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UNC Asheville to Host Family Enterprise Research Conference

 Hoy, Frank

Frank Hoy, the Paul R. Beswick Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is scheduled to give the keynote address at the Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) set for June 8-10 at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.

The Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC), an international conference dedicated to creating usable knowledge for family-owned businesses, will come to Asheville June 8-10. The three-day conference is hosted by UNC Asheville’s Family Business Forum and will take place on campus and at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel.

The FERC, which took place in Brazil last year, will convene in Guadalajara, Mexico next year, and in Montreal in 2019.

“Both groups share interest answering the same question, ‘How do family businesses effectively manage the interplay of family with owning the business, managing the daily operations so both business and family can be successful?’ says FERC Board co-president, Allison Pearson, of Mississippi State University. “The answer is to listen to the other side and that is precisely what FERC 2017 will provide.”

Clarke Cindy

Cindy Clarke

The 13th annual FERC focuses on Bridging the Gap, a theme that explores generations in family business, the connection between research and practice, the interdisciplinary approach across academic disciplines, and the span of knowledge in the field.

Conference highlights include a keynote address by Frank Hoy, the Paul R. Beswick Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a panel discussion of North Carolina family businesses moderated by Steve Miller, co-founder of the Family Enterprise Center at UNC Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School. Conference participants may also register for the Career Academy, a one-day program designed to address dilemmas and questions at all levels of academic life. The Career Academy is chaired by Franz W. Kellermanns, the Addison H. & Gertrude C. Reese Endowed Chair, professor and director of the Doctorate in Business Administration Program at UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business.

Scholars’ submissions to the conference are peer-reviewed, with the top papers receiving a monetary award. This year’s conference will bring more than 80 scholars to Asheville including 28 international participants from nations that include China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K., many of whom are visiting the United States for the first time. Their experience in Asheville will include a tour of Biltmore Estate, a family-owned business and a member of UNC Asheville’s Family Business Forum, as well as an awards ceremony at Sherrill’s Inn in Fairview, North Carolina, which is on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places, and is located on Hickory Nut Gap Farm, a 100 year-old family farm.

“Interacting with local family businesses is essential to FERC 2017 and will trigger discussions and insights of mutual benefit. Entrepreneurs will see how research findings can improve their work lives and scholars will hear from business owners about their concerns. When researchers get out into the business community, they can better analyze issues that are timely and relevant to the field, and Asheville, with its rich history, creative culture, and support for family businesses is a great place to do that,” said Cindy Clarke, executive director of UNC Asheville’s Family Business Forum and the FERC 2017 logistics director.

pearson, allison

Allison Pearson

Most of the conference vendors will be family-owned and local, including the Renaissance Asheville Hotel, The Biltmore Company, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Emma Bus Line, 12 Bones Smokehouse, Blue Ridge Event Staffing, The Hop Ice Cream Café, Urban Orchard Cider Company, Hendersonville Tents and more.

For more information, visit or contact Cindy Clarke, at 828-232-5091 or

About the Family Enterprise Research Conference

The Family Enterprise Research Conference (FERC) is dedicated to developing a community of scholars interested in conducting research into understanding family firms and creating usable knowledge in this field. Co-founded by Mark Green and Pramodita Sharma, the goal of this conference is to enable scholars to design and develop research projects that are theoretically sound, empirically accurate, and of practical significance to family firms.

About UNC Asheville’s Family Business Forum

The Family Business Forum at UNC Asheville is the only ongoing professional development and awareness-raising environment specifically designed for family businesses in Western North Carolina. Founded in 2001, it brings together business members monthly to navigate the challenges and opportunities of working with family members. Its 48 members range in size from three employees to more than 1,000 employees.

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