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Thursday, 6 October 2016 7:30am - 11:30am

10th Annual Family Business Forum

Come and celebrate 10 years of FBA with us!

Public Event!

Keynote Speakers: Dick DeVos, Andrew Keyt, and Family Business Panel

FBA Members - Free with paid membership agreement

Sponsors with paid agreement - Free

Non-Members - $100 per person

*Table Sponsorships available - $1200

Registration: If you're interested in this event, send your RSVP to Marci Schafer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Location: Amway Grand Plaza, Ambassador Ballroom, 187 Monroe Ave NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 2:30pm - 5:30pm

Public Event!

Keynote Speaker: Matt Havens

Moderator: Ellie Frey Zagel

Panel: Millennials in the Family Business (Comprised of local family business members)

FBA Members - Free with paid membership agreement
Non-Members - $85 per person
*Sponsorships available

Registration: If you're interested in this event, send your RSVP to Marci Schafer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Location: Goei Center 818 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids, MI



Friday, 20 May 2016 8am - 3:30pm

Public Event!

Scaling Up Growth Workshop with Verne Harnish

Brought to you by YPO West Michigan

Registration: If you're interested in this event, send your RSVP to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Costs: $350 per person

Location: Notos Old World Italian Dining 6600 Old 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Attire: Business Casual

This workshop will teach you the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 Tools and strategies you need to:

  • Align: Get faster results with less effort by developing organizational clarity and accountability.
  • Accelerate: Develop a strategic advantage over your competitors and position your brand as a market leader.
  • Advance: See your company's reputation and revenues soar as employees fulfill 100% of all promises.

April 1, 2015: Outside Board of Directors:

Governing a Family Business: The Value of Outside Independent Directors

The Goei Center
818 Butterworth Street SW
Grand Rapids, MI

Presentation: 3:30 pm
Cocktail Hour: 5:30 pm
Cost: Non-members $65 per person
FBA Members Free
Presenter: Joe Schmieder, Family Business Consulting Group
Panel: Bob Roth, President and CEO, RoMan Manufacturing
Tom Slikkers, President and CEO, S2 Yachts

Tim Schad, Chairman and CEO, Nucraft Furniture Company

February 5, 2015

Topic: Family Meetings


Win Irwin, President and CEO of Irwin Seating

Chris Eckrich, Family Business Consulting Group



October 15, 2014

8th Annual Family Business Forum

Time: 7:30am

Location: Frederik Meijer Gardens, Grand Room

Amy Schauman: Multi-generational family business conversation

Mary Vermeer and Mindi VandenBosch: Vermeer Family Business Story

May 14, 2013

In Transitions

Time: 7:30am

Location: Bridgewater Place on the 2nd floor.

June 5, 2012

Succession Planning Deep Dive*

Join us for this follow-up event where we will be diving deeper into succession planning.

Time: 8:00 am
Location: Warner Norcross & Judd

Cost: Free for FBA members

*This event is reserved only for Family Business Alliance Members.



May 23, 2012

Succession Planning

Time: 7:30 am - 10:00 am
Place: Bridgewater Place Grand River Ballroom
333 Bridge Street NW

Family Business Alliance Members: Free (based upon membership agreement)
Guests: $65.00

Speaker: Greg McCann, JD, CPA
Greg is a professor of family enterprise at Stetson University where he was the founding director of the Family Enterprise Center (1998-2006 & 2010-present) and creator of the Holistic Model.  He led the effort to create the first academic major and second minor in family enterprise in the U.S.  He is also an author, speaker, and founder and principal of McCann & Associates, a firm that consults with family enterprises.  Greg is also a member of his extended family's enterprise.

*Parking Included



March 28, 2012

NextGen Peer Group Informational Evening

Join the FBA for an informational cocktail evening at Bistro Bella Vita where we will be discussing the launch of a new Grand Rapids-based NextGen Peer Group.

When: March 28, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Where: Bistro Bella Vita

If you are interested in attending and learning more about the NextGen program, contact Ellie Frey Zagel at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 616.771.0574



March 21, 2012

Want a Multi-Generational Family Business? Build the Structures to Support it.

Time: 7:30 am - 10:15 am
Location: University Club, 111 Lyon NW, Fifth Third Center (10th floor)

7:30 AM Breakfast and Networking

8:00 AM Introductions and Presentations, followed by Q&A

Please join the members and supporters of the Family Business Alliance for a panel discussion on how to build a successful multi-generational family business.  You will hear and take away lessons learned from an experienced panel that includes Amy Schuman, Principal Consultant for the Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., Howdy Holmes, President and CEO of Chelsea Milling Company, manufacturer of kitchen staple, "JIFFY" baking mixes, and Nelson Jacobson, President and CEO of JSJ Corporation.

Family Business Alliance members: Free (based on membership agreement)
Non-members: $65.00


FBA After the Holidays Party

The FBA's NextGen Leadership Committee invites you and a spouse/guest to the first FBA "After the Holidays" Party!  You are also welcome to invite the "Now" Generation (family or non-family) of your family business and their guest to the event.  It will be a great event to have fun, network, and learn more about the FBA.

Friday, January 27
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Noto's Old World Dining
6600 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Tickets: $45 per person, cash bar, plated dinner
Attire: cocktail

Event sponsorships are available for $500 and $250; please contact Ellie for a list of benefits.

See the event invitation for the registration form and additional information.

We would like to thank Kent Rubber Supply for sponsoring this event.



December 8, 2011 - Final Workshop of 2011

Topic: From White Castle to the White House


Time: 7:30 am - 10:00 am
Location: MSU's Secchia Center, 15 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503Agenda:

7:30 am Registration, Networking & Breakfast Buffet
8:00 am Program Commences
10:00 am Program Adjourns

Free for members and underwriter partners
$65.00 for non-members

The study of family business has evolved into an entire field in the last generation. And rightly so since family firms are the primary drivers of our economy and significantly shape our society.  Ann Kinkade, President of Family Enterprise USA (FEUSA), will discuss the importance of its work and how it’s driven by the stories of America’s family firms.

Jamie Richardson, White Castle’s Vice President of Government and Shareholder Relations shares the story of America’s first hamburger chain, White Castle. The 4th generation business has been cultivating Cravers for its square, little burgers since 1921. Jamie will share how the company upholds its values and maintains its culture in the context of government affairs, public relations and community engagement and why they have chosen to support the advocacy work of Family Enterprise USA.

Event Sponsor: Varnum

November 10, 2011

"Lessons in Leadership - Family Business"

Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Location: Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center, Holland

Please join us for a dynamic, multi-generational panel discussion with two local family businessesMetal Flow and Bradford Company. A few topics facilitator Mark Harder Partner at Warner Norcross & Judd will ask the panel are: tips and techniques on working with family members, succession planning, and furthering their family's legacy.

$25 per Holland, Zeeland Chamber and Family Business Alliance member
$40 per non-member
$250 Tables of 10 available

RSVP: Contact Holland Chamber of Commerce at 616.392.2389 or online

A program of the Holland Area Chamber of CommerceZeeland Chamber of Commerce, and Family Business Alliance

September 30, 2011

"5th Annual Family Business Forum"

Success in Family Businesses Over Multiple Generations


PRAISE From the 5th Annual Family Business Forum

  • Great event! Really liked it!
  • Charlie was amazing!
  • Great program! Thank you!


We are thrilled to have Charles "Charlie" Kittredge, CEO and 6th generation, Crane & Co., Inc. as our 2011 Keynote Speaker.  Charlie will share how his company has weathered to become one of the world's great high-tech currency manufacturers.

Following Charlie's presentation, we will have a panel presentation with three business owners who will share their stories in "The Unconventional Road to Success".

Panelists: Mark Peters, Butterball Farms
Jeff Koeze, Koeze Company
Peter DeWitt, DeWitt Barrels

Location: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, Mi 49525

Our Breakfast Sponsor was Fifth Third Bank

Our Table Sponsors include:
Baker, Spindler & Holtz
Butterball Farms
Comerica Bank
RoMan Manufacturing
Varnum LLP
Warner Norcross & Judd



September 14, 2011

"Emplyoee Stock Ownership Plans - Will an ESOP Work for your Family Business?"

*FBA Members Only, Please

Time: 8:00 am - 9:30 am

Location: Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
Grand Rapids, MI

What If A Business Owner Could...?

  • Sell part or all of their company at fair market value
  • Defer and potentially avoid paying capital gains tax on sale
  • Continue to lead the company even after selling
  • Preserve the company's legacy and independence
  • Increase employee incentives and productivity
  • Position the company to avoid paying federal and, in most states, state income taxes

About 7.7 million Baby Boomers have ownership interest in at least one company, yet 75 percent of them have no plan for transitioning out of their business upon retirement.  Vernon Saper and Justin Stemple will discuss the options available to business owners, putting a focus on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). Two family business owners, Bernie Haviland, Haviland Enterprises, and Frank Wheatlake, The Hydaker-Wheatlake Company, will share their experiences with ESOPs.

Free Event sponsored by Warner Norcross & Judd LLP

March 23rd - "Family Business, Family Philanthropy: Stories of Giving Together"

7:30 AM Registration

8:00 AM through 10:00 AM Panel Presentation

Panelists Include

  • Herb Lantinga, CEO, Notions Marketing, 2nd Generation
  • Bill Muir, President, Grand Rapids Label Company, 4th Generation
  • JD Loeks, President, Celebration Cinema, 3rd Generation
  • Marilyn Zack, VP of Development, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • Moderator Milt Rohwer, President, Frey Foundation

Location Kent Country Club

Breakfast Included

Members Free, based upon membership contract

Non-Members $65.00 per Person

"Innovation in the Family Owned Business"

December 7, 2010

Presenter Nate Young, President of NewNorth Center for Design in Business.

Thank you to our event sponsor, US Trust.

In this interactive workshop Nate Young, President of NewNorth Center for Design in Business, will lead us through the basic steps toward innovation and change. Nate will include stories of innovative family businesses for us to consider along the way.

This workshop is the next step or the "how to" from the Annual Family Business Forum's keynote presentation "Economy Next". In the post event surveys, you asked how your family business could Innovate and Change. We hope you will join us for this exciting and possibly game-changing workshop.


"The New Millennium: Friend or Foe to Family-Owned Business"

4th Annual Family Business Forum
October 7th, 2010

Special Thanks to

GVSU's Seidman College of Business as our Breakfast Sponsor and
Grand Rapids Business Journal as our Media Sponsor

Table Sponsors Include

Amway, Plante Moran, Baker Spindler Holtz, RoMan Manufacturing, Northern Trust Bank, and Vi-Chem

Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for the Keynote Speaker, Richard Morris's presentation:

Richard Morris is an adjunct professor at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and is principal of ROI Consulting, helping family owners expand and pass down their business to subsequent generations. Previously, he worked at his family's 80-year-old privately held company, Fel-Pro Incorporated, managing Marketing and then Acquisitions, and serving on the Board of Directors until its sale in 1998. Rich has spoken at family business centers across the country, and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago and Family Business magazine.


Educating and Developing the Next Generation: From Classroom to Boardroom”

April 21st, 2010
A Special Webinar Presentation

Featuring special presentations by Stephanie Brun de Pontet, Ph.D. and Albert Jan Thomassen, Ph.D. Both speakers are experts in Next Generation Leadership work, and will discuss processes that develop your family for the responsibilities of a multigenerational firm.


Non-Family Management in Family Owned Businesses”

January 17th, 2010 Panel Discussion

Thank you to our panelists and those who attended this sold out panel discussion!


Haworth Corporation— - Franco Bianchi, Non-Family President & CEO

Grand Rapids Spring and Stamping— - Jim E. Zawacki, Next Generation Family

Nucraft— - Bob Bockheim, Non-Family President

Facilitator— - Roger Jansen, PhD, CEO of ThinkWise Inc.


Haworth: A Story of Succession Success

4/21/09 Workshop

A discussion with Dick Haworth, then Chairman of the company, Matthew Haworth, then Director, Office of the Chairman, and Franco Bianchi, CEO, about strategies for succession success. The event was moderated by Dr. Roger Jensen, CEO of Thinkwise. Within days, Haworth, Inc. announced the news naming Dick Chairman Emeritus and Matthew Chairman.

Participants' Comments

"The event was outstanding. Listening to the CEO, Dick and Matthew was valuable. Appreciate all the effort. The time from these men was really an honor when you consider how busy they are today."

"I was wowed by how open and sharing the Haworths were."

"Fantastic program. The honesty from the speakers was greatly apprecated!"


Workshop: Between Generations - 2 Perspectives on Succession

2/17/09 Workshop Moderated by Tim Schad

3rd generation Chairman & CEO of Nucraft Furniture and creative force behind FBA’s newest program Next Generation, featuring Now Generation Panelists: Jeff Koeze, President, Koeze Company; Fred Cook, President, Cook Family Services; and Dave Custer, President, Custer Workplace Interiors; and Next Generation Panelists: Ben Thompson, Owner & General Manager, Thompson Remodeling; Bobbie Medema, Director of Marketing, Notions Marketing; and Steve Soet, Chief Operating Officer, Kent Quality Foods.

Participants' Comments

"First time attending. Solid program. Look forward to attending again."

"This was an excellent program since I have two sons working into the business with hopes of taking over in the near future. It is good to know that there are businesses out there that are in the same or similar situation as we are with our business."


Annual Family Business Forum - Preparing the Next Generation for Leadership in Family Businesses

9/30/2008 at Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park


Dr. Joseph Astrachan, internationally recognized family business researcher, author and educator, and director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Participant's Comments

"Best Forum yet." "Important topic, presented well..."


Family Meetings: One Key to Family Business Success

6/3/08 Workshop

This panel discussion focused on why family meetings are helpful, what they look like, how to get started, how to keep them productive. Moderator: Dr. Camille Donnelly, Donnelly Leadership Counseling. Panelists: Kevin M. Harris, Vice President, The Northern Trust Company, Chicago; Marie Haviland Director of Corporate Communications for Haviland Enterprises, Inc., and second generation FOB leader; and Robert W. Roth is President/CEO of RoMan Manufacturing, Inc. and second generation FOB leader.


For Family Businesses Only: Strategic Planning with You in Mind

4/29/08 Workshop


Dr. Joe Astrachan's second for Family Business Alliance. Joe approaches strategic planning from a unique and new perspective, using a strategic orientation available only to family businesses.


Family Constitutions; A Framework for Family and Business Success

2/19/08 - Workshop


Mark Harder, partner with the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, focusing on the representation of family owned businesses and their owners. He is a member of Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises, the only national organization of lawyers dedicated to the effective representation of family held businesses.


From the Kitchen Table to the Board Room - The Path to Good Governance

10/9/07 - Annual Family Business Forum

Keynote Speaker

Jack Moore, a 4th generation family business member and former director of Benjamin Moore & Company. Breakout sessions: The Right Time to Form a Board led by Jack Moore; Effective Directors, led by Win Irwin, Irwin Seating Company, and Bruce Young of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, and Secretary of The Behler-Young Company; Recruiting and Compensating Directors, led by Tim Schad of Nucraft Furniture and Rob Gryer of Crowe Chizeck & Company LLC; I Have a Board, Now What? Using Boards Effectively, led by Ron Williams of MedBio and Joe Schmieder of The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc.; and Successful Shareholders - How to Be One and How to Cultivate Them, led by Happy fox of Henry A. Fox Sales Company and Harvey Koning of Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett, LLP.


Achieving Succession Success

6/12/07 - Workshop


Mark Bissell, BISSELL Inc.; Larry Erhardt Sr., Erhardt Construction; Mark Harder, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP; Len Slott, Vi-Chem Corporation.


Dr. Joseph Astrachan's Three Keys to Family Business Success

3/22/07 - Inaugural FBA Workshop


Dr. Joe Astrachan. The 3 keys: an active board, strategic planning and regular family meetings.



"Business Foundations for Multi-Generational Businesses"

Thank you to Everyone who participated in the successful 2009 Family Business Forum.

Keynote Address

Biltmore's Family Business: A Case Study in Family Business Development

Ms. "Dini" Cecil Pickering, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Biltmore Company, the great granddaughter of the founder of the Biltmore Estate, "America's Largest Home," and a key member of the fourth generation leadership team that has made this unique family business a success, was our guest speaker for the morning. Biltmore is now into its fifth generation. Learn more about the Biltmore story.

Breakout Sessions

Family Meetings: A Tool for Obtaining Family Business Goals

Legislative Development Affecting Family Business

Participant's Comments

"I want to commend the Family Business Alliance for putting together an excellent conference on Weds. Oct. 7th. My nephew and I attended and found it to be extremely helpful, educational and full of many resources. We received current and valid information that we were able to share in our family meeting a week later. We were impressed with all aspects of the conference but were especially excited about the educational components and Executive Partners of the FBA. Not only did we discuss the organization but we voted unanimously to join! We hope to foster relationships and receive support from FBA for years to come! Thank you so much!" -Pam A.