A. Duda & Sons Inc.

Founded by Andrew Duda in 1926 as a celery farm, DUDA is now a diversified family enterprise based in Oviedo, Fla., with holdings in 19 states. The business has four main pillars of operations: Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Duda Ranches, The Viera Company (real estate development) and a portfolio of commercial properties.

The family enterprise, which reported revenues of $497 million in 2018, employs more than 700 people, including 28 members of the fourth and fifth generations.

The family’s Christian faith and the founder’s values guide the business. The family mission is “One family, growing together, making an eternal difference.”

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Family Business honored 30 outstanding family businesses:

The Agnew Family Enterprise

The Biltmore Company

Bush Brothers & Company

The Clemens Family Corporation

Crescent Electric Supply Co. 

Day & Zimmermann

Dot Foods Inc.

The Duchossois Group

E. Ritter & Company

Elkay Manufacturing Company 

Flanagan Foodservice Inc.

Herschend Enterprises

Hussey Seating Company

IDEAL Industries Inc.

Kiolbassa Provision Company

Laird Norton Company

Lloyd Companies

Lundberg Family Farms

Lyles Family Enterprise

MacLean-Fogg Company

Mannington Mills Inc.

Menasha Corporation

Midmark Corporation

Port Blakely

Sheetz Inc.

Vermeer Corporation

Vertex Inc.

W.S. Darley & Co.

Wittwer Hospitality/Boulevard Home

Currently the family comprises more than 200 members in 100 households. Family members in the third, fourth and fifth generations own the business. All are minority owners; the largest single shareholder owns only 8%.

Fourth-generation member David Duda, the first family member to earn an MBA degree, has been CEO since 2010. Third-generation family member Susan Hanas is chairman of the board. She is the first woman and the first family member not employed in the business to serve as board chair. The board consists of six family directors plus four independent directors.

The family found themselves in need of new processes and structures as the number of households expanded. Most family members were now removed from daily operations of the business and, unlike previous generations, they no longer all lived near each other. They realized the family dynamics had changed, and they needed to be more proactive about connecting with each other.

The Duda Family Council was established in 2004 and includes members who represent the original three branches of the family. During its first decade, the council focused on developing mission, vision and values statements and on drawing distinctions among family, ownership and employment.

The family recognized their need for a collective voice to help address their diversity. They created a “Collective Voice” document, which sets out expectations for the family, the business and ownership and is shared with the board.

The family meets twice a year. Family meetings combine education through DUDA University and fun in a variety of family activities. Hands-on learning includes family field trips to their agriculture and real estate ­operations.

Fourth-generation member Stacy Mello chairs the 11-member family council and is senior director of ranches and resource management at the family business. The family council works on behalf of the family to liaise with the board and management on important business decisions, teach family members about the importance of being a shareholder, and garner input on family and business matters.

Currently, the council’s family employment policy committee, led by fifth-generation member John Aaron Jovaag, is working to build a sustainable framework for full-time and summer employment with the business.
DUDA donates 10% of its net income to charitable causes: 75% through family foundations and 25% by the business. 

Article categories: 
September/October 2019

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