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Contributed by: Casey Boggs
New Orleans, Louisiana marked the location of the 2016 ACG Intergrowth conference—hosting more than 2,000 middle-market dealmakers for three days of, well, dealmaking. With 57 ACG chapters (representing 14,500 members) present, there were plenty of opportunities to network—even for those non-dealmakers like me.
As the lone ACG Portland ambassador at Intergrowth, my objective in attending was to 1) connect with other ACG members and dealmakers, 2) assess and report back on the latest trends and issues in the middle-market, and 3) enjoy the sights, sounds and eats of N’awlins.
The overarching theme for this year’s conference centered around where lending is heading, M&A activity and strategy, and the evolution of private equity (PE). The buzz surrounding Intergrowth 2016 also focused a lot around the political landscape and the upcoming elections.
I was fortunate to have a front seat (yes, I was “that guy” who rushed in early to get a close seat) to the keynote presentation with speakers David Axelrod (former senior advisor to President Obama), Chuck Todd (Host of Meet the Press) and Ana Navarro (political analyst for CNN and CNN En Español).
No doubt that the “Clinton/Trump” debate is inevitable; the speakers spent the majority of their 0:45 minutes discussing what the country and world might look like if either of the candidates were to be elected. Specifically, the speakers attempted to translate how these candidates might affect the economic well-being and the private equity market. I didn’t get a clear consensus on the where each presenter stood on the topic, but it was clear that “economic anxiety is the fuel for both political campaigns.”
Other breakout sessions were very niche in focus, including a look at global capital availability, last year’s (certainly not the beginning of 2016!) M&A success and an interesting panel on the PE landscape. A bit too much “inside baseball talk” to offer any real valuable analysis on my end. However, I did get a relatively favorable (fairly bullish) impression that M&A activity will be good for the remainder of 2016. Although, M&A was relatively slow in Q1 2016.
Networking and connecting is clearly the name of the game at ACG Intergrowth. If you’re not on one side or the other on a deal—you’re a service provider offering something of value to the deal. While many areas of professional and corporate growth strategies were not relevant to bring back to my brethren of Portland business leaders, if you’re a “player” in the PE world or an M&A dealmaker, ACG Intergrowth is a MUST conference to attend. The access to intel and connections to be made is worth the price of admission.
Casey Boggs is an ACGPortland Board Member, immediate Past-President and serves on the Chapter’s Sponsorships Committee. He is the founder and President of LT Public Relations. Read more from Casey at LT Public Relations’ blog.
I open my address to you with an apology for the mysterious anonymity. The extensive regulation of my industry places oversight and record-keeping responsibilities upon firms for broad distributions and social media that would impair my ability to reach you in a timely manner. So, for the foreseeable future, my e-mails to our membership and occasional ACG Portland Blog posts will be faceless, nameless offerings, “from the Chair of the Communications Committee”. We can at least chuckle at the irony.
I first became acquainted with ACG on the east coast in the mid-1990s finding it a wonderful means for knowing and being involved with the broad business community. At the time I was a founding shareholder and President of an independent commercial finance company serving small to middle-market, rapidly growing businesses. Activating a company succession plan and pursuing a different environment for my family, I moved to Portland in 2006. My positive experience with ACG back east naturally turned me to the organization to engage and learn about business in my new home. I am in a very different part of the financial industry now and I am involved more than ever with ACG.
ACG Portland enjoys a talented, diverse and activist Board of Directors. In the board’s quest to meaningfully enhance value to members, sponsors, and community, it has demonstrated a remarkable openness to experimentation and change. All recognized the importance of getting out the word of positive changes and in January of this year, The Communications Committee was launched.
In its infancy, the new committee has just three new members. We have commenced a program of regular blog posts to recap presentations by CEOs and other notable business speakers at our monthly Peer Growth events and we are exploring expanded use of social media, community outreach, and website functionality to better reach you and other business leaders.
One of our agenda items for this series from the committee chairs is to share an amusing or different thing about our experience with the chapter. When I first joined the board in January of 2015, we were planning an event to feature three of the early chapter leaders, Cordell Berge, Lee Koehn and Spencer Brown. I suggested effort to produce an amateur video featuring each of the three that we could use to promote the event. It worked! It was a fun project, the video was amusing and effective, and I came to know three terrific business leaders I know I can turn to when I need them.
I strongly believe that membership offers its greatest rewards through involvement. As human beings, we come to understand and trust each other most quickly and deeply when we are engaged with each other to common, valuable purpose. If you share that belief or would like to explore it, if you have expertise and/or interest in Marketing and Communications, I encourage you to become involved by joining our committee. We meet once monthly for 60 to 90 minutes and members should expect to invest another three hours per month on committee activities. Please contact any board member to learn my name and reach me. I look forward to working with you.