Chicago | Private Equity Company Board Strategies for Managing Across Business Cycles

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
05:00 PM - 07:30 PM CST
University Club of Chicago
76 E Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603



We’ve had record investment by Private Equity firms during the good economy, each with an investment thesis to seize growth opportunities in their chosen sectors.  Meanwhile, many others (the pessimists) have predicted recession for some time.

Whether we are entering a down cycle or M&A will remain strong is still uncertain.  Some PE Firms, capitalizing on a strong economy, have chosen to exit investments.  But others seemingly remain optimistic, raising new funds, and see now as still a great time to deploy capital, buy and execute on growth plans.  Regardless of which side you believe, all agree that businesses that fail to strategically consider economic cycles in their planning and execution will come to regret the consequences. 

Hear from our panel of thought leaders, experienced principles and executives first-hand the insights and strategies they have on this timely topic of PE Board Strategies for Business Cycles.

We will start with an overview of where the PE M&A acquisition and exit marketplace stands now, and where it is headed.

Then hear from our panel including C-level talent of investor-backed companies and Private Equity principals who will discuss:

  • Role of the board in seizing opportunities during a strong business cycle
  • How the board addresses talk of a downturn
  • How does the board factor in economic indicators to make tough decisions for the longer term
  • What stage in the business cycle is best to take on a PE Partner
  • What does a PE investor expect from its board in preparing for a weaker economy
  • How will a downturn affect “add-on/tuck-in” acquisitions
  • How private directors can best position themselves for board seats on companies most affected by business cycles

Join us for this timely, insider discussion.  Please come with your questions for the Q&A portion.

Last year’s Chicago Private Equity event sold out quickly, so please register early to ensure your seat.


PNC Tucker_Ellis



James Bland
Managing Director
Akoya Capitol

Jim has over 20 years of experience ranging from private equity to consulting and company operations. He has spent the last thirteen years as a principal equity investor acquiring lower middle market companies as a partner for both a top-quartile institutional private equity fund (HCP & Company) and a multi-family office (Pareto & Company). His responsibilities have included deal sourcing, transaction execution, portfolio company monitoring and value creation across a variety of industries including consumer products, healthcare services and for-profit education. He has also been actively involved in capital raising strategies.
Jim received his BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point where he still gives back as an elected Advisor-at-Large to the Board of Directors of the Association of Graduates and an MBA from University of Chicago, Booth.


Scott J. Gilbertson
Pfingsten Partners

As a member of the corporate finance team, he is involved in business development, origination and transaction execution activities, including overseeing the firm’s direct sourcing initiatives with entrepreneurs and industry executives. Prior to joining Pfingsten, Scott spent twelve years as a Principal at The Riverside Company, a private equity investment firm. Before that he was a Vice President at Cook Associates, a buyside M&A advisory firm based in Chicago, Illinois. A Wisconsin native, Scott holds a BA degree in Political Science and History from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a JD from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


William Watkins
Managing Director
Harris Williams

Bill has over 24 years of investment banking and corporate finance experience. He has completed a range of financial advisory assignments including mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and capital raising on behalf of private equity firms and public and private company clients in several industries. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Watkins was a managing director with National City Capital Markets Investment Banking Group, where he provided investment banking services within the Industrial group. Bill’s previous experience also includes mergers and acquisitions advisory with Piper Jaffray, as well as leveraged finance and general capital raising with Heller Financial’s Corporate Finance Group and Bank of America via its acquisition of Continental Bank. He holds a B.S. in Business from Indiana University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.



Arthur E. Mertes, Esq.
Tucker Ellis LLP

Art is a Chairperson of PDA’s Private Equity and Family Office Committee. His law practice is focused on M&A, financings and business law involving many industries, predominantly counseling middle market growth companies and the related investment community. He has negotiated and closed numerous transactions opposite large public companies. Art is a proud three-time University of Illinois grad, holding a J.D. / magna cum laude / College of Law, an MBA / honors / Geis College of Business and a B.S. Mechanical Engineering / College of Engineerin​g. He has presented on topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Venture & Angel Financing, Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship, including with UofI’s Executive MBA Program. Art is a former founding Partner of Synergy Law Group, LLC. Art has received several M&A Awards from the MBBI M&A trade group.