To the winners and finalists of the 2015 Minnesota Family Business Awards, the business is as much about love as it is about money.
Maintaining and growing their companies has been an expression of caring for the next generation, to be sure. But it’s how this is accomplished that makes these companies so special, not only to the families who work there, but to the employees, customers and communities that have come to trust and appreciate them over the years. This covers everything from how they treat their employees and their families to how much they give back, whether that’s by helping fund a local kids’ baseball team or donating a percentage of profits to help free people from slavery in India.
Indeed, the families profiled here look upon “family” as extending beyond blood ties. In the case of Latitude, one of this year’s winners, that sense of family reaches worldwide to include people in developing nations who are struggling to build schools and start businesses.
On the following pages, Twin Cities Business looks at the lives and accomplishments of five notable Minnesota companies maintaining family-owned, family-run businesses. How do family members work together in the business? How do these families prepare the next generation for leadership? How do they keep their businesses not just surviving but thriving?
At the same time, small and midsize businesses of all kinds, family-led or not, can learn from the ways these family companies confront challenges and changes. How can they translate family businesses’ sense of mission to their own business models? What lessons can their leaders impart to their “next generation”?
The winners of the 2015 Minnesota Family Business Awards were thoughtfully chosen by a committee comprising Jeff Hawkins, president and CEO, Anchor Bank; Tom Hubler, owner, Hubler for Business Families; Charles Palmer, regional managing director, Minnesota Region, Wipfli; Paddy McNeely, chairman and CEO, Meritex Enterprises; Ritch Sorenson, professor of entrepreneurship, Opus Endowed Chair in Family Business, University of St. Thomas; and Dale Kurschner, editor in chief, Twin Cities Business.