Family-owned businesses are the heart of the construction industry. Literally. It is the most frequently encountered ownership model in the world and impacts the global economy significantly. The generational leadership of a family business is credited for developing entrepreneurial talent, a sense of loyalty to business success, long-term strategic commitment, and corporate independence.
According to the Family Owned Business Institute, family-owned businesses create seventy-eight percent of U.S. jobs and employ sixty percent of the workforce. And members of Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston are working to keep the industry growing through their generational leadership.
Craig & Heidt, Inc. is a general and industrial contractor and has been a family-owned business for over seventy years, with Charles Craig joining the company in 1959 and becoming Craig & Heidt in 1973. The company offers a broad scope of industrial petrochemical construction, commercial services, and has constructed major projects such as site preparation, concrete foundations, paving, and drainage construction.
“I believe the family-owned small business model offers many benefits to the construction industry,” says Sam Craig, President of Craig & Heidt, Inc. “The compact corporate structure means quicker response time to most activities of the business. This includes customer service, human resource, and financial aspects to name a few. I have had comments from owners and engineers stating their preference to use small businesses because of those factors.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials are expected to overtake baby boomers as the largest generation in the United States this year, with most of them already in the workforce.2 In today’s workplace, and especially for family-owned businesses, this means that there are several different generations with unique viewpoints on work ethics, communication, and leadership – including a diverse collection of opinions and skill sets that can help businesses set themselves apart and be more innovative than competitors.
Craig says that Craig & Heidt has five family members representing three generations, and is currently in generation four.
“This diversity has been a great help to me both personally and professionally,” continues Craig. “Diversity brings new viewpoints on communication and leadership and allows for training younger family members for future leadership and ownership positions in the company. This is one way that Craig & Heidt is currently training and fostering this current generation.”
Darlene East, President of Holes, Inc., says that being a family-owned business has allowed her company to continue to foster values from generation to generation.
“Holes is still developing the next generation of leaders,” says East. “We actively recruit young professionals from the construction schools as well as promote individuals from the field. In the meantime, we set up multi-generational round tables to discuss and brainstorm on the improvements and growth at Holes.”
Since 1972, Holes has been on the cutting edge of concrete sawing, drilling, scanning, demolition, and removal. The company is dedicated to concrete cutting research and development and has led to the integration of many high-tech tools and services.
According to East, Holes is focuses on taking care of employees and providing excellence customer service. As a family-owned business, Holes has the ability to offer best in class benefits, job training, and long-term career development for their employees. As the industry begins to recognize the need to offer better career opportunities, Holes has most of those opportunities in place, and is leading the industry by example.
“I take pride in seeing our employees succeed in their careers here at Holes. As we recognize people reaching career milestones, I know that it is because we continue to live up to the original values of my parents. Putting our employees first by providing jobs, training, and opportunities are the key goals in our business.”