In this issue
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced business families to make decisions with sweeping ramifications. Steps taken to ensure business survival have had to be balanced with precautions to avoid health risks.
“My values haven’t been tested, but my ability to live by them has been shattered,” commented one listener during an April 14 webinar presented by Family Business Magazine and CFAR, a management consulting firm.
Whether they aspire to work in the family company or take a leading role in governance, NextGen members of business families often struggle to find their niche. In addition to acquiring the experience and education they need to fulfill their roles, NextGens must establish credibility with family members, employees and other stakeholders.
When a family business fails, most people suspect that estate taxes or incompetent advisers led to its demise, but that’s rarely the case. Even before the estate tax exemption increased at the end of 2017, it was rare to find a family who couldn’t keep their business afloat because they needed to pay estate taxes. There were even fewer instances in which poor professional advice led to failed family enterprises.
Pivoting to make a new product quickly has always been a hallmark of Lacerta Group Inc., a family-owned plastic packaging manufacturer based in Mansfield, Mass.
Soon after a family business recruits the first independent directors to its board, the business owners commonly marvel, “I am impressed that such remarkable and accomplished people would join our board of directors.” Within twoyears the same owners often remark, “Adding independent directors was the best thing we have done in our recent history.” The upgraded board has become an extension of management’s capability and a source of confidence for shareholders.
Scott Teerlinck has joined Crescent Electric Supply Co., a 101-year-old family company based in East Dubuque, Ill., as president and CEO. Teerlinck succeeds Marty Burbridge, who is retiring after more than 41 years with the company.
Before joining Crescent, Teerlinck was president of Werner Electric Supply for more than seven years. Prior to that, he spent nearly 19 years at Rockwell Automation, where he served in sales and management roles.
Generation of family ownership: Fifth.
About the company: We’re an association management company with the distinction of having founded the industry in 1886.
Number of employees: We have 10 employees as well as strategic partners.
The Business: Centier Bank currently has 64 retail locations throughout Northern and Central Indiana plus a corporate campus in Merrillville, Ind. In April, the bank passed $5 billion in assets, a significant milestone.
Mike Schrage, Centier’s fourth-generation president and CEO, credits the bank’s success to its privately owned status, as well as “a commitment to strong cultural values and a servant leadership mindset, both internally and externally.”
The life of a business owner can be a constant stream of decisions — on a varied array of matters such as newsuppliers, employee benefits and potential acquisitions. As a former business owner myself, I can certainly relate.