Select Bios

Robert T. Howard
President and CEO

Prior to joining Electro-Wire in 1990, Bob worked as a CPA in public accounting, beginning his career in 1978 as a tax specialist with Arthur Andersen & Co. At Electro-Wire, Bob gained invaluable experience in contract manufacturing, ultimately serving as the President of the Company’s Truck Group, a highly profitable division that experienced significant revenue growth under his tenure.

Following the sale of Electro-Wire in 1995, Bob worked in the financial services industry for Merrill Lynch. He then re-joined the Wheeler family of companies in November, 1999, serving first as the CFO for Epic Technologies, and then in 2004, as CEO of TMW Enterprises. In that role, Bob works with TMW’s portfolio companies and with outside managers who oversee investments in venture capital and marketable securities. Bob graduated in 1978 from Abilene Christian University, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting.


Paul Oster
Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of TMW

Paul has worked with the Wheeler family since 1988 when he joined Electro-Wire as Corporate Controller. Today Paul serves as Chief Financial Officer for TMW. Before joining Electro-Wire, Paul was Vice President of Finance at a publicly held factory automation supplier where he oversaw its initial public offering and subsequent SEC compliance matters. He is also a Certified Public Accountant having previously worked for Price Waterhouse and Ernst & Whinney. In addition to the role of CFO, Paul manages the real estate assets of TMW, both within the U.S. and in Mexico. His banking and contractual expertise and his general business acumen are well recognized and appreciated by his colleagues and by the executives who manage TMW’s portfolio companies.


Douglas S. Soifer
Vice President of TMW

Doug has worked with the Wheeler family since 1991 when he joined Electro-Wire as Director of Taxation. Prior to that, he worked as a CPA for Price Waterhouse where he began his career in 1983. Doug currently serves as a member of TMW’s executive team where his knowledge and advice are integral to the success of all aspects of TMW’s business. He is well known by his peers, outside business professionals and by the executives of TMW’s portfolio companies for his ability to thoughtfully and creatively resolve complex tax matters.As an example, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a 2013 decision, unanimously supported a position Doug had taken related to unitary taxation which saved the Wheeler family several million dollars.

Doug oversees the execution of all estate and income tax planning for the Wheeler Family, and has the responsibility for all tax matters for TMW’s portfolio companies. Doug graduated in 1983 from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with high honors, and earned a Master’s of Science in Taxation, magna cum laude, from Walsh College in 1997. In addition, Doug earned the Stanley W. Smith Taxation Management Award from Walsh College in 1997.


Jim Knapp
President of Live Sports Radio (
Technology Advisor to TMW

Jim has overall responsibility for Live Sports Radio (“LSR”). He joined the LSR team in 2009 as Director of Marketing and was promoted to President in 2011. Prior to joining LSR, Jim had six years of advertising agency experience. During that time he created and managed the execution of events and campaigns that change the perception of a brand, one consumer at a time. In addition to being part of the team that re-launched the Saturn brand, his client roster includes Gatorade Sports Marketing, G2, General Motors, Chrysler, the GMAC Bowl, Chevrolet, Subaru, and Essex National Securities. His specialties include business development, budget oversight, contract negotiations, vendor management and event activation. He holds a degree from Michigan State University and is an avid Spartan fan.


Janine R. Vrabel

Janine first began working with TMW and the Wheeler Family before graduating from high school. Following her graduation from Western Michigan University with an Organizational Communication and Management degree she re-joined TMW to supervise much of the front office activity. In her current role, Janine oversees all human resource matters for TMW, including travel and employee insurance matters. In addition, she assumed the lead role for TMW during the development and sale of 250 Martin Street, an ultra-high-end residential and commercial development in Birmingham, Michigan. Prior to joining TMW, Janine worked at Franco Public Relations Group as a Public Relations Intern; during her time at Franco she worked on the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview, the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race and the opening of the MGM Grand Casino in 1999.


Margaret Bargardi

Margaret began working at Electro-Wire in 1990 as an assistant to Mr. Thomas M. Wheeler. Following the sale of the Company in 1995 to Alcoa Fujikura, she continued to work for the Wheeler family serving in a variety of capacities. In her current role, Margaret oversees the office management functions for TMW. She also provides significant support services to the Wheeler Family Foundation, assisting in the evaluation of grant requests and acting as a liaison between the Foundation’s officers and directors and charitable organizations. Her longtime dedicated service and experience has made her a valuable contributor to the TMW management team and the Wheeler family.