Deal activity in the middle market continues to be strong, as private equity remains flush with capital, and strategics are dipping lower into the market looking for deals. Valuations are high and the competition is strong…posing challenges for dealmakers.  

What types of structural changes are we seeing, and how can dealmakers structure transactions to achieve greater success while reducing the risk?  

The Deal Economy conference explores the most effective strategies for deals and transactions, focusing on the opportunities and challenges facing the middle market. 

For more information about The Deal Economy conference, view the agenda and speaker roster from the 2018 Conference.

This invitation-only, intimate dinner brings together today’s leaders in dealmaking and the firms that serve them in a unique environment for networking and business development. Qualified registrants will be contacted about dinner attendance. Learn more about the dinner 

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To learn how your organization can participate in this conference, contact Jonathan McReynolds at or +1 212-224-3026.



Jonathan McReynolds

P: 212-224-3026


Nicole Harris

P: 212-224-3040


Eric Salvarezza

P: 631-664-1311




On the evening before the conference, The Deal will host an invitation-only dinner to bring together today's leaders in dealmaking and the firms that serve them. Sponsor firms have the opportunity to join The Deal in this unique environment for networking and business development. For more information, please contact Jonathan McReynolds at or 212.224.3026.



The University Club of Chicago
76 E. Monroe Street | Chicago, IL 60603



The Deal Economy conference attracts senior executives and dealmakers from a variety of sectors. Attendees will depart with smart strategies, actionable tactics and connections to the people who are shaping the future of dealmaking in the middle market.

  • Fund Managers
  • Institutional Investors
  • C-Level Executives and Board Members
  • Private Equity Firms
  • Corporate Development & Strategy Executives
  • Investment Bankers
  • Corporate Advisory Firms
  • M&A Professionals

Who attends:


Kevin Miller
McDermott Will & Emory

Stephen Jeschke

Doug Cruikshank
Aberdeen Standard Investments

Suzanne Yoon
Kinzie Capital Partners

Dara Mitchell
Kadant Inc.

Julie Robinson
Ventas, Inc.

Daniel Barry
Antares Capital

J. Christopher Lewis

Riordan, Lewis &
Haden Equity Partners

Rich Lawson


Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:30am – 9:00am

9:00am – 9:05am

Opening Remarks

State of the Middle Market
The middle market is as busy as ever, as private equity remains flush with capital and strategics – eager for growth and new business – dip lower into the market for invigorating deals. But with such competition, valuations are high in the private markets which can pose challenges for advisers and fund managers alike. What challenges lie ahead for dealmakers and PE professionals in the current environment? Which areas are attracting the most investment and competition? Are there tactics that private equity is employing to reduce risk? Is there a top in sight?

Panelist: Stephen Jeschke, Principal, GTCR
Panelist: Theodore L. Koenig, President & CEO, Monroe Capital LLC
Panelist: Dara Mitchell, Vice President, Corporate Development, Kadant Inc.

9:05am – 9:50am

9:50am – 10:35am

10:35am – 10:55am

Networking Break

Closing Remarks

Cocktail Reception

Middle Market Industries to Watch
Industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and real estate remain hotbeds for private equity dealmaking in the middle market but other industries such as insurance, technology, services and logistics are also garnering attention. What industries are most popular for private equity looking to provide capital to grow companies? How has competition in certain industries pushed PE firms to expand their industry expertise or get more specialized? On the flip side, sellers are being more selective in their sale processes to better target specific groups of buyers. This panel explores the industries garnering the most attention and next on the frontier of growth.

Panelist: Daniel Barry, Senior Managing Director, Antares Capital
Panelist: Mark Habner, CEO and Co-Founder, BeckWay Group
Panelist: Kevin Miller, Partner, McDermott Will & Emory

10:55am – 11:45am

Our First Time: Nontraditional Tech Investors
Technology isn’t just for Silicon Valley. As industries such as manufacturing, retail, financial services and more shift to digital platforms, nontraditional buyers have surfaced as lead bidders in a number of technology auctions. Is this a fleeting trend or is the age of the non-traditional tech investor here to stay? What legacy industries are making the biggest push into technology and how has that shaped dealmaking? This panel seeks to explore the plethora of buyers seeking technology investments and the challenges that face companies making their first tech acquisition.

Panelist: Jacob Babcock, CEO, NuCurrent, Inc.
Panelist: Rich Lawson, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, HGGC
Panelist: Sonia Nagar, Partner, Pritzker Group

11:45am – 12:15pm

Spotlight Session

12:15pm – 1:15pm

Networking Luncheon

1:15pm – 2:05pm

Doing Deals Today and Delivering Success for Portfolio Companies
Club deals, direct limited partner investments, co-investing and more are all buzz words in the world of private equity that, depending on where you stand, either instill fear or positivity within dealmakers. What structural changes has dealmaking experienced over the years that have affected M&A transactions? What types of structural changes may be around the corner and what can dealmakers do to prepare?

Panelist: Mel Bartoul, Director, Monomoy Capital Partners
Panelist: Hemant Kumar, Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President Finance, SOL - Millennium                 Medical Group
Panelist: J. Christopher Lewis, Co-Founder, Managing Director, Riordan, Lewis & Haden Equity                       Partners
Panelist: Suzanne Yoon, Founder and Managing Director, Kinzie Capital Partners

2:05pm- 2:55pm

Winning Strategies for Corporate Dealmakers
What trends do corporate dealmakers see in the transactions they’re undertaking?  What are the most promising opportunities and the biggest challenges they are seeing, and how do they expect to overcome them? Panelists will also discuss the competition in the market between private equity firms and strategic corporate buyers and how to navigate a competitive landscape for quality targets.

Panelist: Jelena Guzenko, Director, Mergers & Acquisitions, Siemens
Panelist: Julie Robinson, Vice President, Investments, Ventas, Inc.
Panelist: Adam Skibley, Vice President, Strategy & Corporate Development, Glanbia Performance Nutrition

2:55pm – 3:45pm

Credit Check: PE Investments in Credit to Grow
Debt and credit investments continue to grow as private equity gets creative, seeking new ways to hit their return numbers. As regulated banks have shied away from many types of business loans to keep their balance sheets pristine, PE firms are expanding and launching credit funds. The middle market, especially, remains a hotbed for debt investing and issuances. This panel seeks to identify the latest trends in credit investing and explore why investors, advisers and LPs are still interested in credit funds. What’s the latest flavor of investing in this arena?

Panelist: Doug Cruikshank, Head of Fund Financing and Hark Capital, Aberdeen Standard Investments

3:50pm – 4:50pm

3:45pm – 3:50pm

Jelena Guzenko

Theodore L. Koenig
Monroe Capital LLC

Mark Habner
BeckWay Group

Hemant Kumar
SOL - Millennium Medical Group

Mel Bartoul
Monomoy Capital Partners


Sonia Nagar
Pritzker Group

Jacob Babcock
NuCurrent, Inc.

Adam Skibley
Glanbia Performance Nutrition