Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum

Russ: This is PKF Texas – The Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m here with Scott Clemons, Partner and Chief Investment Strategist of Brown Brothers Harriman. Scott, welcome to The Playbook.

Scott: Good morning, Russ. Thank you for having me.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about your firm.

Scott: Brown Brothers Harriman & Company is a rather old firm. We were founded in 1818 as a private partnership, which, in 1818, every bank on Wall Street was a private partnership. What’s unique about us today is that we’ve never changed that ownership structure. Over the past 200 years, one by one, firms have gone public; they’ve limited their liability in some way. We’ve retained that unlimited liability structure. There are 31 people who own the firm outright – no outside capital, no debt on the balance sheet. And those 31 people, all of whom operate the business, carry joint and several unlimited liability for the activities of the business.

Russ: So, that includes you.

Scott: That includes me. It tends to focus the mind. It makes risk management a core competence. What we really like about it is it really does align the interests of the owner operators with those of our clients. Every firm has that alignment, but for us it’s embedded within the DNA of the ownership structure for the business itself. That’s rather special to us.

Russ: My goodness. So, 1818, so this is like a birthday year.

Scott: We had a big party—we had a series of big parties last year. We had big cakes and celebrated the history of the firm and also the future of the firm. One of our events in New York, we had a guest speaker, George W. Bush, former President Bush. We had him because his grandfather, Prescott Bush, H.W.’s father—Houston connection here, was a partner of the firm back in the 1930s and the early 1940s. So, we celebrate that history, and the challenge, of course, is to be informed and influenced by the history and the legacy without having that legacy dictate what you do. We have to weave into our business a certain amount of entrepreneurship for our third century, which we’ve embarked on in 2019.

Continue Reading The Economic Cycle: Where it’s Been and Where it’s Going

Russ: This is PKF Texas – Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m with Del Walker, Tax Practice Leader at PKF Texas, and founding organizer of the forum. Del, great to have you.

Del: Russ, it’s always a pleasure, my friend. Always a pleasure.

Russ: We’ve completed now, your fourth, and this is my fourth interview with you after the completion.

Del: I know, and we are still so young, aren’t we?

Russ: That’s true, absolutely. But share your perspective from this 2019 version.

Del: We tried some things differently this year, a little bit. We’re always asking for feedback from our participants, and we’ve got some thoughts that were a little different than we’ve done in the past.

Continue Reading Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum 2019 Overview

Russ:  This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here with R.T. Dukes, Research Director with Wood Mackenzie, and Prajit Ghosh, Global Strategy Lead also with Wood Mackenzie.  Guys, welcome to the Playbook.

Prajit:  Thank you

R.T.:  Thanks for having us.

Russ:  You bet.  Give us an overview of Wood Mackenzie.

R.T.:  Wood Mack – we’re part of a larger corporation called Verisk Analytics.  It’s a data analytics company focused in the insurance, energy and financial services sectors.  We’re part of the energy vertical.  So Wood Mack we describe as part of the energy metals and mining, really the natural resources value chain.  I’m focused in oil and gas; Prajit’s more focused on the power and renewable side, and we’ve expanded quite a bit there over the last few years.

Russ:  I remember hearing and seeing that about a year ago, too; I thought it was interesting.  To me it was more of an indication that the renewables were gaining ground these days.  So before we get to renewables, why don’t you give us an overview, R.T., of where oil and gas is today and in the immediate future?

Continue Reading Fossil Fuels and Renewable Power – What’s in the Future?

Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper. This week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum. I’m very pleased to have as my guest, Jason Ballard, co-founder and President of TreeHouse. Jason, welcome to the show.

Jason: Happy to be here.

Russ: Tell us about TreeHouse.

Jason: TreeHouse is a home upgrade company focused on helping homeowners make their homes better; whether it comes to design, the way the home looks and feels, or performance, the way it uses energy and creates comfort or the outdoor landscape. The real underlying mission of the company is around health and sustainability, both for people and the natural world.

Russ: How old is the company?

Jason: Seven years old.

Russ: So, if you look at that, you know, landscaping outside, or making the home sustainable, or energy, how would you divide those up as far as how much business you do in those categories?

Jason: It tends to be really evenly split across the company. We tend to do about half of our business around design. So, kitchen remodels, helping expecting parents repaint a nursery, these kinds of things. Then, about half of our business is performance related. So, whether it’s like, I’m a card carrying member of the Sierra Club and I want to put solar energy on my house, or my energy bills are killing me and I want to put solar energy on my house, or I just want to make and investment in my home and so I’m going to do some insulation and some smart home stuff. The business tends to be really diversified in that way, kind of half and half.

Continue Reading How Home Upgrade Can Improve Health and Energy Consumption

Russ:  This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook, I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum.  And I’m with John Berger, Co-founder and CEO of Sunnova Energy Corporation; John welcome to the Playbook.

John:  Thank you Russ, nice to be here.

Russ:  You bet.  Tell us about Sunnova.

John:  Sunnova Energy is a residential solar and storage service company.  We operate from near Japan and Guam, Saipan all the way through California, Texas to Puerto Rico and all the way up far north as Massachusetts.  What we do through a network of locally owned businesses, dealers and contractors is they’ll go out and source customers on our behalf and sign them up to our service and then install our equipment per our specifications on the customers’ homes, and then we provide for those customers for 25+ years cheaper power, cleaner power obviously with solar onsite, and increasingly – and just recently – a better service with storage, with batteries.  Onsite they’re working with the solar system and then have more complex IT systems and such so in effect we’re creating wireless power.
Continue Reading Solar Energy – What’s Next?

Russ:  This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you once again from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum and my guest is Del Walker, tax practice leader at PKF Texas and founding organizer of this forum.  Del welcome to the Playbook.

Del:  Russ always a pleasure, good to be here.

Russ:  Well this completes the third family forum.

Del:  Yep, this is the three-peat.

Russ:  My opinion is they just upgrade every year but my opinion isn’t nearly as important as yours; what’s your opinion?
Continue Reading 2018 Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum Overview

Russ:  This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you today from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum and my guest is Rob Ferguson of Ferguson Interests, LLC.  Rob is a business advisor for family and private equity owned businesses.  Rob welcome to the Playbook.

Rob:  Thank you, nice to be here Russ.

Continue Reading Rob Ferguson Discusses Passion for Helping Family Businesses

Russ:  This is PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.  I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m coming to you from the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum and I’m with Del Walker, Tax Practice Leader at PKF Texas and Founding organizer of the forum.  Welcome to the Playbook Del.

Del:  Welcome Russ, thank you for having us.

Russ:  You bet.  So this is my third Family Practice Forum with you guys and it is impressive but share what it’s all about with our audience.

Del:  From our standpoint what we’re trying to do is really help families provide – I told a little story this morning involving my mother.  She asked what is this about, what are you trying to do.  And I replied back to her the goal is we really want to help people be successful in achieving their family goals, we want to help people be successful as they pursue their vision.  We want to promote commerce, we want to enable people to learn from one another, kind of create a community and we want to have a little bit of fun from that standpoint.

Continue Reading An Overview of the 2017 Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum

Russ: This is the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook. I’m Russ Capper, this week’s guest host, and I’m here at the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum with Tom Livergood, Founder and CEO of the Family Wealth Alliance and one of the lead organizers of the event; welcome to the Playbook Tom.

Tom: Thank you Russ, thanks for having me.

Russ: You bet. Tell us about your firm.

Tom: Family Wealth Alliance is a connector of firms and families who share our core value which is we place families first. Russ, we’re known as an innovator and we have three lines of business, chronicle, convene and consult. So we chronicle the industry we do research, we’ve done 21 research reports in the last 11 years, we host events much like this so they’re gatherings that are an event like and experience like none other. And finally we do some consulting work with families in firms to better understand access, service to space. So we’ve been in business 13 years, I founded the firm, we’re North American in scope and we have two rules; we do business with only people that we like and we have to have fun.

Russ: There you go; those are good rules for sure. So your clients then are like the people that attended this event; they’re essentially high net worth families that have businesses that have grown perhaps several generations.

Tom: Well, and we actually serve the firms that serve the families, so primarily B to B. And so we’re serving family wealth firms such as single/multi-family offices, external CIO family wealth firms, vendor firms to them such as client reporting firms, security firms, technology firms, investment firms. So we’re better at serving the firms so they can be better equipped to serve their private clients.

Russ: Okay, share your perspective of the Gulf Coast Regional Family Forum.

Tom: We were invited a little over a year ago to get invited to this thing by the good folks at Kanaly and PKF Texas. I’m very honored to be a part of it; we thought we could bring some outside perspective to the event, bring in some speakers and bring some ideas on how to host events, although apparently these guys are pretty good at doing this.

Russ: Well it seemed very successful to me, that’s for sure.

Tom: The expectations I think were exceeded in a couple ways; first of all, the expectation was exceeded as far as the type of quality that was in the room. The numbers of the people in the room. But I also think it, you know, the event itself kept on time, they were quality speakers, people were engaged; if you looked around the room at 4:30 in the afternoon people were still here. And very engaged. I thought the luncheon speaker on politics was fascinating. I thought Arnette Heintze’s comments on security were awesome. I thought the young panel, the Millennials sharing their perspective on the next generation and taking over the mantel was fun. I thought the outlook on energy was of course very interesting at a very challenging time.

Russ: Absolutely.

Tom: So I am biased because we were involved in the event and I was able to kick off this morning but I thought we did pretty darn good.

Russ: It was a success.

Tom: Yeah, it was.

Russ: All right, Tom I really appreciate you sharing your perspective with us

Tom: Russ, thank you very much for having me.

Russ: You bet, you bet. This has been another Thought Leader Production brought to you by the PKF Texas Entrepreneur’s Playbook.