Family Business Initiative to host conference

Family Business Initiative to host conference The 11th Annual Prairie Family Business Conference, organized by the Family Business Initiative at The University of South Dakota, will take place July 31 � Aug. 2 at the Holiday Inn City Center, Sioux Falls.

The three-day event, which focuses on the issues surrounding family business, is open to the public and includes expert-led discussions and panels, a dinner theatre, kids programs and a "Family Fun Day."

The annual presentation of the Prairie Family Business of the Year awards and a fund-raising auction will be part of a welcome reception that kicks-off the conference on Thursday night.

Business owners, experts and advisors, led by keynote speaker Ira Bryck, director of the University of Massachusetts Family Business Center, will attend the conference. Bryck brings to the conference a wealth of experience. He confers on an array of family business challenges; producing a family business newsletter and an advice column. Bryck's practical experience is from 14 years in his family's fourth generation children's wear business on Long Island. He plays various ubiquitous roles from tailor to president.

Bryck has also produced three one-act plays, one of which will be Friday evening's featured event. A Tough Nut to Crack is based on a true story about a father and son and the company they keep and will give you a "fly on the wall" view of a family business facing many classic issues.

Reserved tickets, which include a social hour, hors d'oeuvres and dinner, are available separate from the conference for the individual price of $55.

Additional topics on leadership, creating and developing teams, equality, selling your business, decision-making, and personality traits will be covered in breakout sessions. Speakers for these sessions are Mark Moir of Harbor Consulting Group, John Hughes of RSM McGladrey; Peter Stone of the Geneva Companies; and Dan Oedekovan with the SDSU Extension Service.

A special roundtable is

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planned for "CEOs" (that is Chief Emotional Officers) and will focus on the roles mothers and wives play in the family business.

A panel of business owners will share experiences in selling all or part of their family legacy and discuss hiring "outside" management. The panel includes Deborah Olsen, daughter of Joseph Robbie, former partner/owner of the Miami Dolphins, Mike Derby of Derby Enterprises, Rapid City, Peter Hegg of Hegg Companies, Sioux Falls, and Dave Austad of Austad's Golf, Sioux Falls.

Young adults, ages 16-21, can enroll in the SymmeTree Program, where participants will learn how owners and managers deal with change, meet challenges, and plan for the future in a mythical family business. Business components of finance, marketing, human resources, operations, and information technology will be presented.

Full and partial conference registrations are available for both members and non-members. For more information about the conference or the South Dakota Family Business Initiative, call Program Assistant Linda Burcham, at 605-677-3157 e-mail: or visit the Web site at

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