Why and What is ACG?


By Michael Millikan - Incoming ACG Indiana President and Partner at Ice Miller, LLP

“Why and What is ACG?” The question was posed to me a few months back by an executive who was new to Indianapolis. We were connected by a mutual friend from college, and he wanted to know my thoughts on how he could best network with other executives and professionals in the area. My immediate answer was for him to join ACG, which prompted his question. I started with the “What” and gave him the tag-line explanation: ACG is a worldwide organization consisting of executives, investors, advisors and lenders who focus on driving middle market growth. In plain English, I explained that ACG is basically a group of people that want to grow businesses they either run or in which they are invested and advisors that want to help with that process. There are over 14,500 worldwide members, but the real value is the 180 members in our local chapter.

Now that he knew the “What,?” the real question is “Why ACG?” When you look at the Central Indiana deal community, almost every organization that is active has a presence with ACG. Whether a bank, private equity group, mezzanine provider, CPA, attorney, insurance, financial advisor or inquisitive and growing company, you can find them at our monthly events.  I find that at our monthly breakfasts and other social events, I am able to catch up with both existing and prospective clients, referral sources and invariably meet new contacts that I otherwise would not have met but for ACG.   

Although networking is certainly one of the main reasons I and others have joined ACG, our programming and event schedule is not only interesting and topical, but allows a forum for both local and national speakers to provide fascinating insights into various topics and company stories. This past year, we have heard executives at Finish Line and Paragon Medical discuss their companies growth and transactions they completed. We also learned about blockchain and cryptocurrency. We had a panel of real estate gurus talk about the future of real estate in downtown Indianapolis and another panel discussing the new tariffs and how they were impacting Indiana companies. Of course, we also had a number of social outings like our annual golf outing and Pacers game. We also have our two premier events in January and April of each year. The Capital Markets Showcase is our signature event focused on the state of the capital markets from both a national and local perspective and includes nationally renowned speakers on the economy, local business owners telling their “company stories” and stories from Midwestern debt and equity providers of ways they enhance value with companies. Our Corporate Value Awards is our annual gala where we recognize our Deal of the Year and recognize a large and smaller company for outstanding growth the previous year.

Between the networking and the programming, I could think of no better local organization for him to join to broaden his local network, keep up to date on deal activity and hear the “real stories” of local companies that have either sold or grown through acquisition. Please keep ACG in mind for either yourself, someone in your organization or someone younger through our Young ACG initiatives.