Why did you make this decision?
Obviously health considerations are first and foremost, but we are also acutely aware of the operational challenges middle-market companies are facing right now. We don’t want to be pursuing you for things like application deadlines, verification meetings, video recording sessions, etc. We recognize that many companies are facing difficult decisions and your employees may be facing trying personal situations. We don’t think a celebratory attitude is appropriate right now.
Are you cancelling the event, or postponing? Many organizations are rescheduling their events for the fall.
We are suspending the Fast 40 for the year and will be back to identify and celebrate the fastest-growing companies in June 2021. We envision being able to celebrate not just employee and revenue growth next year, but also incredible stories of sustainability and reemergence; amazing acts of leadership, community and charity; and wonderful descriptions of how this experience has made your companies stronger and better.
Why not just postpone?
The Fast 40 includes two elements – an identifying process and a celebration. We don’t believe we will be able to conduct the identifying process in the short-term, and a later celebration might commemorate results no longer relevant. For example, companies that had employee growth in 2019 may have had to make incredibly difficult decisions in Q1 and Q2 2020, and might feel that celebrating their 2019 growth is no longer appropriate.
Did you consider identifying and announcing the winners virtually?
We did, and that was our first instinct, but in order to announce the companies at all, we would need to aggressively pursue nominations and applications. We don’t believe our Fast 40 companies want us to do that right now.
We have already applied. What does this mean to us?
Thank you for applying, and we sincerely apologize that your important time was spent on a process that is being suspended. Please know that we have been having group as well as one-on-one conversations, consulting with industry experts and reviewing matters such as the changing CDC guidelines so that we could make the best decision as soon as possible. In addition, we envision an alumni dinner/gathering later in the year and will invite you to that event. We welcome you to join our Fast 40 LinkedIn Group page to connect to your peers in the meantime.
We are a sponsor. Will our sponsorship be refunded or credited towards next year?
Yes. Please let us know your preference – we would be happy to apply it to next year’s event, but can also refund it if preferred.
I have already registered for the event. Will my registration be refunded or credited towards next year?
Yes. We can refund your registration fee or apply it to any future ACG Atlanta event.
How will the 2021 Fast 40 process be impacted?
The ACG Atlanta staff, Board of Directors and the Fast 40 Committee members will spend this unexpected downtime to determine how to handle this unusual business year. Additionally, we have long discussed whether the minimum threshold (currently $15M) should be lowered, whether a “higher middle market” category should be added, etc. We will assess all of those considerations as we plan for an outstanding 2021 process and celebration.
I am a Fast 40 CEO/CFO and this event has become an important way for me to connect with my peers. How can ACG help me do that, in lieu of the 2020 process and event?
ACG is sending out a regular (about weekly) email with resources from our expert partners on a variety of topics, so please sign up for that if you have not been receiving it. Please join our Fast 40 LinkedIn Group page and connect with our President and CEO, Melanie Brandt, who posts and reposts important things for the middle market as well. If you are an ACG member, you have access to the Global ACG Membership database. We will also be planning webinars/original content and hope to resume both smaller, focused group gatherings and regular events as soon as possible, in accordance with CDC recommendations and feedback from our constituents.
Okay. Anything else?
Yes. Thank you for your commitment to ACG and your interest in the Fast 40. We hate that the Fast 40 event can’t be a priority for you right now, but we hope we are doing the right things (let us know), and truly look forward to when we can resume being an incredible source of important in-person connections again soon.