About Us

Helping Family Businesses Flourish and Thrive Since 1985

The Center for Family Enterprise’s mission is to provide three pillars — education, outreach and research — to family businesses and their advisors throughout the region, and we excel as a pacesetting resource. We prepare family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and all individuals involved as they address challenges and opportunities, day to day and during succession.

Our History

Since our founding in 1985, the Center for Family Enterprise has been dedicated to helping family businesses flourish and thrive. We are honored to have been integral to the family business community in the region for nearly four decades. Here are some of our proudest milestones:


Joan Austin of A-dec, along with Dr. Patricia “Pat” A. Frishkoff, suggested that the College of Business create a family business program, which became the second such program nationally after the University of Pennsylvania. Frishkoff became the Austin Family Business Program’s first director. Her tenure lasted until 2002.


The program held its first family business conference, featuring John Ward. The conference was the beginning of the program’s longstanding efforts to host educational events.


We launched our family business workshop series, which featured topics including communication and women in business, and non-family managers in family business.


Frishkoff created educational offerings for professional service providers who work with family businesses and through collaboration.


OSU’s Fishing Families program and Frishkoff received the interdisciplinary Achievement Award given by the Family Firm Institute.


Alongside the USDA and the OSU College of Forestry, the program helped create the Ties to the Land curriculum, which assists woodland owners in addressing the communication, emotional and legal aspects of succession planning.


The program hosted the 10th annual Family Enterprise Research Conference in Portland.


The Austin Family Business Program was renamed the Center for Family Enterprise, with expanded educational and outreach opportunities for family businesses and a research arm that puts us at the cutting edge of knowledge. Ted A. Paterson, Ph.D. is the center’s director. ​​

About the Director

Ted A. Paterson joined Oregon State University in 2015 and is currently an associate professor of management. In 2020, he was named the director of the Center for Family Enterprise and the L. W. "Bill" Lane Professor in Family Business Management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska in 2014. Prior to his doctoral studies he was a financial advisor for nearly 10 years. Paterson's research interests center on positive organizational behavior, leadership, ethics, identity and family business. He has taught a wide variety of management courses and currently teaches MGMT 552, Organizational Behavior.

Read More

Ted Patterson