CORVALLIS - Family businesses face many challenges, from succession of leadership, to communication, to professionalizing the family enterprise. But few issues are important - or as difficult - as managing growth.

One of the nation's leading family business programs is hosting a conference June 17-19 in Welches, Ore., designed to help family businesses deal with these unique challenges.

The Austin Family Business Program in the College of Business at Oregon State University is coordinating the conference, which will feature leading family business scholars, advisers and managers. More information on the conference - including registration, the agenda, and accommodations - is available online at

Between 80 and 90 percent of all business enterprises in the United States are family-run operations, said Mark Green, director of OSU's Austin Family Business Program.

"People too often equate family businesses with Mom-and-Pop grocery stores," Green said. "While there certainly are numerous smaller family businesses, most people are surprised to discover that more than one-third of all of the Fortune 500 companies are family-owned. And 78 percent of all the new jobs created in the U.S. are from family-owned businesses."

Green said the 2004 Austin Family Business Conference this June will explore how family businesses can develop "best practices" for:

  • Managing boundaries between home and business;
  • Establishing a plan for succession to the next generation;
  • Growing the business at the right time, in the right way;
  • Making sound investments;
  • Estate planning;
  • Governance.

The conference will be held in Welches, Ore., which is about halfway between Portland and scenic Mt. Hood. The conference facility, The Resort at the Mountain, is also family-owned.

One of the speakers at the conference is Richard Steinfeld, who will discuss of Steinfeld's Products Co. - the largest pickle and sauerkraut manufacturer in the western U.S. He will discuss the growth of the company from its humble beginnings, the challenge of succession, family relations inside the business, and the impact of an outside board.

Stephen McCaffray, retired president and CEO of Seattle-based National Frozen Foods Corp., will share his perspective as a third-generation family member of that company - and how it differed from his work with H.J. Heinz Co.

Other speakers who will discuss a variety of family business issues include Craig D. Chambers, of MassMutual Financial Group, who has worked with hundreds of family businesses on financial matters; Al Gini, a professor at Loyola University of Chicago, a nationally known author and consultant, and co-founder of Business Ethics Quarterly; Ken Moores, director for the Australian Center for Family Business and former president and vice chancellor of Bond University; and Green, who directs the nation's oldest family business program and holds the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business at Oregon State University.

The Austin Family Business Program was established at Oregon State University in 1985, and has supported thousands of family-owned businesses through conferences, workshops, seminars and research.


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Mark Green, 541-737-3326