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A. T. "Fred" Zirkle
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A.T. "Fred" Zirkle, CBI

M&A Source Chairman, 1998

I attended an IBBA conference in San Antonio in 1992, one month after deciding to become an M&A advisor. That conference was a godsend, because I came away with confidence after seeing others and their success. I was pleased to find so many capable individuals eager to share ideas and help one another.

The M&A Source and the conferences were important to me and my career because I learned a lot during informal chats, as well as from the education courses. I became an active member of The M&A Source by joining committees, an approved education instructor, and a moderator and panelist at the conferences.

I accepted the chairmanship because I wanted to help the organization that was so helpful to me. I do not like to network, but I enjoy organizing and working with associates.

The greatest challenge that the M&A Source faced during my chairmanship was segmenting between IBBA mainstream and M&A while keeping the organizations whole. People were initially shocked to see M&A Source members come only for week-day courses and the Dealmakers Expo, but not staying for the weekend convention. Most of the convention attendees were satisfied and pleased. IBBA became stronger financially. Members at that time who paid for M&A Source membership got complimentary IBBA membership. My personal greatest challenge was not devoting all of my time to the M&A Source.

During my chairmanship, the M&A Source went from a financial precipice to a strong financial position in two years. By adding benefits, communication and working with associate organizations, we increased membership. We established clear definitions of committees, reporting and succession. We changed acronym PIGs (Private Investment Groups) to PEGs (Private Equity Groups), grew the Dealmakers Expo and initiated the website.

Being Chairman gave me a chance to improve the association by organizing the abundant member talent. I made many great friends and obtained personal growth by learning to work with a bunch of capable, outspoken individuals. My favorite memory from my time was seeing members excited about and participating in the M&A Source.