Created on Thursday, 06 November 2008 14:51
From toddlers to oldsters pushing the centennial mark, family members of five of the state’s most outstanding businesses packed the banquet room at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman, to receive what one family member said was “the closest to a grammy as we will ever get.”
The businesses were recognized at the annual 2008 Montana State University College of Business State Farm Insurance Family Business Day, on Sept. 26. Awards were presented to businesses from Ronan, Bozeman, Billings and Chinook, each in a separate category of the 2008 Montana Family Business Awards.
Wyo-Ben of Billings won in the large business category; St-Char-Ro Floral & Event Rentals of St. Ignatius, Charlo and Ronan won in the very small business category. Owenhouse & Associates, Bozeman, won in the small business category; Montana DataSure, LLC, Bozeman, won in new business category; and a Judge’s Special Recognition award was presented to the Hofeldt Family of Chinook with their ranching and farming business.
In presenting the award to Montana Datasure, Montana Chamber of Commerce President Webb Brown, said, “Montana is a highly entrepreneurial state. It has one of the highest rates of business startups in the nation.” And the fact is most of those businesses are enterprises founded by and operated by families – often with the lines of when family ends and business begins being so blurred as to be almost indistinguishable.
During a more agrarian era, when families lived on the farm which was the family business, the complete blending of business and family was simply how life was lived. Even in urban settings in an earlier time, families commonly lived above their city shops and their children worked in them, learning many of the same lessons that children of family businesses learn today.
“It’s wonderful that kids contribute to the businesses but also they contribute to their own development,” said Greg Young of MSU in presenting one of the awards.
Said Dennis Gardner in accepting the award for St-Char-Ro, “The most important thing is our family and the children learning to work. It is amazing how much they learn by just being around people.”
It’s not easy melding family and business, but it brings a closeness and rewards that are unique and make it well worth the effort. The opportunity to spend more time with their families is exactly why some businesses are started.
Said Jim Paffhausen of State Farm Insurance in presenting an award, “Entrepreneurs like those in this room are what make this country work. To ____ with Wall Street and all the bailouts! These families make it work without bailouts.”
John Baucus of Sieben Ranch commented on how tough it was to select winners out of the businesses nominated this year. “While filling in an application takes time, judging is more difficult. The fact that a business was submitted indicates it meets family and business goals. Each business owner puts in the extra hours and bears the stress to meet deadlines, make payroll, and maintain or enhance family values. Any employer who is honest, treats employees like family, and is fair in his or her relationship with customers is a winner.”
The Montana Family Business Program is in its 15th year. The MSU College of Business and State Farm Insurance, in honor of Robert Jaedicke, host the program. Stockman Bank underwrote the awards.