At the Helm: Stan Chen
A few minutes with the CEO of Telamon Corporation, Carmel, Ind.
Generation of family ownership: Second.
2015 revenue: Approximately $800 million.
Number of employees: 1,400 globally, including contractors.
Years with the company: Twelve. I started here after college but left for business school at Stanford for two years and then returned.
First job at this company: Packing boxes in the warehouse.
At what age? Twelve. At 22 I was an account manager. I was growing one of our small businesses, so I had a handful of accounts.
Most memorable thing I learned from my father: Negotiation. I learned that it's not all about trying to drive down the price. It's trying to find an optimal conclusion for all parties.
Most memorable thing I learned from my mother: Generosity. It's about what someone needs, not what they deserve. Growing up, you learn about meritocracy. You might say you're willing to help someone out if they meet a certain standard in your mind, but my mother didn't worry much about those things. If a person needed something, she was willing to help.
Best thing about this job: The privilege of being able to lead people.
Worst thing about this job: Trying to manage personal relationships in the midst of professional disagreements.
One of our greatest successes: Shifting from telecommunications, where we got our start, to industrial manufacturing, a very different sector.
Best advice I ever got: Risk and reward are always correlated. If you want to achieve meaningful reward, you have to risk meaningful failure.
Quote from our company's mission statement: Simplify business.
On my wall: I have several pieces of artwork from my children, ages 6 and 5. I cherish the fact that they spell things phonetically and generally incorrectly. Even though I want them to learn to spell, I'll miss this phase.
One of my greatest accomplishments: I don't have any yet. I've been given a tremendous opportunity since my father retired last fall, and hopefully I'll be a good steward, but I'm a young guy.
Best thing about working in a family business: Being able to wear a lot of different hats and being exposed to roles I was in no way qualified to do. But I could learn on the job, and I'm a better professional as a result.
Worst thing about working in a family business: Managing personal relationships and trying to maintain some level of family harmony even though there's professional conflict from time to time.
Advice for other family business leaders: Try to make sure the shareholders and the board members understand each other, and particularly that the board understands the shareholders' interests. Ironically, that can be challenging in a family business when those two groups are the same people.
On a day off I like to. . . play video games with my children and try to plan an aspirational vacation with my wife. If I have time left, I'd try and engineer a trade for one of my fantasy sports teams.
Philanthropic causes our family supports: We're very involved in supporting our local church and some other Christian causes. We also have a company foundation focused on education and the arts, two areas that are an integral part of Chinese culture.
Books I think every family business leader should read: Family Business as Paradox, by Amy Schuman, Stacy Stutz and John Ward.
I realized I had emerged from the previous generation's shadow. . . once it was formally announced that I was stepping into the CEO role. People within the company looked at me a little differently and started treating me a little differently.
Future succession plans: Our third generation, my sister's children and mine, are quite young. We're busy teaching them to be respectful and humble, and we'll let the rest work itself out.
Words I live by: Romans 11:36: From him, through him, and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen..
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