President & CEO
Smart Business Network
Fred co-founded Smart Business Network in 1989 with a single publication in Cleveland, Ohio. In the years since, he has built the company into a leading multimedia and content marketing business providing print and digital marketing services to a national client base.
Samuel J. Agresti
Brady Ware & Company
Sam joined Brady Ware as partner in 2006. He leads the firm’s Dealership Services team, working with dealerships to decrease their tax burden, maximize tax benefits, streamline processes and financial reporting, increase profits, prevent fraud and expand operations to new markets. He links these services with overall tax, audit and strategic planning initiatives to help clients realize financial rewards across their businesses.
Steve has led the region as U.S. Bank’s senior executive since 2016. He has more than 27 years of experience in banking. As head of U.S. Bank’s Commercial Banking Group in the greater Columbus area, Steve focuses on helping middle-market clients work toward their goals and meet their financial and operational needs. In addition, he leads the local U.S. Bank Foundation.
Founder and CEO
Ilya has changed the way people buy, sell and think about commercial insurance. A startup enthusiast and insurtech pioneer, he is the founder and CEO of Bold Penguin, a rapidly growing tech company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. He started his career on the front lines as an agent and has been on a mission to upgrade the industry through one successful startup after another.
Frank is founding partner of Oxer. By partnering with community banks as investors and obtaining additional capital through the SBA, Oxer has invested in over 28 companies since 2016. Capella originates and manages portfolio companies , in addition, to sitting on Oxer's investment committee, and has been involved in financing middle market companies for more than 30 years.
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP
Assist clients in the healthcare industry with business transactions and regulatory compliance matters. Experience in mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, reorganizations, joint ventures, and alignment and affiliation strategies. Regulatory expertise includes structuring transactions to comply with the Stark law, anti-kickback statute, civil monetary penalty laws and exempt organization laws and well as assist clients in responding to audits, conducting internal investigations, self-disclosures and designing and implementing compliance programs.
Prior to serving as CEO of ChromoCare since 2016, Hugh was part of eight successive early-stage technology companies. Hugh has been an active angel investor and taken leadership roles in many of these companies. Earlier, Hugh served as president of two publicly traded telecom companies.
Senior Vice President, Resident Sales Director
Peter is a senior vice president and resident sales director for Ohio at Aon Risk Services, responsible for the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati offices. His responsibilities include working with Aon’s corporate leadership team to identify growth areas and developing strategic plans to execute upon the opportunities across the three pillars of the firm — risk, retirement and health. He is also responsible for managing Aon’s executive relationships with many of the firm’s middle-market and large multinational clients.
Darci L. Congrove, CPA
GBQ Partners LLC
Darci joined GBQ in 1998, became a partner in 2003 and was elected managing director in 2010. Prior to joining the firm, Darci worked in the tax practices of two regional firms. Her client base is primarily closely-held businesses and their owners, and real estate companies. Darci is on the boards of the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.
Scot C. Crow
Member and General Corporate, M&A and Private Equity Practice Group Chair
Dickinson Wright PLLC
Scot manages the firm’s corporate, M&A, private equity, securities and tax practices, and is also the head of the cannabis group, which consists of more than 40 attorneys throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has extensive experience in corporate, mergers and acquisitions and tax law and has served as lead counsel in mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, private offerings, venture capital financings, mezzanine debt offerings, divestitures and other related financial transactions, in a number of industry sectors, including the cannabis industry.
Josh works with business leaders on ownership transactions and liquidity events, including sell-side and buy-side engagements and transactions, such as management buyouts, succession and exit planning, ESOP formations, capital sourcing and leveraged recaps. Prior to leading Footprint Capital, Josh was vice president at Insource Spend Management Group. He led Insource through two synergistic acquisitions and ultimately, its sale.
CO-founder, CEO & Community Orchestrator
COhatch was born out of Matt’s desire to merge his business energy and talent with his calling to help the least, the last and the lost. He develops innovative brands and business models that also sustainably support the community. Previously, he was vice president of Business Excellence for Velocys, ran a large business unit for Parker Hannifin, designed and implemented new manufacturing plants for Honda and was a consultant for Arthur Andersen.
Managing Director and Market Executive, Commercial Banking
BMO Harris Bank
Kimberly Dennis is currently the Market Executive for BMO Harris’ Mid-Market Commercial Bank covering Ohio and Pittsburgh, PA. BMO Harris Bank is the 8th largest bank in North America with US headquarters in Chicago. The Bank’s parent is Bank of Montreal located in Toronto. She manages a group of professionals that are focused on corporations that range in revenue size from $20.0 million to $3.5 billion. She and her team work with corporations to help provide solutions and consultative advice around their business needs. They also provided global solutions to their US clients that are transacting in Canada and China.
Ohio Transmission Corporation
Phil has worked at OTC for 36 years and has done nearly every job from sweeping the floors, to service technician, sales, management and finally CEO since 1998. During Phil’s tenure, OTC has grown 10 times through a balance of organic and acquisition-based expansion, completing 25 acquisitions in the process. OTC emphasizes its mission and core values as the keys to its employee-centered success. It has been recognized as one of Central Ohio’s Best Places to Work.
Englefield Business Advisors LLC
Cindi helps small business owners start up, grow, right-size or prepare to sell their businesses. She founded and grew her educational publishing business over 20 years until its sale in 2011. Cindi is involved with the OhioHealth Hospice, Red Cross, Healthy LifeStars® and the Women’s Small Business Accelerator. She is a member of the X-Squared Angels investment group.
Senior Vice President, Commercial Banker
At S&T Bank, Dave currently focuses on, but is not limited to, ESOP lending and leveraged buyouts. He has more than 17 years of experience with financing M&A, management buyouts, PE buyouts and DIP financing for companies that have filed bankruptcy. Dave has a long history working in asset-based lending as well on distressed situations. Over the years, Dave has worked in middle-market leveraged finance at different banking organizations, serving companies, PE groups, fundless sponsors and family offices.
Private Wealth Consultant
US Bank Private Wealth Management
Chief Technology Officer
An Engineer with proven expertise in launching and scaling start-up technology companies, entering new markets, selling & marketing services and well versed in International Business Development. Created startups and managed a successful exit. Specialties: Scaling Start-ups in Technology Services, Unlock potential via M&A, Business Development & Leveraging Global Delivery.
President & Co-Founder
Mr. Hays is the President and Co-Founder of Copper Run, and oversees firm strategy, operations, client services, and business development. Copper Run is an Investment Banking firm focused on serving the needs of the middle market. Our firm is committed to providing these companies with high quality merger and acquisition advisory services. We provide clients with senior level attention and are 100% focused on achieving our client’s objectives.
Ice Miller LLP
Michael Jordan is a managing partner at Ice Miller. He also is a partner in the Firm’s Business Group, with a primary area of concentration in alternative investments. He represents a wide variety of institutional investors such as public retirement systems and other governmental entities, national banks, corporate pension plans, college and university endowments, insurance companies, investment advisers, trade associations, family offices and high net worth investors in all aspects of their alternative investments programs.
Director of Real Estate and Business Development
Matt has over 20 years of entrepreneurial and investment experience. He started his career with Cardinal Health during a period of explosive growth, which lead to his enthusiasm for entrepreneurial success stories. Matt has been a founder/investor in startups in technology and real estate, and he owned real estate and construction businesses for nearly 15 years. At WealthStone, Matt helps clients evaluate and identify their goals and needs, and then determines the right team for them within WealthStone’s divisions.
Sky Climber LLC
From 1988 to 2005, Todd held numerous positions in sales, sales management, marketing, business development and global business management at Dow Chemical and Ashland Chemical. In 2005, he and two business partners purchased Sky Climber LLC and have built a family of companies doing business in over 80 countries. Today, the companies include manufacturing facilities, equipment rental facilities, a company that services wind turbines and one that builds and services cell towers.
Mary Beth Koester, CVA, CEPA
Principal, Director of Valuation Services
Rea & Associates
Mary Beth is a principal at Rea & Associates, leading the firm's valuation and transaction advisory services division. She is a Certified Valuation Analyst, Certified Exit Planning Advisor and experienced valuation consultant for closely held business owners. She has a specialized focus in private and family-owned businesses, as well as the veterinary and dental practice space. She consults with business owners to identify strategies for growth and value enhancement.
Brock is co-founder and CEO of Prescribe FIT, a virtual chronic condition and lifestyle health management company. Dedicated to improving the lives of patients, he is supporting healthcare with tech pathways to improve care and prevention of chronic conditions. He has fostered his entrepreneurial spirit since a young age with his first successful exit in 2013.
Kara H. Lewis is Managing Director in Bernstein’s Cleveland Office. As the leader of the firm’s Ohio practice, she has direct oversight on client service and management and the strategic business growth within the region. In her own practice, Kara works with entrepreneurs, business owners, and franchisees developing robust planning and global investment frameworks, which help them navigate various stages of their business life cycle. When engaging with multigenerational families, she works with all generations to create a vision for and strategies to implement their financial legacy. Prior to joining Bernstein in 2015, she was president of Winslow Asset Management. Kara earned a BA in economics from Denison University.
SVP, Corporate Partner
Scott L. McRill
Shareholder, Transaction Advisory Services, Private Equity Industry Group
Clark Schaefer Hackett
Scott is a trusted adviser to clients planning to buy or sell a business across a wide variety of industries. He has led teams that have contributed to well over 100 successful transactions. Scott is skilled in guiding private equity and corporate clients on acquisition and divestiture activity, including due diligence, integration planning and implementation, transaction structuring, valuation, and divestiture planning and preparation.
Kassel Equity Group
Since joining Kassel Equity in 2013, Brett Motherwell has contributed to its business development team with his experience in global financial markets, creating multinational corporations’ global payroll platforms at Global Single Source Solution. He also helps oversee financial operations throughout the company and its subsidiaries, in concert with Thomas Werner. Previously, he worked with TTR, a Portland, Oregon-based company that specializes in the creation of customized sales and use tax rulings on business-related goods and services.
Senior Vice President
Bill is the region manager for Huntington’s Commercial Banking Division in Central Ohio. Since 2003, he has been responsible for coordinating the sales, service and credit efforts for the commercial banking team, which services middle-market customers. Since joining Huntington in 1992, he has gained experience in traditional commercial banking transactions to middle-market and large corporations as well as structured financing for mergers and acquisitions.
Robert A. Smith
Armada Waste - OH
With over 32 years of solid waste and recycling experience, Rob has successfully led teams as small as 7 and as large as 1300 to increased sales and profits, cost controls, and process improvements which have resulted in consistent advancement in profits, safety, compliance, customer service and operational efficiencies. After time as a District Manager, Market Area GM, and Area Vice President, Rob started his own company, from scratch which has grown over the past 10 years to become Armada Waste, a regional force in the Solid Waste and Recycling business, spanning 5 locations across Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky with a current annual run-rate of nearly $40 million.
Kensington Hill Partners
Jeff leads Kensington Hill Partners, a board of directors and corporate growth advisory firm, which concentrates on five business competencies: board advisory services, private equity investments, business consulting, executive search and sales advisory services. Its focus and expertise is on mid-market and entrepreneurial companies with high-growth potential. With offices in Columbus, Ohio, Jeff supports and invests in companies throughout the Midwest.
Founder & CEO
Central Point Partners
Sharon "Sheri" Tackett
Bluebird Consulting Group (formerly CEO, Delta Energy)
An entrepreneur, energy industry executive and consultant, Sheri founded Delta Energy in 2003 and grew the business, both organically and through acquisition, into one of the largest privately held companies in Central Ohio. Delta exceeded $1 billion in sales before being sold to Hess Corp. in 2012. Sheri formed Delta Energy Services to provide energy management consulting for large energy consumers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, South America and Australasia, and ultimately sold the company to Edison International in 2015.
Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)
Bill is president of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global community of almost 15,000 influential business owners with 179 chapters. The Columbus Chapter has 88 members (each the majority owner or founder) representing $350 million in revenue generated in Columbus.
EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond.
Partner in Charge, Columbus
Thompson Hine LLP
Mike is the partner in charge of the Columbus office of Thompson Hine and a partner in the Investment Management practice group. His practice includes counseling investment companies, investment advisers and broker-dealers on issues related to the creation and offering of investment products and services. He concentrates on regulatory matters, including the organization, registration and operation of investment companies and investment advisers.
Founder and CEO
Dean Zody is a business-oriented Global Operations Leader with an engineering background delivering innovative solutions with measurable growth and profitability. Accomplished background in start-ups, cost reduction initiatives, and operations management in telecommunications, chemical and consumer product. Multiple disciplines include operations, supply chain, procurement, and logistics. Strong database and data analytical skills. In 2016, he founded GhostWave, commercializing patents from Ohio State University.