M&A Forum

BizTimes Media’s annual M&A Forum helps buyers and sellers learn what they need to know as they consider their options and move through the process. Each year, the Forum provides valuable insight on a host of buy-sell concerns, from exit strategies to finding the perfect acquisition.

M&A Forum


Business is strong and the greater Milwaukee region is enjoying a renaissance. Take advantage of the attention focused on Milwaukee as you consider buying a business or selling your business.

The economy is still growing but with global instability and uncertainty, what should your next move be? Prepare with the right tools and knowledge. The M&A Forum will include a keynote presentation followed by a panel discussion with buy and sell side panelists. The program continues with breakout sessions focused on the hows and whys of building value, creative financing that maximizes cash flow and why cyber security is a key area of due diligence.

Keynote: Key Strategies to Build Sustainable Scale

Paul Stillmank, Founder & CEO, 7Summits

Paul Stillmank

Companies seeking capital infusion, PE partnerships or longer-term M&A outcomes should focus on building sustainable scale. Paul Stillmank, Founder and CEO of 7Summits, will discuss the

importance of three key strategies within your business: 1) a focused go-to-market; 2) a defined offering set; and 3) a predictable bookings motion. Paul will describe how each of these, combined with a great company culture, set the foundation for building a local business that can reach global proportions.

Panel discussion topics include:

  • Growing your workforce through strategic business acquisition
  • Developing an effective company culture to accelerate growth
  • Recapitalization and its advantages and lessons learned
  • Selling to a strategic buyer and transitioning to an ESOP


  • Andrea Bukacek, CEO, Bukacek Construction (1)
  • Sharad Chadha, CEO, Sprecher Brewing Co (2)
  • Paul Grunau, Chief Learning Officer, APi Group (3)
  • Ryan Martin, CEO, Midwest Composite Technologies (4)
  • Moderator: Ann Hanna , MBA, CPA, Managing Director & Owner, Taureau Group (5)


The program continues with three concurrent breakout sessions.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Secrets to Unlocking Business Value

There are actions you can take today to help you realize the greatest value at market. This session will provide:

  • Insights on the market for private businesses
  • What creates value from the buyer’s perspective
  • Exit options
  • Deal structures that can maximize proceeds
  • Non-financial considerations

Session Speakers:

  • Ann Hanna, MBA, CPA, Managing Director & Owner, Taureau Group
  • Corey Vanderpoel, MBA, Managing Director & Owner, Taureau Group

Creative Financing that Maximizes Cash Flow

In this session you’ll learn about available acquisition financing enhancements that can help overcome challenges in leveraging less expensive senior financing while minimizing the debt service strain on cash flow. This will be supported by real life examples from the perspective of the business owner, investor, SBA and banker.

Session Speakers:

  • Gerard Berenz, Director of SBA, SVP, Old National Bank
  • Steve Kohl, Vice President, WBD Inc.
  • Frank Lotter, President, Lotter Enterprises
  • Tommy Olson, SVP Commercial Banking, Old National Bank
  • Dan Phlegar, Founding Partner, Mezzanine Investor, Oxer Capital, Inc.

Session Moderator:

  • Inge Plautz, Senior Vice President and Executive Business Development Officer, Old National Bank

Avoiding Data Privacy Traps in the M&A Process

Attend this session to learn about the importance of sound cyber security and privacy practices in maximizing the value of your business. Proper Cyber Security is a key area of diligence. You’ll hear about both – the buyer and seller perspective, and the horror stories about ransomware attacks, stolen wires and identity thefts, and what you need to do to protect yourself as a buyer or seller.

Session Speakers:

  • Martin McLaughlin, Corporate Shareholder and the Chair of Reinhart’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren
  • Melissa Zabkowicz, Corporate Attorney and a member of Reinhart’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren

Event Details

Thursday, March 12, 2020
7:00 – 11:00 AM

Milwaukee Marriott Downtown
$45/person, Table of 10/$450

Presented By


Interested in sponsoring an event? To reap the benefits of the ultimate in-person marketing opportunity contact Linda Crawford, Director of Sales, to discuss opportunities. Event sponsorships are limited.