300 Million years ago, plants evolved to have lignin in their cell walls allowing them to grow tall and compete for more sunlight. Lignin gives trees their rigidity-defying the laws of gravity, and also their flexibility-allowing them to thrive in volatile conditions. We at Lignin Growth Partners think it is incredible that this simple evolution could have such an extreme impact on the trajectory of our world. It got us wondering what simple evolutions could change the trajectories of our country’s small businesses.

Often times, it is a single new partnership, deal, product innovation or distribution line that can affect the entire landscape of a company’s future. Identifying these growth opportunities and learning how to effectively execute and monetize these new ideas is what we do best.



Caroline Howell is the founder of Lignin Growth Partners. She has spent her career in financial services. She previously was a co-founder of St. Vrain Partners, a boutique investment bank based in Denver, Colorado that focused on buy-side, sell-side, and capital formation. Prior to founding St. Vrain, she worked as a producer for Van Gilder Insurance Corporation, a Denver based insurance brokerage working with manufacturing and energy companies. She has a passion for job creation in the United States and feeds that passion through helping her clients grow. She attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and International Business. Caroline completed her career at Tennessee as a four year varsity rower and team captain.

Caroline serves on the board of Ace Scholarships and WoMAN (Women of Mergers & Acquisitions Network).

In her spare time, Caroline can be found in the mountains or outdoors skiing, hiking, cycling, or climbing.


JP Tremblay

JP Tremblay is Associate Teaching Professor at the Reiman School of Finance in the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver where he teaches investment management, securities analysis and valuation, portfolio management and risk analytics.

Previously, JP was Sr. Director of Product Development at S&P Global where he managed a portfolio of financial data products, including the Compustat database, and analytical software platforms for the global institutional investment management market. He was also co-portfolio manager of a long/short equity hedge fund and private wealth management firm based in Denver.

JP is an active member of the Colorado financial community. He is a CFA Charterholder and former Board member of the Colorado CFA Society. He is a founding member and active board member of the Colorado QWAFAFEW chapter.

JP holds an MBA in International Management from the International University of the Americas and received his B.A. in Finance and Marketing from Laval University, Quebec, Canada. His research interests are in the areas of equity valuation, portfolio construction, and quantitative equity strategy with a focus on ESG investing. He is co-director of the Marsico Investment Center and recipient of the Blake Family Faculty Fellowship.