Feast on opportunities in these challenging times

These are tough economic times for food processors and foodservice companies, but there are some incredible success stories. The Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), an international organization dedicated to fostering sound corporate growth, is focused on those successful strategies for increasing stakeholder value.


One of its chapters, ACG Chicago includes more than1,000 authorities in their fields -- a diverse and knowledgeable Chicago network of corporate executives, capital sources, corporate advisors and service providers.  Its mission is to build unparalleled opportunities for networking, deal-making, personal growth and professional development.


I'm delighted to be co-moderating ACG Chicago's Second Annual Food Industry Conference, "Feasting on Opportunities in the Food Industry," next Wednesday, September 14 (a five-hour event) at The Hyatt Regency O'Hare. The conference offers an intensive look at the risks and opportunities facing middle market businesses in the food industry.


My co-host, and foodservice guru Ron Paul, CEO of Technomics, will provide an industry overview. And John Gabbert, CEO, Pitchbook will discuss U.S. private equity activity during the second quarter of 2011, which continued to remain relatively steady at post-financial crisis levels across deal flow, exit activity and fundraising. There were 373 completed U.S. private equity deals during the second quarter totaling $28 billion, which sits just below the average of 400 deals and $30 billion of investments since the low of 2Q 2009.


Dave Heinke, director at Grant Thornton, and chair of both ACG's Corporate Network and this conference, was instrumental in bringing together a great panel and program. Distinguished speakers include: Steven Hartenstein, CFO & COO, Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants, Chicago; Matt Maloney, CEO & co-founder, GrubHub Inc., Chicago, Ill.; Peter Parthenis, Jr., President & CEO, Grecian Delight Foods, Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill.; Garrett Smith, president, American Pop Corn Co., Sioux City, Iowa; and David Van Eekeren, president & CEO, Land O' Frost, Lansing Ill. These C Level experts will discuss industry growth, issues, and its trends in bite sized and large slices.


I can't wait to hear what these experts have to say. Hope to see you there.