Husson University – Southern Maine Hosts Forum on Passing a Family Business to the Third Generation and Beyond

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Even though over 80 percent of Maine’s businesses are family-owned, only 13 percent of these businesses are passed to the third generation. This educational event featured two panels of experts from organizations that have beaten the odds and successfully passed their businesses on to the third generation of their family.

Husson University Southern Maine offers a variety of on-site and online professional degree programs.  Visit Husson.edu/southernmaine to learn more.

Husson University's Southern Maine campus hosted a forum about passing a family business to the third generation and beyond on June 17, 2015.

This joint effort with the Institute for Family-Owned Business is a perfect example of the kind of collaborative educational opportunities that enable Husson University to serve the Southern Maine business community.

Husson University hosted a family business forum called “Learn from the Best: Challenges and Successes of the 3Gs (Generations)” at their Southern Maine campus in Westbrook, Maine on June 17, 2015. Sponsored by the Institute for Family-Owned Business, this educational event featured two panels of experts from organizations that have beaten the odds and successfully passed their businesses to the third generation of their family.

“We were pleased to host this important event at our Westbrook campus,” says Husson University College of Business Dean Marie Hansen, J.D., Ph.D. “This joint effort with the Institute for Family-Owned Business is a perfect example of the kind of collaborative educational opportunities that enable Husson University to serve the Southern Maine business community.

Over 80 percent of Maine’s businesses are family-owned. In any five-year period, nearly 40 percent of these businesses will “pass the baton” to the next generation.

Passing a business on to the next generation is no easy matter. Only 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive to the second generation and the odds do not improve with subsequent generations. Only 13 percent of these businesses are passed to the third generation and only three percent make it to the fourth generation.

The event consisted of two panel discussions. Panelists participating in this event include:

  •     Gene Geiger – CEO, Geiger
  •     Kevin D. Hancock - President, Hancock Lumber Company
  •     Michael D. Barriault – President, Central Distributors
  •     John A. Isaacson - CEO, Lee Auto Malls
  •     Robert Moore - Chairman and CEO, Dead River Company
  •     Steven P. Cote - President, Chalmers Insurance Group

The first panel discussion on the “‘3 Gs’ (Generations)” featured the insights of Geiger, Hancock and Barriault. Steve Tenney, a senior vice president with Family Wealth Management Partners, moderated this presentation.

The second panel discussion on “Non-Family Leaders in the Family Business” focused on the experiences of Isaacson, Moore and Cote. The moderator for this presentation was Nancy Forster-Holt, PhD, MBA, CMA. Forster-Holt is an assistant professor in Husson University’s College of Business and the executive director of entrepreneurship at the Richard E. Dyke Center for Family Business on Husson University’s Bangor campus.

Forster-Holt is a graduate of Cornell University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in labor economics. She later went on to attend the University of Maine where she earned a Master of Business Administration and her doctorate. Prior to entering academia, Forster-Holt worked in tax accounting, banking and sales. She researches entrepreneurial and small firm exit, real options and small firm acquisition strategies. Her research findings have been shared with local, national and international audiences. In addition, Dr. Forster-Holt is an entrepreneur. She is the co-owner of family-owned Shaw & Tenney with her husband Steve Holt and the chief financial officer of Double Blue Sports Analytics.

Participants attending this event learned that companies do not use a common recipe for their success. Instead, they all take different paths toward becoming what they are today. In fact, sometimes, the best way to keep a family business is not keep it in the family.

Husson University's Southern Maine campus is located at 340 County Road in Westbrook.

For more than 100 years, Husson University has prepared future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent superior value in higher education. Our Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells and Northern Maine provide advanced knowledge in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. In addition, Husson University has a robust adult learning program. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.

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Eric B. Gordon
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