Next Level

The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio

Next Level is a one-of-a-kind executive development program that focuses on cultivating leaders and developing trusting relationships between investors and their portfolio companies. The program is designed to impart a distinct set of organizational, economic, and management strategies that support executive leaders within the lower middle market.

Who should attend:

  • Senior-Level Leaders from any firm that is an SBIA Member
  • Portfolio Company Executives from any SBIA Member firms

Why attend?

Gain a competitive advantage in just three days, with Next Level’s intensive educational program. The program expands your leadership skills and equips you with the expertise for handling relevant challenges that affect small business and prepares you for the next level of growth. The Next Level program emphasizes the cohesiveness between investors and their portfolio companies and builds a solid foundation for executives to be successful in managing a company with institutional capital.

More about Next Level

Developed in partnership with the renowned National Center for the Middle Market and The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, this is the only well-respected educational program that combines the expertise of the lower middle market with real-life experiences of executives and winning strategies and practices from an array of highly distinguished educators and business professionals, professionals, all focused on the lower middle market.

The Next Level executive education program is offered by the Small Business Investor Alliance.


Please Note: 2019 Registration is now closed. Please sign up to be notified about the Next Level program for 2020.

Class Schedule

Day 1 – Sunday, November 3, 2019:

6:00 PM to 8:30 PM: Welcome reception and dinner

Andy Jacobson, Senior Advisor, SBIA


Day 2 -Monday, November 4, 2019:

8:00 AM to 5:00 PM: “The Strategy of Scaling Up” with Chuck Bamford, Ph.D., Managing Partner, Bamford Associates

5:15 PM to 5:45 PM: “Characteristics of Middle Market Growth Champions,” with Thomas Stewart, Executive Director, National Center for the Middle Market

Dinner on your own (SBIA and OSU will arrange transportation to voluntary group dinner in Columbus’ Short North neighborhood)


Day 3 -Tuesday, November 5, 2019:

8:00 AM to 1:30 PM: “Developing the Team” with Larry Inks, Ph.D., Fisher College of Business

1:30 PM to 5:30 PM: “Managing in a Leveraged Environment–Case Studies,” with Karen Wruck, Ph.D., Fisher College of Business, and Andy Jacobson

Dinner on your own


Day 4 -Wednesday, November 6, 2019:

8:00 AM to NOON: “Managing in a Leveraged Environment,” with Karen Wruck, Ph.D., Tyson Smith, Tecum Capital Partners, and Steven Davis, former Chairman & CEO, Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

NOON to 2:00 PM: “Optimizing your Partnership with Institutional Investors,” with Steven Davis

2:00 PM to 2:30 PM: Wrap up


*To download the full agenda, click here.

Ready for the Next Step

Next Level
November 3 – 6, 2019
The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Please Note: 2019 Registration is now closed. Please sign up to be notified about the Next Level program for 2020.

Event Questions

For more information about the Next Level program, contact us at 202.628.5055 or via email.


The Blackwell Inn and
Pfahl Conference Center

(located on The Ohio State University Campus)
2110 Tuttle Park Place
Columbus, OH 43210

Attendees stay at the Blackwell Inn, co-located at Pfahl Conference Center, and housing and some meals are included with program registration.

Meet Our Distinguished Faculty & Presenters

Faraz Abbasi
Senior Partner
Centerfield Capital Partners
Chris Antonello
Operating Partner
Plexus Capital
Charles E. Bamford Ph.D
Managing Partner
Bamford Associates, LLC
Rodger Davis
Managing Partner
Northcreek Mezzanine
Steven Davis
Former Chairman & CEO
Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

Lawrence W. Inks
Clinical Associate Professor of Management and Human Resources
Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University
Andrew Jacobson
Small Business Investor Alliance
Jeffrey Kadlic
Co-Founder & Managing Partner
Evolution Capital Partners
Brett Palmer
Small Business Investor Alliance
Tyson Smith
Tecum Capital Partners
Thomas A. Stewart
Executive Director
National Center for the Middle Market
Karen Wruck
Professor of Finance, Dean’s Distinguished Chair in Finance
Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

What People Are Saying About Next Level

“Attending Next Level’s executive training is an absolute must for mid-market executives. The content is relevant for businesses of all types, and they provide the framework for you to utilize the strategies that are presented as soon as you return to the office. In addition, you have the opportunity to network with peer level executives to brainstorm and problem solve any issues you may face within your company. The entire experience is invaluable as a means to grow and strengthen your business.”
— Jay Felton, President/CEO, Winter Services

“Very Informative.  Answered a lot of questions and changed some misconceptions about working with private equity.”
— Martin Sullivan, COO, Inland Metal

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time attending the SBIA Next Level program and I feel it was very well executed. Between the choice of speakers, the remarkable facilities, and the level of attendee interaction, the program truly managed to cover all the bases. Probably the most valuable element for me was the networking, what a great group of professionals in attendance!”
— Brad Walsh, President, Beacon Communications LLC

 “I’d like to implement everything!!”
— Kelly Solomon, CEO, Signature Coast Holdings

 “The course had knowledgeable instructors, steeped in practical applications.  They provided best practices that can be taken back and used immediately.  Networking with peers was refreshing.”
— Chris Antonello, Operating Partner, Plexus Capital

 “Great topics, great location, great participants.  I will recommend to others.”
— J.D. Matheus, V.P., Drug Free Sport

“SBIA’s Next Level was highly useful.  I strongly encourage people to send senior portfolio company executives.”
— Jeff Walters, Co-Founder & Partner, LaSalle Capital

“Thank you for inviting me to the SBIA program at Ohio State. It was, without a doubt, the best executive learning program I’ve ever attended. The depth of knowledge that was shared was invigorating and challenging for me and for the entire group. Thanks again. Oh, and yes, I did sell some chairs.”
— Tony Gerbino, Chairman & CEO, ErgoGenesis

“Great session this week at OSU; first class content and presentation. I have been to a few of these CEO forums but I would rank this as one of the best, thanks for the utilizing the scholarship on me.”

Steve Michalski, CEO, PowerTrack International

“The course is very informative for any executive new to private equity.”

— Stacy Affatigato, Chief Production Officer, Brown & Joseph

“Thanks for a great experience and terrific use of time.”

— Brenda Bazan, Operating Partner, TWV Capital

“Presenters were excellent.  Their expertise and the class content made this program extremely valuable…my understanding of private equity and other funding sources increased significantly.  Tools were provided to improve my business.”

— Todd Jensen, CFO, SBS America

The opportunity to attend was incredible! The wealth of information relative to financial structure, leverage, modeling, scaling the business, leadership, compensation and so much more will go to work at EOS Worldwide.  Many thanks for both a wonderful experience and value creation ideas!

— Kelly Knight, President, EOS Worldwide

To see a list of past attendees click here.

November 3 - 6 2019

The Blackwell Inn and Pfahl Conference Center
2110 Tuttle Park Pl
Columbus, Ohio 43210

For more information about the Next Level program, contact us at 202.628.5055 or via email.