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Session A

The Advantage of Strategic Planning in M&A Transactions

Presented By: Huntington / McGuireWoods LLP

Whether it's a liquidity event, sale of your company, or even having ample liqudity to make an acquisition, if you aren't strategic in your planning process, you're not setting yourself up to succeed. Hear from a group of C-Suite Executives and M&A advisors as they share front-line stories of the power of strategic planning in M&A and lessons learned.


Jim Altman
Middle Market Banking Regional Executive- PA and WVA

As a high-energy and tenured business leader, Jim is a proven banking and financial services professional known for providing innovative and effective ideas to help companies grow, increase profitability, manage more efficiently and exceed client business objectives. He works collaboratively with all of his business partners to tailor impactful solutions to each of his clients. Jim is known for his challenger-based ideas that encourage clients to consider changing the status quo by providing options and continuous improvement strategies. Jim has over 35 years of banking experience.


Loretta Benec
Former VP, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Formerly of The ExOne Company

Loretta L. Benec, Esq. is an accomplished corporate and securities lawyer with experience executing a variety of business transactions in the United States and around the world.  Most recently, Ms. Benec served as Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of The ExOne Company, a Nasdaq-listed 3D printing manufacturer, where she led the legal team in its successful merger with Desktop Metal, Inc. at the end of 2021. Ms. Benec joined ExOne in October 2017 and had previously provided corporate and commercial legal services as General Counsel to Cumberland Highstreet Partners, Inc., a manufacturing consulting business. Ms. Benec was Assistant General Counsel & Secretary for RTI International Metals, Inc. (now Howmet Aerospace Inc.), a NYSE-listed global supplier of advanced titanium products primarily to the commercial aerospace market, from 2010 until its acquisition by Alcoa in 2015.  Prior to RTI, Ms. Benec enjoyed a more than twelve-year career in the law department of H. J. Heinz Company (now The Kraft Heinz Company), a NYSE-listed global packaged food company.

Ms. Benec received a B.A. in History with High Honors, cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1992 and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1995.

For over twenty years Ms. Benec has served in a variety of volunteer roles and on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, currently as Chair of the Civil Law Project and a member of the Finance and Celebrating Survivors Event Committees.

John Erkert
IPEG Industrial Group

John Erkert is responsible for IPEG’s global shared service finance function, including financial planning and analysis, accounting and reporting, tax, treasury, and risk management. He also has accountability for brand finance along with the group’s brand presidents for Conair, Thermal Care, Pelletron, and Republic Machine.

Dan Griffith
Senior Vice President, Director of Wealth Strategy



Penny Zacharias
McGuireWoods LLP

Penny is an accomplished lawyer with over 15 years of experience representing financial institutions in a broad range of lending transactions.

Penny focuses her practice on debt financing and secured transactions, including origination of asset-based and acquisition financing, leveraged finance, mezzanine finance and other lending transactions. She also handles the structuring and documenting of large syndicated transactions. Secured lenders as well as companies in the security alarm, medical alert, and other industries with a recurring revenue model, rely on Penny’s vast experience.

Penny also advises domestic and international banking clients and investment firms in the areas of microfinance and impact investing. Notably, McGuireWoods was “Highly Commended” in Financial Times’ Accessing New Markets and Capital category for Penny’s representation of Developing World Markets in connection with the origination, placement and investment of proceeds from a first-of-its-kind off-grid, renewable and climate action note (ORCA).

Penny’s leadership roles at the firm include chairing the Pittsburgh Women’s Leadership Forum, co-chairing the firm’s Women in Private Equity & Finance initiative, and serving on the National Recruiting Committee.

Conference Location

600 Commonwealth Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Tel: (412) 391-4600