2016 Minnesota Family Business Awards

Six stories of entrepreneurial success—family style.
2016 Minnesota Family Business Awards

There is wisdom in family business. And the winners and finalists of the 2016 Minnesota Family Business Awards are happy to share.

On the following pages, Twin Cities Business looks at the lives and accomplishments of six notable family-owned and -run Minnesota companies. How do family members work together? How do they prepare the next generation for leadership? How do they maintain their success? How do they confront challenges and changes—and how do they adjust to them?

One of the salient takeaways this year is how much success the honorees ascribe to their “extended family”—namely, their employees. This is reflected in the way these companies evolve: As the business passes from one generation to the next, the new leadership often shifts from a top-down “entrepreneurial” style to an approach that embraces the contributions of family and the broader workforce. And successful family businesses are working hard to retain those valued employees. That’s particularly important these days, as good staff members become even harder to find.

In sum, family businesses have much to teach businesses of all kinds about managing for success and balancing the needs and contributions of those who work for them.

Besides the winners and finalists of the 2016 Minnesota Family Business Awards, Twin Cities Business is spotlighting Nathan Dungan, the winner this year’s Hubler Award for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Working With Family Businesses. The Hubler Award recognizes those who’ve provided exceptional contributions to the betterment of Minnesota family businesses.

The honorees of the 2016 Minnesota Family Business Awards were carefully chosen by a committee comprising Jim Collins, director of commercial and private banking, Anchor Bank; Tom Hubler, owner, Hubler for Business Families; Jessica Manivasager, shareholder, Fredrikson & Byron PA; Charles Palmer, regional managing director, Minnesota Region, Wipfli LLP; Paddy McNeely, chairman and CEO, Meritex Enterprises Inc.; Ritch Sorenson, professor of entrepreneurship, Opus Endowed Chair in Family Business, University of St. Thomas; and Dale Kurschner, editor-in-chief, Twin Cities Business.

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