News Briefs

March 2000

Which Comes First÷the Family or the Business?

John L. Ward will be back to lead us in more strategic thinking on April 11, 2000, at the Holiday Inn, Appleton. This year's topic grew out of the family business vision discussion that John touched upon last March.

The challenge - and art - of a family business is to reconcile the inherent dilemmas and paradoxes that result from mixing family with business. The fundamental issue, it often seems, is whether to reconcile the contradictions by taking a "business first" or a "family first" approach. Perhaps it depends on the culture of the family and the vision the family has for the future?

The Workshop will explore how the familyās culture on "business first" or "family first" shapes future family ownership and business strategy choices. A questionnaire to diagnose the culture of your family will also be provided.

Ultimately itās essential to serve both the business and the family. The art is to find that synthesis.

You will want to have multiple members of your family and business attend this valuable Workshop.

Ward is the author of two leading texts on family business, Keeping the Family Business Healthy and Creating Effective Boards for Private Enterprises. With Craig Aronoff and Arthur Andersen LLP, Ward publishes a monthly newsletter, The Family Business Advisor. Ward is co- author of a collection of booklets, "The Family Business Leadership Series," each booklet focusing on specific issues family businesses face.

We will again make quality family business books available for you to purchase during this workshop.

Welcome ö Ahern-Gross Inc.

We are pleased to welcome Ahern-Gross Inc. of Fond du Lac as a member of the Forum.

Tom Gross purchased Ahern-Gross, a plumbing contractor, in 1983. The company has 20 employees and operates in the commercial, industrial and residential markets in about a 75-mile radius of Fond du Lac.

Please be sure to welcome Thomas Gross, president, and Patrick Bertram, vice-president, to the Forum community.

Successors Meeting

The Successors Peer Group will hold their March 30 meeting at Badger Mining Corporation, Berlin. Their topic is Employee Stock Options.

Members interested in becoming part of the Successors peer group should contact Sue for more information.

May 8 Dinner

Each year we conclude our programming with a dinner to honor our members and sponsors, to socialize with family and friends, to hear a unique family business story, and to select Board and committee representatives for vacant positions.

This yearās dinner will be on May 8th at the Butte des Morts Country Club. Paul Hoffman, president of Hoffman Corporation, will talk about his business and his family heritage.

Paul has developed an interesting culture as part of his business. We have invited him to incorporate the story of its development as part of his presentation.

Please plan to join us for cocktails, dinner, and Paulās presentation.

Golf Outing - June 16

One of our members mentioned that she thought we should get together for some enjoyment and networking during the summer. The Board and the Program Committee agreed.

Under the able leadership of Lori Phillippi, the golf outing has taken shape. We will be hosting a 9-hole, scramble at the Mascoutin Golf & Supper Club, Berlin. This will be followed by a steak dinner. The cost per person will be established to cover our costs.

The scramble format means that you play the closest ball to the pin. So, even miniature golf pros will be able to exhibit their best putts and help their team have a good time and enjoy the wonderful summer weather and friendships.

To firm our reservation and plan times with the course, we will be seeking preliminary registrations from you in the very near future. Please respond promptly to this request.

Great Programs-2000-2001!

Forum Board & Committees

A Board that is composed of 5 family business member representatives and 5 sponsor representatives governs the Forum. Its function includes making program and policy decisions; identifying needs of family businesses; recruiting partners; and reviewing partnership applications, the budget, and the Director.

We need you, our family business members, to consider accepting one of the 3 family business seats that become vacant June 30. The family business seats are for two-year, renewable terms that begin effective July 1, 2000.

We also want to add people to our Program Committee and Membership Committee. These committees make the long- and short-term program decisions and focus on member recruitment, respectively. Both committees are composed of members and sponsors.

Our Forum has been very successful because of the dedication and commitment of our Board and committee members. Please take this request seriously and contact Sue, 424-2257, for more details or to become a nominee.

Our Forum has been very successful because of the dedication and commitment of our Board and committee members. Please take this request seriously and contact Sue, 424-2257, for more details or to become a nominee.

Forumās Web Site

The Wisconsin Family Business Forum began publishing information on the World Wide Web in 1996. Since that time, the site has provided member, sponsor, and program information and copies of the News Briefs.

On March 14, we will travel to Milan. Thanks to Dan Thome we have meetings established through Alberto Bertoldi, Danās colleague at the Milan office of Grant Thornton. Alberto Bertoldi has arranged for us to meet with Alberto Falck, chairman of the Italian Association of Family Businesses to discuss the concerns of family owned firms in the "new" Europe.

Cesare Gorla, Gerolama Albertazzi, Mauo Barberi and Alberto Bertoldi of Grant Thornton LLP Italy, will lead roundtable discussion about family business.

On March 14 and 16, we will meet with Italian family business owners to hear their business and family stories, to learn how they have kept their business healthy and growing, and to compare similarities and differences with our businesses.

At least one of our members intends to meet with representatives from his industry to better understand the Italian business environment and learn about possible opportunities in Italy.

Those of us who are going to Italy wish that more of you were able to participate with us in this workshop. We will take pictures and make notes of information that you might find valuable. When we return, we intend to share information about the workshop and what was learned on the trip.

Watch for further information in upcoming issues of the News Briefs.

Program Calendar




Jan. 27
7-10 a.m.

Styles and Patterns
of Communication

Catherine Lindsay & Pat Nichols

Mar. 10-18

Creating & Preserving A Family Tradition (Cervinia Italy)*

Mar. 30

Successors Group

Badger Mining Corporation

Apr. 11 
7 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Which Comes First- the Family or the Business

John L. Ward

Apr. 26

Successors Group

J.J. Plank

May 8

5:30-9 p.m.

A Family Heritage

Paul Hoffman

May 25

Successors Group

Bassett Mechanical

June 16

Golf Outing, Mascoutin Golf Course

June 29

Successors Group

Marion Body Works

July 27

Successors Group

Meyer Services


Sustaining the Family Business

Marshall Paisner, Chairman, ScrubaDub Car Centers, Inc.

March, 2001

Practice Dying Until You Get It Right!

Bonnie Brown, Transition Dynamics, Inc.

*Fee for this workshop is in addition to the membership fee.

Proud sponsors of the Wisconsin Family Business Forum:

First National Bank - Fox Valley has a competitive advantage of developing strong, close customer relationships, especially in the niche of family owned businesses. Thanks to a dedicated staff, FNB has completed its 110th year of providing financial services to the people and businesses of the Fox Valley.

Grant Thornton LLP is an international accounting and management consulting firm with offices throughout the United States and in over 97 countries worldwide. Their mission is to be the leading global organization creating, enhancing, and preserving wealth for entrepreneurial companies and the people who own and run them. Grant Thornton accomplishes this by providing business, tax and financial services that deliver measurable value to their clients.

McCarty, Curry, Wydeven, Peeters & Haak has been serving the legal needs of large and small family businesses in northeast Wisconsin since 1949. The firm's services include all aspects of business and corporate law, real estate, complex estate planning, commercial and personal litigation, as well as general practice.

Retained Earnings Company/MassMutual-The Blue Chip Company has 144 years of service and recognized excellence in providing family owned businesses with the product tools that allow for the confident construction of estate and business succession plans. The firm brings experience, education, empathy and motivation to clients' quest for financial growth and security. Acknowledged as the premier provider of pension and investment products, life and health insurance.

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Business Administration, Oshkosh provides undergraduate and graduate education with a wide array of outreach services to benefit economic development in northeast Wisconsin. The faculty and staff of the College of Business Administration are professionals dedicated to being quality teachers, accessible to students; furthering knowledge through research; and serving as valuable resources to the University and community. A key strength of the college is providing professional expertise through personal contact among students, faculty, and members of the community.

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Vol. 3 No. 4 New Briefs (c) 2000
Wisconsin Family Business Forum
Editor: Susan Schierstedt (920) 424-2257
800 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, WI 54901