A highlight of the conference, the 2009 Prairie Family Business of the Year Award will be awarded to the Brockelsby family of Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, S.D., during the awards banquet on April 23. Runner-up for the Family Business of the Year honor is the Murtha family of Murtha Repair in Parkston, S.D., while the coveted Heritage Award will be presented to the Baker and Kuehn families of First National Bank in Sioux Falls, S.D.

In addition to the awards banquet, the Prairie Family Business Conference includes a keynote address from Greg McCann, author of "When Your Parents Sign the Paycheck." McCann is a professor at Stetson University as well as a family business consultant. His presentation, "The Next Generation: Its Eight Biggest Challenges," will discuss the need to develop credibility and marketability in the next generation, and how parents can help their children achieve success.

Family business leaders along with succeeding generations and their advisers will also have an opportunity to choose from several educational sessions during the conference, including husbands and wives working together, human resource needs of family-owned businesses, and creating a governance structure that will minimize conflict to help ensure the continuity of the business. Statistics show that while the majority of businesses nationwide are family owned and operated, only 33 percent of these enterprises are succeeded to the second generation. Only 12 percent make it to the third generation.

"Understanding the family business system as well as the unique dynamics presented in this system is critical to beating these odds," commented Beth Adamson, executive director of the Prairie Family Business Association. "The conference is recognized as the number one family business networking event in the region. Business-owning families have the opportunity to learn from top educators, but more importantly, they meet other business-owning families who are tackling some of the same issues, find new resources, and develop great friendships and business relationships as well."

For more about the 17th annual Prairie Family Business Conference, including an agenda and detailed session information, or to register please visit www.fambus.org. Participants can also register for the conference by calling the PFBA office at (605) 782-3225.

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