HJ Sims Welcomes Akshai Patel as Executive Vice President, Public Finance Education Practice


March 25, 2024

CONTACT: Cheryl Laing | 203-418-9015 | [email protected]

HJ Sims Welcomes Akshai Patel as Executive Vice President, Public Finance Education

Fairfield, CT — HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935, is pleased to announce that Akshai Patel joins the firm as Executive Vice President in the Phoenix, AZ office.

Akshai Patel recently joined HJ Sims as an Executive Vice President on the Education Finance Team. He began his public finance career at RBC, where he was recognized by Bond Buyer as a Rising Star for his work focusing specifically on helping educational leaders in innovative and quality schools find affordable financing for their facilities – ensuring more education dollars go to classrooms where they can have the largest impact on students. He previously served as Chief Strategy Officer for ASU Preparatory Academies, a charter school network of 12 schools and over 3,000 students sponsored by Arizona State University and was co-founder of Phoenix Collegiate Academy (PCA), which was recognized as 2012 Arizona Charter School of the Year.

Driven by a passion to support the neediest students in his hometown, Mr. Patel joined Teach for America and taught for five years. Motivated to change those students’ lives permanently by helping his scholars find a path to college, Patel joined two fellow TFA alumni to co-found PCA, the first university preparatory in that community, a Building Excellent Schools incubated charter school which grew into a preK-12 network serving an over 90% high-poverty and 90% minority student population. As CEO, he led the school to produce three graduating classes where over 90% of students were accepted to a university, more than 90% matriculated to post-secondary and over 90% have persisted there. In 2011, he was recognized as a finalist for Arizona Charter School Leader of the Year. He authored a one-of-its kind merger with Arizona State University, which was noted on S&P’s Charter Sector Outlook, transforming the schools into the 6th ASU Prep region in 2018: “ASU Prep South Phoenix PCA.” As head of strategy for that network, he designed a growth plan to expand the footprint of ASU Prep to other underserved communities, especially Arizona students in rural, reservation, and incarcerated settings.

“We are thrilled to welcome Akshai Patel to the HJ Sims Investment Banking team. Akshai’s background and extensive experience as a charter school banker will be a tremendous asset to the firm as we continue to grow our presence in Arizona. His knowledge, integrity and client-centered approach are vital characteristics that reinforce the values of our firm and will serve our clients well,” said Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal.

“We welcome Akshai Patel into the HJ Sims family and look forward to growing our presence in education finance as we continue to expand our investment banking services with the collective industry knowledge and financing expertise that our new members bring. We also wish to support them as they strive to accomplish their goals,” said Rich Harmon, Senior Managing Director and Head of the Education Finance Team at Sims.

Financed Right®: Richard Harmon: 614.506.1976 | [email protected]

ABOUT HJ SIMS: Founded in 1935, HJ Sims is a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm. Headquartered in Fairfield, CT, Sims has nationwide investment banking, private wealth management and trading locations. Member FINRA, SIPC. Testimonials may not be representative of another client’s experience. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram.