Larry Gerdes is the chairman and CEO of Pursuant Health, an Atlanta-based healthcare data and services company. Pursuant is in its early growth stages, having increased revenue 70% in 2018. Larry has spent his entire career building start-up companies. In the past 40 years, he has invested in, and in some cases been a board member and CEO, of over 60 start-ups predominantly on the West Coast or in the Southeast. Many of these companies have become public, and a few have grown past $1 billion in annual revenue.
Larry received his undergraduate degree in agriculture from the University of Illinois in 1971. Upon graduation he was given a graduate assistantship at the Indiana Graduate School of Business (now the Kelley School of Business) where he worked with Donald Sauer, a noted finance professor at Indiana University. Dr. Sauer helped Larry secure summer internships in a Peoria, Illinois, regional bank during graduate school, and he eventually returned to the bank as a commercial lending officer after graduating in 1974. Within two years, Larry had an opportunity to establish a loan facility for a start-up company called HBO & Company. In 1977, Larry left the bank to become CFO of this start-up, moving to Atlanta and helping to facilitate a successful public offering in 1981. HBO, which grew to become one of the country’s leading healthcare IT companies, was sold to McKesson for $13 billion in 2000. Larry and HBO's founder left the company in 1990 to start an investment partnership, Gerdes Huff Investments. Larry became chairman and CEO of one of the firm’s early acquisitions, a small consulting firm in Atlanta (later named Transcend Services by Larry’s daughter) that grew from under $1MM in revenue to $135MM before being sold to Nuance Corporation in 2012. Transcend achieved the second highest three-year shareholder return for all public companies in the US with under $200 million of revenue (2006–2008).
Larry was formerly a member of the Kelley Dean's Advisory Council (now an ambassador) and is on the board of trustees of Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois. Larry also serves as lead director for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, having previously served as a director at the Chicago Board of Trade. He is also a board member of the Citizens First State Bank of Walnut in his hometown of Walnut, Illinois.
Larry has also had board involvement in nonprofit organizations. He served for 11 years, two as chairman, of the Tommy Nobis Center in Atlanta, an organization that has provided over 30,000 disabled individuals with job training and employment opportunities in its 35-year history. In addition, Larry was a founding board member for the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation, an organization focused on developing leadership skills in outstanding high school student athletes. Larry has made significant contributions to the Kelley School undergraduate and graduate facilities, the University of Illinois College of Agriculture (ACES), the University of Illinois Athletic Department, and his undergraduate fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho. In addition, he has funded partial scholarships to more than 15 students at the University of Illinois. He has also established a family foundation to allow family members to attend college through loans with forgiveness triggered by academic performance. This foundation has forgiven over $500,000 of loans since inception.
Larry and his wife of 46 years, Ann, reside in Atlanta, as do their two daughters Lindsey and Leslie, both graduates of Stanford University.