Discover what you can learn about M&A at ASPIRE 2018

As hundreds of Central Ohio dealmakers prepare to gather in downtown Columbus on Sept. 25 for ASPIRE 2018, the largest local conference for investors, dealmakers and entrepreneurs will explore four different M&A tracks: buying a business, selling a business, raising capital and liquidity.

Buying a business

In a seller’s market, buying a business has become tougher than ever. That’s why ASPIRE will bring together experts on two separate panels on this topic.

Dr. Eric R. Schertel

Our first session, Myth Busters: Fine Tune Your Acquisition Strategy, will dispel common misconceptions about buying businesses to spur growth. Moderated by Huntington’s Bill Remias, this session will peel back the curtain on what it really takes to develop a focused acquisition strategy.

You will hear from Talisman Capital Partner’s Matt Walter and MedVet’s Dr. Eric R. Schertel — successful entrepreneurs who have bought multiple businesses — as well as Rob Daly, who works with business owners on business succession and strategic exit capabilities as the head of RSM’s Center for Business Transition.

Our afternoon buying session, Troubled Waters: Bridging the Unexpected, will look at how to overcome obstacles to getting a deal done.

Alan Rudy

When you’re acquiring and integrating a new business operation, it’s imperative to do your homework because it’s what you don’t know that offers the greatest challenges. Alan Rudy of Good Night Medical, Scott Chapman of Copper Run Capital and Benton Bodamer of Dickinson Wright PLLC break down what’s worked for them and others.

They’ll share front-line experiences on how to prepare for anything during the process, and then navigate through negotiations to successfully seal the deal. S&T Bank’s Dave Enright will moderate the discussion.


Selling a business

With more than $1 trillion of committed PE and VC capital burning a hole in the pockets of PE and VC firms worldwide, every business owner needs to think about selling their business. There has never been a better seller’s market, so ASPIRE has two expert panels to explain what business owners should know about the selling process.

Sheri S. Tackett

First, Sold! Pitfalls and best practices examines the considerations that arise when selling a company or location. Two entrepreneurs, Steve Germain of Germain Automotive Group and Sheri S. Tackett of Delta Energy Holdings LLC, who have experienced this firsthand, join expert adviser Norm Cook of WealthStone for a no-holds-barred discussion about the pitfalls to expect and the best practices to overcome them in sell-side transactions. Joel M. Rosenthal of Schneider Downs & Co. will moderate the discussion.

Phil Derrow

Effectively selling your business can be complicated, but highly rewarding when you have a plan to keep the transaction on track and your organization’s legacy secure. In our afternoon selling session — A Deep Dive on the Sell Side — Aon’s Vipul Patel, Ohio Transmission Corp.’s Phil Derrow and BMO Capital Markets Corp.’s Kyle Crowe will explain how to keep from drowning when you dive into the sell-side waters. The session will be moderated by Scot Crow of Dickinson Wright PLLC.


Raising capital

There’s more than one way to raise capital for your business, but even in these crazy times, it takes hard work and persistence. ASPIRE’s two panels on this subject delve into the worlds of venture capital, private equity and more, which are seeing, on average, much larger exits than a decade ago.

Our morning session — Picking winners: How companies attract capital — considers why some businesses attract VC and PE investments, while others don’t.

Alex Timm

You’ll learn how Robert A. Smith of Capitol Waste & Recycling Services and Alex Timm of Root Insurance raised more than $80 million for their companies, as well as what regional family office leader Andy Billman of Tri-W Group looks for when investing. You will also get practical advice from Clark Schaefer Hackett’s Scott McRill on how to structure deals. U.S. Bank’s Steve Bennett will moderate the discussion.

Craig Barnum

The afternoon panel — How Much Is Enough? — will explore the pros and cons of raising money from private investors, financial institutions and PE and VC firms.

Successful entrepreneurs and experts — Craig Barnum of CLB Restaurants, Steve Morris of Asset Strategies Group and Michael Stevenson of Clarus Partners — will share stories from the front lines and actionable advice for entrepreneurs, in a discussion moderated by Jennifer Griffith of First Merchants Bank. Learn what you are overlooking, ways to find hidden sources of capital in your company and how to live with leverage.



With a liquidity event, planning is critical — whether you’re selling to a strategic buyer or transferring the business to the next generation or to employees through an employee stock ownership plan. ASPIRE’s two liquidity panels will educate entrepreneurs on what they should know before a liquidity event occurs.

Our morning session will be a special roundtable discussion, Anatomy of a Deal: Supercharge your growth plan.

James R. Tolston III

You will learn how two CEOs — North American Assemblies LLC’s James R. Tolston III and Quantum Health’s Kara Trott — leveraged liquidity events to supercharge their businesses and engineer acquisition and growth strategies for long-term success. You’ll also hear from investors and key advisers, Stonehenge Partners’ Andrew F. Bohutinsky and Footprint Capital’s Joshua M. Curtis, as they break down the thought processes that go into developing — and executing — transactions. The discussion will be moderated by Wade Kozich of GBQ.

Tim Gase

In the afternoon, we’ll examine a growing trend in the Central Ohio region with ESOPs: A Liquidity Event Where Everyone Wins. Tim Gase of Peerless Saw Co., who took his company through an ESOP, and savvy veteran professionals — AXIA Consulting’s Ed Mueller, Lazear Capital Partner’s Ted Lape and Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter’s Todd Kegler — will discuss the A to Z of ESOPs — from structure, design and financing to implementation and ongoing success. Steven Driver of Crowe will moderate the discussion.

Discover the benefits for all stakeholders, the mechanics and the day-to-day practical effects and operational challenges that every ESOP should know.