Twin Cities Business and its partners recognize these successful Minnesota family businesses and the values they perpetuate.

IdentiSys Inc.

Inception: 1999
Headquarters: Eden Prairie
Family members in the business: 6
Employees: 170
IdentiSys is a supplier of identification (badging) equipment, along with related services and accessories. It also distributes security equipment and supplies to law enforcement, health care providers, and building managers. Company founder Michael Shields is preparing members of his family’s next generation by making sure that they work in each department for a year or longer. This exposes them to many different management styles and personalities. More importantly, this approach gives them the capability to be general managers of the business.

Industrial Louvers Inc.

Inception: 1971
Headquarters: Delano
Family members in the business: 3
Employees: 86
Industrial Louvers manufactures custom architectural metals for the commercial construction industry, distributing throughout the U.S. Its main product lines include louvers, sunshades, and equipment screens. CEO Jo Reinhardt, a member of the founding family’s second generation, has built a culture based on empowering employees to be innovative and to make decisions. Reinhardt also encourages them to develop strong professional relationships with customers and co-workers. Her goal: to create a feeling of family within the entire company, not just among the family-member owners.

Star Bank

Inception: 1904 (acquired by the current family ownership in 1989)
Headquarters: Maple Lake

Family members in the business: 3
Employees: 77
Originally chartered in 1904 as the First National Bank in Bertha (a small town south of Wadena), Star Bank is now a family-owned community financial institution with branches in Big Stone, Grant, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Hennepin, and Wright counties. It builds esprit de corps across its wide service area though “Mission Moments”—stories of exceptional customer service and employee accomplishments that are shared with the company board and all bank employees. With $280 million in assets, Star Bank has received a “Recommended” rating from Bauer Financial for more than 10 consecutive years.

Truck Writers Inc.

Inception: 1983
Headquarters: Blaine
Family members in the business: 7
Employees: 29
Truck Writers is one of the largest truck-insurance agencies in the nation, serving 38 states. Founders Donald and Bonnie Sullivan saw an opportunity to build an agency that specifically addressed the transportation industry and its distinctive, complex insurance requirements. They also envisioned a business that would stay in their family. Many of their progeny started by working as part-time receptionists during summer vacations or by scanning invoices after hours during high school. Each family member has his or her own skill sets, which have determined the work each does for the family agency.

Lee Plumbing & Heating Co. Inc.

Inception: 1905
Headquarters: Thief River Falls
Family members in the business: 2
Employees: 13
Current owner Derek Lee represents the fourth generation of the Lee family to run the company. He bought it from his father in 2016, 11 years after returning to Thief River Falls from the Twin Cities, where he worked for nine years in the wholesale plumbing industry. (Derek Lee’s accountant father also gained outside experience before acquiring the family business.) Whenever possible, Lee Plumbing & Heating buys locally. Case in point: The firm rotates between local dealers so that each gets a share of its vehicle purchases.