Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020 - 39

and thought and prayer in trying to design
an ownership structure that would work
for both the company and the family.
He took it very seriously."
OWNERSHIP FOR EMPLOYEES
When the company was passed on to
Peterson's father and uncle, a structure was
set up that prohibited family members from
owning part of the business unless they
were employed there. While some family
businesses do it differently, in this case,
Peterson says, "It was really an attempt to
unify priorities among shareholders. There
were no silent partners showing up looking
for dividends or payouts."
While the ownership structure was
set when Peterson began running the
company, there were some cultural issues
that still needed to be addressed.
"Sometimes family members were put
into management positions they were not
well-suited for," he says. "The thought was
an owner can't report to someone else-he
has to be the top guy. But that's not good if
someone is struggling, isn't happy and may
not really be cut out for management. It's
not good for the company or the employee."
Recently, Peterson explains, the
company has brought in some experienced
managers from the outside. "We don't have
to rely only on the experience and abilities
of family members for strategic decisions
and big-picture things," he says. "It's worked
out really well. Their outside perspectives
help us look at things a little differently."
ROLES FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
According to Miller, the consultant, it
is often a good idea for next-generation
family members to get some outside
experience before they go to work at
the family firm.
"It can help them have some of their own
success someplace where their last name
doesn't matter," he explains. "They can get
more accurate feedback on their performance
and build some self-confidence."

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Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review February 2020

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