LancasterThriving_WinterSpring2017 - 18
BUSINESS: SUCCESSION PLANNING
If you are a leader/owner of a business, someday you
will exit your business. It may be planned or unplanned,
expected or unexpected, but one way or another it will
happen. Unfortunately, many leaders/owners live in
denial of this simple and certain reality. In a recent survey
conducted by the High Center at Elizabethtown College,
only 33% of businesses had a formal succession plan. This
lack of planning is one of the main reasons that only 30%
of businesses are successfully transferred to the second
generation of the founding-family owners.
So what is succession planning and how should a business
prepare for it? Leaders of three companies that are
successfully navigating the succession planning process
were interviewed in hopes that their responses will inspire
other businesses to begin the journey. These individuals
included: Chip Cargas, Cargas Systems; Chuck Manners,
Godfrey; and Ralph Simpson, Warfel Construction Company.
1. What does succession planning mean to you?
Cargas: Succession to me means leadership and
ownership succession. There is interplay between the two
but they are separate plans. We have a plan for a normal
transition and an abrupt transition. Each year our plans are
reviewed and updated by the board.
Simpson: It's standard operating procedure here at
Warfel. Since I joined in 1987, we've been continuously
planning and implementing. You are either introducing
new partners or planning for the day new partners will
join the company.
18 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Winter/Spring2017
2. Taking the first step is sometimes the hardest part
of the succession planning journey. What led you to
take the first step and how did you get started?
Cargas: Turning 50 was a milestone and I knew I needed
to develop a plan. I began by speaking with peers and
advisors. There were a couple of starts and stops along
the way but in a few years we had developed an estate
plan and a plan for any abrupt change. We then slowly
became more intentional about a normal leadership