At the Helm: Crystal Maggelet

By Patricia Olsen

A few minutes with the chairman and CEO of FJ Management, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Generation of family ownership: Second. We’re a holding company that owns various petroleum  and healthcare businesses, and an investment portfolio. My father started Flying J, a travel center operator, and we purchased a convenience store company called Maverik from our cousins in 2012. 

Revenue: $4 billion.

Number of employees: 7,000 across our companies.

Years with the company: 10 as CEO.

First job at this company: I was on the board of directors at age 18. I worked for the company in the refining division for a couple of years after college, but left to attend Harvard Business School. Afterward I returned and started Crystal Inn hotels, and my father and husband joined me as partners.

At what age? I was 22 when I first worked for the company.

Most memorable thing I learned from my father: The best deal is when both sides feel good about it.

Most memorable thing I learned from my mother: My mother had no college education and married young. She taught me that I could do whatever I wanted and to believe anything was possible. She led by example and started a Diet Center franchise company later in life.

Best thing about this job: I have the opportunity to be in many different situations, and I learn something every day.

One of our greatest successes: Emerging from bankruptcy after oil dropped from $140 a barrel to $30 a barrel in 2008. At the time, we didn’t have the financial structure to weather that. We’d had excellent professional management, but the CEO resigned and I took over in 2009. (My father passed away in 2003.) We spent a year and a half restructuring and paid everyone back. We have made great progress since then, doubling the size of our family enterprise.

Best advice I ever got: Listen to people, don’t talk over them, and be considerate. Have integrity in all you do. Also, you don’t have to know everything. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help because most people are happy to.

Quote from our company’s mission statement: Building value to last.

On the wall: Family photos, which indicates how important my family is to me.

One of my greatest accomplishments: Getting the EY National Family Business award in November 2018.

Best thing about working in a family business: Our employees, and being able to impact our economy. You can make a difference.

My advice for other family business leaders: Separate family and business. Do what is best for the business, not what is best for the family.

On a day off I … like to do anything with my family, especially take active vacations. I also like outside activities, including skiing and running.

Philanthropic causes our family supports: We focus on education. We provide college scholarships and support elementary schools in Utah.
 
Books I think every family business leader should read: I like to read books about other family businesses and how they have been successful. Recently I recorded our history in a book.

I realized I had emerged from the previous generation’s shadow when … I found that our employees, outside vendors and community leaders respected me for the work I’ve done as CEO.

Future succession plans: I have four children, ranging in age from their teens to their early 20s, who have all expressed an interest in the business. I think it’s important that they get an education and work outside the company first. I’m hopeful that at least one of them will step in, but in the meantime we have great executives leading the business. We have plenty of options.

Words I live by: Believe in yourself and work hard.

Copyright 2020 by Family Business Magazine. This article may not be posted online or reproduced in any form, including photocopy, without permission from the publisher. For reprint information, contact bwenger@familybusinessmagazine.com.

 

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Issue: 
January/February 2020

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