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Ron Chernak
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Ronald Chernak, CBI, M&AMI
M&A Source Chairman, 1996

I have been fortunate to be affiliated with the M&A Source since its conception at an IBBA meeting in Denver in 1990. That is when my friend, Darrel Fouts, polled the membership and picked our pockets for some seed money. In my opinion, the fact that the M&A Source was primarily volunteer-driven proved to be a true strength, as the organization matured through the years, and many of the relationships that I developed in those formative years remain intact today.

Some of us recall our 7:00 a.m. leadership meetings that took place on Sunday mornings. We had to meet after the IBBA Conference, because that was the only available time for us to gather. We would continue into mid-afternoon, when the group lost critical mass as we left to catch our planes for home. Those meetings were collegiate, and the source of many of the programs that exist today. For example, as an attorney, I was asked to create a class on legal issues relating to the M&A practice. I unilaterally wrote and taught the new course, #304 Legal Perspectives to the M&A Process, at the next conference. My peers trusted me to create a product that benefited the group and I tried not to let them down, much like I relied on them for other courses or functions. Although I have updated that course on several occasions, that course is still taught today.

In my opinion, there are three primary benefits of belonging to the M&A Source.

  1. Camaraderie and Networking. By attending the conferences and developing relationships with my peers, I have continuously improved my skills and processes.
  2. Education. Similar to the above, I constantly add arrows to my quiver by attending new courses and learning best practices from others.
  3. The Dealmakers Expo. As a result of attending one expo, I exposed a business to seven buyer groups, received four LOIs, and sold that company for over $30 million. I have sold numerous other businesses as a result of attending other expos.

I am proud to be a past chair and believe, like many others, that I may have modestly contributed to the organization. However, the benefits that I have received, both monetarily and from the long-term relationships that I have developed, far exceed the time and effort expended.