April 2012

‘Hanging Ten’ in Atlantic City – TMA Celebrates Tenth Anniversary of Mid-Atlantic Regional Symposium

This year’s TMA Mid-Atlantic Regional Symposium — Riding the Next Economic Wave: Looking Ahead in Uncertain Times — will be held at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on June 13-14. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, this year’s symposium features a streamlined itinerary.

This year’s Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Symposium marks a very special tenth anniversary celebration for the annual conference, hosted by the Chesapeake, New Jersey and Philadelphia chapters of the TMA. Returning to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, the nearby ocean provides the perfect metaphorical backdrop for this year’s theme: “Riding the Next Economic Wave: Looking Ahead in Uncertain Times.” The symposium begins at noon on Wednesday, June 13 and runs through the evening on Thursday, June 14, concluding with an after-party at the Borgata’s Gypsy Bar.

“At this time last year, there were concerns about a potential double-dip recession and inflation,” said Steven F. Agran, managing director at Morris Anderson and co-chair of the symposium. “Now, despite signs of recovery, there remains more uncertainty than ever. Economic growth is limited, soaring deficits and the ongoing European debt crisis continue to pose risks, and the upcoming presidential election brings new uncertainties that would exist in even the best of times.”

James J. Caruso, partner at Fesnak and Associates LLP, explains that it is exactly this level of uncertainty that led to the selection of this year’s theme. “The past few years have reminded us that events do not always unfold as expected. For example, despite one of the worst recessions on record, the restructuring world has experienced a slow down in defaults and bankruptcy filings. There is a need and desire to delve into just what the ‘next economic wave’ might be. We can’t predict the future, but exploring scenarios together can help us face the unknown with confidence.”

Despite the spotlight on uncertainty, there are many things that attendees to the symposium can be sure of, including an exciting keynote speaker, high-quality educational sessions and a lot of networking opportunities. Those include several fun new events to celebrate this tenth anniversary, such as a welcome party on Wednesday night featuring boardwalk-themed games and refreshments.

Following a new schedule and format this year, the symposium kicks off with a keynote luncheon featuring Adam Aron, chief executive officer and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. In addition to leading a resurgence of the Sixers, Aron is a senior operating partner of Apollo Management L.P., a New York-based private equity investment firm. Aron has had a distinguished career in the hospitality industry, and was recognized by Travel Weekly Magazine as a member of “Club 33” — the 33 most influential people in the world’s travel and tourism industry. Aron’s participation in turnarounds far transcends his current stint with the 76ers. For example, as president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line from 1993-1996, Aron took a broken and over-leveraged cruise franchise on the verge of bankruptcy through a complete financial, marketing and operational transformation, thus saving the line, which is still vibrant and successful today.

Educational sessions begin on Wednesday afternoon and continue on Thursday morning. After optional events on Thursday afternoon, the anniversary celebration peaks at the gala cocktail celebration and dinner, and then concludes with the after-party at the popular Gypsy Bar.

This year’s panels include:

Alternative Solutions to Chapter 11 Operating Liquidations
Conference attendees will hear restructuring professionals and lenders discuss alternatives — based on actual case experiences — to Chapter 11 for liquidating operating businesses, in this panel moderated by Paul Rome, president of University Management Associates and Consultants.

Economists’ Perspectives on the Next Economic Wave
In an new format moderated by Daniel Stella, senior vice president at PNC Business Credit, two economists from large regional banks will debate their perspective on what the next economic wave portends.

Industry Roundtable Discussions
In another new twist, this year’s symposium will offer three concurrent breakout sessions that offer turnaround professionals a choice of participating in interactive discussions on the media, healthcare or real estate industries. The media session, moderated by Laura Davis Jones, partner at Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, will explore the future of an industry that has undergone a permanent paradigm shift due to numerous forces, including technology.
The healthcare roundtable will be moderated by David A. Galardi, executive vice president of Apogenics, Inc., and will feature a discussion of the financial health and restructuring of a sector facing significant regulatory challenges. Last but not least, Wayne P. Weitz, senior managing director at GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group LLC, will moderate a real estate roundtable that considers how this cyclical industry will be affected by the next economic wave.

Bankruptcy Judges’ Forum: Views From the Bench
The educational portion of the symposium concludes with the judges’ panel, moderated by Derek C. Abbott, partner of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP and featuring bankruptcy judges from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.