Family Business - Winter2017

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Family Business Awards 2017

Family Businesses Win Big at Annual Awards Event Photos: Amanda Martocchio

By Mike Flaim

T

he ninth annual Massachusetts Family Business Awards took place this year on Oct. 24, the evening prior to the Family Business Conference, at the Colonnade Hotel in

Boston. Howdy Holmes, former racecar driver and now CEO of Chelsea Milling Co., the makers of Jiffy baking mixes, was the keynote speaker at the awards. With his unpretentious demeanor, enthusiasm for family enterprises and a honed ability to convey his business acumen in a way that feels personalized, Holmes was a natural choice. Holmes began his remarks by sharing that his family had been in the milling business for six generations and that the Jiffy brand goes back three generation to his grandmother. He had “no back-

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ground, no training and no manual,” similar to many in the room, but endeavored to continue the family’s legacy. With downtempo charm, he shared anecdotes, dropped bits of wisdom (such as “business is easy – it’s people that are hard”), and cited statistics like “family businesses are responsible for 63 percent of the GDP. Performance-wise, family businesses outperform publicly held businesses in terms of financial returns by about a point and a half.” Holmes’ enthusiasm and wit was in good company thanks to comedian and emcee Jeff Smith (who goes by J Smitty if you see him on Kevin Hart’s “Hart of the City” or in a Boston comedy club). Businesses from all over the commonwealth were recognized; read their stories in the pages of this issue of Family Business Magazine. ■