34 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 • FOGHORN BUSINESSMATTERS M any philosophers believed that monarchy is the most natural form of government. Indeed, it dominated until around 150 years ago. Monarchy is simply a family passing rule through generations, a similar concept to family businesses. Our industry is ideally suited for family ownership and PVA is unusually blessed to have so many successful multi-generational businesses. Everyone can understand the pride, passion, connectivity and support a family business naturally exudes. Yet the perils are clear. The cynic cites the saying “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations” and asks why you would limit executive leadership to your gene pool when there are literally billions of other people to choose from. If I was in my 20s again, I can’t think of a more exciting professional opportuni- ty than building a business for the long term and seeing my family take it to the next level. It is so difficult to get the flywheel going and once it does, ride that pony! I was once on the board of a long-serving mechanical contracting company. The CEO had watched his dad, and the CEO/founder before his dad, grow the business to $3,000,000 in 40 years. The son then took the business to $60 million in annual revenue over the next 20 years and profited hand- somely. That adventure was worth doing. I’ve seen scores of family business- es in PVA and when I was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) for 25 years. I was in a forum comprised of eight to 10 company presidents who met monthly for idea exchange, experience and support. We shared the different perspectives of family businesses, and all could readily Some Thoughts on Family Businesses By Bob Shaw, Industry Consultant 2570 Beverly Dr. #128, Aurora, IL 60502 T 630.236.3500 CENTA Power trAnsmIssIon LeADIng By InnovAtIon • USA based production • Over 20 unique designs • Over 16 million sold • Torsional vibration experts Trust CENTA – The Global Innovator Since 1970 CENTALINK Carbon Fiber Driveshafts Innovative flexible couplings for marine applications PFI Marine Electric LED Deck Lighting Join The Fleet! 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