At the Helm: Carter Beard
A few minutes with the president and CEO of Annin Flagmakers, Roseland, N.J.
Generation of family ownership: Sixth.
Company revenue: Between $75 million and $100 million.
Number of employees: 750.
Years with the company: 23. I worked in financial services for two years and then joined Annin.
First job at this company: My father had me work with the head sewing machine mechanic at our Verona, N.J., factory. He said he always regretted not knowing how to set the hook timing on a machine.
Most memorable thing I learned from my father: “It is easy to be a jerk, it is harder to be a good guy.”
Most memorable thing I learned from my mother: Pursue your goals with the intensity of 1,000 suns. She never said it, but she lives it.
One of our greatest successes: In recent times (we’ve been around since 1847), the acquisition of a 90-year competitor in 1998. It set the stage for all that has followed—new factories, equipment and software systems, and additional acquisitions that have grown the company. It was a seminal moment that almost broke the company, but we persevered and grew stronger by it.
Best advice I ever got: “Sometimes in life you have to do what you don’t want to do.” That also came from my father. It’s what I think of anytime I need to push through a tough event or experience.
Quote from our company’s mission statement: “We will always conduct our business with the highest level of integrity.” I think this says it all.
On my office wall: A painting of our Verona, N.J. manufacturing plant by folk artist Suzanne Krause Mancuso from New York state. She captured all the historic events that Annin Flagmakers has been a part of over the years. Each event is one of the windows in the factory: the World’s Fair in London (1851), the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge (1883), the flag raised on Iwo Jima (1945), the flag on the moon (1969). In 2001, we provided the flag raised by rescue workers over the rubble at Ground Zero.
One of my greatest accomplishments: My son, Collin, and my daughter, Finley. All was possible because I was lucky enough to convince my wife, Marilou, to marry me. In terms of business, it was getting my MBA from Duke University. It changed my life and my approach to business.
Best thing about working in a family business: I have been able to push the envelope and pursue bigger projects for the company without the fear of losing my job and income.
Worst thing about working in a family business: Balancing the increased feeling of responsibility for everything that occurs at the company while trying to fight against a sense of entitlement.
My mentors: Terry Schmoyer, a past VP of operations I reported to early in my career, taught me how to push for and expect more from a company. Joe LaPaglia, a former Annin president who was not a family member, taught me to be conservative and disciplined in my approach.
My advice for other family business leaders: Hire good people that know more about their areas than you do.
On a day off I like to… Ski with my family, see a movie, go out for dinner, and play Xbox with my son and dolls with my daughter.
Philanthropic causes our family supports: Our factories give back to their local communities. For example, our Coshocton, Ohio, factory has been involved in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life events for many years.
I realized I had emerged from the previous generation’s shadow when… I bought my first home.
Future succession plans: We have a strong management team in place here at Annin. If a seventh-generation family member decides they want to be involved at Annin, we’ll hire them and expose them to all facets of the business. I think fixing sewing machines is still a great place to start.
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