A Salute to Family Businesses

Family businesses are economic powerhouses, but these family firms are not only unique in their contributions to our community, but in their approach to business as well. Many family firms boast distinct, competitive values that result in more than just profits.

According to Family Enterprise USA, more than 90 percent of family businesses feel that what sets them apart from other companies is a long-term investment philosophy, commitment to employees and suppliers, and contributions to their communities.

In fact, research by the Conway Center for Family Business found:

  • Family businesses leaders focus on the next generation. They tend to embrace strategies that put customers and employees first and emphasize social responsibility.
  • Family businesses have powerful internal cultures. A study of 114 family firms and 1,200 other large companies for their organizational health found that family owned businesses score significantly higher on things like worker motivation and leadership.
  • 74 percent believe they have a stronger culture and values than other non-family firms. And, 72 percent measure success differently, not just growth and profit.
  • Of primary importance among family firm wealth holders is transferring not only their financial wealth but also their values surrounding their wealth to subsequent generations. Primary values include encouraging children to earn their own money, philanthropy, charitable giving and volunteering.
  • The environment for innovation in family businesses improves when more generations of the owning family are actively involved in the business.

Family businesses are the cornerstone of the American economy as well. According to recent statistics:

  • Family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country’s employment, and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.
  • The greatest part of America’s wealth lies with family owned businesses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, family firms comprise 90 percent of all business enterprises in North America.
  • Small businesses, including many family firms, employ just over half of U.S. workers. Of 113.4 million non-farm private sector workers in 2011, small firms with fewer than 500 workers employed 55 million and large firms employed 58.4 million. Firms with fewer than 20 employees employed 20.2 million.

The Manufacturer & Business Association (MBA) is truly proud to support our region’s employers, especially the many family businesses that are the bedrock of our communities. In fact, whether they have been in operation for generations or are just getting started, we recognize the countless contributions of these organizations.

That’s why, in this month’s MBA Business Magazine, we are saluting these dynamic family businesses, their success stories and the vital role they play in our region’s economy and quality of life.

In this edition, we’ll showcase North East, Pennsylvania-based Ridg-U-Rak, Inc., which is owned and operated by the Pellegrino family, and is one of the largest pallet rack and storage rack manufacturers in North America. We’ll also talk about how family owned firms, such as W.K. Thomas & Associates General Contractors in Butler, Pennsylvania, are building the future.

Plus, we’ll hear from McGill, Power, Bell & Associates Partner Chris Salandra, CPA, about the importance of business continuity and succession planning during such a critical time in our world. We’ll also recognize some of the many family owned operations that have graced the cover of the MBA Business Magazine over the years!

To learn how the Association can assist your family business now and in the near future, visit!