Five from Verit Advisors Will Speak at Employee Ownership Conference
Verit Advisors will have five presenters at the 2014 NCEO Employee Ownership Conference in Atlanta, April 8-10, 2014. This annual conference is a premier gathering on employee ownership and over 1,200 attendees are expected.
Verit Advisors CEO, Mary Josephs, will moderate the Newcomer Orientation and moderate a panel on the closing day on “Questions and Lessons Learned as a New ESOP.” Josephs founded Verit Advisors in 2009 and has nearly three decades of experience in corporate finance. She is a nationally recognized leader and has advised structured and closed more than 200 financings for middle market companies. Ms. Josephs is a past two term board member of NCEO (National Center for Employee Ownership).
On Tuesday, April 8 Neal Hawkins will be a panelist discussing “Unique Structuring Issues with ESOPs.” This session, presented from the point of view of both the seller and the trustee, will explore how different ESOP transaction structures for both new ESOPs and existing ESOPs affect valuation, financing, and legal considerations. Mr. Hawkins joined Verit Advisors as Vice President in 2011 and has significant debt capital market and ESOP expertise. Mr. Hawkins works with private business owners on succession and transition alternatives which include the use of ESOPs, management buyouts, private equity transactions and mergers and acquisitions.
Kristin Ackerman, Senior Associate, will participate in a panel on “Transaction Trends: Equity for Owners & Executives” on Tuesday. This session will explore various equity instruments utilized in transactions (and ongoing) that allow selling shareholders to retain equity upside and also allow the company to reward key executives. Ms. Ackerman focuses her time on production, specifically financial modeling, pitch materials, offering memoranda, management presentations and firm administration. Ms. Ackerman also has played an instrumental role in the founding and development of the ESOP Emerging Leaders group for young professionals in the industry.
On Wednesday, April 9 Rob Ruszkowski, Vice President, will be part of a panel discussing “Transitioning from a Partial C Corporation ESOP to a 100% S Corporation ESOP.” The panel will look at fiduciary concerns, valuation dynamics, benefit level analysis, financing sources and strategies, and general fairness issues. Mr. Ruszkowski has particular proficiency in sell-side M&A transactions involving a diverse set of middle market companies. Mr. Ruszkowski also possesses substantial technical and analytical know-how following a distinguished career in chemical process engineering.
The final day of the conference, Thursday, April 10, Peter Abrahamson, Technical Director, will be a panelist that will discuss “Fiduciary Considerations in Selling an ESOP-Owned Company.” This session will explore the fiduciary issues from a financial and legal framework that face a board of directors and ESOP trustee when considering whether to sell the company. Mr. Abrahamson has more than 15 years of valuation and investment banking experience, specializing in the valuation of business enterprises and individual securities, structuring ESOP transactions and executing public and private market capital raises.
On Wednesday, round table discussions will be held. Peter Abrahamson will lead a discussion on “ESOP Internal Loan Stretch-Out Transactions.” Stan Slabas, Verit Senior Advisor, will lead a discussion on “Advisory Boards: Strategic Counsel and Needs.”
According to the NCEO, the first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) was in 1956 and today there are about 10,900 ESOPs and equivalent plans employing more than 13 million employees in the U.S. ESOPs are spread throughout the nation and industries and range from just a few employees to more than 150,000 employees. Over a 10-year period, ESOPs have 25 percent higher job growth than comparable companies without an ESOP. These companies have 4 to 5 percent higher productivity in the year an ESOP is adopted. Employee ownership keeps businesses and jobs in state with ESOP companies 25 percent more likely to stay in business.