The right people.

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Investment advice is abundant but rarely differentiated. 

The lack of individual thinking and advice has caused investors to gravitate to the same strategies and managers. The result is crowded trades, strategy over-capitalization and uniformity in performance. You need an advisor willing to source unique investment ideas.

 Each Blueprint professional has devoted decades of their professional experience to alternative investing and together our team is united by a single common denominator—doing the best we can do for each investor.


Jacob Walthour, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer

Jacob has over 25 years of experience in capital markets, traditional and alternative asset management. Prior to founding Blueprint, he served as Vice Chairman of Product and Business Development at the investment management division of Cowen & Company. He was responsible for developing the firm’s seeding and acceleration effort for emerging alternative investment organizations. He served on the firm’s Management Committee. Previously, he served as Managing Director of Cliffwater LLC, a leading provider of alternatives consulting. He served on the firm’s Investment Committee and was responsible for client consulting. Prior to joining Cliffwater, Jacob was a Partner and Managing Director at Citadel Investment Group where he managed the firm’s North American distribution effort. Before Citadel, he was Head of Advisory Services at Aksia LLC, where he oversaw business development, client consulting and portfolio management for the firm’s discretionary accounts.

In addition, Jacob has held senior roles at Morgan Stanley Asset Management, Quellos Group (subsumed by BlackRock Alternatives Management) and Moore Capital Management. Jacob started his career in 1990 at Lehman Brothers as an analyst in the investment banking division. Jacob received his BA cum laude from the Nelson Rockefeller School at the State University of New York at Albany. He has served as Trustee for the New York Foundation for the Arts and as a Director of New York Cares. He also served on the Investment Subcommittee of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America for six years and the Investment Committee of the University of Albany Alumni Foundation. He served as a Trustee of the ECLC School for children and adults with learning disabilities. Black Enterprise Magazine recognized him as one of the Most Influential Blacks on Wall Street. He has been a frequent speaker at pension and alternative investment conferences including events sponsored by SALT, Institutional Investor, Global ARC and Pensions and Investments. Jacob has been featured on CNBC and has contributed to a variety of articles in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Institutional Investor Alpha and Bloomberg

Carrie Pickett, CAIA

Carrie has over 20 years of experience in family office asset management, private equity, and hedge funds focused on business operations and business development. Prior to founding Blueprint, she served as a Managing Director at Ramius LLC, the investment management division of Cowen & Company. She helped establish the firms emerging manager seeding and acceleration effort in 2014 and focused on manager sourcing across the liquid and private alternatives and negotiating and structuring revenue share transactions. Carrie joined Ramius from RiverRock Group an investment management organization in Houston, Texas where she served as Director of Investor Relations and Marketing.

Prior to joining RiverRock, Carrie was Director of Marketing and Investor Relations at Restoration Capital, a distressed debt hedge fund seeded by the Bass family. She managed the firm’s client relationships and coordinated all aspects of due diligence meetings and external reporting. Prior to Restoration, she was the Controller at JME Opportunity Partners, a distressed corporate credit hedge and held responsibility for all non-investment related activities at the firm. 

Carrie received her BA from Stanford University in Economics with a minor in Industrial Engineering. She is a member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds and has served on the Event Committee. Previously, she served on High Water Women’s Finance Committee. Carrie is a holder of a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation.

Egidio (Ed) Robertiello, CFA
Chief Investment Officer

Ed has over 30 years of experience in traditional and alternative strategies covering portfolio management, asset allocation, manager research and selection, funds due diligence and operations. Previously, Ed was Senior Portfolio Manager at CalPERS responsible for Absolute Return Strategies and Multi Asset Class Strategies. Ed was responsible for implementation and management of investment strategy and policy for the pension fund’s approximately $6.0 billion portfolio in hedge fund investments. Ed was a member of CalPERS Investment Strategy Group (the internal Investment Committee that oversees $300 billion of assets across all asset classes), Operating Committee and Derivatives Committee. Prior to CalPERS, Ed was a Managing Director of Absolute Return Strategies in the asset management group at Russell Investments. Prior to joining Russell, Ed was a Managing Director of Credit Suisse’s Asset Management business. He headed institutional hedge fund mandates globally.

Previous to Credit Suisse, Ed held the position of Senior Managing Director of Investments and Research at Asset Alliance Corporation, leading hedge fund seeding opportunities, launching hedge fund products and overseeing multi-manager funds of hedge funds. Previously, as a Managing Director in the Blackstone Group’s fund of hedge fund affiliate Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, he created and led the Manager Identification and Selection team. Ed began his investment career at RJR Nabisco, serving as Vice President Pension and Benefit Investments, where he created an allocation to hedge funds in 1994.

Ed received his BA in Accounting from Montclair State University and his MBA in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a holder of a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Catherine Beard, CFA
Director of ResearcH

Ms. Beard has over 20 years of experience in traditional and alternative strategy investing including buy-side research and portfolio management as well as allocator experience in manager research, structuring and portfolio management. Prior to joining Blueprint, Ms. Beard was a Senior Manager on the Absolute Returns Team at the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust. In this capacity, she was responsible for managing a multi-billion Private Credit portfolio with allocations to alternative strategies including direct lending, long/short credit, distressed and opportunistic credit. Prior joining the Trust in 2013, Ms. Beard was a senior member of the Hedge Fund Research Team at Mercer Investment Consulting where she was the Sector Head for Absolute Return Credit Strategies.

While at Mercer, Ms. Beard allocated in excess of $1 billion to Alternative Credit managers on behalf of Mercer’s large institutional client base. Prior to her tenure at Mercer, Ms. Beard was a buy-side credit analyst for UBS O’Connor’s Multi-strategy fund and spent seven years as a credit analyst on Northern Trust’s High Yield team. She started her career at Bank of America where she was a Leveraged Loan analyst on the proprietary trading desk. 

Ms. Beard received her BA in Political Science from the University of Kentucky and an MBA in Finance at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

John McAvoy

John has over 30 years of experience in equity capital markets, debt capital markets and alternative investment management. He is involved in the execution of all of Blueprint’s investment activities, serves on the Blueprint Investment Committee and leads the firm’s strategic investment initiatives. He has extensive experience in sourcing, performing due diligence and structuring strategic and financial transactions with alternative investment managers. Most recently, he served as President of Asset Management Finance (“AMF"), a subsidiary of Credit Suisse, where he led the firm’s focus on alternative investments. He also served as Member of the Investment Committee and Board of Directors. AMF was a market leader in making minority investments in established, high quality asset managers across a wide range of investment strategies and geographies. AMF utilized a variety of investment structures to support a broad and diversified range of strategic objectives including recapitalizations, buyouts, funding of new investment products, succession planning, acquisitions, and business expansion. Under John’s leadership AMF bought stakes in six alternative investment managers including Reservoir Capital Group, Brigade Capital Management and Tricadia.

Prior to joining AMF in 2008, John was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse where he held a number of senior roles in both the New York and London offices for over 17 years, including Global Head of Hedge Fund coverage, European Head of Equity Capital Markets and Global Co-Head of Convertible Securities. During his time at Credit Suisse, he also served on the Global Equity Operating Committee, the European Investment Banking Committee and was Chairman of the Equity Diversity Advisory Committee. John joined Credit Suisse in 1991 from Lehman Brothers where he worked for seven years in the firm's Convertible Securities Department in institutional sales and sales management. John received a B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1982 and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1984. He currently serves on the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees.

Nicholas (Nick) Lengua, CPA
Chief Financial OfficeR

Nick has over 25 years of accounting, audit, alternative fund and financial operations experience. Nick was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Fair Oaks Capital, an investment adviser focused on corporate credit opportunities in the US and Europe. Prior to Fair Oaks Capital, Nick was a Senior Business Analyst and Controller for Apollo Global Management where he assisted in the transition and integration of Stone Tower Capital’s portfolio accounting functions onto Apollo’s platform. Prior to this, Nick was Head of Fund Accounting for Stone Tower. Stone Tower was one of the largest US managers of bank debt structured finance vehicles and also managed five co-mingled hedge and private equity funds. The firm was purchased by Apollo Capital Management in 2012.

He was a member of the firm’s Valuation Committee and performed supervisory review of the Net Asset Values produced by Administrators. Prior to Stone Tower, Nick worked at Muzinich & Co. Inc., a global institutional asset manager with $20 billion. As, Head of Accounting, he played a significant role in building the firm’s infrastructure and was responsible for all accounting and investor reporting across bond funds, hedge funds, CBOs and managed accounts. Nick began his career as an auditor for Deloitte (previously Deloitte & Touche) where he planned, conducted and concluded audit engagements with financial institutions including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. 

Nick is a Certified Public Accountant. He received his MBA in Finance and Global Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BBA in Public Accounting from Pace University.

Keith Thomas
Director of Business DevelopmenT

Keith has over 35 years of capital markets, traditional asset management and alternative investment sales experience. In 1982, he joined Shearson American Express in the Commodities Division as a clerk in the foreign exchange department. He then joined the sales and trading program in 1984 and covered high net worth and middle market investors. In 1992, he transitioned to the institutional equity derivative products desk. In 1995, he joined Prudential Securities Inc. where he continued to work with institutional accounts in the areas of equity and fixed income derivative products.

His clients included sophisticated investors including New York State Common Retirement Fund, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. He completed over $4 billion in transactional business with these institutions. Since 2006, his career has been completely focused on delivering single manager and multi manager alternative investment solutions to institutional investors, while working at EIM Management (USA) Inc. and Muirfield Capital Management.

Keith served as a Trustee of New York Public Radio WNYC Foundation from 1992–2016. He also served as a Trustee of The Fund to Advance New York City from 2000–2012. He was also a founding board member of New York Cares and currently serves as a Trustee of The Lincoln Fund. He attended Montclair State University.

Rita Sallis
Senior Advisor

Rita has over 35 years of investment banking, pension management and alternative funds experience. She supports the firm’s executive leadership in the areas of investment and business development and provides guidance in governance related matters. Most recently served as a Principal at the Yucaipa Companies. She was responsible for marketing, client servicing, investor relationship maintenance and deal sourcing. Prior to that role, Ms. Sallis was Deputy Comptroller and Chief Investment Officer for the City of New York, and Deputy Comptroller for Public Finance for the City of New York. She was responsible for the investment of $100 billion in assets of New York City’s five pension boards; New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS), Police Pension Fund (POLICE), Fire Department Pension Fund (FIRE), and the Board of Education Retirement System (BERS).

She oversaw a diverse portfolio that included all major asset classes and transitioned the funds from a primarily stock and bond portfolio to incorporate alternatives. She also managed the day to day operations of the Bureau of Asset Management including; oversight of the treasury, accounting, budget, tax and audit activities and managed a staff of 50. Ms. Sallis is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) and serves as Chair of the Nominating and Governance Committee and also serves on the Steering Committee. She served on the Essex County College Board of Trustees where she was a member of its Finance Committee. Ms. Sallis has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree from Central State University.

Brad Southern

Brad began his asset management investment banking career with PaineWebber and UBS, where he executed transactions for large global platforms as well as independent firms. Brad subsequently was a senior banker with Putnam Lovell NBF and Freeman & Co., where he met success and led asset management-focused advisory firms with a strong emphasis on the alternative sector.  

Prior to investment banking, Brad worked as a corporate and securities attorney with Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton. Brad earned a B.A. and an M.B.A. from Rice University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Brad comes to Blueprint with over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Most recently, he was a principal of Cannon Street Capital, a firm formed to make minority equity investments in managers of hedge funds and other alternative strategies. Prior to Cannon Street, Brad provided strategic advice to asset management firms and focused on structuring, negotiating and completing M&A transactions. Brad also served as a principal of Kudu Advisors, a boutique focused on advising independent managers.  

Valerie Martin
Operations Manager

Prior to that, she worked in multiple roles across different groups within Morgan Stanley Investment Management Operations. As a Team Leader, she managed a team whose responsibilities included interfacing with clients, product managers, and other project stakeholders to analyze, interpret and identify business requirements, scope, issues and solutions. As a client service delivery manager, she was responsible for client delivery projects and reporting which included managing processes with peers in investment management, marketing, sales, legal, compliance, accounting, IT and operations. Valerie began her career at JP Morgan Chase in the Global Custody Group where she was responsible for global custody accounting and client relationship servicing. Valerie graduated from St. John’s University with a BS in Finance.

Valerie joins Blueprint with over 25 years of experience in asset management, global custody, accounting and risk management consulting. Highlights of her experience include extensive experience in operations, compliance, relationship management and project management within investment organizations.Valerie was a Vice President, Client Relationship Management at Structured Risk Analytics, LLC a provider of risk management and portfolio valuation services. Her role included project planning and coordinating with governmental agencies and international organizations to ensure products were marketed and positioned effectively.