Darren Mark is one of the founders and executive directors of Rhyno Equity Group, an investment group that acquires manufacturing companies from retiring owners and strives to ensure the ongoing health of the organizations. He also holds additional roles within Rhyno’s portfolio of companies including, chief executive officer of EuroLine Windows, and chief operating officer of Irpinia Kitchens. From product development and plant layouts, to bank relationships and new acquisitions, Darren has a broad range of ongoing responsibilities. Transitioning through different levels of organizations and working with many different groups in their 300-employee portfolio, Darren takes every opportunity to lead with integrity and have a positive impact on those organizations. He is known for his ability to connect with others and is a proponent of hard work, alignment, empathy, and fun, as the cornerstones of organizational culture.
Darren’s journey to owning a successful private equity firm was not a straight line. After completing a degree in physics and applied mathematics at The University of Western Ontario, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering from the University of New South Wales in Australia. After graduation, Darren moved into a plant-turnaround role for a Canadian window and door manufacturing group. His methods proved to increase both efficiency and profitability for the organization and his responsibilities expanded from operations to include sales and marketing. As he gathered experience across the manufacturing sector, Darren noticed systemic cultural and environmental issues that inspired him to take action. Determined to shake up the industry and prioritize building work environments that are both profitable and positively impact the environment and community, Darren and his partners founded Rhyno Equity Group in 2012.
Rhyno Equity Group is made up of an experienced and energetic four-person executive team: Darren Mark, Anu Agarwal, Andrew Mark, and Todd Burdon. With the goal of preserving the legacy of healthy companies, Rhyno Equity’s unique approach is to acquire new companies and actively manage them to ensure their continued success. According to Darren, “We are not only helping to keep North American businesses in North America, but we’re also getting substantial returns for investors with minimized risk.”
Marbel Industries, Rhyno Equity’s first acquisition, served as their pilot when the team first decided to start buying companies. The partners started out small, purchasing the woodworking business, which employed only 20 people. Today, Marbel Industries supplies high quality wood products to the surrounding communities as well as to Irpinia Kitchens. Under the leadership of Anu Agarwal, a Rhyno Equity Group partner and Irpinia’s chief executive officer. Irpinia Kitchens, has become one of the largest, high-end kitchen manufacturers in Canada. Rhyno’s third acquisition, EuroLine Windows, introduced European-style tilt and turn windows to North America and is still one of the largest manufacturers of its kind in North America today. “We are putting every effort into remaining at the tip of the spear for product development,” says Darren. “We are bringing Passive House technology to Ontario this year and are hopeful that Toronto is ready to get serious about going green.”
While Darren and his partners work diligently to ensure the financial success for their companies and investors, they are also looking to make a positive impact on the industry. Inspired by his many travels, Darren understands the benefits that bringing together people of different backgrounds and experiences can have on operations, innovation, and culture. He is a huge proponent of diversity in the workplace and strives to maintain a strong team atmosphere across all his portfolio companies. He is also passionate about sustainability and, as a fellow of Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) and the vice president of the LEAD Canada chapter, is continuously looking for ways to improve operations from a sustainability perspective.
Rhyno Equity Group
130 Queens Quay East, Suite 1206
Toronto, Ontario M5A 0P6 Canada
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Mark's feature on page 54.