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Conference Demystifies the Family Business Transition Process

February 25, 2019

As part of its new Family Business Initiative, the St. John Fisher College School of Business will host a half-day conference, Managing Planned and Unplanned Transitions, designed to demystify the transition process for leaders of family-owned firms.

From Left to Right: Eric Allyn, Hugh Lambert, Terry Griswold, and Hugh Woodside.

The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, at the Country Club of Rochester, 2935 East Avenue, in Rochester.  It is open to current or future family business owners, managers, or leaders.

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“As one of the first major events in our Family Business Initiative, we are excited to deliver a conference that offers resources and expertise related to the unique needs of family-owned businesses in Rochester,” said Dr. Rama Yelkur, dean of the School of Business.

The day will begin with the session, Family Business Transitions Stories, which features members of two families who will share the circumstances surrounding the sale of their multi-generation businesses.

Doug Lang and Taylor Lang will discuss how they made and executed the decision to sell their fifth generation company, Ainsworth Pet Food Company, in 2018.

Eric Allyn, former chairman of Welch Allyn, will share the story of the 2015 sale of his family business to Hill-Rom and what the family is doing in now.

“These stories will help participants learn more about governance for both the business and the family, and help pinpoint priorities in their transition planning,” said Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, interim associate dean in the School of Business. “Fisher faculty members will also describe current trends and best practices relevant to transitions in family firms.”

Empire Valuation Consultants is sponsoring the second session, Valuation Strategies: Proactive Strategies for Planned and Unplanned Transitions.

Terry Griswold and Hugh Woodside, managing directors at Empire Valuation, will join Hugh Lambert, visiting assistant professor of practice and family business fellow, to provide an overview of the valuation process. Topics covered during this session include succession planning strategies, when and why family businesses need independent appraisals of their companies, and the art and science of valuing family businesses, among others.

Online registration is now open, and includes an early bird offer of $145 through Friday, March 8. After March 8, registration will be $195 and closes on March 29.

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