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Articles > How They Got There – M&A in the Midstate
Katie Smarilli learned the business of business almost from the beginning. A role in her father’s business and some “unglamorous” jobs in her teens were part of the story of how she landed in mergers and acquisitions at Murphy McCormack Capital Advisors.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, she saw the inside of her dad’s business as a manufacturing representative.
“My mother was the controller, my dad was the CEO and all my brothers worked in the business,” said Smarilli, who pitched in as well.
She eventually headed to Penn State University and then into banking – first as a
teller at a small bank before entering a two-year management training program. Mergers made that bank a part of PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
Her next stop was Fulton Bank, where she headed the opening of a branch in Camp Hill. She gained experience leading and growing a business in a new market. When Fulton Bank bought a Lebanon County bank, she was at the helm of integrating it into the Fulton brand.
“It was at that point that I got my first taste of mergers and acquisitions,” Smarilli said. She went on to work for Core-States/First Union/Wachovia. When she retired from banking in 2008, she realized it was structuring deals and supporting
business customers that captivated her.
“I moved to mergers and acquisitions because what I really loved about banking
was working with closely held businesses,” Smarilli said.
As a partner at Murphy McCormack,Smarilli specializes in lower-middle market
deals. Smarilli said the commitment and intensity are probably not for everyone. And she admits to cruising down the Rhine with her laptop in tow, finalizing
deals on Christmas Eve.
“The one big thing that will kill a deal is time,” she said. “You can’t really stop a deal. If you stop it, you have to have support in your firm to take over for you. But if I’m in the lead, I’ll always be involved.”