Looking to the Future


Family-owned firms make up between 80 percent and 90 percent of businesses in America. But with so many of these business leaders nearing retirement, many are looking to hand over the reins to the next generation — a generation
of leaders and entrepreneurs that are looking to take their companies to the next level.

Recent research by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) — in talking to 268 next generation family members likely to take over the business from 31 countries worldwide — shows that 60 percent want to take the business into new geographic markets. They are exploring new ideas, new products and even new business models.

According to the PwC’s recent research, the next gens’ confidence has risen, their horizons have widened, and their preparation for senior roles has improved since its study in 2014. For instance, 70 percent have worked outside the family firm to gain useful experience and bridge the credibility gap before joining the family business. Survey respondents also say they want to be more than just “caretakers”; they want to leave their stamp on the business and are not timid about bringing in outside help to achieve their goals. Additionally, 69 percent percent would bring in experienced non-family managers to help modernize/professionalize the business.

“Another trend we’re observing in our work with family firms is that many talented next gens are becoming much more selective about the role they take on,” says Henrik Steinbrecher, PwC Global Middle Market Leader. “They want a job that matches their skills and where they can excel. They have a deeper and more nuanced understanding of what running the family firm is going to mean in the coming years, and they’re asking themselves what they have to offer that would help take the business forward.”

In this edition of the Business Magazine, we’ll explore some of the exciting resources that are helping to propel family businesses and entrepreneurs in the region forward, such as the innovative collaborations taking place at Penn State Behrend. We’ll also talk with Jon DeArment, president and CEO of Meadville-based manufacturer Channellock, Inc., on how this well-known family-owned company has forged five generations of business success.

Plus, be sure to check out our special section celebrating the hundreds of Manufacturer & Business Association member companies that are marking milestone anniversaries in 2017. The Association is proud to recognize this legacy
of leadership and entrepreneurship and is dedicated to providing numerous programs and services that can help these businesses succeed in the future. To learn more about these exciting MBA member benefits, visit!