"This morning's conference was great!  It was a wide range of participants on the panels and that was a great way to hear a wide view of options and ideas from the panelists!  Kevin Hancock gets my vote for most open, honest and helpful answers to questions. He was outstanding and his thoughts today were very heartfelt and honest.  Take away the layers of "facade" and discuss the truth of what it's like and how you face the issuers."
- Janet Cole Cross, Career Coach, Cole Cross Connections, LLC

Family Business Forum

  • June 17, 2015
  • 7:30 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Husson University, Southern Campus, 340 County Road, Westbrook, ME 04092


  • Must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to the forum remotely.
  • Register one or more future members with guests.
  • Register a member for free and their future member guest(s) at $25 per person.
  • Must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to forum remotely.
  • Register one or more members for the event.

Registration is closed

Family Business Forum: "Learn from the Best:  Challenges and Successes of the 3 G's (Generations)"

Join the Institute for Family-Owned Business as we continue our Family Business Forum created to help family businesses navigate through successful succession planning and the ups and downs of the economy. Family-owned businesses make up over eighty percent of Maine’s businesses.  In any five-year period nearly 40% of family businesses will pass the baton to the next generation and, when that occurs, statistics are alarming: only 30% survive to the second generation, 13% to the third generation, and 3% to the fourth. 

We’ve gathered two panels of experts who have successfully navigated this transition of the “3Gs” - family businesses that have beaten the odds and successfully passed the business to the third generation and beyond. Not all companies used a common recipe for their success, they all took different paths to become who they are today and sometimes the best way to keep the family business was to not keep it in the family. We’ll hear from our second panel of non-family leaders in the family business.

Panel One – “3 Gs” (Generations)

Gene Geiger – CEO, Geiger
Gene is a 1971 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and fourth generation CEO of his family business.  The firm is based in Lewiston, but it sells promotional merchandise to nationwide clientele.  Gene formerly served on the Board of Lee Auto Malls and currently is currently a director of Hussey Seating Company.  Active in industry and civic affairs, he has served three times on the Board of Promotional Products Association International and is currently a member of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council, Chair of the LA Future Forum, and Chair of the LA Charter Commission.

Kevin D. Hancock - President, Hancock Lumber Company
A graduate of Bowdoin College, Kevin leads a sixth-generation family business headquartered in Casco, Maine. The company has 10 retail stores and three sawmills, employs 425 people and also owns and manages 12,000 acres of timberland in Cumberland and Oxford counties.  In 2014, Timber Processing Magazine recognized Kevin as its forest products industry “Person of the year”. He is past chairman of the Northeast Retail Lumber Association, the National Lumber + Building Material Dealers’ Association and the Bridgton Academy Board of Trustees. Hancock Lumber has been recognized as the Maine International Trade Center’s Exporter of the year; the Maine Family Business of the year; the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence and a ‘Best Places to Work.

Michael D. Barriault – President, Central Distributors
Michael graduated from Bentley College in 2000, and worked for Ernst & Young in Boston.  He is a fourth generation family member of Central Distributors based in Lewiston and its current President. He served as operations manager for over ten years, providing leadership in areas including:  warehouse/delivery operations, office administration/human resources, finance/accounting, technology/information systems, and government/trade associations.  Michael is also the current Vice President of the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association and campaign chair for the United Way of Androscoggin County. 

Moderator:  Steve Tenney - Senior Vice President, Family Wealth Management Partners
Steve graduated from Tufts University and has over 24 years’ experience in financial services in the U.S. and UK.  He leads the team’s family business consulting effort as well as investment strategy. He is a Certified Portfolio Manager® and has led the team through two successful generational transitions.

Panel Two – “Non- Family Leaders in the Family Business”

John A. Isaacson - CEO, Lee Auto Malls
John is a 1984 graduate of Dartmouth College and is the CEO, an equity partner and a board member of Lee Auto Malls a third-generation family-owned business. He started with the company as a salesperson in 1983 and held various management positions within the company before obtaining his current position in 1996. John has held a variety of leadership roles in the community.  He is currently the chair of the board of directors for the Institute for Family-Owned Business and a past chair and current board member of St. Mary’s Health System  in Lewiston. He also serves on the boards of directors of Covenant Health (chair) ; Greater Atlantic Insurance Company; Key Royal Insurance; Covenant Health Insurance, LTD and is a founding trustee of the Maine Auto Dealers Health Insurance Trust.

Robert Moore - Chairman and CEO, Dead River Company
Bob graduated from Trinity College and served as jet pilot in the U. S. Navy.  He pursued a law degree at the University Of Maine School Of Law and worked at Verrill & Dana and became a partner at Pierce Atwood. Bob joined Dead River Company in 1995 and assumed his current position in 2008. Started in 1909 Dead River is a fourth generation family-owned company.  Bob currently serves on the boards for Martin’s Point Health Care; the Energy Policy Research Foundation in Washington D.C.; the Community College Foundation; The Maine Community College System; America’s Edge; and the Executive Council for The Conference Board.  He also serves on the University of Maine Law School Board Of Visitors.  In 2013 he received the JoAnn Pike Humanitarian Award from Good Shepherd Food-Bank as well as the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Pine Tree Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Steven P. Cote - President, Chalmers Insurance Group
A 1989 graduate of Bowdoin College and veteran youth basketball coach, Steve was promoted to President of Chalmers Insurance Group (a fourth generation family-owned  business) in January of 2014, the first non-family member to lead the Agency in its 158 year history.  A licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, he has served as a trusted risk management advisor to individuals, families and businesses for over 25 years. Steve often represents Chalmers as an advisory board member to many carrier partners. Current and past advisory affiliations include: Hanover Insurance; Peerless/Liberty Mutual; Acadia Insurance; MMG Insurance; Main Street America Group/NGM Insurance and Patriot Insurance.

Moderator:  Nancy Forster-Holt, PhD, MBA, CMA - Assistant Professor in Husson University’s College of Business; Executive Director of Entrepreneurship and the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business A graduate of Cornell University (BS Labor Economics) and University of Maine (MBA, PhD); worked a long career in tax accounting, banking and sales before entering academia; research has been presented to local, national and international audiences. She researches entrepreneurial and small firm exit, real options and small firm acquisition strategies. She is co-owner of family-owned Shaw & Tenney with her husband Steve Holt and CFO of Double Blue Sports Analytics.

Attendees will have the chance to share their experiences and ask questions of the panel along with networking with other businesses. Continental breakfast included.          

For more information contact: catherine@fambusiness.org )

Remote access is available to dial in.  You must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to the forum remotely. If you are dialing iin to the forum you must pre-register so we can send you the remote instructions.

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