Wes Edens is an entrepreneur who is a hedge fund manager and private equity investor. He grew up in Helena, Montana, and in 1984 he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and finance at Oregon State University. His first job in the financial industry was at California Savings and Loan. He moved to New York, New York and worked for short periods of time at Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch.
In 1987 he was hired by Lehman Brothers and he was a partner and managing director in their mortgage trading department. After six years he left and joined BlackRock Financial Management. During his time with this company he created his first private equity fund which was BlackRock Asset Investors.
After leaving Blackrock, Wes Edens worked briefly for UBS as the managing director of one of its subsidiaries. He joined some business partners in 1998 and together they founded Fortress Investment Group. This is a financial firm that invests in alternative assets such as credit and private equity. He is principally involved in the private equity side of the company and is one of its three partners.
Wes Edens is also a philanthropist. The types of causes he financially supports are art, educational, and health related. He once donated $1 million to Macalester College and between 2006 and 2010 he donated $700,000 to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Over a period of seven years he donated $500,000 to Partners in Health and over a period of three years he donated $150,000 to the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation as some examples of his charitable giving.
He is married and they have four children. In his personal life Wes Edens is passionate about the outdoors and is a mountain climber. Among the mountains he has climbed are Wyoming’s Pingora Peak as well as the Grand Teton. He has also climbed Switerzland’s Matterhorn. Among his most prized possessions are some ice axes he owns that had been signed by Reinhold Messner and Sir Edmund Hillary. He is hoping to one day follow in their footsteps and climb Mount Everest himself. Fortress’ Wes Edens on Brightline rail project