Dueling Perspectives: Carolyn Brown and Dave Juday
How to mark a company milestone
A company anniversary, like a wedding anniversary, offers a chance to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
Mannington Mills, based in Salem, N.J., and IDEAL Industries, headquartered in Sycamore, Ill., both celebrated a century in business in 2016. Mannington Mills manufactures commercial and residential flooring. IDEAL Industries makes tools and supplies for the electrical and telecommunications industries. Each company is still owned by the founder’s descendants.
Carolyn Brown, a fourth-generation member of Mannington Mills’ founding Campbell family, serves on the company’s board and started the Campbell Family Council. She was a part of the group that spent years planning Mannington Mills’ centennial celebration.
Dave Juday is IDEAL’s former chairman and CEO. The same year the business marked its centennial, IDEAL moved to a new manufacturing plant, and the family set up perpetual trusts that would protect IDEAL stock and ensure the company would remain family-owned through future generations.
As Family Business celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, we reached out to Brown and Juday for their thoughts on marking company milestones. We asked each of them: Why are anniversaries important?
Carolyn Brown, Mannington Mills:
“[Celebrating] is important for several reasons. First, it is a time to get the wider family together to celebrate family history and to launch the family into the next decades of ownership. Second, it is a chance to bring the family and their associates, distributors and customers that work or support the family business together in a celebration and to thank them for their support. And finally, it is a chance to market and relaunch the family brand into the future through advertising, events and collateral.
“I think you can celebrate too often, and it would lose its significance. [A big celebration] should mark a significant anniversary for the company or possibly a significant change. If you do them right, they take a lot of planning, time and cost. If it is a less significant anniversary — 10 to 20 years as an example — the celebration could be scaled down with a picnic or smaller fete.”
Dave Juday, IDEAL Industries:
“Celebrating an anniversary is about acknowledging the past while taking action for the generation to come. I once had a thought, ‘I’m doing a better job that my dad did running the company.’ I was appalled that I said it out loud. That’s not how you talk about people, that you’re better than someone else. You acknowledge what they did and that you have to do better.
“The value of reflection is to provide you the guidance of what you cannot do that was successful in the past. You need a fresh view of the market and the family condition. But by dwelling too much in the past, you can really miss some significant opportunity.”
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