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  • Innovation Series: State of the Industry

Innovation Series: State of the Industry

  • 14 Jan 2021
  • 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Join us for the first event of the 2021 season and the Innovation Series foan in-depth look at the “State of the Industry."  With all of the challenges that 2020 brought to our industry and all of the optimism that 2021 promises - from the COVID vaccine roll-out to projected city re-openings, and from interesting M&A activity on the horizon to consumer's next moves and changing commerce models - there is a lot to discuss!

Our event kicks off with a conversation between Alan Reed, Executive Director of CFBN & Bigger Table and Joel Warady, Chairman of the Board for CFBN and President of Catalina Crunch.  Join them for an optimist's look into 2021 and at the Network's goals.  Network building and development is more important now than ever, so don't miss this conversation to start you on your way!

Our featured speaker is next, join us for an intimate conversation with the CFO of fairlife, Andy Arquette. fairlife began in 2012 with the belief that milk and its natural health benefits can be used to create great-tasting products that nourish consumers and fit into their modern lifestyles.  In January of 2020, it was announced that Coca-Cola had acquired the remaining stake in fairlife - the latest move in a pivotal couple of years for the company.  Join us for a fire-side chat to dive into Arquette’s perspective on the year that was 2020, what 2021 holds for fairlife, and how he has viewed the state of the industry through his financially focused lens over his career.  Andy will be in conversation with Helana Robbins Huddleston, CPA/CIRA/MBA, Partner-Transactional Advisory Services at Cohn Reznick.

Following our featured speaker, we are excited to offer several options for featured break-out presentations

The New COVID Relief and Economic Stimulus Package:  The economic relief continues as congress passes another coronavirus recovery package to help businesses and families struggling due to the coronavirus's impact. Small businesses will see relief with another round of the PPP loan. What does this new relief mean for you and your business, and how to get ahold of this money?

    Risk and Insurance Market Update - Hard Market Opportunities:  This session will provide an overview of the hardening market and share strategies to offset rate increases and reduce risk of loss.

    • Speaker:  Brian Grant, Director of Food & Agribusiness at Cottingham & Butler

      Planning and Decision-Making Amidst Uncertainty:   CLA’s presentation will focus on strategies for business planning and forecasting amidst the difficulties of last year and the uncertainty heading into 2021. This will be discussed from three different perspectives with the first being strategies and examples on how to make business decisions and using tools to make those decisions despite economic uncertainty. Second, we will focus on current opportunities for your business touching on Nexus/CARES act and then on potential future tax changes under President-elect Biden. Lastly, we will touch on the landscape of the M&D world through the transactions lens with a discussion of what was seen in 2020 versus what we expect to see in 2021.

        SARS-CoV-2 - Understanding Risk Factors and How to Safely Reinvigorate U.S. Life & Work:  This session aims to address how COVID-19 has affected organizational operations, production, quality, regulatory compliance, and healthcare costs.  Additionally, it will address how knowledge and policies around the workforce and workplace can be improved, thereby reducing COVID-19 related disruptions and costs.
        • Speakers:  Kevin C. Maki, PhDAdjunct Professor, Dean’s Eminent Scholar, Indiana University School of Public Health – Bloomington, President and Chief Scientist, Midwest Biomedical Research; Justin Otten, PhDDirector of Global Health Affairs -School of Public Health – Bloomington

        Our Master Agenda for the morning's event:

        • 8:00 AM:  General Welcome (Alan Reed, CFBN)...don't miss a sneak preview of the Innovation series for 2021!

        • 8:05 AM - 8:15 AM:   What does 2021 hold? - State of the Industry & Network Goals - Alan Reed, CFBN & Joel Warady, Chairman, CFBN

        • 8:20 AM - 9:00 AM:   An Interview with fairlife CFO, Andy Arquette, with Helana Robbins Huddleston, Cohn Reznick

        • 9:05 AM AM - 9:45 AM:  Breakout Presentations (30-40 mins each - run concurrently)

        • 9:15 AM - 10:00 AM:   Expo/Networking Spaces Open

        • 10:00 AM - EVENT CLOSES

        Featured Speakers & Presenters:

        Andy Arquette, CFO, fairlife LLC

        Andy is the Chief Financial Officer of fairlife. Andy joined the fairlife family in 2011and has worked with a fantastic team to build fairlife to what it is today. Before joining the fairlife team, Andy was the Chief Executive Officer at HomeMade Pizza Company and held CFO roles at various technology entrepreneurial

        ventures. These ventures have been instrumental in forming Andy’s judgment and skills in building enterprises from their very early stages and managing in wide ranging environments with different challenges and changing landscapes. Prior to Andy’s entrepreneurial life, he gained his corporate badge at Kraft Foods and Arthur Andersen in financial and operational roles. Andy has his B.S. from Miami University and his MBA from Northwestern University.

        Helana Robbins HuddlestonPartner - Transactional Advisory Services, Cohn Reznick LLP

        Helana is a partner with CohnReznick Advisory who specializes in providing clients with transactional advisory and restructuring services. She has over 19 years of expertise in financial due diligence, restructuring, cash flow budgeting, financial auditing, internal control evaluation, and business process improvement. Helana leads buy-side and sell-side financial due diligence engagements with strategic and financial buyers for private and public companies with enterprise values ranging from $20 million to $500 million. Helana advises within a variety of industries including food and beverage, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and professional services.

        In addition to transaction advisory service, Helana has provided accounting and consulting services to financially troubled companies with sales ranging from $80 million to $350 million. Her advisory work includes cash management, financial projections and modeling, operational cost improvement and cost reductions, and implementing internal control processes. She has also advised senior secured creditors in and out of bankruptcy proceedings. Helana started her career at Ernst & Young in their assurance and transaction advisory practices where she led a buy-side transaction with an enterprise value of $10 billion.

        Alan Reed, Executive Director, CFBN & Bigger Table

        Alan Reed is the Executive Director of the Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, a startup, nonprofit organization that brings industry players together, provides a forum for collaboration and support, and better connects the 4,500 companies in the industry across Chicagoland to drive innovation and growth in the region.  The group leverages the power of the food & beverage industry in Chicagoland to grow the industry, and the local economy.  Prior to this new role, Alan was Executive Vice President, Strategy & Innovation at Dairy Management, Inc., and was responsible for creating and driving innovative strategies to grow dairy demand. Before joining DMI, Alan was a strategy consultant working with a variety of Fortune 100 companies.  Alan has a degree in Telecommunications from Indiana University, an MBA in Management & Strategy from Northwestern University, where he has taught innovation and new product development, and a certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Notre Dame.  He currently resides in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife and 2 children. 

        Joel Warady, President, Catalina Snacks; Chairman, CFBN

        Joel Warady is President of Catalina Snacks, Inc., a leading brand in the Keto-friendly snack category and serves as a strategic advisor to a number of emerging and established brands. Prior to this, Warady was the General Manager (CEO) of Enjoy Life Foods, a leading brand in the North American CPG industry. The brand experienced 18 consecutive years of growth under his guidance, achieving $100 million in North American consumption in 2019. In 2015, Warady was part of the two-person management team that successfully negotiated an acquisition of Enjoy Life Foods by Mondelez International. In the past few years, he has been ranked as one of the Top 50 CMOs on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine, one of the Top 50 Most Influential CMOs on Social Media by, was included in Brand Quarterly magazine’s list of 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50, and most recently recognized as one of Twitter’s Most Influential Marketers by AgencySpotter.

        We appreciate the support and collaboration of our sponsors for this event:


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