Coming up: Sustainability in Family Firms Webinar

Hosted by the Family Business Owned Institute

Wednesday, May 10th, 12pm - 1pm, More information to come


Sustainable Innovations in Family Businesses: Challenges, Opportunities and Possibilities

Brought to you by the Family Owned Business Institute and the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative

Thursday, March 16th, 2023, 8:30am - 12pm, L. William Seidman Center, Grand Rapids, MI

In order to provide the program we promised from the start, we will be postponing "Sustainable Innovations in Family Businesses: Challenges, Opportunities and Possibilities” and have rescheduled the event for Thursday, March 16th, 2023. In March of 2023, we will be offering the same value proposition and have the same amazing speakers: PramoDita Sharma, Jim Davies and Mark Green. We will have more information in early 2023!


Business families aspiring for transgenerational continuity and success understand the need to balance the economic, social and ecological impacts of their enterprises. They seek to understand how to find innovative solutions to address global challenges, while continuing to generate profit. The choices regarding sustainability may be confusing. Practical questions such as Why, How, When and Where to embed sustainable development principles into their businesses? will be addressed. Join experts from around the country as this hands-on program will focus on family businesses learning, analyzing, and discussing with experts and peers how to start and/or strengthen their sustainability journey.


8:30-9:00 Registration and Breakfast

9:00-9:10  Welcoming remarks  

9:10-10:15  Session 1: Family Business Sustainability Journey, Pramodita Sharma, Ph.D., Jim Davis, Ph.D. and Mark Green, Ph.D.  

10:15-10:30  Coffee break 

10:40-11:50  Session 2 (Panel): Ups and Downs in the Sustainability Journey: Experiences from West Michigan Business Families. Panelists to be confirmed, facilitated by John Kinch and Ana Gonzalez.

11:50-12:00 pm  Concluding remarks: Round Table for Sustainable Family Enterprises


*If you are an FBA member. Register here.

EARLY BIRD PRICING $100 until March 11th at 11:59 pm

Cost: $200*

*10% off when 3 tickets are purchased & 20% off when 5+ tickets are purchased.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Registration deadline - March 15th at 11:59 pm


Mark Green

Mark T. Green is a family business consultant, speaker, author, educator, and researcher. Mark is co-founder of the Pacific Family Business Institute and leads his own family business consulting firm. He consults for companies internationally on family business issues such as succession, governance, strategy, conflict resolution, and leadership. Previously, Mark was a principal with the Family Business Consulting Group based in Chicago. He was also the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business and the Director of the Austin Family Business Program at Oregon State University. He co-founded the Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) in 2005 and served as chair of the Educator and Research Conference for the Family Firm Institute.

Mark authored Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business, published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 academic journals, book chapters, and book reviews.

PramoDITA Sharma

PramoDITA Sharma is the Schlesinger-Grossman Chair of Family Business at the Grossman School of Business, University of Vermont. She is a visiting scholar at the Family Business Centers at Kellogg School of Management, USA and Indian School of Business, India, and is an advisory board member of the Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Sweden.

Dita served as the editor of Family Business Review from 2008-2017. Her research on succession, governance, innovation, next generation commitment, entrepreneurial leadership and sustainability in/by family enterprises is published in over fifty articles and ten books. Since 2015, she has published Entrepreneurs in Every Generation & Patient Capital: The Role of Family Firms in Sustainable Business, and ten articles in journals like ET&P, FBR, JBE, JBR & JFBS. Pioneering Business Families of Sustainable Development is her most recent book.

James H. Davis

James H. Davis is the Buehler Endowed Professor of Management, Chairman of the Marketing and Strategy Department and director of Executive Education in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to Utah State he was the John F. O’Shaughnessy Professor of Family Enterprises and a Professor of Strategic Management in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame for over twenty-five years beginning in 1991.

He has worked with many major national and multinational corporations and family businesses throughout the world on strategic planning and positioning. His research interests and publications are in the areas of corporate governance, strategic decision-making, trust and strategic alliances.


Thank You Speakers and Attendees for Coming to the FEFO 2021 Fall Seminar!

John Kerschen, President and Managing Partner, Charter Capital Partners & Steve Downing, President & CEO, Gentex Corporation

John Kerschen at FEFO Seminar
Anthony Crescenzi via Zoom

Anthony Crescenzi, Executive Vice President, Market Strategist & Portfolio Manager, New York Office, PIMCO & John Kerschen, President and Managing Partner, Charter Capital Partners 

Jim Zwiers, Executive Vice President, Wolverine Worldwide

Jim Zwiers at FEFO Seminar

FEFO Fall 2021 Seminar

FEFO 2021 Fall Seminar Announcement Image
FEFO 2021 Fall Seminar Agenda

Featured Speakers

Steve Downing - Genetex

Steve Downing

President and Chief Executive Officer

Steve Downing joined Gentex in 2002 as a financial analyst, and moved on to senior financial analyst and then served in various roles in commercial management including Director of Commercial Management until his promotion in 2012 to Vice President of Commercial Management. He was responsible for overseeing cost accounting, quotation development, forecasting, strategic partnerships, and new business development. In May 2013, he was promoted to Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance while maintaining responsibility for all commercial management activities. In June 2015, Steve was promoted to Senior Vice President with added responsibility for the Company’s business development and sales function. In August of 2017, Steve was promoted to President, Chief Operating Officer, Interim Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer. On December 31, 2017, Steve was promoted to Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Gentex, Downing worked for a private company executing activity-based costing, price modeling and control, and financial statement consolidation. He is a native of Ohio and graduated summa cum laude from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

Anthony Crescenzi Headshot

Anthony Crescenzi

Executive Vice President, Market Strategist & Portfolio Manager, New York Office, PIMCO 

Mr. Crescenzi is an executive vice president, market strategist and generalist portfolio manager in the New York office. He is also a member of the Investment Committee. Prior to joining PIMCO in 2009, he was chief bond market strategist at Miller Tabak, and worked for both Lehman Brothers and Prudential Bache. Mr. Crescenzi has written six books, including "The Strategic Bond Investor" and "Beyond the Keynesian Endpoint." He regularly appears on CNBC and Bloomberg television and in financial news media. Mr. Crescenzi taught in the executive MBA program at Baruch College from 1999-2009. He has 38 years of investment experience and holds an MBA from St. John's University and an undergraduate degree from the City University of New York.

Jim Zwiers Headshot

Jim Zwiers 

Executive Vice President at Wolverine 

Jim Zwiers is President, Global Operations Group, and leads Wolverine  Worldwide’s portfolio-wide sourcing, logistics, distribution, customer service, and information technology functions. He also leads business development and is a  member of the company’s executive leadership team, as Executive Vice  President. 

Jim has been with Wolverine Worldwide for 23 years, serving in many significant operational roles, including President of the Performance Group and President of the Outdoor Group, along with leadership of the company’s global e-commerce and retail businesses and President of the International Group. Zwiers also has held senior operational roles with responsibility for strategy, business development, and legal. 

Prior to his career at Wolverine, Zwiers was an attorney at Warner Norcross &  Judd for three years and previously a CPA at BDO. 

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from Calvin University and a Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of Michigan. 


Dr. Kim Eddleston's Workshop - April 27th, 2021

When the Family Undermines the Business: Understanding The Fredo Effect

Figuring out how to maintain strong family relationships and a strong business can be a tremendous challenge for business families. While some family members work tirelessly to help their business succeed, others may be there simply because of their ‘last name’ and serve as impediments to their business. Balancing the needs of the family with the needs of the business is therefore important to creating a healthy family and a healthy business.  Learn how your family can excel at this balancing act from a nationally recognized expert on family business. Dr. Kimberly Eddleston, from Northeastern University, will share how you can successfully manage relationships, make and communicate tough decisions, and maintain close family relationships.

Taking inspiration from The Godfather, Eddleston’s interactive presentation will center on the “Fredo Effect” which is based on the flawed middle brother from the movies who became an impediment to the Corleone family business. She will also share stories from her own family businesses as well as those of others that she has worked with over the years. In this presentation, families will learn how their relationships can create a “Fredo,” how to identify one in the business, and the steps to mitigate or avoid the “Fredo Effect.”

Event Timeline:

8:00    Breakfast and Registration
8:30    Keynote Presentation - Kim Eddleston
9:30   Q&A
9:45    Closing Remarks
10:00  Adjourn

Location: L. William Seidman Center 50 Front Ave. SW Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | Rm. SCB 1008 Forum


This event is in partnership with the Family Business Alliance. Please register by visiting the FBA event page.

Registration is free tor GVSU students, faculty, or staff interested in attending, however space is limited so please RSVP to [email protected] to reserve your spot. 


Kimberly A. Eddleston is the Schulze Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University. She is also an Academic Scholar at Cornell University’s Smith Family Business Initiative. Professor Eddleston’s research focuses on the interface of work and family, with a particular focus on women’s entrepreneurship and family businesses. She serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Business Venturing, Senior Editor for the Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange (, and Founding Editor of Professor Eddleston has won multiple awards for her research and has published more than 60 articles in leading journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Business Venturing, and Journal of International Business Studies. In addition, she has had various levels of involvement with several of her family’s businesses, which are in the real estate, construction, business services and hospitality industries.

Dr. Kim Eddleston

FOBI Webinar Series 2021: Discussing the family dimension in the family business

February 14th, 2021. Passing the baton: The Previous Generation:

A panel of former family business leaders share their experiences before, during and after leaving the family business in the day-to-day. 

May 13th, 2021. Informal Family Business Support: The Role of Spouses: 

In this panel, spouses of family business leaders discuss the challenges they face at home as the living partners of current leaders and as parents of the future ones.

September 16th, 2021. What kind of team are we? Siblings in the family business:

Couples of sibling will share their experiences working together in the business and dealing with usually unspoken topics such as rivalry, expectations, power and influence as family, business and owners. 

December 2nd, 2021. When “across generations” is a Bit Too Much: The Younger generation: 

In this panel we invite family members who are in college and have heard the call to be part of the family business. What are their thoughts and concerns. We’ll discuss them here. 

FOBI Fall Webinar Series 2020

October 23rd, 2020: COVID-19 - When Crisis Strikes the Family Business

As part of the Seidman College of Business webinar series on the pandemic, the Family Owned Business Institute, Ana Gonzalez, Ph.D. got together with three extraordinary West Michigan family business leaders to share their experiences before and during the pandemic.
- Todd Custer, President & CEO, Custer, Inc.
- Peter Hungerford, EVP & Chief Operating Officer, ADAC Automotive
- Megan Guskey, President, Grand Rapids Metrology
Moderator: Ana Gonzalez, Director, Family Owned Business Institute (FOBI)

Click here!

December 14th, 2020: Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and the Fed’s Great Intervention: Implications for the Economy and Asset Allocation


- Jurrien Timmer, Director of Global Macro, Fidelity Investments

- Lisa Shalett, Chief Investment Officer, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

- Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist, First Trust Advisors L.P.

Moderator: Kelli Olson, Tax Managing Director, BDO

Recording: Coming Soon!

Page last modified March 10, 2023