Family Business at It’s Best

Last week, the University of Connecticut Family Business Program held its annual ceremony, honoring the best family businesses in the state. Horst Engineering won this award in the medium category in 1999. It was an important moment for our business owning family and it was a turning point for our organization. We had been nominated for the award by Mary Beth Reid, Executive Director of the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce. She identified Horst Engineering as a high achieving business with multi-generation family ownership. We were honored to compete with the other esteemed businesses and were even more thrilled when our application won us the top prize. However, the prize was not the best thing to come out of the process. The best thing to happen to us was that we gathered some imporant history about our company that may have been lost if we hadn’t been motivated to collect and document it for the future.

The process also exposed us to family business education, which has been incredible for both our family and our non-family employees. Family business education has grown dramatically in recent years as more business owning families realize that they need to be proactive about managing both their businesses and their relationsips. Communication is the most important factor in determining the longevity of a family business. Ever since Horst Engineering won the award in 1999, we have been on a journey to learn even more about family business concepts, best practices, and networks. We have met progressive family business leaders from all over the world and are proud to say that our approach is widely respected.

The UCONN Family Business Program, under the leadership of Priscilla Cale, has done much to further family business education in Connecticut.

The 2007 winners of the Connecticut Family Business of the Year awards have a lot to be proud of:

Small Business Category
1st Place:
The Hawley Companies; Danbury
1st Runner-up:
Cavaliere Industries, Inc.; Stamford
Finalist:
BGR Radiator; Plainfield
Medium Business Category
1st Place:
Motorlease Corporation; Farmington
1st Runner-up:
Century Spring Mfg. Co., Inc.; Bristol
Finalist:
Teddy’s Transportation System, Inc.; Norwalk
Large Business Category
1st Place:
Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.; Orange
1st Runner-up:
Curtis Packaging Corporation; Sandy Hook
Finalist:
ProMold Plastics; Cromwell

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