In this issue
Young family business members must prove themselves to a variety of constituencies: their parents, other relatives, non-family employees, community members and others who might prejudge them because their last name is on the door of the company. While they are learning about the family firm, they must also learn how to manage a variety of relationships.
The 25 people spotlighted in this special feature have gone way beyond earning credibility. These up-and-coming leaders are bringing their families and businesses into the future.
When twin sisters Jenny Dinnen and Katie Rucker took over MacKenzie Corp., an analytics firm in Lake Forest, Calif., in 2013, they immediately realized that the business needed some new focus in order to remain competitive. Their father, Don Vivrette, had founded the company in 1985 and named it after his mother, Kathryn MacKenzie Vivrette.
It’s two days before the season opening of Morey’s Piers, three boardwalk amusement parks in The Wildwoods, a New Jersey seaside resort about 90 miles outside Philadelphia. On this April afternoon, stands are being stocked with candy and stuffed animals at Morey’s Surfside Pier, and the famous Curley’s Fries have drawn the attention of the bird population. A sweet scent on the breeze suggests that the funnel cake fryer is also getting a test run.
When Tom Pickens and his wife, Kelly, suddenly died in a plane crash, the shock left their children and grandchildren in disarray. The Pickens family had lost not only its beloved patriarch and matriarch, but also the leaders of the family’s $500 million produce business. Although Tom and Kelly were in their late 80s, they had continued to run and own the business Tom had founded decades before. (This is a real case, with identifying details changed.)
Carrie Freeman Parsons will succeed her father, Donald S. Freeman Jr., as chair of Freeman, effective July 1. Carrie currently serves as the vice chair of Freeman and has been actively involved in the business since 1985. Don Freeman will transition into the role of chairman emeritus on April 1.
Freeman, based in Dallas, provides integrated services for experiential marketing, specializing in event marketing and management. Its offerings include strategy, creative, logistics, digital and event technology.
Anne Eiting Klamar and her husband, Rob, were physicians raising two young sons together in April 2000 when the board of Anne’s family company, Midmark Corporation, named her the company’s president.
Anne and Rob were living in Urbana, Ohio, about an hour away from the small town of Versailles, Ohio, where Midmark’s headquarters was then located. He was practicing medicine full-time; she practiced part-time while serving on the board and as part-time medical director of Midmark, a manufacturer and supplier of healthcare products, equipment and diagnostic software.
Generation of family ownership: Fifth.
Company revenues: Approximately $30 million.
Number of employees: 140.
First job at this company: Founder, president, president of the board of directors, CEO and chief bottle washer. I broke off from the original McKissack & McKissack and started my own company with the same name in 1990 with $1,000, an OK business plan, and my family’s history.
At what age? 31.
The Business: In 1898, Edward Dickinson Bullard founded the E.D. Bullard Co. in San Francisco to provide gold and silver miners with carbide lamps and other equipment they needed to stake a claim in the West.
When second-generation member Edward W. Bullard returned from World War I, he was inspired by the “doughboy” helmet soldiers wore overseas.