Mark is considered a national go-to advisor on essential benefit and compensation matters. A member of Husch Blackwell's Food & Agribusiness and Financial Services industry teams, he has deep experience in the creation and operation of employee retirement plans, deferred and equity executive compensation, employee stock ownership plans, and health and welfare plans. Among his accomplishments in the area of benefits are:
•Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) purchase of 100 percent of a casino, a first for the gaming industry.
•100 percent ESOP transaction for a manufacturer of grain storage and processing equipment.
•100 percent ESOP transaction for a manufacturer of pet food.
•100 percent ESOP transaction for a grocery store chain.
Awards and Recognitions
•The Best Lawyers In America, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, 1995-2015; Kansas City Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year,” 2014
•Chambers USA, Labor & Employment Law, 2008-2009, 2011-2014
•Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
•Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Employee Benefits/ERISA, 2005-2013
•Children's Mercy Hospital, Golf Classic Committee, 2001-2004
•Children's Mercy Hospital, Hands and Hearts for Children, Board of Directors, 2001-2004
•Engineered the first 100% ESOP-owned casino transaction in the United States.
•Represented a cooperative grocery store wholesaler, helping it engineer the sale of a retail subsidiary to an employee stock ownership plan created for the sub and a long-term supply contract between our client and the sub. The sub became an S corporation, so the ESOP structure enabled it to avoid paying any income taxes.
•Worked on more than 100 ESOP transactions, including transactions totaling about $1.5 billion from December 2010-December 2012.
•Negotiated with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for relief from more than $100 million of potential excise taxes and penalties related to ESOP transactions.
•Negotiated with Department of Labor (DOL) for relief from about $30 million of potential penalties related to multiple-employer health plan.
•Advised principal shareholder in sale of marketing company AKQA for $600 million to the world's largest advertising company.
•Represented national architectural firm in complete conversion to a 100 percent ESOP-owned company.
•Advised leading international engineering firm on conversion to 100 percent ESOP-owned S corporation.
•Negotiated discounts related to multiple-employer pension plan withdrawal liability.
•Provided benefits advice regarding plans for ConAgra Foods Inc., Sprint Corp., Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., FedEx Corp., Applebee's International Inc., American Italian Pasta Co. and many other large public and private companies.
•Designed and implemented executive incentive programs for public and private companies, including equity and phantom equity plans, for food and agribusiness companies such as ConAgra Foods, Applebee's and American Italian Pasta.
•Advised institutional trustee regarding Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary duties related to inadequate trading volume to place participant-ordered trades.
•Advised committees regarding fiduciary duties related to plans having billions of dollars of assets, including Fortune 100 and 500 companies.
10.01.14 ESOPs: Good for Missouri Business, Missouri Business
Financial Services Article
3.21.14 ESOPs and the Craft Brewing Industry
Food & Agribusiness Blog
5.06.13 Compliance Questions to Consider in Healthcare Reform
9.17.10 IRS Guidance on Reimbursement of Over-The-Counter Drugs from Employer Plans
8.26.10 IRS Guidance on Correction of Failure to Restate Pre-Approved Plans
7.22.10 Health Reform Seminar
Seminar St. Louis, MO
7.21.10 Health Reform Seminar
Seminar Kansas City, MO
7.15.10 COBRA Subsidy Sunset and Model COBRA Notices Posted by DOL
6.28.10 Healthcare Reform Regulations Issued Addressing Grandfathered Plans
4.23.10 Issues in Higher Education Seminar
Seminar Kansas City, MO
In The News
8.19.14 Husch Blackwell Boasts 106 Best Lawyers on 2015 List, Seven “Lawyers of the Year”
Energy & Natural Resources Financial Services Food & Agribusiness Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation News Release
5.23.14 Chambers USA 2014 Gives Husch Blackwell High Rankings in Nine Areas of Law; 40 Attorneys Recognized
Energy & Natural Resources Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction News Release
8.16.13 Best Lawyers 2014 Names 109 from Husch Blackwell, 13 “Lawyers of the Year”
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Real Estate, Development & Construction Financial Services Energy & Natural Resources News Release
6.03.13 Husch Blackwell Receives High Rankings, Praise from Clients in Chambers USA 2013
1.31.13 Husch Blackwell is Lead Counsel for Gaming Industry's First-Ever ESOP
10.15.12 A Combined 84 Husch Blackwell Attorneys are Named 2012 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Missouri and Nebraska
8.23.12 2013 Best Lawyers Includes 106 Husch Blackwell Attorneys in 56 Practice Areas and 7 States
6.12.12 Husch Blackwell Receives Top Rankings from Chambers and Partners
Real Estate, Development & Construction News Release
10.19.11 Super Lawyers 2011 Names 71 Husch Blackwell Attorneys from Missouri and Nebraska; an Additional 15 Listed as Rising Stars
9.06.11 More Than 100 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers 2012