Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - Ohio Employee Ownership Center

2024 Conference Agenda

Conference Agenda Thursday, April 18th, 2024

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Access a PDF of the preliminary Conference Agenda Here

7:30am - 8:30am Registration and Continental Breakfast - Fairlawn Ballroom

8:30am - 8:45am Morning Welcome
Chris Cooper, Ohio Employee Ownership Center

8:45am - 9:30am Keynote Presentation
Gina Schaefer, A Few Cool Hardware Stores

9:30am - 9:45am Networking Break

9:45am - 10:45am Concurrent Panels One

Cyber Security and ESOPs

Track: Legal and Technical

As more and more companies move critical administrative and HR tasks online - and as we all do more of our business online - protecting your company’s, and the plan’s, digital assets from potential threats is of high importance. This session will provide practical tips and insights to help safeguard your business, your plan operations, and your employee-owners from technology threats. We will provide an overview of the latest cyber threats and the steps you can take to enhance your company and your plan’s digital security.

Presenters

  • Fred Franks, FIT Technologies  
  • David Whaley, Thompson Hine LLP

ESOP Valuations: Access, Audits, and Arguments

Track: Legal and Technical

Recently there has been much debate around who can view a valuation and when to release it. Even experienced institutional trustees differ on the level of detail to be released, to whom, and when. We will identify parties who may have an interest in the valuation and issues involved with releasing the valuation. We will review a case where a CPA firm would not approve a plan audit based upon the valuation and the potential consequences. We’ll finish up with a Q&A session with a panel of experts and a sharing of ideas amongst the audience.

Presenters

  • Andy Kulesza, J.P. Morgan  
  • Nick Sypniewski, ComStock Advisors Inc.
  • Tracy Woolsey, GreatBanc Trust

Women Leadership Roundtable

Track: Governance and Leadership

Join our keynote speaker Gina Shaefer along with Andrea Capuano as they lead an open discussion on the experiences, issues, and challenges facing women leaders in ESOP companies.

Presenters

  • Andrea Capuano, Capuano Consulting
  • Gina Schaefer, A Few Cool Hardware Stores  

Is an ESOP Right for You? 

Track: Selling Owner

This session is geared toward business owners, and professionals who represent and assist business owners regarding the financial, tax, and other benefits that an ESOP can provide to a company, the owners, and its employees. This session will describe what an ESOP is, how an ESOP operates, the tax benefits to the company, shareholders, and employees, and what are the corporate governance issues that need to be addressed with an ESOP.

Moderator

  • Dan Bender, Westfield Bank

Presenters

  • Brian Hector, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP  
  • Tim Jamison, Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc.  

ABCs of Worker Cooperatives for Members 

Track: Essential Employee Owner Education

This session will provide cooperative members with a grounding in the basics of the worker cooperative structure: what they are; how governance operates; how you become a member; how you accumulate value in your internal capital account; and how you realize that value.

Presenter

  • Michael Robinson, Rust Belt Riders

ABCs of ESOPs for Participants

Track: Essential Employee Owner Education

This session will provide employee owners with a grounding in the basics of ESOPs: what they are; how you participate; how you accumulate value in your ESOP account; what vesting is; and how you receive the value of your ESOP account when you retire.

Presenter

  • Matt Silla, Apple Growth Partners
  • Joe Yonadi, Squire Patton Boggs LLP

10:45am - 11:00am Networking Break

11:00am - 12:00pm Concurrent Panels Two

Teaching the Nitty Gritty of Your Employee Owned Company

Track: Culture & Communications

It's the oft-asked question: "What do I tell employee owners about their ESOP (or co-op)?" In this session we will talk about the "need to know"; the "want to know"; and all the other bits that people might ask about. We will provide tips and techniques for simplifying complex technical information and methods for finding out (rather than guessing) what people really want to know.

Presenters

  • Michael Palmieri, Ohio Employee Ownership Center
  • Avery Chenin, SCJ Fiduciary Services

Do You Need My Budget?

Track: Legal and Technical

Are you an ESOP company CFO doing your first annual update appraisal? Then a budget will be required. Are you a business owner thinking about selling to an ESOP? Then a budget will be required. Are you responsible for ensuring the company can afford its repurchases? Then a budget will be required. The financial forecasts prepared by the company are important at all stages of the ESOP's evolution from inception, through initial valuation, and up to a mature ESOP managing repurchases. This session will outline the how and the why of budgeting, and also provide examples from an ESOP company.

Presenters

  • Daniel Cooper, PCE Investment Bankers
  • Mariann Fuller, Columbia Chemical Corp.

Mature ESOP Issues and Strategies

Track: Legal and Technical

During this session, we will discuss common concerns expressed by Boards of Directors and management of maturing and mature ESOP-owned companies (e.g., growing repurchase obligation, haves vs have-nots, profit allocation decisions, incentivizing key leaders, etc.). We’ll then explore various tactics and strategies to address or get ahead of these concerns, as well as the related trade-offs. Throughout, we’ll emphasize the importance of considering the impact of alternatives in the context of the company’s broader strategic objectives and ensuring the selected policies and strategies provide alignment between the ESOP operations and the company’s ownership and compensation philosophies.

Presenters

  • Tina Langlois & Katie Lind, Chartwell Financial Advisory, Inc.

ESOP Alternatives for Selling Owners: Worker Cooperatives and Employee-Owned Trusts

Track: Selling Owner

Many selling owners like the idea of employee ownership as a succession strategy, but may find that, for some reason or another, an ESOP just doesn’t fit. There are other options, and this session explores two of them – a worker-owned cooperative, and an Employee-Owned Trust (EOT). Learn the basic structures of each and the situations in which they can be effective, at this session.

Presenters

  • Greg Daugherty, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
  • Steve Virgil, Attorney at Law

Beyond a Financial Stake: Building a Culture of Ownership by Meeting the Needs of Employee Owners

Track: Culture and Communications

Providing a financial stake to employees is a defining feature of employee-owned businesses and is connected to increased worker wealth, increased retention, and better company performance. Less discussed however is the wide range of benefits that companies offer to employees that enable the achievement of these positive outcomes by supporting worker well-being and building a culture of ownership. In this session, we will have representatives from Evergreen Laundry, the largest worker cooperative in the state of Ohio, discuss their approach to wealth building and worker well-being and how it has helped them build a culture of ownership that is appealing to their workforce.

Presenters

  • Janet Hayward & Tanisha Jordan, Evergreen Cooperative Laundry

Financial and Retirement Planning For Employee Owners

Track: Essential Employee Owner Education

This session will provide employee owners with a basic level of personal financial planning; principles and best practices in planning for retirement - across all retirement vehicles your company may offer (401k, social security, IRA, Annuities, and the ESOP), as well as a discussion of diversification.

Presenter

  • Logan Jones, Everhart Advisors

12:00pm - 1:15pm Lunch & Ohio Employee Ownership Awards

1:15pm - 1:30pm Networking Break

1:30pm - 2:30pm Concurrent Sessions Three

Using Visuals, Games, and Videos to Communicate Your ESOP

Track: Culture & Communications

In this session, we’ll unveil the transformative potential of videos, games, and visual aids in effectively building appreciation for your Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). In addition to exploring research on the increased effectiveness of visual communications, we’ll show you practical strategies and real-world examples for how you can get started. Attendees will learn how to structure an effective video training series, gamify ESOP education for interactive learning experiences, and utilize visual storytelling to enhance comprehension and engagement. Join us to unlock the power of multimedia communication and ignite enthusiasm among your team for your ESOP initiatives.

Presenters

  • Cathy Ivancic & Danny Lamastra, Workplace Development, Inc. – A Blue Ridge Company

ESOP Administration Q&A

Track: Legal and Technical

You have ESOP administration questions, and we have the answers! Bring your questions to this session, and our presenters - an ESOP third-party administrator and ESOP attorney - will answer them all. Distributions, vesting, allocations, reporting requirements, QDROs, beneficiaries…we have them all covered. No question is too big or too small, so come in prepared to ask your questions.

Presenters

  • Lori Stuart, Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
  • Peter Jones, Tucker Ellis LLP

Leading Change: Turning Resistance into a Gift

Track: Communications & Culture / Leadership & Governance

Learn how to help employee-owners better embrace, and drive, change. Participants will understand how to manage the psychological transitions that accompany change, learn how to bridge differences using active listening and interest-based problem solving and turn resistance to change into the energy for change.

Presenter

  • Matt Hancock, Praxis Consulting Group

Getting Your Company Ready for a Transition to an ESOP

Track: Selling Owner

This session is designed to provide business owners with overview of what needs to get done to sell to an ESOP. Covered will be determining ESOP feasibility; getting your financial house in order; understanding any governance and board changes that are ahead; understanding how an ESOP transaction unfolds; and much more.

Presenters

  • Brian Bornino, GBQ Capital Advisors
  • Mark Mills, Mills Potoczak & Company

Basics of Business Financials for Employee Owners

Track: Essential Employee Owner Education

This session is a “101” level introduction to the basics of business financials and financial terminology, designed to provide a base-level understanding for interpreting financial information, and how to impact business results.

Presenter

  • Chris Cooper, Ohio Employee Ownership Center
  • Brad Minor & Mike Staton, Blue & Co.

2:30pm - 2:50pm Afternoon Coffee Break

2:50pm - 3:50pm Concurrent Sessions Four

New Research on Employee Ownership

Track: Culture and Communications

In this session, we will present new research on employee ownership. George will discuss his recently co-authored book Cooperatives at Work which draws on hundreds of interviews with cooperative members, advocates, developers, and more to better understand worker cooperatives from a global perspective. Michael will present new research that looks at the economic benefits provided to employee-owners over the last 20 years as well as other research that documents the impact of employee-owned companies on our larger economy.

Presenter

  • Michael Palmieri, Ohio Employee Ownership Center

Redesigning Your ESOP

Track: Legal and Technical

As an ESOP matures, it may no longer be producing the results you want. This session focuses on how ESOP companies should reevaluate plan design throughout the ESOP’s lifecycle (i.e., not just at formation), what can be changed, and best practices. It will also include a discussion of how your ESOP plan can affect employee buy-in to the idea of employee ownership and in turn, your company’s overall ownership culture.

Presenters

  • Tina Fisher & Joel Davis, Principal Financial Group
  • Matt Secrist, Taft Stettinius & Holister LLP

Corporate Transparency Act and ESOPs

Track: Legal and Technical

The Corporate Transparency Act is going to be a noticeable shift for ESOP companies, large and small, once it is in place. This session will provide an overview of the Act, its requirements, and its impact on corporate transactions and organization generally. It will also discuss the implications for ESOPs.

Presenters

  •  Ryan Coady & Jacob Derenthal, Walter Haverfield LLP

Corporate Governance Through the Lifecycle of an ESOP

Track: Leadership & Governance / Legal & Technical

The goal of the session is to highlight some key corporate governance issues that ESOP Boards / Companies may face when setting up a new board or adding members to an existing board. We plan to cover various topics ranging from board formation & agendas to interaction with financial & trustee. The session is intended for companies considering an ESOP, or mature ESOPs looking to develop a board. We hope to highlight the role that a board should have in creating shareholder value and hear real stories of how it has been done.

Presenters

  • Steve Ryan, GreatBanc Trust
  • Jeff Evans, Strategic Executive Partners

Conflict Management: Working Through Difficult Situations in Your Employee-Owned Company

Track: Culture and Communications

Employee-owned companies do business differently and pride themselves on building a culture of ownership that encourages participation and worker autonomy. But that does not mean there are not difficult issues along the way. This interactive session will draw on the experiences of audience members and provide ways to strike a balance between living the values of employee ownership while setting expectations and accountability.

Presenters

  • Kristen Barker, Coop-Cincy
  • Matt Hancock, Praxis Consulting Group

3:50pm - 5:00pm Closing Reception - (Patio Weather Permitting)

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