NextGens to Watch 2023

We spotlight 22 next-generation members who are making stellar contributions to their family business, family enterprise or family governance system.

The key to succeeding as a rising-generation member in a family business is to acquire education and experience. That’s definitely not a new revelation. But NextGens and their families must understand that “education” goes beyond what you learn in a classroom, and “experience” involves more than mastering whatever your family business does to make money.

NextGens must also learn about the challenges business families face as the family grows, and how family governance can help prevent or resolve disputes. They would do well to participate in family meetings and other efforts to connect and engage the broader family — and seek out opportunities to lead these endeavors.

NextGens should consider what their family will look like in the future: more in-laws, children and shareholders, each with their own priorities and needs. They should also be thinking about how the business and its marketplace might change when their generation takes the reins, and what style of leadership will be needed in that new business landscape.

The 22 rising stars in our NextGens to Watch Class of 2023 are contributing to their family enterprises in a variety of ways. Many are working in their family’s operating company or family office, while others are making outstanding contributions to family governance.

This accomplished group, ages 35 and under, is dedicated to serving the many constituencies of a family enterprise — family members, employees, customers and the broader community. We wish them continued success.

Cameron Nutting Williams, 33
Fifth Generation
The Nutting Company & Ogden Newspapers
Wheeling, W.Va.

Cameron is chief revenue officer for Ogden Newspapers, the Nutting family’s legacy business, founded in 1890. She is working to transform the business model by introducing digital initiatives and launching a digital agency and is committed to diversifying revenue so the company can continue to support local journalism in the more than 70 communities it serves.

“While Cameron has held multiple roles in the company, in the past few years she has expanded the family and company footprint in a few key ways,” says her husband, Christophe Williams. “She has engaged heavily on the national stage on behalf of the media and journalism industry. As a key leader she helped with the formation of America’s Newspapers, now the country’s largest press association, representing over 1,600 newspapers in all 50 states. She was elected to serve as president of that organization in 2022.” In that capacity, she has advocated to Congress for legislation to support local journalism.

“Cameron has also leveraged family assets to launch a venture fund, TNC Ventures, which invests in emerging sports and wellness technologies,” Christophe Williams says. “She serves on the boards of the core operating company and the Pittsburgh Pirates, another family asset.” She is also a member of the MLB owners’ Diversity and Inclusion committee.

“She has made a significant impact inside and outside of the business since joining,” her husband says.

“It is a privilege to be a part of a family business that touches so many lives and does as much good as we do through our media, sports and entertainment properties,” Cameron says. “Whether we are keeping the public up to date about a public health crisis — something that became very real to all of us in the last few years — or celebrating the joy of a runner batted home in a local championship with a front-page photo that’s shared all over town, I could not take our position more seriously.

“My responsibility is to make sure we can keep delivering on our promises to our customers and employees for another 100 years. The nature of our businesses may change, but the mission at the core of what we do remains. That is a wonderful advantage to have as we move our family forward.”

Michael Plaster, 28
Third Generation
Evergreen Investments LLC
Lebanon, Mo.

Michael is currently the operations manager at Evergreen Investments LLC, a family-owned private equity firm.

“I grew up on our family farm in Southwest Missouri with all my aunts, uncles and cousins as neighbors,” he says. “When I was old enough to become interested in working, I started small within the family business.” He performed landscaping and maintenance tasks around the farm during high school.

“After high school I left for college at Missouri State University and shortly thereafter took a position working with our partners at a development in Branson, Mo., gaining valuable experience outside of the family organization.

“In 2018 the opportunity presented itself for me to teach children ages 4 to 11 English as a second language in Qingdao, China. I did that for most of the year, and upon my return I began a new career as an insurance agent. I obtained my licensing and worked my way to owning my own agency by 2021. In January 2022 the timing was right for me to leave the insurance industry and rejoin the family business.

“I have served on our family senate, and I’m currently the vice chairman of a community-based subcommittee of our family’s foundation. I became involved with the Family Office Exchange in December of 2022 and have been diligently working to develop our family dynamics with their help.”

“Having worked with many rising-generation family members over the years, I have developed an ability to spot those with good leadership skills, notice emerging family talent and identify rising gen members that are eager to grow and learn. In some of my first interactions with Michael, I saw that,” says Mindy Kalinowski Earley, learning center program manager at the Family Office Exchange.

“Michael has a calm curiosity, an inquisitive presence — one that tells you he is often deep in thought, processing his next step to positively impact the family enterprise. He is a thoughtful individual with a learner’s mindset.

“As a G3 family member, Michael is a leader for his generation, taking steps to further his education through the Family Office Exchange Rising Gen Leadership Program. Shortly after his first program, Michael immediately attended a second program, this time bringing along a cousin in his efforts to expand the learning among his generation. He invites, he encourages and he leads by example.

“Michael is engaged in family governance and the professionalization of his family office. He is aware of the bridge needed between generations, while simultaneously working to strengthen, educate and involve his own generation. Michael will be a quiet force to watch as he continues to build his rising gen network and grow in his family engagement, involvement with the operating company and desired roles in the family foundation.”

“Growing up, I was taught to take care of things and they will last,” Michael says. “I see the work that I do with the family — business or otherwise — much in the same way. I feel that the contributions that I am making, and the time spent working with the family, will enhance our current operations in addition to promoting the longevity of the Plaster name.

“My grandfather spent his life making sure that he would be able to take care of his family, while promoting the value of a free enterprise system and the love of God and country. When he left us in 2008, my father was left with big shoes to fill in continuing this work.

“I feel at home doing the same thing that the men I look up to most have done and are doing. Taking care of the family, taking care of my community, and taking care of my country is truly what defines my passion.”

Elizabeth Cliatt, 31
Sixth Generation
The Bradley Family Enterprise
Columbus, Ga.

Elizabeth is the oldest of her family’s sixth generation, and now mother of the first seventh-generation family member. Born and raised in Columbus, Ga., her family’s hometown, she received a business degree from Columbus State University and went on to pursue a master’s in family business from Kennesaw State University.

After spending several years working for one of her family enterprise’s consumer products groups, Elizabeth took a leap of faith and now pursues her own business ventures. She has spent the last decade serving her family in many capacities and becoming a driver of both generational and transformational change. Today, she is the immediate past president of the family council, continues as a member of the Next Gen Advisory Board and serves on two of the Bradley Family Enterprise’s working committees.

“In a seven-generation, 165-member family, taking on leadership roles in an established and growing family enterprise is certainly no small matter,” says Jennifer Bickerstaff, family office adviser at The Family Office at Synovus. “The Bradley family has been on the forefront of implementing strategies to successfully transition generational leadership over the decades, ensuring they are developing the next generation of leaders. Elizabeth is now a part of that notable transition and is poised to remain a trusted leader in the ever-expanding Bradley Family Enterprise.

“Elizabeth began her formal engagement with the Bradley Family Enterprise by serving for five years on the Next Gen Foundation, a sub-foundation that allows next-generation family members to learn about collective philanthropy and develop important decision-making skills. Elizabeth was elected as chairman of the Next Gen Foundation and led the board through strategic planning and transformational growth.

“Elizabeth also worked in one of the family operational businesses in the marketing and product development division for several years until 2019, when she decided to pursue her own business ventures. She currently serves on the Next Gen Advisory Board, which was created by the family operating board of directors as a way of engaging and developing future board members. As a member of this board, Elizabeth attends the company’s board of directors meetings as a non-voting member.

“One of Elizabeth’s greatest accomplishments to date is being chosen to serve on the family council and being elected as chairman of the family council in 2020. As chairman she led the planning of the 2022 family retreat, which had over 150 family members in attendance. Elizabeth led with excellence and guided family committees in developing a family retreat strategy focused on family togetherness while respecting each family unit’s individuality.

“She led an expansive reorganization of the family council and its multiple subcommittees. She saw an opportunity, cast a vision and influenced family members to make changes that would better serve the family and its growth for the future. This is just one example of why Elizabeth’s leadership is so inspiring — she did not shy away from this undertaking, even knowing the complexity of the work ahead and the challenges she could potentially face from other generations. Perhaps even more impressive is how she managed to balance her leadership roles and responsibilities in addition to a vibrant personal life — she started her own business, got married and is now a mother.

“Humble, yet incredibly driven, Elizabeth has never shied away from answering the call to service for her family in a way that is uniquely her own.”

“My family’s enterprise is built on an incredible legacy deeply rooted in the values of stewardship, love and faith,” Elizabeth says. “It is these values along with the importance of family that have shaped me into who I am today. It is also these values — coupled with generations of perseverance and a desire to stay together — that have brought my family into its seventh generation. I pray that my husband and I can pass this passion for my, and now our, legacy onto our children and even their children.

“To be a part of something so much greater than yourself and to be given an opportunity to play a small role in service to so many countless others is something that I truly cherish. Here’s to working each day to preserve, but also to progress, for those to come.”

Andrew Moss, 27
Fourth Generation
Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Company
Detroit, Mich.

Andrew is the vice president of operations at Advance Plumbing & Heating Supply Company, a fourth-generation family-owned and operated business headquartered in Detroit. In this role, he leads the company’s day-to-day operations and strategic initiatives, including customer service, accounting, inventory management and IT.

Andrew earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and international studies, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, and a graduate certificate in real estate development from the University of Michigan, as well as an MBA from Wayne State University.

Before Andrew joined Advance Plumbing, he worked in real estate and urban planning, both at a large real estate firm in downtown Detroit and for a Fortune 500 company.

“When COVID hit in 2020, he saw the family business in need of direction in navigating the uncharted waters that came along with it,” says his mother, Wendy Moss, an owner of the company. “By August of 2020, he had joined the business full-time and began doing the work.”

Wendy Moss says Andrew has been driving change and growth since his arrival at the family business. In his first nine months at the company, she says, he led the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning system across the organization. “He built out and formalized the company’s human resources, inventory management and ecommerce departments within his first year. By his first anniversary, the company had grown from 38 team members to roughly 50, and he was just getting started.

“In his second year, a number of key team members left the company, including in accounting and IT. Andrew worked closely with the company’s controller to rebuild the accounts payable and accounts receivable processes, resulting in significant increases in the company’s discounts taken from manufacturers and lowering the average days payable outstanding below industry averages. On the IT front, Andrew worked with HR to bring in a new IT manager who worked closely with him to rebuild the company’s technology from the ground up.

“Andrew also worked to implement regular leadership meetings with a newly formed board and internal leadership, revamped the company’s shipping process, started building out more robust onboarding and training programs, formalized marketing efforts and improved company standing with many external stakeholders.”

Within the plumbing industry, Andrew is an active member of multiple trade organizations and buying groups. He is a member of the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association’s Professional Development Committee and a regular panelist on the organization’s educational webinars. He also serves on the North Central Wholesalers Association Leadership Development Council.

“Andrew is working not only to maintain what Advance does today, but to retool the organization and situate it to be not only a local player but a regional power,” Wendy Moss says.

“When I joined my family business full-time, my goal was to help build it to be not only the best plumbing distributor in Michigan, but the best company in Michigan,” Andrew says. “I am blessed to come to work every day knowing the impact that I have on the lives of all of our team members and their families. My sole responsibility is to help create an excellent work environment that provides the best service for all of our stakeholders, both internal and external. I work every single day to ensure that our team is motivated and excited about their work while getting a great benefit and compensation package in an environment where growth and opportunities are abundant.

“I stand on the shoulders of three generations of my family before me, and I take great pride in continuing the legacy they’ve built into the future.”

Annette Gooch Koep, 34
Second Generation
Catallia Mexican Foods
Eagen, Minn.

Annette is vice president of marketing and business development at Catallia Mexican Foods. Annette’s family began their tortilla journey in 1985. They produce premium tortillas for restaurants and market their retail brand, Frescados Tortillas, to families across North America.

The youngest of three adult children in the Gooch family business, Annette began her career at Catallia in 2008 while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in agricultural marketing from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Since graduation she’s held various marketing and managerial roles at Catallia and now leads the company’s sales department for all foodservice, retail and national account customers.

“Annette is a second-generation leader, working alongside her siblings and parents in the business her mother started,” says Jon Keimig, executive director of the University of St. Thomas Family Business Center. “Catallia Mexican Foods’ family values are strong, and Annette plays a lead role in living them and carrying them forward to future generations, while embedding them and making sure employees align with them in the business.

“Annette has spoken in our center, and I was very impressed with her family business leadership, especially around family values.”

“I’ve always felt fortunate to have a loving family, but as I’ve grown I’ve become more appreciative that we’ve remained close as a family while building a strong business that will hopefully thrive for future generations,” Annette says. “There’s no doubt that working in your family’s business is a unique career dynamic. Each day is a new challenge, and some days it feels like you can’t keep up. I think the motivation to build a successful business runs even deeper when you work alongside your own family, making small and large decisions each day that will impact the hundreds of people you employ and their families.

“My parents worked day and night while my brothers and I were young, making sacrifices and taking risks to reach their dream and build the business we have today. Our parents gave us childhoods filled with love and great memories, and although we remember them talking about the business a lot, we rarely noticed the stress they were under and never felt second to the company.

“I’m extremely proud and appreciative of the business our family has built together and consider myself fortunate to be able to contribute to the legacy.”

Brett Schwab, 32
Fourth Generation
D&H Distributing
Harrisburg, Pa.

Brett is the corporate counsel for D&H Distributing Co., a distributor of IT, business technology, electronics and solutions for resellers and retailers serving small and ­medium-sized businesses, verticals and consumers.

Brett earned his undergraduate business degree from the University of Maryland and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After working for over two years at the Proskauer Rose law firm, Brett joined D&H in 2019.

Previously, D&H had primarily relied on outside counsel. Since Brett joined the company, there has been significant savings in overall legal expenditures, even as the business has grown more than $1.5 billion since his arrival.

“Brett has successfully negotiated over 350 manufacturer, customer and consulting contracts; implemented a corporate reorganization including a new structure and forming three new business entities; evaluated and effectuated various mergers and acquisitions; counseled on real estate development and leasing terms; structured our intellectual property management; and strategized on current and future succession planning,” says his father, Michael Schwab, co-president of the company.

“Brett also worked with D&H’s human resources department on successfully navigating the pandemic, in alignment with the multitude of guidelines and regulations imposed across multiple states, federally and within our Canadian operations. With his guidance, all employees were kept safe and informed, while at no time was D&H unable to operate.

“For many other departments, such as transportation, IT, sales and procurement, he has also become a trusted adviser and has been actively engaged in all of the remote working implementations across the company. Brett also has been stewarding the development of a family constitution (in coordination with Izzy Schwab, his grandfather) that brings forward 10 decades of accumulated history and knowledge into a relevant and purposeful document for future generations.”

“I feel extremely fortunate to be able to take an active role in D&H, our fourth-generation family-owned and employee-owned business,” Brett says “While in-house corporate attorneys are generally entrusted with helping their organizations navigate both challenges and opportunities, in my role this responsibility is particularly elevated. Balancing risk with profitable growth is perhaps a full-time job in and of itself; however, I also prioritize accountability to ensure productive family and shareholder interactions so that D&H may reach a fifth generation.

“I have spent many years studying and understanding best practices for family businesses and have identified many valuable lessons. I have quickly realized that there is no silver bullet to ensure success; rather, committing to a high level of communication and building trust both inside and outside the boardroom is paramount. Whether it is working closely with my 88-year-old grandfather to gather his business insights or updating our family constitution to maintain its relevance, I am excited to help build our continued legacy.”

Caroline McCroskey, 28
Second Generation
Synergy Home Furnishings
High Point, N.C.

Caroline graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2017. “During my time at UNC, I focused on advertising and entrepreneurship, with some time in studio art,” she says. “After college, I joined an entrepreneurial fellowship program called Venture for America, which led me to work at a sports marketing and event operations startup for several years. It was a great experience, but the world of furniture and interiors was calling me home.”

She currently serves as the director of marketing at Synergy Home Furnishings, the company her father founded in 2006. She joined the company in 2020.

“Quickly Caroline experienced the highest high and lowest low of being in her family business in the furniture industry amidst the pandemic. They went from everyone canceling orders to having more business than they could handle, which created its own set of problems that Caroline had to help tackle early on,” says Lauren Willets, associate director of the University of North Carolina Family Enterprise Center.

“Synergy Home Furnishings is an important supplier to many of the top home furnishings retailers in America and beyond, manufacturing upholstered seating in several categories including slipcovered upholstery, leather, accent seating, motion upholstery and high-leg recliners,” Caroline says. “While the company has established itself as a force in the industry, we maintain our entrepreneurial spirit and always encourage innovation and new ideas. We’re a business-to-business company that keeps a low profile, so my role in marketing applies to helping our sales representatives promote our product to our retail partners. We maintain a low overhead and provide the best prices and service to our customers.”

Before Caroline joined, Synergy did not have a marketing department. “Caroline has been able to create new structures, processes, presentations and marketing materials for sales reps to use in their promotion to retailers,” Willets says. “Caroline has also improved product photography, which was no easy feat given that the photos are taken at the factory in China and not at a studio in the United States. Caroline came in at a critical time, as more retailers are focusing on selling online and require better imagery and product knowledge than they used to.

“Over the last year, Caroline spearheaded the launch of a product line in Costco, East & Vine. Caroline came up with the name, trademarked it, built the website, directed a photo shoot and launched the social media accounts,” Willets says. “The whole process was new to Synergy and seemed very entrepreneurial.”

“Growing up, I remember playing in my dad’s showroom, being introduced to his customers from across the country and helping my mom make her iconic pecan squares that we offer every furniture market,” Caroline says. “It is an honor to work with my dad and the incredible team he has put together at Synergy. We respect each other, work hard, and have established ourselves as innovators in the furniture industry. 

“Working as the director of marketing and as an account sales representative for Synergy perfectly blends my love of design, sales and marketing. Some career highlights include creating and launching a brand at Costco, expanding our international business in Australia and New Zealand, and serving as the account representative for several of our largest house accounts.”

“Caroline is so driven,” Willets says. “She wants to continue to modernize Synergy’s processes so their sales team can more easily land placements of their product.”

Patrick Deeny, 33
Fourth Generation
Deeny Construction Co.
Seattle, Wash.

Patrick attended Seattle Preparatory School (his father’s alma mater) and then studied at the University of Washington, earning a degree from the Jackson School of International Studies. “I received my introduction to the family business through several summers spent doing a wide variety of jobs,” he recalls.

“After college and a short time spent with my uncle’s business, I joined Deeny Construction full-time as a project engineer and estimator. Because of the relatively small size of our office staff, where all wear many hats, I was quickly immersed in all areas of the company, from accounting to estimating to project management to operations and even laying pipe. 

“In nine short years that have flown by, I have advanced from very little practical knowledge of what we do to vice president, senior project manager and partner, charged with many aspects of the day-to-day running of the company. As we work through our succession plan, my father is slowly ceding control of different management functions, which has allowed and will continue to allow me to gain the experience needed to eventually become the fourth-generation Deeny to lead our company.”

“My son Patrick has taken on the heavy load of being the boss’s son with enthusiasm and quick results,” says his father, Jon Deeny, the company president. “He has transformed seemingly overnight from a green project engineer to a trusted partner, helping me to manage all aspects of the company. He has proven through his actions and progression that our succession plan timeline is definitely on track, if not ahead of schedule.

“And, on a very personal level, when my mother became very sick and died recently, he stepped in to essentially run the company when I was for all intents and purposes absent for several weeks. This experience further strengthened my confidence that he will be a strong fourth-generation leader and take our business to new heights.”

“There are many things that are hard to truly understand until you actually experience them,” Patrick says. “Until I started working full-time for our family construction company, I didn’t and couldn’t fully appreciate what it means to work somewhere where your name is on the door, the equipment and just about everywhere you look. Up until that point, I didn’t know that I possessed such a deep sense of pride for what our company stands for and an even stronger sense of responsibility to maintain the reputation that our family name and business is synonymous with.

“The significance of a family business that is thriving, let alone surviving now well into its fourth generation, is not lost on me. While it has taken 85 years to establish our business and reputation, it would take far less time to lose what it took so long to build and earn.

“Rather than it being a burden, I look at my responsibility as a Deeny to be a challenge. How can I leave my mark and ensure that a fifth generation of Deenys has ample reasons to be just as passionate about our family business as I am? The unknown answer to that question is what excites and motivates me as I move closer to taking the reins.”

Alison Getz Bates, 27
Fifth Generation
Globe Corporation
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Alison (“Ali”) is the first born in the fifth generation of her family company, Globe Corporation, a diversified investment company focusing on real estate, asset management and private equity.

Ali graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Southern California in 2019 and went on to work for a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Shen then worked with her husband and brother-in-law to start their own consulting firm. Currently, Ali works for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry as a membership accounts manager and event coordinator.

Ali cares deeply about philanthropy and is especially passionate about serving organizations within her community. A few years ago, Ali and her cousins began their involvement with their family foundation and work both individually and together to support organizations that matter most to their generation. Ali frequently volunteers at her family’s museum, The Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting in Phoenix.

“Alison has demonstrated strong leadership skills for the next generation of our family business,” says her father, George Getz, president and co-CEO of Globe Corporation, which was founded in 1901.

“She has led the initial G-5 retreat for bringing the next generation of family members together. She also developed the first newsletter for the family, keeping all family members apprised of everyone’s activities and interests. She participates actively in all family communication links and has brought our family much closer. She balances her life as recently married (first of her generation), a new golden retriever owner, account manager at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and NextGen family leader.”

“There is a great quote from the musical Hamilton, describing a legacy as ‘planting seeds in a garden that you never get to see,’” Ali says. “This quote carries significant weight as I look back at the past century and forward to the generations to come.

“Currently, I am working with Family Office Exchange (FOX) and The Family Office (TFO) Phoenix to build out an educational program for my generation and the generations to follow. Last year, I planned the first generational retreat for my siblings and cousins, where we enjoyed both quality time and foundational learning experiences regarding family office structures.

“Since then, we have met monthly with our office staff and quarterly with our consultants to go over concepts that will be vital for our growth and involvement in the family office. These monthly meetings have also served as an excellent environment for us to ask questions and to strengthen our relationships with those who work for our family enterprise.

“I am passionate about building out our family governance structure to ensure that this amazing legacy lives on and grows stronger with each generation. I am inspired by the hard work and core values that our family has passed down to each generation, and I am determined to ensure that future generations are instilled with these principles and an appreciation of the legacy they inherit.”

Jake Tavello, 34
Third Generation
Stew Leonard's
Norwalk, Conn.

Jake joined his family’s grocery business, Stew Leonard’s, in 2003 at age 15. He worked in every department across all Stew Leonard’s stores. While in college, he spent two summers interning with the company’s chief operating officer to learn about store operations.

In 2016, Jake was named store director for Stew Leonard’s in Danbury, Conn.; in 2019, he was promoted to vice president of Stew Leonard’s seventh food store in Paramus, N.J. He assumed the position of vice president of stores in June 2020. In that role, he worked with all seven of the company’s farm fresh food stores. Jake was promoted to chief operating officer in 2023.

After graduating cum laude from Salve Regina University in 2011, Jake spent two years in a structured management training program with Wegmans Food Market in both Rochester, N.Y,. and Boston, Mass. He received his MBA from Bentley University in 2014, graduating with distinction, with a concentration in both finance and marketing. While at Bentley, Jake also had the opportunity to take part in a global business experience in Vietnam. He has additionally completed Dale Carnegie Leadership Training and is a member of Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society.

“Since joining the family business, Jake has not only earned my respect but the respect of his peers at Stew’s,” says his uncle Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO of the company. “He works hard and not only has the best interests of Stew Leonard’s at heart, but he also really wants to grow and develop our team members.”

“I’m sure that when my grandfather first opened the doors in 1969, he never dreamed that Stew Leonard’s would one day welcome more than 20 million shoppers a year, have 3,000 team members or seven farm fresh food stores,” Jake says. “I’m excited to be part of the team leading our family business into the next generation, and I hope to continue my family’s commitment to creating happy team members and happy customers at Stew Leonard’s.

“My goal is to keep Stew’s innovative. I love finding and developing new items that make shopping a ‘treasure hunt’ experience here at Stew Leonard’s and continue to keep in-store shopping fun. I also have a new perspective on shopping at Stew’s now that I have a 2-year-old son!”

Lauren Doll-Sheeder, 33
Third Generation
Doll Distributing
Des Moines, Iowa

Lauren graduated from Iowa State University in 2012 with a bachelor of science degree in marketing and management. After college, she took a sales role at Nationwide Insurance and later worked on the special events team at Anheuser-Busch.

In 2014, Lauren joined Doll Distributing as a relief sales representative. She gained experience in many roles within the company, including sales, office administration, human resources and marketing. She is now the company’s managing partner.

She is currently the chairman of the board for the Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association and sits on the BREW (Building Relationships & Empowering Women) advisory board for the National Beer Wholesalers Association. BREW’s mission is to attract, connect and elevate women in beer and beverage distribution.

“Lauren was recently promoted to managing partner of Doll Distributing and has a vision for the future. Her name gets attached to many leadership initiatives within the industry and the area where she lives,” says Jayne Kielman, business development representative at the University of Northern Iowa Family Business Center.

“Growing up in my family’s beverage distribution business was special,” Lauren says. “I remember playing hide-and-seek in our warehouse between pallets of beer and spending weekends in the front office pretending to take customer orders as a young child. As I got older, I experienced more of the business and the beverage industry and began thinking how I could play a part in continuing the legacy that was started by my grandparents, Merlin and Edith Doll, in 1965.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our first and second generation, the business has grown from 11 counties in Iowa to 53 Iowa counties and eight counties in Minnesota, servicing just shy of 4,000 retail accounts and proudly representing partners such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, Constellation Brands, Boston Beer, and many national, regional and local craft brands. I look forward to continuing the growth of Doll Distributing and providing a working environment that team members are proud to be a part of.”

Dillon Whitlow, 32
Third Generation
Whitlow Concrete Inc.
Capitola, Calif.

Dillon recently was appointed CEO of Whitlow Concrete, which was founded in 1960 by his grandfather Bill Whitlow. “I grew up living next door to my grandparents as well as the construction yard,” Dillon says.

“My passion for the family business is rooted in my childhood. I was always in ‘The Yard,’ messing with trucks and tools. My father would routinely take me by job sites and walk me through what was going on. I have a fond memory of my father picking me up from school in a brand-new dump truck that the company had just purchased. Childhood memories and working alongside the crews for five years really gave me the push I needed to choose a career path.

“I graduated from Soquel High in 2009. That summer was my first summer working for Whitlow Concrete Inc. My father, Tim Whitlow, was CEO at that time. I attended Cabrillo College for a little over four years. I began working more for the company and decided to major in construction management.”

Dillon worked full-time in the family business and took college courses at night. He worked in the field for about five years. In 2014, he began training to succeed the company’s estimator, who had decided to retire. He became the full-time estimator after six months of training and received his contractor’s license in August 2016.

“My father and his brother expanded my grandfather’s business and quickly became a known name around town. Whitlow Concrete Inc. has strong ties in the local community and a reputation for delivering the highest-quality work,” Dillon says. “I took the talent and the long-term experience of my family members and focused on culture of the company. I have created a culture of accountability and success within the team, which has enabled us to increase efficiency and pay our employees more. I have implemented new operating procedures to ensure our team is capable and confident to complete various types of projects.

“My goal is to continue the legacy my family has created. I aim to improve company culture and day-to-day operations for everyone involved. My vision is to add one or two more crews, bring on an additional project manager/estimator and move the company to a larger yard. I am creating a team of passionate, capable professionals who love what they do and enjoy showing up to work every day.”

“Dillon has taken the experience and wisdom of his predecessors and developed an operating system for 2023,” says Justin White, Dillon’s business coach. “In his first year as CEO, in 2022, he grew the business by 60% and used that increase in income to provide new, safer equipment. He provided better working conditions and increased pay to his employees dramatically. Dillon regularly holds all-day training for his entire team to help entry-level employees learn and grow so they can make a career at Whitlow Concrete.

“Dillon is on a mission to carry on the legacy of his family and establish a new standard for concrete companies.”

Robyn Barebo, 29
Third Generation
Otterbine Inc.
Emmaus, Pa.

Robyn is Otterbine’s digital marketing manager and a member of the company’s strategic leadership team. The business focuses on improving water quality naturally and enhancing the beauty of a pond or lake.

Robyn has been pioneering Otterbine’s ecommerce efforts to bring the company’s products directly to the consumer. Her day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing digital marketing efforts, managing vendors, maintaining the company’s website and front-end website coding. She also works with Otterbine’s worldwide distribution network to assist in taking the company’s marketing initiatives to the next level.

Robyn led the third generation in creating a code of conduct. She believes it’s important to create positive communication as the third generation grows as leaders. Through monthly meetings, she and other third-generation employees have begun to develop ways to honor the company’s core values, tackle organizational projects and take on other executive responsibilities.

Robyn graduated from Penn State University with a degree in public relations. She is actively engaged in the Lehigh Valley’s business community as a member of The High Center’s Key Executives Peer Group and a graduate of Compass Point’s Leadership Lab.

“Robyn has shown tremendous growth since she began with the company six years ago,” says her aunt Carla Ott, the company president. “She has a strong understanding of the business and markets and is dedicated not only to the health of the company but also to the health of the family. In her time with us, she has completed her undergraduate degree, engaged in leadership programs and family business seminars, and in general never misses an opportunity to learn and network with customers, vendors and other local businesses.

“In addition, as our company’s digital marketing and website manager, she has shown strength, innovation and leadership. She has engaged and learned as much as possible about Google and Bing advertising. She has increased our overall online presence by creating an online store for products and improving and providing blogs, articles, display advertising, search engine optimization and keyword analytics. Robyn’s potential is limitless, and with her willingness to learn, positive attitude and drive, and her compassion and commitment to family and continuing our family business, I have no doubt that she will be one of the leaders at Otterbine who ensure the business thrives as it transitions to the third generation.”

“I love working in the family business because of the families,” Robyn says. “Here at Otterbine, my ‘family’ extends well beyond the people I share a last name with. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and father have set the bar high when it comes to recruiting some amazing people. They’ve fostered a great company culture, and I’m honored to be one of its next stewards. Working in this environment continues to give me the chance to develop a large variety of skills and networking opportunities. I enjoy tackling the day-to-day challenges as I work with my peers to help take Otterbine to the next level!”

Jack York, 30
Fourth Generation
Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply
Phoenix, Ariz.

Jack serves as Arizona regional manager for 101-year-old Ewing Irrigation & Landscape Supply, the largest family-owned U.S. supplier of landscape, irrigation, agronomic, aggregate, hardscape and water management products.

Jack began learning the business in middle school, working in Ewing’s mailroom, then at branches in the Phoenix area as a service professional and truck driver. In college, he interned in the purchasing, finance and accounting departments.

He graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 2016, earning a degree in economics with a concentration in finance. At Penn, Jack played offensive line on the varsity football team. After graduation, he traveled to Australia, where he played semi-professional American football in Sydney and Melbourne for eight months before moving to New York City to become a mergers and acquisitions investment banking analyst at Solomon Partners.

Jack joined Ewing full-time in late 2018 to open and manage a branch in New York state. He relocated to Ewing’s headquarters in November 2020 to become national irrigation product manager. He was named director of category management one year later and transitioned to regional manager in November 2022. He also serves on Ewing’s executive management team, working on growth strategies for the company.

“Jack knew from a young age that he wanted to join our family business, and he worked hard to prepare himself through education and hands-on experience,” says his father, Douglas W. York, Ewing’s president and CEO. “He brings a fresh perspective and solid vision to Ewing, and he’s not afraid to share his thoughts on what’s best for the company or to roll up his sleeves and pitch in when our employees in the field need help. That kind of leadership will sustain Ewing for future generations.”

“I am passionate about my family’s business because of the people. The 1,400-plus employees we have at Ewing inspire me,” Jack says. “Ewing’s great customers challenge me and make the business fun. There are constantly new challenges at Ewing, and I get to tackle those challenges with amazing people.

“My grandparents, father and uncle have built a company that our employees love to work at and our customers love doing business with. This family legacy drives me every day to improve myself and Ewing. Ultimately, I am passionate about the thousands of lives I get to impact by continuing my family’s legacy that is Ewing. I am excited about the next 100 years of Ewing being great!”

Lauren Rybinski, 29
Second Generation
Supercuts: G&C Robins Company
Kennett Square, Pa.

Lauren is a district leader for her family business, which has grown from one Supercuts franchise to 63 hair salons across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “I have had the opportunity to learn from my father’s 26 years of experience in the industry,” she says.

Lauren joined the company during the COVID pandemic after working in visual communications for the Philadelphia Flyers and the University of Delaware Athletics Departments.

“Since then, I have been working closely with our executive team to learn about salon and business operations,” she says. “I currently oversee four salons and manage a team of 10-plus stylists and managers. I have also been actively involved in business operations, including reporting, marketing, recruitment and employee retention.”

“She’s growing into greater and greater leadership roles,” says Lauren’s father, Gary Robins. “She’s taking on more and more responsibility. She’s been very good at getting down into the granular details of the business so that she can make larger and larger decisions and take on more and more responsibility over time.

“She learns from her successes and from her failures, and that’s made her a stronger leader. She recognizes our culture and our values, and that the success of our business — the family’s success — will flow from making others successful.

“She has also brought some new perspectives to us. She respects the past, but she does what’s right for the future. She has brought a lot of new marketing ideas to the table.”

Robins says he has been impressed by Lauren’s organizational skills and her ability to “see the big picture.”

“Her people love her, and that’s really important,” he adds. “That doesn’t mean that she’s not capable of holding them to performance outcomes. She has a great balance of caring about their feelings but also caring about their future.”

When Lauren first joined the company, her father says, “she was really caught up in the day-to-day.” Now, he says, “I see her rising higher and looking at things from above the weeds. But she needed to be down in the weeds to understand it. I’m proud that she has stepped up.”

“I am proud to continue my family’s legacy and ensure that our business thrives for many years to come,” Lauren says. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work closely with my family and excited to grow with the company.”

Stewart Morris III, 26
Second Generation
Stewart Security Capital Inc.
Houston, Texas

Stewart is the vice president of finance and investments for Stewart Security Capital Inc., a private family office. His focus is the underwriting of strategic investments in commercial real estate, venture capital and alternative investments.

After graduating from Baylor University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate, Stewart joined Marcus and Millichap Inc., where he brokered the investment sale of multitenant retail assets across the Houston area.

In April 2022, Stewart transitioned over to Stewart Security Capital (SSC), where he works alongside his father, who serves as the company’s president and CEO. Since joining the office, Stewart has assisted in the implementation of corporate governance and the evolution of internal policies and procedures following company growth. He spearheads investment due diligence and underwrites multiple deal opportunities per week to further diversify the investment portfolio. Stewart chairs the SSC investment committee and is a member of the community giving committee, which is committed to giving back to various charitable organizations around the city.

Stewart serves as chair for the Morris Family Council, which acts as a liaison between the greater family and the Morris Family Trust, another private family office.

“He brought to our company knowledge of the commercial real estate market, tech capability and a broad network of relationships,” says his father, Stewart Morris Jr., president of Stewart Security Capital. “He has taken on many responsibilities in the company, including our financial statements and investment decisions/performance tracking, and is now a big piece of our succession plan.”

“I attribute my passion for our business to my father and my grandfather,” Stewart says. “I grew up watching them both dedicate their lives to their trade, and the people around them. My grandfather, who is currently 103 years old, is still an advisory director on our board and attests that your family is your most valuable asset. I feel blessed every day to say I get the opportunity to work alongside my father, who taught me at a young age the importance of putting your head down to get the job done and then giving back to your community every chance you can.

“Even at 8 years old, when I started working each summer for Stewart Title, another family company that started in 1893, I began to learn the importance of relationships and working with others to achieve your goals. The mandate I put on myself is to build upon the legacy that my father and grandfather created and to grow our company so that future generations can benefit and contribute.”

Susan Flynn, 30
Second Generation
Francis King Ltd.
Minneapolis, Minn.

Susan began her career in sales and advertising after graduating with a degree in retail merchandising and design in 2015. She focused primarily on the home & design category, which enabled her to work alongside Francis King as a media partner. Francis King — founded by Susan’s father, Charlie Flynn — showcases high-end furniture, fabric and lighting, serving designers in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

“My journey towards working in my family’s business involved a move to Chicago to gain showroom experience in a different market,” Susan says. “The knowledge and confidence I gained while working in Chicago was instrumental to the success I have experienced.”

Susan joined Francis King team full-time as a textile sales associate in February 2020. “While in that position, I supervised the installation of a new lighting display and grew sales of a primary vendor by over 400%,” she says. “In the fall of 2021, I began working towards my master’s in business administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management to broaden my skill set and accelerate my professional growth. My expected graduation date is May 2024.

“In April of 2022, I stepped into a management role, leading a team of nine that is responsible for half of our organization’s annual revenue.”

“She studies leadership while also putting it into practice each day in the business,” says Sara Stern of Family Business Minnesota, Francis King’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) implementer.

“She knows where she is strong and the areas she needs to improve. She is willing to work hard to improve where needed but also leads with her strengths. She is committed to her team and the future success of the business. This is not only evident in her commitment to her education and becoming a better leader but also how she learns about her industry and the ins and outs of family business ownership. She is transparent with her colleagues about what she is learning, what she wants to learn more about and the strengths she sees in them.

“Her family business is a leader in the design community in Minnesota and beyond, and she is poised to continue that legacy.”

“I have admired the colorful and creative nature of Francis King since the doors opened in March of 2002,” Susan says. “I feel grateful to walk into the showroom every day feeling inspired and motivated. In addition to working alongside my dad, I spend all day surrounded by 20 intelligent and vibrant women who make up the rest of the Francis King Family. I am proud to live by the Francis King core values (product oriented, true self, commitment, willing, and winning) 365 days a year.”

AJ Rodriguez, 30
Second Generation
Sport Clips, Bella Christie's Sweet Boutique, AROD Holdings, Dogtopia
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Growing up in Pittsburgh watching his parents dive into the world of entrepreneurship, AJ was inspired to follow suit. His father, Al Rodriguez, began his journey as a business owner by joining the Sport Clips brand as a franchisee in 2005 and soon earned the title of “Rookie Franchisee of the Year.”

AJ ventured to High Point University in North Carolina for undergrad studies focused on business. He opened and operated his first business as a 19-year-old sophomore.

“While in college, AJ joined Student Painters and opened a territory in Greensboro, N.C., where he was a general contractor who focused on painting the exteriors of residential houses,” says Al Rodriguez. “In this role, AJ had to find and sell the homeowners on service. He then had to hire, train and manage a crew to complete the jobs to the homeowner’s satisfaction so he could collect the final payments. He committed to this opportunity before he knew how to open a can of paint. He was very successful in this role, being recognized as one of the top performers in his region.”

While AJ was earning his bachelor’s degree out of state, Al grew the family business to six Sport Clips locations. Upon graduation, AJ decided to move back home and join his father.

“After graduating from college in 2013, he agreed to join the family business, and we set a goal to grow to 50 locations,” Al Rodriguez says. “When he started with the family business, he found himself doing maintenance in our stores and moved to analyzing data and marketing. He then moved into IT — replacing POS systems, configuring email accounts, and learning operations.”

AJ and Al are now partners in the entities under family management, including 35 Sport Clips locations, two Bella Christie’s Sweet Boutique locations and 11 commercial/residential properties under AROD Holdings, with aggressive plans to continue growing. The latest initiative is the Dogtopia doggie daycare franchise in the Pittsburgh area. 

“We have grown to be a larger organization than I ever thought we would be at the beginning,” AJ says. “The most gratifying moments for me are witnessing our team members be successful in all aspects of life. Many have started with us as young adults, and we have helped them achieve many of their financial goals, build families and pursue their passions.

“I’m very excited for the future as we continue this path of entrepreneurial growth to see what we can do and how many people we can impact.”

“I’ve relocated to Naples, Fla., and AJ is running things day-to-day,” Al Rodriguez says. He’s my right hand, and I’m so proud of him — not for all that he’s accomplished, but for the man he’s become. AJ works hard every day to support our teams, and he leads the charge on finding ways to give back to the communities we serve. With more than 350 team members across multiple companies, we’re not a small company anymore, and under AJ’s leadership, we are focused on getting to 100+ locations.”

Carson Baughman, 29
Third Generation
Cowgill Inc.
Lexington, Ky.

Carson represents the third generation at Cowgill, the real estate development and management company his grandfather founded in the 1960s. After graduating from Transylvania University in 2016 with degrees in economics and Spanish language, Carson moved to Charlotte, N.C., to work as a consultant focused on the banking industry. He joined Cowgill upon returning home to be closer to family and his now-wife.

“His first responsibility when starting at Cowgill was as project manager for a 72-unit extended stay hotel/apartment conversion,” says his mother, Kim Baughman, a Cowgill board member. “This was a big ask for a person of his age. He immediately showed great potential due to his detailed organization, eye for choosing finishes, creativity and ability to work well with others while leading a team.

“Later that year he brought to our attention the benefits we would enjoy from a rebranding. This would include a new logo, tagline, purpose statement and an upgraded website. He spoke passionately to convince our family, the board and the management team of the importance of a fresh look to attract the next generation of potential residents and employees.

“Four years into his employment, Carson approached the family with a well-organized plan and reasoning for continuing his education, which was approved. He began working on a two-year master of real estate development from Auburn University. While working on his master’s, he received the new title of senior project manager for our company.” In 2023, Carson was promoted to director of development.

Carson’s role in the development arm of the business has expanded to include managing all predevelopment activities, site design and building layout for projects at Cowgill. He works closely with architects and engineers and leads relations with the city planning office, planning commission and city council to bring projects to fruition.

“Carson has always been an individual to bring people together,” Kim Baughman says. “He works long hours and still manages to take time for others and be that upbeat person you want to see each day. He treats all team members from the maintenance staff through top-level management with respect, and as a result has gained tremendous respect from all those that work for us.

“He is currently working on a development for 2024 that will require a building to be razed. He contacted the fire department and offered the building for training. This idea brought a tremendous amount of publicity for our company and the fire department gained some amazing, realistic onsite training they said was invaluable.

“Carson has an abundance of energy and continues to prove that he is an important member of the Cowgill team. His family and an ongoing commitment to unity is his number one priority. He consistently presents ideas to our board and makes decisions that benefit both our company and family that are enabling us to move forward into the next generation stronger, smarter and well placed for the future.”

“Every summer growing up, my grandparents hosted all my aunts, uncles and cousins at the family farm for Sunday lunch,” Carson says. “We have a big family, but it feels small — tight-knit, even to this day. I believe it was this ritual that instilled that in all of us. For me, it’s manifested as an unrelenting desire to reach greater heights for all of us, so that together we can amplify our impact on the world.

“We push each other to do better, stay open-minded and use our unique skills to contribute to our shared goal.”

Gregory Shames, 31
Fourth Generation
American Textile Maintenance Company
Los Angeles, Calif.

Greg graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2014 with a degree in business administration. He worked in finance at Walt Disney Studio before joining the family business in 2016.

“Greg is a very astute and dedicated young professional who grew up in the business. He spent many summers in the plants, learning production operations, engineering and sales, and worked closely with the service teams delivering our products throughout Los Angeles,” says Renee Mendoza, human resources director at American Textile.

Greg’s first full-time position at the company was operations director for American Textile’s newest division, which focuses on providing textile rental and laundry services to hospitals. He oversaw day-to-day operations and expansion of the customer base.

“Greg came in with an understanding of the business fundamentals and was able to grow into the position and became an innovative contributor,” Mendoza says.

“When I started, we serviced the laundry needs for approximately 10 hospitals. Today, we service over 60 hospitals, with more joining,” Greg says. “Aside from having a great team, we attribute some of our success to the fact that we are one of the last remaining family-owned and operated providers in our service territory. This gives us a unique advantage, as we have not lost the roots of our service-first approach.”

Today, Greg is vice president of operations at the company’s Medico Healthcare Linen Service and Republic Master Chefs units, which together have about 900 employees at nine locations, serving more than 7,500 customers in Southern California. 

“Greg touches all aspects of the business and recognizes the value and talent of employees,” Mendoza says. “Greg is also an advocate for organizational development.”

“Working for the family business brings me a sense of pride to the work I do each day, which I did not necessarily feel when working for a large corporation,” Greg says. “Some of my most fond memories from childhood were from the days that my dad would take me to work and let me work in the factory. Today, I still work with many of the same people.

“I am excited to see our family take this company into the fifth generation.”

Tony Capuano, 34
Third Generation
Columbus, Ohio

Tony was promoted to the role of vice president of franchise operations at Donatos, his family’s pizza delivery restaurant franchisor, on Jan. 3, 2023. “He has the perfect balance of EQ and IQ for this role and has already made significant progress in building relationships, identifying obstacles and influencing change,” says his mother, Jane Grote Abell, executive chairwoman and chief purpose officer at Donatos.

“Tony has had a passion for family business since he was 3 years old dressed up in full uniform pretending to be a delivery driver for our family pizza business. Tony has always demonstrated the passion for family business, carrying on a legacy and being an entrepreneur.

“At the age of 14, Tony started working at Donatos in our restaurants. During college, he worked at one of our franchise partners’ locations and as an intern in our Jane’s Dough Bakery. As part of our onboarding process for family members, after graduating from college we require the next generation to gain three to five years of experience in other organizations prior to joining the family business. Tony chose to take an entrepreneurial route, and upon graduation in 2011 he purchased 5 SNAP fitness locations. As the owner/operator, Tony improved revenue, renovated all five locations with cash on hand and turned all five gyms from an unprofitable business entity to a highly successful and profitable business. Tony gained experience as a business owner working all aspects of running his own business: finance, human resources, marketing, real estate and strategic thinking.

“After 10 years of entrepreneurship with SNAP, Tony rejoined the family business with an accelerated level of business leadership and strategic thinking. In 2019 Tony took a position as the executive director of innovation and operations excellence. In this position he worked as the liaison between our innovation center and our 475-restaurant company. He worked directly with his grandpa (first generation) on innovation and automation and the CEO on the Donatos side of the business.

“Tony’s next development opportunity was for a full immersion in operations. Over the last year he trained as a manager in training, ran a restaurant and operated as a district manager overseeing five restaurants. This gave him valuable experience, and in 2022 he was recognized as the top performer for sales in the company.

“On the family side, Tony was instrumental in working with the third generation (my two daughters) to craft a shared values and mission statement for the next generation. He led an exercise at our annual family summit to identify common values, how they will work together and define their purpose.” Tony played a role in the establishment of the Donatos Family Foundation, which began in January 2022 to formally guide the philanthropic efforts of Donatos.

“Tony has accepted every challenge with persistence, passion and a deep commitment to learn and grow in every position at every level in the organization,” Jane Grote Abell says. “He is a humble, smart and curious leader who has the ability to inspire and motivate others toward a clear vision for our future.”

“There’s no food more communal than pizza; but it’s not just about the product, it’s about the people!” Tony says. “The concept of a people-focused — and even deeper, a principle-focused business — is what makes Donatos unique. The name Donatos even comes from a Greek derivative meaning ‘to give a good thing.’ And it’s not just about giving a good product to our customers, it’s about our people in the company and those in the community.

“We are a family business, but it’s not just blood that unites us; it’s belief in our values and purpose.”

Griffen Wilson
Third Generation
The Wilson Companies
Westmont, Ill.

Griffen is the vice president at The Wilson Companies, which encompasses Employco USA Inc., Corporate Risk Management Inc. and Freemark HR LLC. Griffen spearheaded the creation of Employco’s national broker program, an initiative that has propelled the firm into new industries such as the NFL, Nascar, wealth management and equestrian. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has led webinars on topics such as employee engagement, the Payroll Protection Program and returning to in-person work environments post-COVID.

Griffen received his B.A. in business management with a concentration in entrepreneurship from Coastal Carolina University. He has authored numerous articles for leading publications on various HR subjects. He has been a speaker at the YPO Global Leadership Training Conference and the YPO Next Generation (YNG) Leadership Summit, among other conferences. Griffen serves as chapter chair of the YNG Chicago Chapter.

“Employco USA was founded in 1996 by Robert A. Wilson (first gen), Robert W. Wilson and Scott Wilson as an HR outsourcing startup. Griffen was born the same year,” says his father, Robert W. Wilson, the company’s CEO.

“Griffen grew up working in the business during summers and in college, interning within various divisions. In 2019, Griffen joined the firm full-time and immediately began making an impact. Within the sales area of the company, he created a broker program to attract independent brokers to sell Employco’s HR services to companies around the country. Within a year, he had 20 brokers. He created a training program to properly educate the brokers on Employco’s capabilities. The program now represents over $110 million in revenue (20% of total revenue).

“Griffen has also taken on leadership roles within the company, enhancing the company culture as well as mentoring new professionals in the firm. He has a very solid plan for moving the company toward the goal of being a $1 billion company in the next few years.”

“I have always admired the grit and passion my father and grandfather have had for our business,” Griffen says. “I remember being a very young boy and going to the office with my grandmother to visit my grandfather for lunch. He was so engrossed in his work he never wanted to leave, even for lunch!

“From this early impression to interning as a high schooler and becoming familiar with the operations of all the different departments, I’ve always had a passion for working with family. Now, as a respected leader of our organization, there is nothing that compares to being an integral part of a family legacy. I’m proud to be able to build on the foundation of what two strong generations ignited.”  



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