle tech executive, led to his move to QHP. “I was intrigued by the market for pharma services and I was surprised by what an opportunity existed in Raleigh.” He notes the area is No. 3 nationally in funding from the National Institutes of Health, reflecting the Triangle’s strong university research base.

Helping the region build on its strengths in life sciences, electronic medical records and other healthcare sectors is a key QHP goal. “We’ve shown we can be a really good partner and help founders grow and scale their businesses and create a lot of value.”

Poole is the son of the late Gregory Poole Jr., one of Raleigh’s most successful business leaders. He has a bachelor’s from UNC Chapel Hill and an MBA from Northwestern University.

The Seattle native joined Edwards at NovaQuest Capital in 2016 after six years in private-equity investing with BlackRock, the giant New York investment firm that manages $10 trillion. NovaQuest’s leadership had strong statistics and drug industry experience, but hadn’t directly invested in the equity of middle-market companies. 

Edwards and Sorensen had known each other previously. “Jeff told me it would be a great place to raise a family, and he’s been absolutely right,” says Sorensen, who was working near Philadelphia at the time. For his wife and six children, “it’s a much better place.”

QHP’s focus on healthcare companies also provides a sense of mission that differs from traditional private-equity investing by a giant institution like BlackRock, he says. “Everyone likes helping patients.”

Sorensen has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, along with master’s degrees from Harvard University and the Wharton School. 

(C) Business North Carolina

Private equity firm QHP Capital building an empire on legacy of Quintiles founder Dennis Gillings