TMA Member Article Published in "5 Biggest Business Mistakes"

Today, I read an interesting article by a TMA member from Portland, Renee Fellman, CTP. Renee’s article, “5 Biggest Business Mistakes,” was published in TheStreet.Com on October 18. Renee makes some great points, many of which will be familiar to experienced turnaround professionals. Hindsight is 20/20, so I think it best to look to the lessons that each of the case examples offer (Blockbuster, Toys “R” Us, Sears, Borders and BP) and apply them as we all work through our client’s troubles. The mistakes always seem so clear in hindsight, but the best go-forward strategy always seems difficult to identify or implement. I think being able to work through these problems by applying the lessons from the past is the effective turnaround advisor’s key strength. Much of this strength comes from objectivity, since sometimes when we’re mired in the problems, the solutions, though right in front of our faces, are difficult to see. Thanks to Renee for highlighting these issues and to for publishing Renee’s article. See the article by clicking here.

Where Does Your Newspaper Rank? Circulation Continues to Decline

The biannual circulation report was released today and the only major newspaper showing a significant increase is The Wall Street Journal, which has help from paid e-subsribers and iPad and mobile subscribers.

While the circulation losses have slowed further, to a 5 percent daily drop in the most recent report from an 8.7 percent decline in the spring report and a 10.6 percent plunge in the report one year ago, as reported by Advertising Age, the numbers could potentially impact the turnaround industry. Read more about the report and see where your newspaper ranks.

As always, let me know what you think and post any comments below.

What’s in a Number? 13 Reasons to Register for 13-week Cash Flow Webinar

Next Tuesday (Oct. 26, Noon – 1:00 p.m. EST) I will be moderating “13-week Cash Flow: What’s in a Number? The First 13 Weeks May be Everything.” The webinar is part of the TMAccess education program. Learn more about TMAccess and register for the webinar at

Why should you or other members of your firm participate in this webinar? I’ll give you 13 reasons:
  1. The 13-week cash flow (TWCF) model is the short-term forecast preferred by practitioners, lenders, creditors and most other constituents.
  2. A properly prepared TWCF provides a company and all of the constituents with a roadmap to the ultimate exit.
  3. A TWCF illustrates a company’s cash sources and uses, and any operational shortfall must be provided for through the anticipated exit date.
  4. TWCF provides much needed visibility for direct materials, direct labor and selling expenses as individual components.
  5. It helps assess poor collection of receivables, ineffective vendor strategies, or a high fixed-cost burden – all of which may have been buried in other types of financial forecasts.
  6. The TWCF is an illustrative document that removes some of the obfuscation that can be a part of accrual accounting.
  7. Often the TWCF provides a dose of reality to management teams that are in denial.
  8. An accurate TWCF is integral to building credibility and trust between management and lenders in a turnaround.
  9. For creditors or other providers of capital, the company’s TWCF should be a critical element of the credit or investment process.
  10. Without a TWCF at the inception of the acquisition, an acquirer cannot be certain of the short- to medium-term capital needs of the business.
  11. It’s critical for a company’s business and strategic plans, as quantified by the TWCF, to be both accepted by parties in interest and stakeholders and consistently executed by the company.
  12. Management that consistently meets its TWCF goals will have an advantage in completing a turnaround in a timely and effective manner.
  13. The TWCF model is the accepted industry standard in all corporate renewal situations because of its practical applicability to its users and its effectiveness as a communication tool.

Register for the webinar today.

Webinar Presenters

Moderator: Frank R. Mack, CTP, Accretive Solutions Capital Partners, Inc.

Panel: Robert D. Katz, CTP, Executive Sounding Board Associates Inc.; James M. Macdonald III, JP Morgan Chase Bank Chase Business Credit; and David W. Wirt, Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP

Wall Street Journal Blog Features TMA Survey Results

The Wall Street Journal's Bankruptcy Beat blog featured the 2010 TMA Trend Watch Survey results today. Read the article.

Turnaround Industry is in Transition During Uncertain Economic Times

The results are in from TMA's recent Trend Watch survey and the results paint a picture of an industry in transition during uncertain economic times.

The uncertainty has led many of those in the turnaround industry to believe the number of engagements and estimated revenues for this year will remain flat or decrease. The outlook is brighter for next year, however, as more than half the respondents expect revenues to increase by 10 percent or more in 2011.

Another interesting trend highlighted by the survey results is that 70 percent of respondents said most of their work has occurred outside of bankruptcy court this year, which is significantly up from 42 percent last year.

Find out more of the results at, where you can view the Trend Watch Survey news release and charts showing the poll results.

I'm interested to hear what you think. Post your comments by clicking on the link below and tell us if you agree or disagree with the survey results.

Wall Street Journal Reports "Executives Quicker to Call Restructuring Advisers"

Executives at rocky companies are pulling their heads out of the sand and starting to seek restructuring advice sooner, said David Kurtz, co-head of investment bank Lazard Frères & Co.’s restructuring group, during "The New Chapter 11 Playbook" session at last week's TMA Annual Convention. Read more insights from the session in an article by the Wall Street Journal.

Please share your thoughts about Kurtz's comments or the article by clicking on the link below to add comments.

Jeb Bush Annual Convention Keynote Address Recap by Wall Street Journal

Bush presented his keynote
address on Thursday, Oct. 7.
The Wall Street Journal provided a great recap of the keynote address presented by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at last week's 2010 TMA Annual Convention in Orlando. Read the article to find out what Bush had to say about the handling of the General Motors and Chrysler bankruptcies by the Obama administration and his brother, former President George W. Bush, and more.

Orlando Wrap Up

For those of you who missed TMA's Annual Convention in Orlando last missed a great conference. Not to worry. Most of the panels and speakers will be available on demand through TMAccess, our comprehensive online education resource. Watch for a link on the TMA Web site in the coming days that will let you access the videos.

Over 550 attendees found out that the conference offered much more than great panels. The opening reception was one of the best networking functions I've attended this year. I was able to reconnect with a number of people I haven't seen in a long time. Maintaining relationships will be the key to deal flow in these interesting times.

Many firms had dinners and other events after the opening reception on Wednesday night for targeted networking. Then, on Thursday, TMA hosted a dinner event with humorist Dave Barry who shared with us some hilarious observations on life, our business and using the internet.

Congrats to the TMA staff and volunteers for a job well-done.

Don't forget, TMA's next conference is the Distressed Investing Conference in Las Vegas....January 26-28, 2011 at the Aria Resort. Watch your e-mail for more info.

Ex-Felon Shares MCI White-Collar Crime Story

Walt Pavlo shared his very personal story of white-collar crime during the Ethics Track of TMA's 2010 Annual Convention in Orlando on Friday morning.

Walt provided a candid look into the motivations, actions and consequences of the crimes he committed while working as a senior manager at MCI Telecommunications. His unique perspective provided great insight into the process of how white-collar crimes are committed.

At MCI, Walt was responsible for the billing and collection of nearly $1 billion in monthly revenue for MCI’s carrier finance division. Along with another member of his staff and a business associate outside of MCI, Walt began to perpetuate a fraud involving a few of MCI’s customers. When the scheme was completed, there had been seven customers of MCI defrauded over a six-month period resulting in approximately $5 million in payments to the Cayman Islands.

Bush Offers Turnaround Suggestions During Keynote Address

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush offered three suggestions for the turnaround of the U.S. during the opening session of the TMA Annual Convention this morning.

1.) Roll back the power of the government.

2.) Embrace American exceptionalism on the domestic front.

3.) Leadership matters in effecting transformation.

What are your thoughts? Please share your opinion by using the comments feature of this blog.

Golf and Tennis Tournaments Provide Unique Networking Experiences

(From L-R: Pat Lagrange, Mark Beceu,
Bob Eckback, Tom Kim)
We had a great golf tournament today - weather was excellent, but for a little wind. We had a full house and a robust competition. First place went to the team of Jeffrey Cohen, Bill Forrest, Mark Reynolds and Jim Whitney, with a score of 69. Second place went to Henry Baer, Amy Lynne Long and Mike Von Lehman with a score of 70 (they won the tie breaker since there were two teams at 70). Third place went to David Baker, Don Giuseppi, Tom Pabst and Robert Schwartz, also with a score of 70.

There were two skills competitions - one each for women and men. The closest to the pin was won by Maria Chang and Greg Hengehold. Long drive was won by Maria Chang and Dan Kerrigan.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all who participated.

A special mention and thanks to our golf tournament sponsor, Hilco. Thanks also go to Cole Taylor Business Capital and Myron Bowling Auctioneers for sponsoring our refreshment cart. Lastly, thank you to O'Keefe & Associates and Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos & Company for their hole sponsorships.

TMA also held a tennis tournament at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. Congratulations to the first place winners, Peter Seckel and Richard Hauer, and the second place winners, Morten Kucey and Paul Kelly.

For both the golf and tennis tournament participants, this was a great way to start the 2010 convention experience and to spend quality time together. We look forward to a great 2010 TMA Annual Convention.

Congratulations to the 2011 Officers!

Congratulations to the 2011 TMA officers, who were approved during yesterday's TMA Board of Directors meeting at the Annual Convention in Orlando:

Lisa M. Poulin, CTP
Partner, CRG Partners Group LLC
Bethesda, MD

Mark S. Indelicato
Managing Partner, Hahn & Hessen LLP
New York, NY

Immediate Past Chairperson
Patrick C. Lagrange
Managing Director, Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC
New York, NY

Vice President - Chapter Relations
J. Scott Victor
Managing Director, SSG Capital Advisors LLC
West Conshohocken, PA

Vice President - Education
Noel Boeke
Attorney, Holland & Knight LLP
Tampa, FL

Vice President - Communications
Cathy L. Reece
Attorney, Fennemore Craig
Phoenix, AZ

Vice President - Finance
Thomas M. Kim, CTP
Senior Managing Director, r²advisors, llc
Denver, CO

Vice President – International Relations
Alan Tilley
Principal, BM&T LLP
London, GBR

Vice President - Membership
David F. Cohen
Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Vice President - Conferences
Brad Coulter, CTP
Director, O’Keefe & Associates Consulting
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Vice President - Certification
To be Nominated by the
Certification Oversight Committee

Corporate Secretary
Ronald R. Sussman
Partner, Cooley LLP
New York, NY

TMA Governance Behind the Scenes

The Opening Reception at TMA's Annual Convention is one of our industry's most important networking events of the year. Nearly all attendees make sure that they are at the convention site in time to attend the reception before heading out to one of private dinners that are usually held that evening.

What many of our members don't focus on when making their plans is the full day of TMA governance meetings that precede the start of the convention. At these meetings, our Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Chapter Presidents' Council, Certification Oversight Committee and a number of other task forces and committee meet to conduct the business of our association. The meetings usually are the culmination of months of behind the scenes work by TMA's dedicated volunteer leaders and staff. Conferences and webinars are planned, chapter leaders share best practice ideas, and the overall direction of the association for the upcoming year is set.

At the Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, our Board will elect TMA's new officers from a slate recommended by our association's Nominations Committee, which began work back in April.

All Board of Directors meetings are open to the entire membership. If you want to know more about the direction of our association, please come... and of course, please don't hesitate to raise your hand to join one of our committees. Committee membership is one of the best ways to get more value from your TMA experience. You will have a chance to work closely with other professionals and get to know them while at the same time helping advance the mission of TMA.

So consider this your open invitation to join us at the Board meeting and to get involved in your association.

See you in Orlando.