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In this issue

  • At the Dawn of a New Century

    The Jones family is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Dawn Foods this year, but they weren’t always bakers. The family entered the business in 1935, when patriarch Marlin Jones joined Dawn Donut Company as a bookkeeper.

    Though the family didn’t found Dawn, now an international, multibillion-dollar company, they continue to grow the business under third-generation leadership.

    Gender parity in family business: How long till we get there?

    When Charlotte Lamp was growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, no female family members worked in her family’s business, Port Blakely. The company, which is based in the Pacific Northwest and has been owned by the Eddy family since 1903, owns and manages working forests and markets renewable forest products.

    A fresh start

    If you’ve ever bought bread from a grocery store, you’ve probably noticed the plastic clip that closes the packaging. You may not realize that a family business — Kwik Lok Corporation, founded in 1954 and based in Yakima, Wash. — originated the closure. According to family legend, founder Floyd Paxton, an engineer, invented the clip during an airplane flight by carving it out of a credit card. He started out selling the clips as a secure way to close bags of apples.

    Does your board of directors have an old boys'/girls' club problem?

    The board selection process in family companies at times can appear rigged to perpetuate incumbent directors. Is this a good or a bad phenomenon? That depends on many factors.

    On the distaff side

    In March, the United States celebrates Women’s History Month with exhibits, scholarship and events at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and other federal institutions. On Aug. 26, the country will mark a milestone in women’s history: the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

  • Celebration Corner: Zoeller Company's 80th anniversary

    The Business: August “Pop” Zoeller started designing and building pedestal sump pumps in the basement of his Louisville, Ky., home in 1939. The business operated from there until 1949, when he moved to the location where the company headquarters remains today.

  • Tips on interviewing executive search firms

    Even if you have a deep bench at your company, there are times when an internal candidate is either not ready or not right for the leadership role you need to fill. Today, because of a high demand for top talent, the market favors the candidate. Finding talent is challenging, and finding the right leader is even more so. An executive search firm can help you find the best person, but first you must find the right firm for your organization’s needs and culture.

  • Building a solid lumber company

    Isabelita “Lita” Abele, the CEO of Woodbury Heights, N.J.-based U.S. Lumber Co., has a simple formula for success: Be persistent, be honest and remember the gatekeeper.

    That’s probably because the petite dynamo with the Filipina accent has been mistaken for the gatekeeper at her family’s lumber company, not its CEO.

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