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See Who’s Coming, check out the Agenda, and read below for the latest news about the conference!

Two days packed with over 20 sessions, focusing on cross-border strategic issues and financing

Conference sessions are designed to be relevant and applicable across all industries, with plenty of key takeaways that will highlight great ideas and leads to pursue, as well as costly mistakes to avoid. [Read more]

Look who’s coming!

Look Who's Coming Composite Come hear 70 speakers, including 30 SME owners and senior executives sharing their own experiences. Additional speakers will feature an all-star line-up of lenders, equity investors, lawyers, accountants, advisors, analysts, and other cross-border experts. Click to see the list of speakers and advisory board members already signed up.

Ambassador’s attendance confirmed, speaking at lunch on June 17th.

Things to watch for
The keynote conversation with the Honourable Gary Doer, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, has now been moved to June 17th. The Ambassador will be joined by Christopher Sands, Senior Research Professor and Director of the Center for Canadian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Their topic will be Key things for Canadian SMEs to watch for over the next few years, focusing on significant developments which may impact the competitive environment for Canadian businesses.[Read more].

With latest additions, roster of panelists closing in on 70 in total.

Latest speaker additions Jun 6 15bLatest speaker additions Jun 6Latest speaker additions May 27 15Latest speaker additions May 23 15Latest speaker additions May 18 15
Speakers continue to be added for our 19 sessions. The most recent additions include:

Dahra Granovsky, President of Chem-Ecol Ltd., and Mark Falbo, President of Mircom Group of Companies (Closing panel of champions: How two Canadian SMEs succeeded in very different ways.)

Jacqueline Sava, Founder of Soak Wash Inc., (Moving goods across the border: Will it get better or worse?)

Peng-Sang Cau, President & CEO of Transformix Engineering Inc. (The cultural divide: How business is conducted from such very different perspectives.)

Alison NankivellVice President, Co-investment and Government Initiatives, at BDC Capital (Looking for private equity: Is now the time?)

Roy Verstraete, CEO of Anchor Danly, and Lee Meagher, CEO of Scootaround Inc. (People are key: Putting the right teams in place.)

Jennifer Carlson, Founder of Baby Gourmet Foods Inc., Jason StoterPresident of Vivere Ltd., and Aaron Rotenberg, owner of Nutri-Health Corporation (Selling through retail: Choosing the right strategy.)

Didi Caldwell, Principal of Global Location Strategies (Regions rule: How regions dance to their own tune and state governments do odd things and Thinking of setting up a U.S presence? Canadian SMEs share their experience.)

Justin Kramer, President and CEO of Talent Payment Services (The cultural divide: How business is conducted from such very different perspectives.)

Ryan Murphy, President of Wade Antenna (Selling to the U.S. government: Your next big win?)

Harold Franks, Senior Finance Advisor at St. Regis Crystal (Managing the day-to-day financial operations of your US subsidiary.)

Laurel Walzak, COO of Fitneff Inc. (Moving goods across the border: Will it get better or worse?)

Sami Aita, CEO of Oilsteam Corporation (Financing a U.S. operation or acquisition.)

Aaron Ames, CFO of FirstOnSite Restoration (The Taxmen Cometh: Watch out!)

And Rick Jamieson,CEO of ABS Friction (More free trade deals ahead? Challenges and opportunities for Canadian SMEs in the US.)

Look who’s coming! See all our speakers and advisors!

President of North America’s largest supplier of intelligent building solutions to speak about the challenges his company faced in expanding in the U.S. market.

Closing panel of championsMark Falbo, President of Mircom Group of Companies, will be speaking with moderator, Dahra Granovsky, President of Chem-Ecol Ltd., about  some of the challenges that his company encountered, how they were overcome, what he would have done differently, and how he thinks the environment is different today. Mircom, with 600 employees, is now North America’s largest independent designer, manufacturer and distributor of Intelligent Building Solutions. Chem-Ecol is a North American leader in industrial oil purification. (Closing panel of champions: How two Canadian SMEs succeeded in very different ways.)

CEO and two NAFTA experts now on the panel discussing free trade.

Free trade Weekes Shoyer Jamieson

Two more panelists have been added for the session, More free trade deals ahead? Challenges and opportunities for Canadian SMEs in the U.S.Joining John Weekes, Canada’s chief negotiator for NAFTA and currently a Senior Business Advisor at Bennett Jones, will be Andrew Shoyer and Rick Jamieson. Andy is a Partner at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington and is co-leader of his firm’s international trade practice. He spent seven years at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), including as principal legal counsel in the negotiation of the market access rules of NAFTA. Rick, who will be moderating this session, is the President and CEO of ABS Friction, based in Guelph, ON., an industry leader in the manufacture and testing of aftermarket disc brake pads, supplying to over 20 markets around the world, including the United States and Mexico.

Shuttle service offered between Sheraton Gateway Hotel and conference centre

Hotel Logo

Seven minutes away from the conference venue at Terminal 3, the 4-star, the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport is the preferred hotel for Expand in the USA conference attendees. Connect to Terminal 1 by monorail. Take advantage of our morning and evening shuttle service to and from the conference centre.

Two food exporters and a supplier of hammocks added to panel looking at strategies for retail suppliers.

Retail Smith Rotenberg Sanderson.Carlson Stoter Jun1Jennifer CarlsonFounder of Baby Gourmet Foods Inc., Jason Stoter, President of Vivere Ltd., and Aaron Rotenberg, owner of Nutri-Health Corporation, are joining Joe Lamotta and Susan Sanderson on the panel entitled, Selling through Retail: Choosing the Right Strategy.  Baby Gourmet is a producer of organic-pouched, baby food and Jen was ranked 7th on the 2015PROFIT/Chatelaine W100. Vivere is an outdoor living company that sells hammocks and other seating and was ranked 27th in the 2014 Profit 500 list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Nutri-Health is a supplier of all natural, non-GMO, gluten-free foods, which has also been enjoying impressive growth in the U.S. market. Joe, who is Senior Director, Fresh, at Daymon Worldwide, the global leader in consumables retailing, is replacing Tom Smith of Daymon, who is now unable to attend.  Susan, who will be moderating, is a Cincinnati-based VP at Jackman Reinvention, a leading retail consultant. Her clients have included Target, Safeway, Walmart, Waitrose, Kroger, Pharmasave, The Hudson Bay Company, Town Shoes, Sobey’s, Meijer, Smart and Final, and Walgreens. This session will look at the pros and cons of national vs. regional launches, mass vs. specialty, direct sales vs. through brokers, and the need for marketing support.

Site selection advisor and Dartmouth expert on state regulation and competition rules join session on states dancing to their own tune.

Regions Fransen Sorens Caldwell

Didi Caldwell, a Principal of Global Location Strategies, in Greenville, South Carolina, provides companies with advice on site selection, incentive negotiation and real estate acquisition, across North America and around the globe. She is the latest addition to the panel, Regions rule: How regions dance to their own tune and state governments do odd things. Also on the panel are Jason Sorens of Dartmouth College, who studies regulation across the U.S. and how states vary significantly in their labor, insurance, occupational, land use, and competition rules; and moderator, David Fransen, who spent six years as Canada’s Consul General in Los Angeles, serving as the country’s senior representative in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. David is currently Executive in Residence, Global Partnerships, at the Ontario Centres of Excellence.  

CEOs of cleantech, payroll services, and factory automation firms join acclaimed pollster and commentator to discuss the US/Canada cultural divide.

Culture Nanos Dugre Kramer Cau






Justin Kramer, President of Talent Payment ServicesFrédéric Dugré, Co-Founder, President and CEO of H2O Innovation Inc., and Peng-Sang Cau, President and CEO of Transformix Inc., will be joining the discussion about key cultural differences that have most directly and critically impacted Canadian businesses as they expand south of the border. Talent Payment Services provides payroll services to advertising agencies, production companies, studios, and broadcasters throughout North America. H2O Innovation manufactures and operates water treatment plants throughout North America and has operations in Minneapolis and San Diego. Transformix specializes in designing and building High-Speed Continuous Motion Machines for factory automation. This panel is being moderated by Nik Nanos, who is not only well-known for his appearances on CBC, Bloomberg News, CTV, and The Globe & Mail, but also teaches at the State University of New York about Canada-US relations.[Read more].

Three CEOs now on panel looking at putting the right people in place.

People Meagher Hambly Pezim Roy

Roy Verstraete, CEO of Anchor Danly, based in Windsor, ON, is joining Lee Meagher, Founder and CEO of Scootaround Inc., headquartered in Winnipeg, MB, Don Hambly, President and CEO ofBrampton-based, Olon Industries, and moderator, Howard Pezim, for the session People are key: Putting the right teams in place.”  Anchor Danly, is a manufacturer of die sets, components, steel plates, and metal fabrications and has plants in Michigan and California. Scootaround provides personal transport rentals and sales for the elderly and those with mobility issues, who are travelling to events and conventions or for vacation. It has offices and teams in Florida, Nevada and Georgia and most of its business is in the United States. Olon Industries is one of the leading designers and manufacturers of components, moldings, treatments and laminate products for the North American furniture, residential remodeling and cabinet-making industries. It has manufacturing facilities in Indiana and Illinois. Howard is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Bedford – Canada’s largest independent executive search firm. Roy, Lee, Don, and Howard will be discussing issues such as when to begin hiring U.S. talent for business development, the pros and cons of transferring Canadian management to a U.S. operation, which business functions should not be managed from a Canadian head office, and whether and how to replicate a parent company’s culture in a U.S. presence.

Cross-border men’s apparel manufacturer and others to share their experience in financing a U.S. acquisition, together with lenders.

Financing a US sub or acqu panelists5
Stephen Granovsky
, CEO of Luxury Men’s Apparel Group, has in the last five years, acquired Samuelsohn, in Montreal, and Hickey Freeman in Rochester, New York, becoming the largest manufacturer of luxury tailored clothing in North America. He will talk about his experience in cross-border debt financing, along with lenders, Jim Webster, Vice President, Risk Management & Chief Compliance Officer at Roynat Capital and Paul Miretta-Barone, VP & Head of Business Banking, Ontario at HSBC Bank Canada. Also joining the panel are Bill Rogers, Managing Director and CEO of CCC Investment Banking and Sami Aita, Chairman and CEO of Oilsteam Corporation. Bill recently oversaw the process of securing and negotiating with a lender, for the financing of a large plant in New York State for a Canadian SME. Sami’s company, OilSteam, with operations in Texas, uses mobile delivery of steam and gas injection to extract oil in mature wells with declining production. [Read more.]

Our conference chair is the next Director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Laura DawsonLaura Dawson, an expert on cross-border trade, market access, and regulatory issues, will be chairing the Expand in the USA conference. Laura will shortly be taking over as Director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. As Chair of our conference, she’ll be providing introductory and concluding remarks, introducing sessions, and ready to ask questions of panelists. Most recently based in Ottawa, Laura has contributed to the launch of the U.S-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council, the Border Vision Strategy, and the bilateral Government Procurement Agreement.

Expert panel to discuss equity options for SMEsPrivate equity panelists v5 May 26 15

Christopher Sheeren is a partner at Huron Capital, an operationally-focused, private equity firm, which invests in lower middle-market companies. He will lead fellow panelists, Alison Nankivell, Vice President, Co-investment and Government Initiatives at BDC Capital, Adam Breslin of Penfund, Kimberly Stevenson Chow, CFO of Labstat International, and Brock Philp, President and CEO of Doc-IT Software, in a discussion of alternative equity sources for Canadian SMEs, what owners can expect, what it will cost, and issues likely to arise.

One great connection is all it takes!

Our agenda is packed with great content. Yet a tip to avoid a costly mistake, a valuable introduction, a suggestion of how to proceed, the right words of encouragement, a new source of financing – these are examples of what to look for in meeting as many of our attendees, as possible. As event organizer, our job is to facilitate connections that will matter. That’s the beauty of a conference that brings together so many senior executives with common aspirations, similar challenges, and experiences to share. Tell us what you are looking for and we’ll do our best to help you make connections that matter.

The ins and outs of selling to the U.S. government: How to win federal business

Selling US gov panelists v4 with Murphy
Ryan Murphy, President of Wade Antenna, whose TACO division manufactures antennas for civil and military aviation and shipboard communications, is the latest to join a panel being moderated by Virginia-based advisor, Judy Bradt of Summit Insight. Judy is a highly regarded, strategic adviser on securing U.S. government business, who spent 15 years as a Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. Also on the panel is Chris Wiegand, CEO of Jibestream, whose wayfinding solutions have been sold to the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs, The panel, Selling to the U.S. government: Your next big win?, will be exploring opportunities for Canadian SMEs to win federal business.

Board of Trade encouraging its members to attend

The Brampton Board of Trade has signed on as an Association Sponsor of Expand in the USA. Brampton is already a major source of exports to the United States and many of its companies have invested there, including Zenan Group of Companies, whose CEO, Cindy Staffieri, is one of our speakers. The Brampton Board of Trade is hoping that this event will help many of its SMEs develop or refine strategies and access the necessary financing to further expand their share of the U.S. market.

Banking experts and senior finance exec to discuss how to optimize cash flow for a U.S. subsidiary.

Day-to-day fin ops panelists with Franks





Bill Truffen, Assistant Vice President at HSBC Bank Canada, will be moderating a panel entitled, Managing the day-to-day financial operations of your US subsidiary. With him will be two others from the same bank, Luc Fournier, Head of Sales, Global Trade and Receivables Finance, Business Banking, and Rahul Sharma, Regional Head of Sales, Payments and Cash Management. Also in the discussion will be Harold Franks, Senior Finance Advisor at St. Regis Crystal, a supplier of crystal gifts and recognition products. They will talk about how to manage trade and payment risk, access local capital, and borrow in sync with the trade cycle.

Second largest chamber of commerce in Ontario becomes sponsor of Expand in the USA

The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, with 1,880 members, is the second largest Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade in Ontario. It serves a population of over 130,000, 80 kms West of Toronto, and a diverse mix of manufacturing, technology, and service companies. The Chamber is encouraging its members to attend Expand in the USA to think strategically about further penetration of the market and gain exposure to new sources of financing.

Leading international bank becomes Gold Sponsor

HSBC Bank Canada, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, is the leading international bank in Canada.  HSBC Commercial Banking serves businesses ranging from small enterprises to large multinationals in almost 60 developed and faster-growing markets around the world. Whether it is working capital for supply chain and trade finance, or cross-border banking and international payments and cash management solutions, HSBC provides the tools and expertise that Canadian businesses need to grow in the U.S and beyond.

‘Ramping up for Exports’ panel probes the intricacies of financing.

RampingUpExports May 17Stephen Callaghan, Regional Vice-President at Export Development Canada, leads a discussion about a range of export-specific financing and risk mitigation tools, including government incentives; pre-shipment financing to finance work in progress; U.S. inventory financing; bonding solutions for guaranteeing performance; hedging to manage currency risk; and credit insurance to leverage accounts receivable for additional working capital. He’ll be joined on the panel by Bernadeen McLeod, President of Mentor Works, Bruce Bailey, VP Finance at Alcohol Countermeasure Systems (ACS), and Dr. Justin Miller, President of Nanowave Technologies Inc.  ACS is a global leader in alcohol testing solutions to prevent drinking and driving and serves the automotive, law enforcement, industrial, public and personal safety markets. Nanowave products are found in some of the world’s most advanced airliners, business jets, helicopters, and military aircraft, as well as radar and communications systems. [Read more]

Three CEOs on panel about setting up a U.S. presence.

Setting up Tom Mike Cindy and Shaun






Tom Creary, Managing Director of advisory firm, WestbridgeOne, in Montreal, will be moderating a discussion among Canadian executives, sharing their experiences in establishing a U.S. presence by opening an operation or making an acquisition. He will be joined by Mike Timani, President and CEO of Moncton-based, bakery, Fancy Pokket, Cindy Staffieri, CEO of Zenan Group of Companies, and Shaun McKaigue, CEO of FER-PAL Infrastructure Ltd., and Didi Caldwell, Senior Principal of Global Location Strategies, in Greenville, South Carolina.  Mike Timani’s company has just built a 58,000 sq. ft. dedicated, gluten-free facility in South Carolina. Zenan, based in Brampton, is the largest glassware decorator in Canada and one of the top five in North America and operates two plants south of the border – one in upstate NY and the other in Ohio. Fer-PAL offers complete water main rehabilitation solutions, specializing in projects utilizing trenchless technologies, with offices in Michigan and Illinois. Global Location Strategies provides companies with advice on site selection, incentive negotiation and real estate acquisition,  [Read more.]

Leading voice of international trade becomes conference sponsor

ie Canada logo I.E.Canada (Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters) is a national, non-profit organization committed to providing services to develop and enhance the international trade activity and profitability of importers and exporters. In addition to promoting the event to its members, the President of the association, Joy Nott, will be moderating the session on Moving Goods Across the Border. [Read more on I.E. Canada.]

Lawyers join sessions on Agents and Distribution Partners; Sue or be Sued.

Lates Dickinson panelists Feb 14
Four lawyers from the firm, Dickinson Wright have been confirmed as speakers at Expand in the USA. Dan Ujczo, who is based in Columbus, Ohio, will be moderating the session, Agents and distribution partners: What does it take to up your game?, and he will be joined by Paul Fransway, from Ann Arbor. John Leslie, from the Toronto office, will be leading the session, Sue or be sued: Beware the litigious USA, and he will be joined by Mark High, from Detroit. Dickinson Wright has offices in 11 U.S. cities, as well as Toronto and Windsor. [Read more on Paul Fransway, John Leslie, Mark High and Dan Ujczo.]

Presenting sponsors see great opportunity to promote networking and trade to the US

EDC_Ontario Executives from Export Development Canada and the International Trade Branch of the Government of Ontario will be actively looking to facilitate contacts among SMEs and to offer their help and services in business development, meeting cross-border logistical challenges, and financing.

Renowned economist Stuart Bergman confirmed as a keynote luncheon speaker

As Assistant Chief Economist and the Director of the Economic and Political Intelligence Centre at EDC, Stuart Bergman and his team closely follow the US and other global economies. A great speaker and a very sharp mind, he’ll be offering his latest perspective on the economic outlook for our neighbour to the South. [Read more]

The International Centre, Mississauga, opposite Toronto Pearson airport, is a great venue for Expand in the USA


The conference facility at The International Centre is one of the best and largest in the GTA. It offers easy access by car and plane, first-class catering, free wi-fi access for our attendees, and free parking. [Read more]

Agents and distribution partners: What does it take to up your game?

AgentsDistributors panelists Feb 14 Prominent US attorneys, Dan Ujczo and Paul Fransway of Dickinson Wright, are joined by Tom Greenwood of Factum Partners and BC-based Marla Kott of Imprint Plus, to delve into the critical issues around making the right choices for your business regarding the selection and use of sales agents, dealerships, distributorships, licensing and franchising. [Read more]

Links now provided to over 800 stories about Canadian businesses expanding in the USA

Stay current on the most critical news and information related to US expansion for Canadian companies. Sign up for our free, weekly newsletter or visit our news archive and filter by topic, industry, company, state/province, or region. [Read more]

Issues around cross-border travel and transfers

CrossBorder_travel_panelists Joel Guberman, Chair and Founding Partner, Guberman Garson Segal, will moderate a panel on the immigration and tax complications of cross-border travel and transfers. He will be joined by Peter Megoudis, Partner, Global Employer Services, Deloitte LLP. [Read more]

Gold sponsor offers legal expertise on both sides of the border

DickinsonWrightLogoTightDickinson Wright is a leading, full-service law firm. Founded in 1878, Dickinson Wright PLLC has over 360 lawyers in offices located in Detroit, Troy, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Saginaw, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; Las Vegas, Nev.; Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Washington, D.C. Dickinson Wright LLP has nearly 40 lawyers in Toronto and Windsor, Ontario.

Moving goods across the border: Will it get better or worse?

Moving Goods panelists v4 Jun 6





Joy Nott, President, Canadian Importers and Exporters Association, will lead a discussion about strategies to speed up border-crossing; deal with distribution of inventory from a U.S. location; U.S. enforcement priorities and penalties; changes in treaties, legislation, regulation, and policies; and the impact of the new International Trade Data System. Joining her will be Laurel Walzak, Co-Founder & COO of Fitneff Inc., manufacturer of a work desk, made to attach to a treadmill; Jacqueline Sava, Founder of Soak Wash Inc., manufacturer of eco-friendly detergents for delicate fabrics, which require no rinsing, and Cristina Falcone, Vice President of Public Affairs, UPS® Canada. [Read more.]

Three national association sponsors now on board

EMCamchamCAFE_logos Three leading associations are now supporting Expand in the USA. Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) is dedicated to helping manufacturers across Canada grow and become more competitive, at home and around the world. The American Chamber of Commerce in Canada (AmCham Canada) focuses on cross-border trade, commerce, business and investment. Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFE) helps business families succeed by promoting family business and bringing families together to share experiences.

CFO of a disaster restoration company added to discussion of US tax misconceptions and mistakes.

Taxman panelists x4
Aaron Ames, Chief Financial Officer of FirstOnSite Restoration, in Mississauga will be joining MariaSeverino, Matt Wilson, and Craig De Pratto for the session entitled “The Taxmen Cometh: Watch out!FirstOnSite is a leading disaster restoration company, providing remediation, restoration and reconstruction services in Canada and the U.S. Maria and Matt are tax partners at the accounting and advisory firm, Collins Barrow, and Craig is VP Finance at Freshii, a chain of franchises offering fresh and nutritious meals, that has been expanding rapidly across the U.S. This session will highlight the most important misconceptions and mistakes for Canadian SMEs to avoid in U.S. tax planning.

What could come up and bite you: Key potential risks of litigation.

Sue or be Sued Feb 14 John Leslie, a lawyer and Partner in the Toronto office of Dickinson Wright, will be moderating the session Sue or be sued: Beware the litigious USA. Joining him will be   Mark High, an attorney and Member in the Detroit office of Dickinson Wright, which has offices in 11 U.S. cities, as well as Toronto and Windsor. Together, they will be discussing how to prepare against litigation risks that Canadian businesses need to consider when expanding in the U.S., as well as some of the mistakes commonly made. [Read more.]

Gold sponsor is the largest express carrier and package delivery company in the world

UPS® Canada is part of a global company with one of the most recognized and admired brands in the world. It is also a leading provider of specialized transportation, logistics, capital, and e-commerce services. Every day, it manages the flow of goods, funds, and information in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.