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Family Business Conference: Managing Planned and Unplanned Transitions

This day-long event will include networking opportunities and sessions with expert advisors on the current trends and best practices relevant to preparing for transitions in family firms.

Date: April 2, 2019 - April 2, 2019
Time: 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Location: Country Club of Rochester, 2935 East Ave, Rochester, NY 14610

Conference: Managing Planned and Unplanned Transitions
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A program for family businesses by family businesses, this day-long event will include sessions where owners will share their stories, participants can engage in networking opportunities, and expert advisors will describe current trends and best practices relevant to preparing for transitions in family firms. Sessions will help participants learn more about governance (for the business and the family) in family firms and develop priorities for their transition planning.

Sessions include:

Selling a Fifth-Generation Innovative Enterprise with a Proud Family Legacy (to another Fifth-Generation Family Firm)
The story of the Lang Family’s decision to sell Ainsworth Pet Nutrition Company to J.M. Smucker
A year ago, the Lang family announced their decision to sell their pet nutrition firm in Meadville, Pennsylvania, to the J.M. Smucker Company for $1.9 billion. Why and how the decision was made and implemented as well as the roles of the underlying family and business governance structures will be shared by two family members working in the firm from the fourth and fifth generations, including Doug Lang, G4, who held executive leadership positions at the pet nutrition company, and served as a shareholder, board member, and former vice president of sales and marketing. His son, Taylor Lang, G5 and a key account manager of the firm, will also share his experience. They will also tell the ongoing story of the “what after.”

Valuation Strategies: Proactive Strategies for Planned and Unplanned Transitions
It’s best to plan for enterprise valuation before a triggering event occurs. Business evaluation is best done as part of a thoughtful succession planning strategy so that family business owners’ visions for the future of the family-owned company that they helped build can be realized.

This session will include an overview of the valuation process, which is an important strategy to help family business owners realize their financial and long-term goals and protect their firms during planned and unplanned transitions. Case studies will be included such as selling a company, ESOP planning, transitioning a firm to the next generation, and preparing for the 4Ds (death, disability, divorce, or disaster). Buy-sell agreements, relevance of valuation to business and family governance, and owner conflict issues will also be discussed.

Hugh Lambert, CPA/ABV
St. John Fisher College Family Business Fellow
Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice

Sponsored by: Empire Valuation Consultants, LLC

Transitioning to “Extended Family”: ESOPS for Family Firms
The ESOP topic will be introduced by national expert Rob Brown, Esq. Leaders from family businesses whose succession plans were based on ESOPs will discuss the rationale, process, and outcome of their decisions.

Afternoon Governance Sessions
Taught by Fisher Family Business Fellows and veteran family business leaders, these sessions will include discussions on why governance is important, how to get started and include samples and case studies. Participants will work with accountability partners on implementation plans.

  • Introduction to Family Governance
    This session will cover the elements of effective family governance to help families build their capacity to thrive through transitions. Topics will include how to develop family meetings, decision-making, and effective communication techniques. Strategies to develop leaders in the family governance, business management, and ownership will be included.
  • Introduction to Business Governance
    Many family firms in our region do not have governing boards. This session includes information on how effective boards can be especially useful in helping family firms negotiate transitions and support next generation leaders. Strategies to help firms get started and develop board members will be included.

To attend, email Dr. Carol Wittmeyer at or call the Office of the Dean of the School of Business at (585) 385-8446.

Organized by:

Hosted by the Family Business Initiative at the School of Business