Next Generation Institute

Overall, facilitators add value and inspire participants to take action, specific steps in the journey of generational transition. The program is not designed for the transition plan to take place over the seven month period. Rather, the sessions become “tools in the toolbox” to review as the family makes progress on this journey.

Facilitators are also "cheerleaders” to encourage participants to make attendance to the sessions a key priority, complete assignments between classes, and develop a pace of progress in developing their plan.

About your facilitators

Headshot of Rick Blum

Rick Blum


After graduating from Notre Dame and serving as a Naval Officer, Rick began his career at his family’s business, Kirk & Blum, as a Sales Engineer in 1972. Kirk & Blum produced industrial sheet metal products, air pollution control systems on a design/build basis and installed them. Rick became President of Kirk & Blum, succeeding his retiring father, in 1982. By the mid 90’s it had become the largest company of its kind in the U.S. In 1999, K & B was owned by Rick, his two brothers who were active in the business, and three sisters who were not. Working with their Advisory Board the family decided that the best solution to their succession issues was to sell the company. The company was sold to Ceco Environmental, a publicly traded company, in December of 1999. Rick became the President and Chief Operating Officer of Ceco and his two brothers continued at K & B.

Headshot of Bill Cloppert

Bill Cloppert


Bill is a hands-on business counselor with experience in a variety of industries, with a particular focus on wholesale/distribution. He has recommended and assisted in the development of deferred compensation agreements, buy/sell agreements, projections and business planning for numerous clients. Bill is also involved in estate and tax planning for key members of client management teams. He served as Managing Director of the firm from 1988 – 2011, leading Barnes Dennig through significant growth to become the fifth-largest CPA firm in Greater Cincinnati.

Currently Bill is an Adjunct Professor at Xavier University in the Accounting Department and has taught various financial courses in the MBA program since 2013. He also serves on the Advisory Board for a local company. Bill earned a BA in Accounting from Xavier University and the EXMBA in 2013. He has been a member of Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants since 1974. Additionally, Bill was Chairman of the Freestore Foodbank Foundation Board from 2008-2015, serves on the Board of Executive Advisors at Williams College of Business at Xavier University, and has been a mentor for business majors at Xavier since 2003.

Headshot of Linda Gill

Linda Gill


Linda Tracy Gill has unique experience as both a CPA with tax expertise and a seasoned business owner, multiple times over. She has the keen ability to tap her expertise in both strategic business management, and her in-depth understanding of tax law.  Her extensive experience in public accounting—which includes strategic family business, estate, gift and charitable planning, business succession and consultative services, in addition to income tax services—allows her to take a comprehensive approach to business and personal situations. She currently consults with family held business and their owners as President of TransAct, Inc.

Committed to community service, Linda has held numerous local, state and national leadership positions in charities, professional groups and community organizations. She currently serves as Board Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair for Matthew 25: Ministries.

The YWCA of Greater Cincinnati selected Linda as a Career Woman of Achievement, and she was also the recipient of the President’s Award, presented by the Cincinnati chapter of the Ohio Society of CPAs.  Linda has been honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the Women in Business Advocate of the Year for the state of Ohio. Linda earned her MBA in taxation at Xavier University and is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting.

Headshot of Kurt Hansen

Kurt Hansen


Kurt has over 36 years of experience at GE Aviation, GE Energy and Basin Electric Power Cooperative, with over 20 years of executive leadership experience in engineering, supply chain, and business development.  He has led global organizations across Europe, Asia and North America in technology development, product design, production support, and customer service, and has worked across the product life cycle from ideation through industrialization and product sunset.  During his career, he has also led or championed many of GE’s change initiatives, including new product introduction, model-based design and manufacturing, digitization, Six Sigma, and Lean. 

Kurt has a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from South Dakota State University and a master’s in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic University.  He was the VP of GE’s Community Service Fund from 2007 to 2017, a member of the SDSU Engineering Advisory Council from 2005 to 2016, and the Founder and National Hub President for the GE Native American Network.  Kurt is a lifetime Sequoyah Member of the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES) and a member of ASME and AIAA. Kurt retired from GE in 2017, then subsequently joined Belcan Engineering Group, LLC, as General Manager of the Cincinnati Delivery Center where he was responsible for an engineering services team of 900 Engineers. He now serves as Vice President of Engineering Operations where he leads a $100M+ P&L with over 1,500 employees, as well as Belcan’s Additive Engineering Center.

Kurt and his wife, Dori, reside in Loveland, OH, and they have five children. In his spare time, Kurt enjoys spending time with his family, volunteering, and doing outdoor activities like skiing, fishing, hiking, golfing and traveling.

Headshot of Gus McPhie

Gus McPhie


A.J. “Gus” McPhie is a retired senior executive with international experience and a broad management background in both large public and small privately held family businesses. Gus has a variety of knowledge that he has picked up throughout his career; 18 years of marketing at Procter & Gamble, 12 years in general management and related responsibilities as President of two small privately owned companies, and 13 years as a management consultant, primarily in family owned businesses. While he was the U.K. Managing Director, he started up the Lenscrafters business in both England and in Wales. Over the years Gus has been involved in leadership roles in volunteer organizations, which today are the Catholic Men’s Fellowship, the Gardner Center in the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, and the Deaconess Association board.

Headshot of Jim Miller

Jim Miller


Upon graduating from Bowling Green State University, Jim began his career as a tax accountant at international CPA firm, Arthur Andersen, where he primarily served closely held and family owned businesses. In 1989, Jim was admitted as a partner and developed a leadership position in advanced estate and wealth transition planning. Jim left Andersen to develop his skills in the investment business before he was recruited to run a single family office in 2001. The family had successfully monetized several operating businesses prior to Jim’s joining them, but they continued with another startup medical device enterprise in which he was involved. Since 2013, Jim has consulted with high net worth families and family businesses in defining issues surrounding inter-generational wealth transition and developing the communication systems that enable families to stay together.

Headshot of William Mueller

William Mueller


A native of Cincinnati, Bill received a Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, and a Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University. Bill has served in a variety of leadership positions during his 47 years in the healthcare industry. These include President of ProMedica Bay Park Hospital (Oregon, Ohio), Vice President of ProMedica Toledo Hospital (Toledo), Vice President Franciscan Hospital Mt. Airy (Cincinnati), and COO of ProMedica Physician Group (Toledo), a 500-provider multispecialty group which services 27 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Over the years, Bill has taken a special interest in leadership development, and remains involved as a leadership coach and mentor for both established and emerging leaders. Now retired, Bill is a consultant and coach in the area of executive leadership development. In addition, Bill serves on a number of Advisory Boards, both for profit and non-profit. Bill is an Adjunct Instructor in the University of Cincinnati, College of Pharmacy Masters of Science in Leadership degree program.

Headshot of Tracy Ruberg

Tracy Ruberg


Tracy is the founder/president of T6 Group and Executive Director of The Circuit, a non-profit IT association.  She has more than 25 years of operations, technology and sales experience successfully helping organizations ranging from $5M to over $100B in revenue build their business and improve operations.  Tracy has consistently impacted productivity and efficiency across a wide range of industries including IT, telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, finance and insurance.  Her energy and broad business knowledge helps organizations find new, creative opportunities and solutions to advance their strategic objectives.

Tracy’s effervescent curiosity and ability to “stand in the shoes” of  employees at all levels in an organization helps them achieve adoption/success of the changes they are making. She believes in gaining clarity on the end result, and that success hinges on continuous, strategic, and transparent company-wide communication.

When she is not busy working, she can be found doing activities with her family, reading or planning the next beach vacation.  Tracy has a Quantitative Business Analysis and Marketing degree from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. 

Headshot of Tom Shepherd

Tom Shepherd


Tom began his career as a Certified Public Accountant, where he was exposed to a wide variety of operational systems and processes. Inquisitive by nature, he partnered with his clients recommending process improvements.

Since leaving public accounting, Tom has worked over 30 years serving in numerous senior management roles, from CFO to president, primarily in family and closely held businesses, including a 100% employee owned company. He has led numerous ERP process software implementations and developed expertise in acquisitions, due diligence and integration. He has coached managers and guided their development of teams and sustainable processes, thus freeing them up to pursue profitable growth.

As president, Tom successfully turned around two companies by implementing a strategic vision to prioritize and focus the team’s energies on cost reduction and business development. Tom is acutely aware of the challenges of developing succession plans both for business ownership and key leadership roles within a company.

Tom has volunteered with the Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati for over 30 years and currently sits on their Foundation Board. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration (cum laude) from Ohio University and a Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University.

Headshot of Rik Vonderhaar

Rik Vonderhaar


Rik Vonderhaar earned a marketing degree from St. Joseph’s College, after also receiving a basketball grant-in-aid and the Wall Street Journal Award for senior with best GPA in business major. He earned an MBA from University of Cincinnati, which he completed in 10 months while being a Teaching Assistant. He has had 41-plus years of sales and marketing experience with six companies, two being Fortune 500. Rik is retired now, but still actively applying his skills and experience.

His most recent position was Vice President at Champion Window. Rik has broad based experience and skills in: interpersonal communications, marketing/advertising, pricing, sales management, competitive intelligence, financial statement analysis (P&L responsibilities), operations, customer service, strategic planning and manager recruiting. He has taught and trained several functions including: selling skills, customer service, body language, negotiating and personality types.

Rik has authored a newly published book on value selling, titled In The Absence Of Value, All That’s Left Is $$. He is currently working as a volunteer consultant to non-profit organizations serving the business community of Cincinnati. Rik received 2018 Mentor of the Year Award by the University of Cincinnati Center for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (CEC).