Lead Michiana: On Transition and Succession
During Lead Michiana 2016, Justin Maust asked CEO Bob Schrock to share some brief comments with the event attendees. Justin asked, “When you look at your business, what do you see as one of the biggest challenges your team has faced and might still be facing over the next few years…..but you are making great progress on?” Read on to see Bob’s response and thoughts on company transition and succession. For us it would undoubtedly be things related to transition and succession (transition of leadership and succession of ownership). I’m the 2nd generation of DJ Construction, which has been a family owned business for 62 years. 5 years ago, or so, I began wrestling with what my end game should be and what would happen to the company when I decided to step down, or at least step back. My father had already stepped away, and his health was declining. At that time, there wasn’t a 3rd generation of Schrock’s involved and I started to feel the weight of being known as a planner, but not having a plan.
I watched owners of other family businesses struggle to find ways to pass on or close their businesses, and thus quite frankly, hang on too long, or at least work too hard, much longer than they wanted. I sought counsel, and one very close friend told me that the best option for me personally, would be to just ride it out as long as I wanted, and then liquidate the company when I was done. That just didn’t set right with me. I told him then, and still believe, that DJ Construction was more than that, our mission was too important. Our team deserved better than that, and since I believe that we make our community a better place, our clients and community deserved better than that.
Along the way, about 3 yrs. ago, our company president (of the last 10 years) came to the realization that he’d lost his passion for construction and talked openly with me about an exit plan for him. So I went to work on a plan!
Fast forward to today…
Our former President has moved on after parting on great terms. We have a new president and new chief operating officer in place. They both have experience at DJ and have great passion to grow and make us better. Not just one, but both of my kids have joined DJ and are doing great jobs promoting our brand in marketing and business development. I have started to transfer some shares of ownership to them and to our new president and chief operating officer.
I still have a lot to do (in the next 3 or 4 years), but through it all my passion for what I do has increased, and I am having a ball investing in our new leadership team! They have embraced my own mission of turning fatherless boys into faithful dads as our entire company’s BHAG, and they are motivated to grow DJ in order to provide us more opportunities to dent the fatherless epidemic in the communities that we work in.
Rest assured that DJ Construction is invested wholeheartedly in our community and here for the long haul!