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The 2019 Spring Family Business Forum, The Family Board Roadmap: How to Establish & Maintain a High-Performance Family Board, took place at Del Paso Country Club last Tuesday, April 23. A crowded room of almost 100 family business members gathered around the topic of family governance. The half-day program, coordinated by Tim Schultz of Lundberg Family Farms and Don Yee of NACD illustrated the complexity of building a family business board.

There are many aspects of governance every family business needs to consider, whether they have a board in place, or they are looking to establish one.  Here are a few that were discussed:

  • How to attain a high functioning board?
  • When does a family business need to form a board?
  • Should a board have non-family directors?
  • How do you create a board that will guide your family businesses into the next generation?
  • How often should board meetings be held?
  • How do you keep family members engaged?

    Chris Chediak, Kurt Glassman, Jim Clarke, Mark Mariani

Our family business presenters discussed their successes as well as their struggles and tribulations regarding this process.  It was insightful hearing the real-life stories and situations that our members have experienced, learned from and were able to share with us at the event.

The day started with a general session and then divided into two breakout sessions followed by lunch and closing general session. In the “Getting Started” breakout, the group learned the important role a board can play in facilitating transitions from one generation to the next.  Some of the legal responsibilities of being a board member were discussed, as were attributes of great board members.  Also addressed were the importance of having clear roles and responsibilities for the entire board of directors, the CEO and board chairman, as well as important things for the board to monitor to assure high business performance. Panelists also discussed when to consider bringing in outside board members (gasp!), and the right balance of independent and family directors.

Bill Carriere, Carin Robinson, Don Yee

In the “Revving Up” breakout the group focused on how to identify and select the best family and non-family independent directors for a family business board, learned about approaches to deliver performance feedback to the directors so the board can operate better, and discussed how to compensate board directors for their service.

Nicolaus Nut Company: George Nicolaus, Connie Nicolaus and Cassi Crowley.

 

A highlight of the  program was the member-to-member openness and sharing. Hearing the first-hand stories from Bill Carriere, Carriere Family Farms, Mark Mariani, Mariani Packing Co., and Steve Fleming, River City Bank really resonated with attendees. Attendees also got to hear from Technical Advisors who offered their expertise and provided insight into best practices.

Learning from family business peers is so impactful. Up next will be the Fall Family Forum coming in October 2019, keep a look out for date and speaker announcements this summer.

Click HERE to see photos from the event.

If you are a member of FBC and would like copies of the PowerPoint slides from this program, please send a request to jbernel@capfamilybus.org.


Look what attendees had to say about the Spring Family Business Forum:

“Appreciate the honesty of speakers. Lots of great take-a-ways. The ability to interact and ask questions with the speakers is so important”

“Very informative.  Premature for our company, but we are able to pull from these topics and have conversations on how to improve our current course of business meetings and activities.”

“Received a lot of valuable information on starting a board and making it work.”

Welcome to the FBC Family Selby’s Soil Erosion Control Co. Inc!

At Generations, Bigelow Tea CEO Cindi Bigelow recounted her personal history with the company and how she found the means to establish a successful professional relationship with her retiring father. Soon after, Jay Selby, CEO of Selby Soil, said, “She just told my life story!” It’s that synergy that fires up our members and encourages guests to join, which Selby and VP Brandon Coppedge did on the spot.

Founded in the 1960s, Selby’s Soil Erosion Control Co. Inc. has become a leader in the erosion control industry. Using various methods, a large fleet of equipment and experienced crews to stabilize slopes and beautify California, the company tackles public and private projects of various types and sizes including airports, highways, dams, levees, housing developments, wildfire revegetation and parks. With the recent wildfires, Selby’s expertise has become even more relevant.

“Post-fire erosion control is never planned work, but it seems to happen every year where we have massive wildfires,” says Selby. “Our customer base is all over the board. It could be the US Forest Service for a huge area of national forest land that’s burned down or the California Department of Water Resources when lakes or reservoirs are surrounded by fire,” he added. 

That was the case in October 2017 when several sources of drinking water were at risk.  Afterwards, when several months of sustained rain make flooding a serious concern, Selby is again poised to respond, working on various levee projects.

We are excited to have the team on board and look forward to welcoming them into the NextGen Affinity Group.

PwC, L.L.P. logo

As a founding technical advisor of FBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational professional services network, offers our members the high touch of a small firm and the resources of an international powerhouse.

Within its highly sought after Private Company Services division, local experts are able to counsel and advise privates businesses on all aspects of tax liability.  With the US recently enacting the most comprehensive tax reform in 30 years, it is important that family business executives work together with experts to understand tax issues, mitigate risk, and achieve short- and long-term goals.

PwC understands that executives are looking for guidance on what the impact of tax reform will be for their company. The uncertainty created by changes to the tax code underscores the importance modeling can have to help private companies.  To that end, PwC employs modeling technology that can help organizations evaluate different scenarios for better tax planning. TRIM (Tax Reform Impact Modeling) provides a flexible and efficient way for companies to identify structural tax issues with significant financial impact, assess opportunities for tax planning and evaluate legislative proposals.

Locally, Mukti Patel, managing director in the Private Company Services division and a member of FBC’s Programs Committee, has been advising area family businesses for 28 years. We recently had a chance to chat with Mukti about the family business environment and how he is able to aid FBC members.

What is your favorite memory of a past FBC event? I’ve attended Generations and several family forums, but I’d have to say that our visit a few years ago to Sierra Nevada Brewing was my favorite.  Of course, the tour, lunch and beverages were great, but it was the experience of camaraderie and networking – six hours away from the office! – and getting to know people on a deeper level that I’ll always appreciate.

Mukti pictured second from right with other attendees at Generations 2019.

What is the current business climate in our region?There have been quite a few mergers and acquisitions in public sector; there are similar opportunities with family businesses.

How can PwC help FBC members? Within PwC’s Private Company Services, we have a dedicated group of professionals that deal solely with privately held and family businesses.  That’s our niche – we are a small firm within a large firm.  We understand the dynamics of family businesses and offer advisory services for those looking to expand – either organically or through acquisitions. Especially for our ag clients, we have extensive expertise in audit, tax, advisory.

In your experience, what should family businesses be doing if they aren’t already? I think most family businesses are doing the rights things – establishing effective boards, talking about succession.  More often than not, I encourage our clients to use professionals that are willing to work in concert with each other.  It’s impossible for every family member to understand every part of the business, so trusted advisors that are able to grasp all aspects can be invaluable.

Mukti and and his wife Jyoti Patel at the Annual Holiday Social in 2017.

Why do you recommend FBC? FBC is organized and brings to the forefront issues that  sometimes aren’t talked about. Members have the opportunity to meet with other family owned businesses to discuss topics that are relevant to their future growth and succession.  

 


 

Welcome to the FBC Family, Medic Ambulance Service!

In 1979, Rudy Manfredi purchased a small ambulance company with two vehicles.  Fast forward almost 40 years, and Medic Ambulance is the exclusive Advance Life Support provider for Solano County, operates a transport unit in Sacramento, and manages 70 ambulances and 300 employees.

Still family-owned and operated with Rudy’s sister Helen soon to transition from CFO to CEO, the company is now supported by the next generation of four equal shareholders – Kristi, Jimmy, Cindy and Sandy – who are the VPs of their own divisions.

“All four of us were introduced to the business as teenagers – we would file and wash ambulances – and had full expectations of joining the family business,” said Kristi Kendall, Medic Ambulance’s VP of Finance and Rudy’s stepdaughter.

The Medic Ambulance family at the 2019 Generations Conference.

 

With Helen’s pending transition and sights on opportunities for expansion, the family realized that advice and expertise from outside sources would only make them stronger as a business.  Last year, colleagues Lon Burford (Genovese Burford & Brothers) an FBC Technical Advisor and Nate Boyce (BFBA), a Family Member invited Helen to Generations, which she attended along with a few networking events. This year, knowing how worthwhile and pivotal the conference was last year, they attended Generations again.

“Wanting to be successful in her new leadership role is what piqued Aunt Helen’s interest in FBC,” commented Kendall.  “And ultimately we want and need to know how we can best support her.”

Last month at Generations, Executive Director Stella Premo issued a challenge for the guests in the audience.  Kendall says, “We had every intention of someday filling out the membership application.  But when we heard we could be FBC’s 100th family business member, we knew the time was right.”

The group was pleased to see plenty of familiar faces at the conference and attended breakouts that addressed the efficacy of establishing a non-family board of directors, a current priority for Medic Ambulance’s leadership.

Added Kendall, “To realize that we are not the only ones dealing with family issues and to be able to interact in this great network of unique family businesses makes us so excited to be FBC members.”


To learn more about our new member, Medic Ambulance, visit their website and when you see them at a future FBC event be sure to say hello!

“If there is an advantage of a family business, it’s family values. It’s a way to permeate power dynamics and build a culture.”

– Kevin McCarthy, Leadership Coach, ChangeRX


NextGen Affinity Group met for a half-day interactive workshop on March 5 at Bender Insurance SolutionsThe topic was on power dynamics in the family business. With the guidance of skilled leadership coach Kevin McCarthy, the group gained a deeper perspective on common issues with respect to power that can be sensitive and are not often talked about.

In this context, the group explored the need to intentionally establish core company values and culture, and the advantages of staying anchored around these values to drive coherence and adaptation while navigating times of transition. With interactive discussion and real world examples from the businesses of various group members, these nextgen leaders left with valuable insights to apply in their own family businesses.

The group will meet again on May 7 at River City Bank to discuss the topic “Scaling Up! The NextGen’s Dilemma for Driving and Managing Growth in the Family Business.”  Click here to RSVP or email FBC with any questions.



About this Affinity Group:  The NextGen Affinity Group meets specifically to share the experiences and challenges of taking on leadership roles in a Family Business. This peer networking group offers a forum for confidential and relevant dialogue among like individuals to share ideas, trends, issues and opportunities unique to the Family BusinessProspective members welcome. NextGen lead contact is Maggie Bender-Johnson. Affinity Group events are an FBC member benefit. For details on membership, click here!