Azarias believes that people, culture and integrity play a critical role in delivering a superior client experience.  As equity partners, each member of the team is dedicated to building a culture of transparency and accountability.

Daren C. Heitman, CFA

Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer

Daren was most recently a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Philadelphia-based Cooke & Beiler (2005 to 2014), where he led the firm’s successful launch of its Small Cap Value strategy and co-managed over $4 Billion in mid/large cap equities for institutional clients. He was previously a Senior Analyst and Partner at Schneider Capital Management (2000 to 2005), where he conducted in-depth research and analysis, mainly on small cap value stocks. He began his investment management career in 1994 at Skyline Asset Management, a Chicago-based investment advisory firm specializing in small cap value management where he was engaged full time in small cap value fundamental research. Daren earned an MBA with Honors from the University of Chicago – Graduate School of Business. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a B.S. in Finance.

Christopher S. Caton

Partner & Co-Portfolio Manager

Prior to joining Azarias in September 2014, Chris was a senior research analyst with Federated Investors (2006-2014) and for his last five years served on the Prudent Bear team, which has a decades-long dedication to short-biased investing. Prudent Bear was acquired by Federated in 2008. At Prudent Bear, Chris spent 100% of his time researching individual companies in a variety of sectors to help populate the short portfolio. From 2001 through 2006 Chris was a healthcare analyst with Principal Global Investors in Des Moines, Iowa, performing in-depth analysis on the healthcare sector of all capitalizations. He has over 26 years of investment experience and began his career as a sell-side analyst most recently with Robert W. Baird & Co (1997-2001) and McDonald & Company Securities (1992-1997). Chris holds a BA in economics from The Ohio State University.

Christopher J. Gillespie

Partner & Co-Portfolio Manager

Chris Gillespie joined Azarias Capital in March 2015. Chris was previously a Senior Analyst and Partner at Schneider Capital Management (1999-2015). While at Schneider, he conducted in-depth, fundamental research on small and mid-cap value companies across a broad range of sectors including industrials, machinery, autos, food & beverages, metals & mining, commodities, and trucking. Chris earned an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and graduated with honors from Boston College with a B.S. in Economics.

Joe Knecht

Partner, Investor Relations

Joe Knecht became a partner at Azarias in July 2018. Joe has 15 years of relationship building experience in the investment industry. He began his career at Vanguard (2003-2011) in an accelerated leadership program. Subsequently, he worked at Turner Investments (2011-2013) and Chartwell Investments (2013-2018) where he developed relationships with institutional clients, consultants and third-party distribution platforms. He earned his MBA at Villanova and graduated from Bloomsburg University with a B.S. in Marketing.