Nelda J. Connors

Industry Influencer 2020/2021

Nelda J. Connors is the founder and serves as the Chairwoman and CEO of Pine Grove Holdings, LLC, a woman and minority-owned privately-held investment firm. Pine Grove Holdings acquires and operates small-to-mid-sized businesses with highly-engineered products and services. 

There are 10 portfolio companies in Pine Grove Holdings, LLC, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in August 2021. The investments are primarily in stand-by power generators, specialty logistics and transportation, systems as a service (SAAS) and advanced engineering and processing of materials. 

Prior to Pine Grove Holdings, Connors was an executive, managing several divisions of global automotive and industrial corporations, including Tyco International, Eaton Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and Chrysler Corporation. 

In December of 2010, she led the IPO of Atkore International, as its CEO, taking the $2.5 billion global revenue, electrical and metals division of Tyco International, public under the NYSE ticker, ATKR. In addition to success as a C-level executive, her experience and governance expertise has been sought out as she currently serves as a public board member for BorgWarner Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, EnerSys Corporation, and Baker Hughes Company. 

Connors is also an independent advisor to the board of Nissan North America, Inc. and serves on the board of the all women-led, Queen’s Gambit SPAC (NYSE:GMBT). 

She is s an adviser to Southworth International Group, Inc., and Vibracoustic, AG, both privately held companies. Her prior roles include Class B director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago during the global financial crisis (2013 – 2017) working with chairs Bernanke and Yellen. She was also a member of the boards of Delphi Technologies plc, Echo Global Logistics, Inc., CNH Industrial NV, Clarcor Corporation, Vesuvius plc and Blount International. 

Connors has lived and worked a significant portion of her career in Japan, Germany and China. She attained a bachelor’s and master’s of science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio, her birthplace. She also attended post-graduate studies at the University of Tokyo in Japan under a Rotary International Japan Fellowship. 

Philanthropically, she was invited to join the Robert F. Kennedy, Human Rights Board of Directors and she serves as a director to the HBCU, Xavier University of Louisiana – her parents’ and siblings’ alma mater. Formerly, she was director of the Chicago Chapter of the National Urban League. Her other noteworthy accomplishments and recognitions include: 2019 Women’s Inc. Most Influential Corporate Directors, 2019 Black Enterprise Registry of Corporate Board Members, National Association of Corporate Directors Board Leadership and Governance Fellow, 2010 Black Enterprise Top 75 Powerful Women in Business, and 2009 Chicago United Business Leaders of Color. 

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