FAMILYBUSINESS Official magazine of the
CHARITABLE GIVING AT THE HEART OF FAMILY BUSINESSES Inside:
FBA Awards Celebrate Familes Throughout New England A Supplement to Banker & Tradesman
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Massachusetts Family Business Official magazine of the
6 FAMILIES GIVING BACK Family businesses support their communities in a number of ways, including through charitable partnerships and philanthropic endeavors. Featuring profiles of unique projects and campaigns, and a special focus on corporate giving â€“ just in time for the holidays.
from the board
Through Adversity, Family Businesses Flourish
It May Be the Giving Season Now, But Tax Season Comes Quickly
rolling through another century
The Plymouth & Brockton Railway Celebrates 125 Years of Hospitable Service
12 celebrating family businesses
The 2013 Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts Continue to Entertain, Inspire Members
Letter from the Board
Passing on the Gifts You Got to Your Children
ometimes it’s the intangibles and the challenges that make for the best result. That could have been a takeaway lesson from the fifth annual Family Business Association Awards for Massachusetts. The cast of characters included an accomplished, fourth-generation independent soft-drink bottler facing and resolving internecine disputes while taking on a corporate behemoth over an advertising dispute; an emerging tech company that managed to stop worrying and learn to love the suburbs; and a harbor cruise company that started in 1926 as a 30-minute cruise for a dime, which has grown to the nation’s largest privately owned operator of passenger vessels; and a business which does good by cleaning up. Not everybody who starts, joins, retires from or sells a family business can make it flourish, but that’s the point of holding the event in the first place. Anyone who attends the FBA Awards can learn from those who, at one time or another, walked through the door of the family business and asked themselves, “What do I do next?”
Sometimes it’s not a known adversity; it’s the unknown. Let’s say no one else has created a business that quite resembles the model one envisions, and the concerns arise over whether it can be done; if it hasn’t been done before, was there a reason; and if we do build it, will they come? The element that bonds family-owned businesses together are the common experiences that cut across all classes of business. There’s the first-generation founder who needs to make the business fly to support his or her kids, the successive generations who have to prove themselves to the people their parents hired, and the owners in any generation who have to make critical decisions to change course in the face of changing markets. This year’s FBA Award winners offer great lessons for all. For profiles of this year’s winners, see page 12. ■ ED TARLOW JEFFREY DAVIS AL DENAPOLI BRIAN NAGLE FBA EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS
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A Family-Owned Business Since 1872 DIRECTORS 101 Huntington Ave., Suite 500 Boston, MA 02199 fbaedu.com
Jeffrey S. Davis, Mage, LLC Al DeNapoli, Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. Brian Nagle, First Republic Private Wealth Management
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What You Should Know Before Getting Started
By Patrick Connolly
here are many reasons why philanthropy should be part of any family owned business’s strategic plan. These range from helping to establish a presence in a community, to boosting employee morale, to simply being good corporate citizens. In many cases, charitable giving can also carry significant tax benefits. The tax implications of charitable giving can vary based on how a company is structured, and it is important for business owners to know how the rules apply to his or her company. Below are key points that business PATRICK CONNOLLY owners should keep in mind. It should be noted that many of these recommendations are complex and may require consultation with an accountant or legal advisor. As a general rule, individuals and corporations are allowed to deduct the fair market value of contributions to qualified charitable organizations. While the contribution of cash is generally straightforward, care needs to be taken when property other than cash is donated, since the amount of the contribution can differ from the fair market value. For example, a tax deduction for the contribution of inventory may be limited to its cost, rather than its fair market value. For pass-through entities, a charitable contribution is considered a separately stated item that is passed through to the owner of the company to deduct on his or her individual tax return. This treatment is generally favorable for owners of passthrough entities, since there are limitations based upon a
percentage of income a taxpayer is able to deduct in each year. The income limitations for individual taxpayers, although more complex, are much less restrictive than those for C corporations. One word of caution for businesses operating as C corporations: Many such companies pay out the profits to the business owners so that little, if any, income is retained in the business. If this is the case, it is quite possible that there will be no tax benefit of a charitable donation made directly by the corporation. Since tax deductions from charitable contributions are based on taxable income, a corporation with little taxable income would not see significant savings. S corporations considering donating appreciated property should be aware that the way the donation is made can influence its tax implications. For example, if a company distributes stock to its owner and the owner then contributes the stock to a charity, the appreciation in the stock’s value could be considered income to the corporation, making it taxable to the owner. On the other hand, if the donation is made directly from the company to the charity, then the owner will be able to deduct the fair market value without being required to recognize income on the appreciation. The 2012 Taxpayer Relief Act extended an important provision of the Internal Revenue Code. The provision allows S corporations to pass-through to their shareholders the ability to deduct the fair market value of appreciated property that they wish to donate, while only reducing their stock basis by
the adjusted basis of the property donated. This extension is scheduled to expire at the end of 2013, after which the shareholder will be required to reduce his or her stock basis by the fair market value of the donated property. As you may know, S corporation stock basis is adjusted upward or downward as a result of various passthrough items. An adjustment resulting in a higher decrease to stock basis is generally not advantageous. Those considering donating appreciated property may want to do so before this provision expires at year-end. Many business owners will be impacted by the 3.8 percent tax on net investment income in 2013. It is important to note that certain charitable trusts are not subject to the 3.8 percent tax. Therefore, establishing such trusts could be an excellent opportunity to reduce the business owner’s overall tax burden. These recommendations should serve as a starting point for any family business thinking about getting more involved in charitable giving. Corporate philanthropy can produce great benefits, but knowing the rules and how they apply to your company is critical to optimizing those benefits. ■ PATRICK L. CONNOLLY, CPA, MST, IS A PARTNER AT BLUMSHAPIRO.
Charitable Giving at the Heart of Family Businesses
By Phyllis Hanlon
hilanthropy often forms the cornerstone of a family business. Aligning a charitable endeavor with the expertise and skills of the business can result in a stronger and diversified connection among owners, employees, vendors, and the larger community. But every family business approaches giving in different ways. Massachusetts family businesses have found unique and fulfilling ways for their companies to contribute to the welfare of the community, while creating a family legacy, and, by example, challenging other companies to make a difference in the world. Serving the Underserved Nathaniel Sills, founder of Standard Motor Products, hoped to instill a sense of social responsibility in his heirs when he founded his family foundation in 2002. He was never involved in the grant-making, which began after his death. The work of the foundation has been carried on by his sons and now Deborah Sills Iarussi, his granddaughter. Board members Deborah and her two uncles, Arthur and Peter, have adhered to the philosophy of giving by selecting grantees that reflect their own profession-
al backgrounds. The Sills Family Foundation has awarded grants to family and children service agencies and environmental organizations and recently added a new initiative. “As the years went on, we organically moved to children whose parents have been incarcerated. None of us have a particular background in that area, but it really resonated with us. It’s a wildly underserved population,” Iarussi says. From the outset, the board decided that financial awards would be no more than $25,000. “We want to be helpful but not overwhelming. We don’t want to destabilize the organization,” says Iarussi. “Also, the grantee should have a real plan in place, solid leadership and a board of directors that contributes and upholds the mission of the organization.” The board makes important on-site visits to assess staff commitment as well. Prior to launching the foundation, the board worked with the Philanthropic Initiative, according to Iarussi. “We wanted to make an impact and with their help we became clear focused and professional. The consultant helped us make more informed decisions.” During a two-day retreat, the board members determined its belief system, decided how to distribute funds, and created guidelines and bylaws.
A Good Host to Charity Lafrance Hospitality, established in 1964 as an eight-stool diner in Fall River, follows a different philanthropic path. CEO Richard L. Lafrance says, “As my father developed the business, he believed in the triangle of hospital, church and education.” And the business embraces that same philosophy today. Lafrance serves on more than 30 boards at local hospitals, schools and non-profit organizations; he and his son R. Christian Lafrance, vice president of restaurant operations, served as the only father-son team to lead the Fall River United Way Campaign. His other three children, as well as a daughter-in-law are all involved in the business and its charitable efforts. The business frequently offers hotel space for various charitable events from Red Cross blood drives to Toys for Tots campaigns. “We host a lot of events but more and more are involved with nonprofits that do off-site events. This helps the non-profit have no food cost when holding an event,” Lafrance says. One of the most successful initiatives Lafrance has sponsored is the Community Cares Card, which is currently being retooled and will resume in the future.
Top, from left: R. Christian Lafrance, vice president of restaurant operations, LaFrance Hospitality, has been active in Fall River’s United Way campaigns. The Coats for Kids campaign, created by Anton’s Cleaners, has attracted many sponsors, including Anytime Fitness. Bill Sapers (center) of Sapers & Wallack at one of the events the company supports. 6
This $10 coupon book offers the buyer significant discounts to Lafrance restaurants as well as for merchandise and services at other local businesses. “We raised about a quarter million dollars,” says Lafrance. Not only does Lafrance Hospitality make good use of its basic business expertise, but it also encourages employees to adopt a giving attitude. “Volunteerism is strong throughout the organization. Being in the hospitality business, we are treating people as we would want to be treated. That is our mantra,” says Lafrance. “We predominantly started as a banquet operation, which exposed us to many organizations that give us business and we felt the need to give back. It’s a two-way street. We’re empowered to go out and do things.” Business is Cleaning Up A prime example of melding business acumen with philanthropy is Anton’s Cleaners, which has been providing clean coats for the needy for the last 19 years through its Coats for Kids program. According to COO Arthur Anton, the company donated 2,000 coats the first year. “As the program has grown, more people have become involved,” he says. “Last year, we donated 60,000 coats and more than 800,000 since the beginning. That’s more than $10 million in cleaning value.” In the ensuing years, the program has attracted a number of sponsors and has engaged school children in its efforts. Jordan’s Furniture has been a partner and major supporter for the last eight years and joins a growing distribution network that includes the Salvation Army, Mass. Community Action Programs (MASS CAP), Middlesex Human Services Agency, Boston University Medical Center Outreach Van Project and several other agencies. In addition to Coats For Kids, Anton’s launched Belle of the Ball nine years ago. During this one-day event at Simmons College, Anton’s give qualified high school juniors and seniors a prom dress. “The first year we gave out 100 and last year we were up to 500. We have cleaned 40,000 dresses at a cost of $1.2 million,” Anton says. “And it’s not just dresses, but shoes, purse, makeup and jewelry. It’s harder to get these things donated so we formed Caring Partners to get the money to buy these items. Last year we spent $15,000 on accessories.” Anton explained that having 26 processing plants enables his business to offer these programs. “We’re leveraging what we do. It makes sense to do what we do,” he says.
Paying Forward, While Giving Back At Sapers & Wallack, the family practices what it preaches. While the business sells insurance-based products and helps create employee benefit and wealth management packages for its non-profit clients, it also donates one percent of its annual gross revenue, at a minimum of $100,000, to a variety of charities and matches employee donations up to $500. “Generation to generation if we’re so lucky to be successful, we owe it to the world to give back,” says Aviva Sapers, president and CEO. As part of its charitable initiative, Sapers & Wallack supports several organizations, including Coats for Kids, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Anti-Defamation League, The Combined Jewish Philanthropies and others. Sapers is especially proud to sponsor Facing History, a high school curriculum on how to make kids into “upstanders” and not bystanders. According to Sapers, the business advises clients to consider giving opportunities, if feasible. “If they do not contribute but there’s reason to do so, we help them figure out how to do that,” she says. “Giving back is a way of paying it forward. You
have to continue the chain on giving.” That giving attitude at Sapers & Wallack trickles down to employees who participate in many charity events throughout the year. “It’s always good business to be involved in the community. It’s a vital piece and part of who we are as a people. We abide by tithing and the Torah. Our family values drive the family business. It’s good to instill that philosophy on the folks who work for you. After all, as part of a family business, your employees are an extension of your family,” Sapers says. “People want to do business with a business that gives back. You set an example of doing well by doing good.” Strategic Giving Family businesses considering creating a foundation might want to contact a consultant. According to Jenifer Cannon, director of development at the Boston Foundation, family businesses have two main vehicles for giving. Establishing priContinued on page 14
Hospitable Service is Anzuoni Family’s Secret Sauce Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Celebrates 125th Anniversary
PHOTO CREDIT: MIKE RITTER PHOTOGRAPHY
Left to right: Steven Anzuoni, George Anzuoni, Carol Anzuoni, Brandon Anzuoni (who works outside the company), and Chris Anzuoni (standing, rear). By Steven Jones-D’Agostino
eorge Anzuoni Jr. is the proud patriarch of a South Shore family that has owned the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company since 1948. The 83-year-old’s three children – Carol, Christopher and Stephen – are the next generation of Anzuonis, helping their dad to traverse the rough roads of the local mass-transit sector. The landmark anniversary of the original Plymouth & Kingston Street Railway Company coincides with another significant milestone. Plymouth & Brockton has been under the ownership of the Anzuoni family for 65 of those 125 years, making it the longest-serving stewards of this integral piece of Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod history. “We just work hard – we have a work ethic,” George explains. “When we were young people up there in Revere [at the then-family-owned, now-defunct Service Bus Line], it was a 24-hour-a-day opera8
tion. And we always had to be ready, and make sure the buses were there.” That said, running a transit business these days is much more challenging than it was six decades ago, in part because of the numerous occupational and environmental regulations that took effect in recent years. One of George’s proudest accomplishments, more than 30 years ago, was eliminating smoking in all vehicles – something that’s now mandatory under the law. “I think [regulations are] healthy,” George says, “just as long as [they are] administered properly. We’re moving people, not freight, so consequently, we’ve got to be able to provide safety – and [our passengers] expect it. There’s no question, that’s what [we’re] there for – not just to try to make some money.” George recalls a phone call he got from a P&B rider who wanted scheduling information. He wasn’t quite sure of the an-
swer, so he went to find a schedule. When he returned to the caller, he was asked, “What do you do?” His response: “I’m the president of the company.” The caller then asked, “You’re the president of the company, and you’re answering my phone call?” He replied,” Why not? You’re very important to me, and if you don’t ride my bus and pay a fare, then I’d have to look someplace else to get my pay.” George also recounts with pride the time, years ago, he tried to board an elevator in Brazil. As he ran to ahead of other people waiting to get on, he was shoved aside. He was tersely told that Brazilians use queue lines. Upon returning home, he created a queue-line system for Plymouth & Brockton. “Now, the [riders] police themselves,” he says. “If you try to cut on, they’ll say, ‘Get to the back of the line.’” Making hospitable service the top concern is the Anzuonis’ secret sauce for healthy, sustainable family ownership. And
George has made sure the next generation knows that special recipe. ‘Families Should Stick Together’ Plymouth & Brockton joins an elite group of privately-held American businesses. Statistically, less than half of 1 percent of all businesses in the United States reach the 100-year mark. What is the Anzuoni family’s key to long-term business success? “You have to give credit to my father, George [Sr.],” George Jr. responds. “He was one of four boys and two [girls], and they migrated from Italy to America, back at the turn of the [20th] century. My father always felt that families should stick together – they should have a unity.” George Jr. and his siblings grew up around buses, in the 1930s, at the old Service Bus Line, a school-bus operation that George Sr. co-founded and co-owned prior to acquiring Plymouth & Brockton in 1948. But they weren’t allowed to hang around the bus yard as youngsters because, as George Jr. recalls, “we were a nuisance and they tried to get rid of us.” As they got older, their dad frowned on them going to the beach during the summer months. This was, after all, a seasonal business, and summertime was when the company made most of its money. So they were recruited to wash buses, answer phones and, once they got their driver’s licenses, to operate buses. After George Jr. served in the Air Force and graduated from college with a degree in industrial engineering, in the late ’40s and early ’50s, he was in need of a job. He didn’t have to look too long – or far. His father informed him, he recalls with a hearty laugh, that “you’re going down to Plymouth [& Brockton] to work.” Subsequently, George Jr.’s three brothers joined him and their dad at the company. “Whatever [my father] said to do, we just did it willingly,” he says. “My brothers and I would have our discussions, but we always enjoyed each other, which was very important.” Arguing it Out Over the Dinner Table Every successful, well-run, familyowned business should have a good, solid succession plan. While the Anzuonis don’t yet have one, they hope to – and sooner rather than later. “We’re working on it,”
George Jr. says. “[We’re] getting close to something.” When Christopher is asked whether he and his siblings are ready to take over the company, he doesn’t miss a beat. “Sure we are,” he declares, while sitting next to his dad. “I think [my father] would be happy to see it happen. … From our perspective, we’d like to keep him hanging around as long as we can. He’s still got an awful lot of knowledge that always comes in handy. There’s constantly one thing or another that you’re faced with, and I think when you have all those years of experience, it helps give some gravity to your decisions.” Christopher and his siblings, Carol and Stephen, along with one of their cousins, are the only members of their generation who are involved with Plymouth & Brockton and the two other family-owned businesses. Together, the three businesses operate about 100 vehicles. The other two operations are: • Brush Hill Tours: Based in Randolph, it also operates Beantown Trolley in Boston. Brush Hill Tours, which was acquired by the Anzuonis in 1954, bills itself as “the only sightseeing motor coach tour operator licensed in the city of Boston.” • McGinn Bus Company: Based in Lynn, the 95-year-old company provides local transit services as well as luxury-motorcoach charter services to the North Shore. Christopher considers his biggest strength to be in operations, which includes scheduling and dispatching. It’s the area of the business in which he came up. Like his dad, he says, “I do a little bit of everything.” He sees himself as the heir to the family’s business-entrepreneur crown, which his father presently wears. Like Christopher, Carol – who focuses on marketing, strategic planning and administration, among other duties – also started working for the company when she was a teenager. And like her brother, she is not anxious to see her dad relinquish the company crown anytime soon. “I’m never ready [for that],” she says, adding with a big laugh, “because we’d like my father to stay around another hundred years.”
A Century Strong The Plymouth & Brockton traces its origins to a discussion among 30 men in 1886 at the Samoset House in Plymouth. One of the men, Albert Gordon, traveled frequently to Plymouth, and felt the local facilities for travel were in need of improvement. His proposal was to build and equip a railway of two and a half miles with heavy-steel flat rails, paved track for the entire length, cars and a horse barn – all for $25,000. Articles of organization were drawn up that evening and, in 1888, a franchise was granted by the Plymouth board of selectmen to charter the Plymouth & Kingston Street Railway Company. That same year, the project had been expanded to a four-mile route that would run from Jabez Corner in Plymouth to the Rocky Nook section of Kingston. There were initial delays; because the company furnishing the motor cars was busy with other projects, it could not deliver them prior to the spring of 1889, as the founders had hoped. The first trial car ran on June 3, 1889, and, six days later, service got under way. More than 147,000 passengers were transported that summer. Today, the Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway remains a privately owned family business, operating an extensive commuter service to Boston. This includes frequent trips to and from Logan Airport, as well as transportation service from Plymouth to the Cape and to Boston. Additionally, Plymouth & Brockton operates the PAL and SAIL local transit services for Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority. The Plymouth & Brockton has more than 100 employees, and a fleet of modern motor coaches, transit vehicles and trolleys, with terminal facilities in Hyannis and South Station and company headquarters in Plymouth. This year, Plymouth & Brockton is celebrating its 125th anniversary, with plans to run, for the third season, a tourist-trolley service in Plymouth.
Continued on page 10 9
Plymouth & Brockton Continued from page 9
Still, Carol thinks she and her brothers are well-prepared to run the business. “We just have been raised to be ready, willing and able to do whatever comes that day. I think we’ll just continue with that attitude into the future.” Benefitting from a Poor Economy For a growing number of people, there’s a real need for transit services such as the Plymouth & Brockton. This is especially the case with so-called Millennials – also known as Generation Y – a demographic cohort born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. As a result, Christopher sees a silver lining for private lines such as Plymouth & Brockton. After watching ridership decline steadily over several years prior to 2008, the bus line carried about 750,000 passengers in 2012, up nearly 5 percent over 2011. He expects to see a similar increase for 2013. “In 2008, when the economy started going bad, ours is an industry that saw a benefit from the poor economy,” he says. “It’s been going up every year, about that same percentage.”
A key reason, according to Christopher, is that younger people who travel from one place to another on a regular basis rely on mass transit. “They are concerned about the environment, and the economy is such that it’s getting very difficult [for them] to own a car,” he says. “There’s definitely increased awareness [of this trend] in the [transit] industry.” No Flip Artists Need Apply While George wants to see the Plymouth & Brockton remain family-owned,
he does get buyout offers from time to time. However, the talks usually end up going nowhere. “Somehow, when you try to get your act together and find out what they want and you want,” he explains, “time goes by and something happens to make it fall through.” What if an interested party could demonstrate the willingness and ability to run the business the same way the Anzuonis do? “I think we’d look at that,” George answers. But he doesn’t expect that to happen anytime soon. The po-
Watching the Publicly Funded Competition When George began working for the old Service Bus Line, the transit sector was comprised largely of independently owned, family-operated businesses. That model has dramatically changed with the expansion of publicly operated service, such as the MBTA and the various regional transit authorities. The Plymouth & Brockton does work for the MBTA, and was one of the founders of the T’s Logan Express service between Braintree and Boston. Still, George is peeved over the MBTA’s introduction this year of the Cape Flyer service, a state and federally subsidized passenger-train service that ran between Boston and the Cape on weekends from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority pays for the operating costs of the 10
Cape Flyer, which is operated by the private Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company. Originally, Cape Flyer service was scheduled to end on Labor Day, but was extended by six weeks due to much greater than expected passenger demand – and financial success. “Our numbers dramatically exceed anybody’s expectations,” CCRTA Administrator Thomas Cahir says. Cape Flyer ridership was 15,200 for the 15-week pilot program, which excluded Labor Day to Columbus Day. Revenue for the 15-week period was $282,000 on operating costs of only $155,000. George regards the Cape Flyer as competition because the Plymouth & Brockton has been providing hourly weekend summer service to Hyannis
since 1961. Because of his concern that the Cape Flyer will eventually be expanded beyond the summer months, he says he’s “been talking with” CCRTA’s Cahir, whom, he adds with a laugh, is an old friend. When asked whether CCRTA wants to provide Cape Flyer service yeararound, Cahir said “absolutely not.” He expects Cape Flyer service to run next year, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with possible expansion again to Columbus Day, if demand warrants it. Cahir calls George “a wonderful and important transportation leader for a long time, a good friend, and a very hardworking, effective transportation guy.” The Anzunoni family, he adds, “has “maintained an incredibly reputable business for a long time.”
tential buyers that he’s dealt with, he says, want to “flip it” – that is, buy the company, strip it down, and sell it for a profit. Until a suitable suitor come along, George is happy to continue as the chief driver of the Plymouth & Brockton. The spry octogenarian figures that “99 percent” of his passengers are satisfied customers. When there is a complaint – and
his company, he says, records all of them – “we try to address every one, to let the people know we’re there for them.” Looking a decade or so down the local mass-transit road, Christopher sees the Anzuoni family still running the Plymouth & Brockton. “I sure hope so,” he declares. “I’m doing everything I can, to keep that happening.” From the elder Anzuoni comes quite
useful words of wisdom. “You’ve got to be transparent about what you’re doing,” George advises his offspring and likely successors. “Your customer comes first. There’s the old saying, ‘The customer’s always right,’ and without the customer, you don’t have a business. You’re serving a need – it isn’t a sin company that you’re running. You’re not serving alcohol, selling insurance, or something like that. You’re providing a definite need that the public warrants. I get a happy feeling doing it – it’s heart-warming – and I just hope that I can pass that on to them.” The pledge of this remarkable family business is, “Let us help you get to where you need to go.” It’s clear that George has been successful in fulfilling it. Expect the next generation of Anzuonis to continue achieving it for many years to come. ■ STEVEN JONES-D’AGOSTINO IS THE FORMER EDITOR OF THE WORCESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL. HE PRODUCES AND HOSTS “THE BUSINESS BEAT,” A WEEKLY SHOW ON 90.5 WICN IN WORCESTER. HIS INTERVIEW WITH THE ANZUONIS AIRED ON SUNDAY, NOV. 10 AND IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD.
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FBA 2013 Awards Gala
MAKING A POSITIVE
By Nora Tooher
ore than 400 family business owners and supporters gathered at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge on Oct. 24 to celebrate the Family Business Association (FBA) Awards for Massachusetts 2013. While the Red Sox slugged it out across the Charles River during the second game of the World Series, the 22 finalists for this year’s awards were feted for persevering and succeeding despite personal, economic and industry challenges. Keynote speaker Carolyn Stimpson, one of five Crowley family siblings who own Wachusett Ski Area and Polar Beverages, discussed the difficulties of extended family members battling ownership shares, a 1994 advertising dispute with Coca-Cola Co. and the importance of coming together as a family. Her husband, John Stimpson, a filmmaker, is not on the company payroll because of a “no-spouse rule.” John explained, “we as a family all work together, we play together and we vacation together,” adding that it helps that the family has “a wonderful Irish sense of humor.” The ski resort employs 1,000 during the ski season, and the Worcester bever12
age company, which traces its roots to 1882, is the nation’s largest independent soft-drink bottler. FBA President Edward D. Tarlow said before the dinner that the awards and annual dinner are an extension of the organization’s commitment to educate and empower family businesses. The awards recognized small, medium, large and first-generation firms whose business practices have had a positive impact on their business sectors and communities. In addition, several awards were given to family businesses for special achievements in particular areas, including marketing and philanthropic work. Paula Ebbens, co-anchor of WBZ-TV’s noon and 5 p.m. newscasts, pinch-hit as master of ceremonies for colleague David Wade, who was on assignment in St. Louis for coverage of the World Series. “Family businesses really are the backbone of the economy,” she said. Ebbens noted that family businesses not only weathered the recent economic storm, but also outperformed many public companies. “It’s really because of having the integrity to make good and moral business decisions,” she said. “What a special gift you are giving to
your children, or your parents or grandparents passed on to you,” Ebbens told the audience. 2013 Winners Named Brief videos highlighted the stories of the 22 finalists, which ranged from twoperson bakeries to growing tech manufacturers. FBA award winners this year were: Small Business of the Year (fewer than 50 full-time employees): Ellis Haven Inc., a third-generation family campground in Plymouth, now owned and operated by David and Craig Carreau. Mid-Sized Business of the Year (50 to 150 full-time employees): E.T. & L. Corp., a 68-year-old, heavy construction business in Stow, now owned and operated by Jennie Lee Colosi – one of the largest womanowned heavy construction companies in the country. Large Business of the Year (more than 150 full-time employees): Boston Harbor Cruises Inc. Founded in 1926 as a 30-minute Charles River cruise for 10 cents, the company today is the nation’s largest private operator of passenger vessels. Rick, Chris and Alison Nolan – fourthgeneration members of founder Matthew Hughes’ family – currently steer the business.
PHOTOS BY KRYS STREETER PHOTOGRAPHY
First-Generation Business of the Year: Johnny Cupcakes Inc., a Weymouth t-shirt company founded by John Earle 12 years ago that has grown to include online sales, five retail stores and a warehouse. Community Excellence Award: Wineland-Thomson Adventures Inc., a Watertown adventure travel business, whose co-owner, Judi Wineland, helped found Focus on Tanzanian Communities. The organization has built classrooms in 13 schools, donated thousands of textbooks and provided entrepreneurship opportunities to Tanzanian women. Endurance Award: The Clark School for Creative Learning Inc. in Danvers. Founded by Sharon and Ronald Clark in 1978, the school combines the freeform education of Montessori schools with a rigorous, but flexible academic schedule for a small group of students. Under the leadership of second-generation headof-school Jeff Clark and his wife, Amy, attendance has grown to more than 120 students. Ed Tarlow Marketing Excellence Award: MediaVue Systems LLC, a Weymouth computer hardware manufacturer founded by Erik DeGiorgi and his father, David DeGiorgi, which has shown
it’s possible to build a successful technology manufacturing company in a Boston suburb. Comcast Spotlight Hall of Fame Award: Anton’s Cleaners, a dry cleaning business founded in 1913 in Lowell by Charles Antonopoulos. The third generation of Anton’s operates 42 stores throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Anton’s was the 2012 FBA community excellence award winner. Its “Coats for Kids” program has collected, cleaned and distributed more than 800,000 coats for nearly two decades. Its “Belle of the Ball” program, begun in 2005, cleans and distributes prom dresses and accessories at no charge to high school junior and senior girls who would not otherwise be able to attend their proms. The FBA also announced two awards to individuals and organizations for their ongoing support and education of family businesses in Massachusetts: Family Business Advocacy Award: Robert Nelson, Massachusetts district director, U.S. Small Business Administration, a position he has held since 2007. Regional Family Business Advocacy Award: Mark Grenier, vice president
and senior commercial banking officer at BankGloucester. Personal Fulfillment Several finalists and winners said they were gratified by the recognition they received, but that the ultimate satisfaction has been accomplishing their personal and career goals. Erin Erler, a finalist in the small business category for Cakes by Erin, said she began the business when one of her three children developed a severe nut allergy. What began as a home-kitchen endeavor has grown to a well-known Haverhill bakery she owns with her sister, Kelly Mackin. “We’re doing very well,” she said. Erik DeGiorgi, 30, said he co-founded MediaVue Systems six years ago after he returned home from the Marine Corps and combat duty in Afghanistan mainly as a way to spend time with his father. The two had been separated for much of Erik’s childhood, he said. And while starting a business with his father during a challenging economic period was “rocky,” he said, “The net result is that we’ve developed a special relationship.” And the company, which has 14 employees, is so successful it is opening a European division. ■ 13
Heart of The Family Business Continued from page 7
vate foundations is generally the more complicated and costly of the options, and restricts any desired anonymity. “The second option, donor advised funds, is already set up and, at least in the beginning, it’s a good idea,” she says. This option allows a business to put money in and derive an immediate tax deduction. “You can sit on the money until you decide how to use it. Instead of writing many checks, you write one, and the company decides where the money will go,” Cannon says. Lisa Spalding, philanthropic advisor The Lafrance Hospitality Breakfast with Santa Toys for Tots. for the Philanthropic Initiative, works nized as the oldest family business in are many alternative ways to help those with established foundations that want America, concentrates their philanthropin need. Family businesses can leverage to do more with their giving. “If there is ic activities in their industry. They have their niche areas to determine the best a significant increase in resources, I help established various music scholarships option that will benefit both the greater them figure out how to use the money. and have established The Zildjian Opcommunity and the company. We do strategic planning on how to enportunity Fund, a permanently endowed By identifying values and interests, a gage the family. We look at the goals for trust, managed and administered through family business can engage in charitable social impact and do research to find apthe Percussive Arts Society to provide efforts – from sponsorships and monpropriate outlets,” she says. “The key to funding for percussion-based interactive etary donations to in-kind services and family success is education and focus, events directed to underserved youth, foundation work – that leverage its spelearning more about the issues and trends ages pre-school through high school. cialty area, thus perpetuating the good around their interests.” Although name of the company and supporting the BlumShapiro Ad 7.5family, x 5_Layout 1 8/19/2013 Page 2 foundations may not be the The Zildjian owners of The 2:57 PM best option for all family businesses, there community. ■ Avedis Zildjian Company Inc., recog-
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