2018 Commencment Speaker




Bill is the Executive Chairman of Topa Equities, Ltd. a diversified holding company based in Los Angeles, and the Chairman of Topa Insurance Group.

He is also the CEO of First Beverage Group, a company he founded in 2005 in response to the beverage industry’s need for a dedicated financial services firm. Through the company’s private equity fund, First Beverage advises and invests in innovative and transformational beverage brands. In March of 2018, First Beverage sold its investment banking arm to Cascadia Capital, a leading boutique investment bank based in Seattle.

Prior to founding First Beverage, Bill served for 14 years as Executive Vice President of Topa Equities and as President of Topa Properties, Ltd. His responsibilities at Topa included over 75 middle-market acquisitions totaling over $1 billion in acquisition value. He was responsible for many of the business development efforts across the company’s six divisions.

Prior to joining Topa, he was an attorney with O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and a legislative assistant to US Senator George J. Mitchell (D-Maine).

Bill sits on the Boards of Directors of Topa Equities, Ltd., Acacia Research (Nasdaq: ACTG), Health-Ade Kombucha, GEM&BOLT Mezcal and Cascadia Capital. He is a former Board member of the New Belgium Brewing Company.

Bill is the former Chairman of the Board of the Weingart Center, one of the nation’s largest facilities for the homeless. He now sits on the Board of Experience Camps, a national nonprofit organization that provides free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver.

Bill has long been an active angel investor in emerging consumer brands and start-up technology companies, including Forager Project, WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, Blue Bottle Coffee, Foxtrot Systems and CREXI.

He received a B.A. from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, an M.S. in journalism from Boston University, and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law. Bill has two sons, Max and Spencer, and lives in Los Angeles. He is an avid traveler and his interests include golf, yoga, hiking, cycling and politics.