TKG Chairman, President & CEO

James J. Kaufman

Mr. Kaufman is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Kaufman Group. He has been engaged in business and has practiced law for over 45 years concentrating his legal practice in the fields of:

Banking, finance, lender liability, corporate, business, strategic planning, restructuring, turnarounds and workouts, health care, and all phases of significant litigation. He has represented banks, foreign and domestic corporations, manufacturers, automobile and marine distributors, dealers, and suppliers, real estate developers and health care providers. Mr. Kaufman’s expertise addresses all aspects of start-up, successful, and distressed companies, including SOT, floor plan and capital financing defaults, strategic negotiations and mediations, acquisitions, mergers, and reconstruction of assets.

In the health care sector, Mr. Kaufman has served as Special Counsel on business/cost containment issues involving the Florida/Medicaid – US Tobacco Litigation; has represented hospitals, doctors, nurses, and others in the health care industry including negotiation and closing of a multimillion dollar A&M of a complex radiological practice and litigation and interstate negotiation with multiple hospitals and other providers.

In the auto sector, he has represented and provided comprehensive business and strategic advice and guidance to mega dealers including extensive floor plan, SOT and other negotiations with manufacturers, banks and captives; litigation and “hands-on” operational experience. He has lectured at numerous JD Powers Round Tables and NADA annual meetings.

In the finance sector, he has represented banks and mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers, engaging in strategic workouts of multimillion dollar loans and Federal litigation against major securities firms; he has litigated and provided strategic advice and counsel on substantial cases to various corporations throughout the US in multimillion dollar lender liability suits against banks and other lenders.

In the corporate sector, Mr. Kaufman, a negotiator and certified mediator, has served as strategic advisor to numerous corporations and boards and has written extensive SEC/Blue Sky offering and private placements plans. In the international business sector,

Mr. Kaufman has served as legal counsel and worked with companies in Australia, Europe, Italy, Greece, and China (including joint ventures with the China National Corporation of Medicine, and founding Danamer, a joint venture between a US city and Dandong, China).

In the marine sector, he has served Riviera Marine as its first East Coast Distributor, US operations manager, President and CEO of Riviera Yachts of the Americas and continues to serve Riviera as a senior advisor; created the Blue Ribbon Panel with the marine CEOs of Caterpillar and Cummins; engaged in negotiation with and provided strategic advice to GEC regarding a broad range of highly problematic marine dealer floor plan issues. Currently, he has developed a unique Price Point Analysis which enables TKG’s Marine Analytic Division to assist marine manufacturers in making current, effective and up to date pricing decisions for their products.

Mr. Kaufman’s government service includes having served as a delegate to the US/China Joint Session on Trade, Investment & Economic Law in Beijing, China; a member of the New York 7th Judicial Grievance Committee and New York Policy and Ethics Committee; a Town Justice for 14 years; Counsel of the Genesee Regional Health Planning Council, Chairman of the Genesee Regional Health Planning Council, Noise Task Force; a panel member of the Commerce Technical Advisory Board on Noise Abatement; Legislative Assistant, Administrative Assistant and Legal counsel to Congressman Theodore R. Kupferman (US House of Representatives, 17thCongressional District, Washington, DC) where he drafted the nation’s first noise control legislation and was thereafter engaged by the government to review and assess all the noise ordinances in the US.

Mr. Kaufman’s publications include: Noise, a Problem to be Heard,National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC; Control of Noise Through Laws and Regulations,American Speech and Hearing Assoc., Washington, DC; What to do Before the Money Runs Out – A Road Map for America’s Automobile Dealers; and Trial Structure and Conduct, North Carolina Trial & Appeal,West Publishing, American Inns of Court Civil Procedure.

Ratings: During his legal practice, Mr. Kaufman has enjoyed Martindale-Hubbell’s highest “AV” rating (1976-2002) and being listed in Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

Mr. Kaufman is a member of the esteemed Players, Gramercy Park, and a member of the preeminent Union League Club, both in New York City, as well as a member of the Cape Fear Club in Wilmington, NC. He is a former Board Member and Chairman of Imaging The World (ITW), a not-for-profit health care company delivering ultrasound services to Uganda and other underserved populations, and in the process saving many lives.

Kaufman lives in Wilmington, NC, with his wife.

Finance Director-Europe & US

J.M. Ornstein

Mr. Ornstein has over seven years of investment banking and corporate development experience at senior levels.

During his business career, Mr. Ornstein worked on Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), Privatizations, Divestitures, Joint-Ventures, Strategic Alliances, Government Relations, and Business Development.

In 2003, Mr. Ornstein joined the Army and was assigned to 10th Special Forces Group where he deployed three times to Iraq with distinction, earning the Bronze Star. While in the military, Mr. Ornstein achieved the highest level of US Government Counterintelligence training. Mr. Ornstein has his BA in International Finance from the University of Miami and an MBA from Bocconi University in Milan.

Mr. Ornstein speaks English, Portuguese and Italian. He lives in England where he designs market entry strategies for a portfolio of international companies.

Senior VP & Chief Operating Officer

Ryan Matthes

Mr. Matthes has over 15 years of Tactical Operations, Procurement, Accounting Operations, and Supply Chain Strategy and Management experience for Fidelity—globally.

During his business career, Ryan has served on both sides of the organizational table – as a Third-Party Senior Advisory Consultant and as a Business functional leader.

Additionally, Ryan is currently Vice President of Procurement Programs (Premikati, Inc) with a start-up Procurement Strategy and Solutions organization, which is one of five BPO Partners to SAP Ariba on their Procurement applications and software.

Ryan and his family recently relocated to Durham, North Carolina from Albuquerque, NM.  In addition to his work with Premikati, Inc, Ryan will devote his energies as TKG’s new Senior Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. In that capacity, Ryan will be able to apply his multiple skill sets, extensive experience and can do—get it done attitude and approach to. Helping TKGMA attract new business (marine manufacturers and others) not only to receive Price Point Analyses but also expose them to the other sectors of TKG to help them—particularly in the areas of finance, floor plans, dealer relations, reconstruction or turn around work. That’s the cross pollination of benefits TKG’s clients can receive.

Arnie Hammerman

Arnie has over 25 years of experience in marine sales, marketing, and operations. In addition to this he has held a USCG captain’s license since 1985.He has and continues to work for various media outlets with articles published in Southern Boating, SEA Magazine, OCEAN, PassageMaker, Yachting, and Marine Electronics Journal.

He is the former publisher of POWER & MOTORYACHT and helped found ANGLERS JOURNAL, the fastest growing new fishing publication in the U.S. Previous to that he was the Western and Pacific Rim Regional Director for the Bonnier Corporation, working for such prestigious publications as YACHTING, Boating, Saltwater Sportsman, Marlin, Sportfishing, Cruising World and Sailing World.

Arnie and his partner Janet Green created Brand Builder Media, a marketing strategy and creative solutions company in 2008. As a one of the principals, Arnie continues to help companies grow utilizing complex modern marketing techniques. Using analytical tools to evaluate the marketplace and then developing and implementing business plans and media strategies, Arnie has been able to help a variety of companies grow and achieve or surpass their goals.

He specializes in the marine marketplace as his knowledge of boatbuilding, dealer operations, marine electronics, equipment, and repair is unprecedented. His extensive network of industry contacts allows him to find and develop innovative solutions as well as the resources needed to accomplish them.

Arnie is serving his second term on the Mukilteo, Washington Planning Commission and is the 2018 planning commission Chairman. He along with the other commissioners work with the mayor, city council, and city planning department to clarify city ordinances, zoning and municipal code. They also work for and with the city’s citizens to keep Mukilteo safe and make it a great place to live and work.

Arnie served on the board and was the president for two years of The Japanese Gulch Group, a 501 C3 non-profit in the Pacific Northwest. He helped save an urban forest area from destruction and turned it into a regional park. His efforts included fund raising, events, public speaking, writing articles for newspapers, building ad campaigns and countless hours meeting with local, county and state officials in order to obtain the funding necessary to purchase the 100-acre tract from private owners and insure that it remains open to the public forever. His leadership in this endeavor shows that a small vocal group can have a large impact if they focus their efforts and communicate effectively.

Arnie currently lives outside of Seattle, Washington with his wife and two sons. When not using his countless connections in the marine industry to strategize and implement business plans and marketing programs, he can be found cruising the local waters of Puget Sound and the Canadian Gulf islands aboard his boat. He is an avid life-long sailor and power boater and still delivers boats across oceans from time to time to keep his skills fresh and for the challenge and exhilaration of being out at sea on a small vessel.


TKG Australia

Peter Morrell

Mr. Morrell is an attorney in Australia with over 35 years commercial experience, concentrating in foreign trade.

He is presently involved with over 40 industries and knows not only in Australia but also in the 30 Nation States comprising the South Pacific area.

Florida Legal & Strategic Manager

F. Steven Herb

Mr. Herb is Senior Counsel in the law firm of Kirk-Pinkerton, P.A. in Sarasota, FL. having practiced in Sarasota since 1978. Mr. Herb’s firm has for over 102 years been one of the preeminent firms in Southwest Florida.

Mr. Herb’s area of concentration is business law, including both the legal and strategic planning aspects of the needs of his clients.

Mr. Herb’s clients have included many of the most recognized names in the boating industry, including Riviera Yachts, Donzi Marine, Pro-Line Boats, Genmar Industries (Wellcraft, Hatteras, Glastron, Larson, Lund, Crestliner, Ski Supreme, Windsor Craft, Aquasport, Triumph), Cruisers Yachts, Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts , Shamrock Boats, Grady White Boats, Californian Yachts, Navigator Yachts, Phoenix Yachts, World Cat Boats, Jupiter International, Volvo Penta Marine, Marine Concepts,and others.

His knowledge and experience in the marine industry also include virtually all segments of that industry, including dealers, component manufacturers, engine manufacturers, suppliers, marinas, and yacht clubs. Mr. Herb is also the joint author of Recreational Boating Law, and Benedict on Admiralty (Vol. 8), both published by Matthew Bender & Co.

Mr. Herb’s practice has also included business areas other than the marine industry, including banks and other financial institutions, automobile dealerships, non-marine manufacturers of goods, manufacturer’s reps, service industry businesses, real estate (residential and commercial), governmental law, and private utilities. Mr. Herb’s experience includes testifying before legislative bodies on behalf of his business clients regarding proposed or pending legislation. He has experience as a Director, Chairman, President, or Managing Partner of a Credit Union, a Private Utility, a Yacht Club, The American Boat and Yacht Council, his law firm, a not for profit Florida Charter High School and Middle School, charitable organizations, and Homeowner Associations. Mr. Herb is qualified to serve as an Arbitrator in commercial disputes.

Mr. Herb served as a United States Air Force Judge Advocate from 1975 through 1978 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Mr. Herb’s experience, skill sets, character, and knowledge bring to the TKG a unique ability to understand, evaluate, access, and assist our clients and their needs, both business, and legal, as well as manage complex legal issues.