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Press Release for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Coggin College Hosts Family and Closely Held Business Forum

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The Coggin College of Business at the University of North Florida will host the 4th Annual Family & Closely Held Business Forum from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the University Center on campus. The Forum will explore critical transitional issues for today’s family and closely held businesses.

Family or closely held businesses account for 78 percent of all new jobs created nationwide and comprise 90 percent of all American businesses. These businesses face specific problems and challenges as they pass the reins to future generations. Among family companies, less than 30 percent survive into the second generation, barely 10 percent make it to the third and only about 4 percent to the fourth.

“The relevant topics and timely discussions at the Forum will help our local businesses to grow,” said Dr. John McAllister, dean of the Coggin College of Business at UNF. “The Forum is so important because studies show within the next five years, 30 percent of family-owned firms will experience a change in leadership due to retirement or semi-retirement.”

The keynote speaker will be Jean Davidson, granddaughter of Harley Davidson founder, Walter Davidson. She will discuss “The Three Keys to Success in Family Business.” She began riding a Harley at the age of 12 and was the owner of the largest Harley Davidson dealership in Wisconsin. Davidson rubbed shoulders with famous racers, Hell’s Angels and even Evil Knievel.

Break-out sessions will feature Max “Mickey” Block and Andrew Block of Darifair Foods, Inc. They will speak about “Transition Planning: Changing Lanes;” Sue Butts, North Florida Building Services, “Change Management: Introducing a New Model;” David Cooksey and John Cooksey, McCall Services, Inc., “Family Leadership: Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?;” and George Knapp, Stonewood Captial Management, Inc., “Non-Family Leadership: Preventing a Stall-Out.”

Cost for the 4th Annual Family & Closely Held Business Forum is $75 per person. To register for the Forum, log on to or call (904) 620-2476.