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25 years and counting: Center for Family Business to celebrate, look to future

The University of Toledo Center for Family and Privately Held Business will celebrate its 25th anniversary of service to area companies Tuesday, Nov. 14, at the Toledo Club.

Established in 1992, the UT Center for Family and Privately Held Business is dedicated to serving the specific needs of family businesses, primarily in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. It received its start due to a generous endowment by the Stranahan Foundation and the continual support of family businesses.

“The fun-filled evening will include stories about the past and reflections on the future,” Debbie Skutch, center director, said. “We will honor center leadership past, present and future; and we have some other fun activities planned. The center has thrived for 25 years because of our members, sponsors and community partners, and we want to spend the evening celebrating them.”

“We have always strived to be attentive and responsive to the changing needs of our members,” Angie Jones, assistant director at the center, said. “Their businesses are not static, but always evolving. They change as the economy changes, as world markets shift, and as dynamics change in their own businesses. We truly believe it is our responsibility to be there with pertinent answers to as many of these issues as we can. We have done that, which is why our members stay with us and new members join us all the time.”

Today, with nearly 200 family businesses as members, the center membership benefits include:

• Attendance at events and forums sponsored by the UT Center for Family and Privately Held Business;

• Monthly mini-forums available to member companies only;

• Interaction with family business peers through affinity group participation; and

• Access to local, regional and nationally recognized business experts.

Thirteen companies have been members since the center was established; these include The Andersons, the Appliance Center, Gross Electric, Hart Inc., Kuhlman Corp., Shrader Tire & Oil, and Walt Churchill’s Market.

“Over our first 25 years of service, we estimate that the information, resources, programs, networking and more has resulted in a positive impact worth millions of dollars to these regional businesses,” Skutch said. “The viability of our members is the reward we seek, and together we will continue to make a meaningful difference in their future success.”