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Meet the Family Business Conference Speakers

March 20, 2019

Six dynamic speakers. One half-day conference. All designed to demystify the transition process for leaders of family-owned firms.

Managing Planned and Unplanned Transitions is a half-day conference hosted by the St. John Fisher College School of Business.  Open to current or future family business owners, managers, or leaders, 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. 

Meet the Speakers

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

Doug Lang held leadership positions in his family-owned business, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, for more than 30 years, serving in roles including shareholder, business and family council board member and former executive vice president of sales and marketing. During his time with the company, which is based in Meadville, Pennsylvania, he led several innovative strategies, including a partnership with Food Network celebrity chef Rachel Ray. In 2018, he brokered the sale of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to the J.M. Smucker Company, bringing his family business under another fifth-generation family-owned firm. Lang holds a bachelor’s degree from Bethany College.

A fifth-generation member of the Lang family, Taylor Lang served as a key account manager for Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, now part of the J.M. Smucker Company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from St. Bonaventure University, where he was president of the Family Business Club. He also earned an MBA from Colorado Technical University.

Jeff Lang spent more than 35 years with Ainsworth, on the operations side of the business. Throughout his career, he led building and contracting, extrusion, ingredients receiving and handling, and food safety. As head of research and development, he was responsible for many of the company’s most successful innovations. He also spent time in the New Ventures group.

Eric Allyn, former chairman of Welch Allyn Inc., a company owned by the Allyn Family for 100 years, will share the story of the 2015 sale of the business to Hill-Rom and what the family is doing now.

For four generations, Welch Allyn was a medical device manufacturer.  Hill-Rom, a larger public company, acquired Welch Allyn in 2015.  Since the sale of the company, Eric Allyn has led much of his family efforts, particularly in transitioning from an operating family to a financial family.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of GOJO (makers of Purell), Pharma Tech Industries, Health Care Originals, Auburn Community Hospital, the Hospital Trustees of New York State, The Gifford Foundation, and The Allyn Family Foundation. In addition, he is an LP Advisor to Armory Square Ventures, and is founder and managing partner of two private investment funds.  Allyn graduated from Dartmouth College, and earned his MBA from University of Virginia (Darden School). 

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.

Terry Griswold is the CEO, co-founder, and a managing director of Empire Valuation Consultants, and is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) of the American Society of Appraisers. He has over 40 years of accounting, corporate finance, and business valuation experience. He spent six years in public accounting where he handled corporate audits, tax planning, and other corporate financial services.  Previous work experience included five years with Chase Lincoln First Bank, NA, holding positions as trust investment officer, manager of the Chase Lincoln Valuation Consultants Group, and member of the Chase Capital Markets Group.  He also worked for more than four years as a certified public accountant (CPA) in audit and tax. Griswold holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alfred University and an MBA from the University of Rochester Simon Business School.

A managing director at Empire Valuation Consultants, Hugh Woodside has worked with the company since 2000. He is an Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) of the American Society of Appraisers, and a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) Charterholder. He specializes in the valuation of carried interests in private equity and hedge funds, and has extensive experience in the valuation of limited partnership interests in such funds. He has given presentations on carried interest valuations, Rule 144, restricted stock analysis and discounts for lack of marketability, S-Corp valuation and other topics in a variety of settings. He has provided litigation support in dissenting shareholder, matrimonial, and lost profits disputes, primarily in New York. Woodside holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Hugh Lambert is a visiting assistant professor of practice in the Accounting Department at the College. He also serves as a family business fellow with the School’s Family Business Initiative. A certified public accountant, Lambert is a valuation expert who has experience giving expert testimony in the New York Court of Claims and arbitration panel. He has also served as an expert for small and medium sized family owned businesses, estate planning and taxes, and business succession planning. He is well-versed in the accounting information used by businesses, investors, and lenders.

Interested attendees can register online and the conference fee is $195.  Registration will close on Friday, March 29.