Iowa Family Business Conference

Each year, we bring in the most experienced leaders from the family business world to help you navigate best practices, tough conversations and more. This one-day event offers a keynote speaker, luncheon and 6+ breakout sessions for every member of the family business.

Save the Date: November 6, 2024

The University of Northern Iowa Family Business Center will host its fourth annual Iowa Family Business Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at Krause Gateway Center in Des Moines. With a warm welcome from the Krause family, the UNI FBC is bringing together multigenerational families, industry experts and thought leaders to explore the power of family-owned businesses and their significant impact on the Iowa economy.

Kevin Hancock
2024 Keynote

Kevin Hancock

Kevin Hancock is the Managing Owner and Chairman of Hancock Lumber, located in Maine. Kevin has worked at the company since 1991 and is part of the sixth generation of his family to help lead the organization. Kevin is a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community—through listening, empowering, and shared leadership. He is a graduate of Lake Region High School and Bowdoin College. He lives in Maine with his wife, Alison, and together they have two adult children, Abby and Sydney.

Jane Blain Gilbertson was the 2023 keynote speaker
2023 Keynote

Jane Blain Gilbertson

Jane Blain Gilbertson is President, CEO, and second-generation leader of the 43 Blain’s Farm & Fleet stores throughout the Midwest and Blain Supply, Inc., headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. The family owned companies were founded in 1955 and currently employ 4,400 associates. When Jane returned to the family business in 1985, she became the children’s apparel and giftware buyer. After the passing of her father and uncle, Jane and her brother bought out the remaining family shareholders in 1998. Jane and her brother ran the business together for 16 years, until 2014, when he retired.

The Blain's Farm & Fleet Story

Tune in to hear Jane Blain Gilbertson and Sarah Gilbertson on the Never Go Against the Family podcast! The pair discuss their paths to joining the family business, the importance of a next generation, outside work experience and much more.

Tony Simmons

Tony Simmons, Tabasco

Anthony “Tony” Simmons is the retired President and CEO of McIlhenny Company, the makers of Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce. A member of the fifth generation, Tony is the great-great-grandson of founder Edmund McIlhenny. Tony lives at Avery Island, Louisiana with his wife of 48 years and his golden retriever Moose. He has two children and six grandchildren and is an avid sportsman and golfer.

Craig Culver Speaks at conference

Craig Culver

In 2021, the University of Northern Iowa hosted the first-ever Family Business Conference, presented by BrownWinick Law Firm. Hosted at the EFCO family's headquarters in Des Moines, this one-day event was designed to connect, educate and provide helpful resources to Iowa family businesses. Craig Culver, of Culver's Restaurants, and Tom Hubler, of Hubler for Business Families, provided keynote addresses, amid breakout sessions by other Iowa family business leaders.

Are you interested in hosting?

Do you have an awesome facility that you'd like to share with the Midwest's finest businesses? Connect with to learn more about hosting.

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