Madeline Mullins, the 2018 Family Business Student of the Year, is a senior in the OSU College of Business majoring in Management. She is the third generation of the Mullins family that owns and operates Western Precision Products in Tualatin. Maddie was familiar to the AFBP office staff when she first arrived on campus because she would stop by the office to borrow books from the family business library. As a junior she enrolled in the Family Business Management class and became president of Generation Next, the family business student club. Maddie was selected for the Family Business Case Competition team. Before she graduates Maddie will compete in the 2019 Global Family Enterprise Case Competition.
1. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST FAMILY BUSINESS MEMORY?
One of my other favorite childhood memories was the company picnics. Bouncy houses, horseshoes, dunk tanks, corn hole and more – it was a child’s dream. However, watching my grandpa call bingo, and now my dad and uncle, has always been my favorite part. Growing up and watching how the employees respected and adored my grandpa, dad, and uncle was inspiring. It was from this moment that I fell in love with the company – the people, the culture, and the overall atmosphere.
2. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE THAT YOU’VE RECEIVED ABOUT FAMILY BUSINESSES?
The best advice I have received about family business is to be prepared to work twice as hard as everyone else. Being in a family business requires showing up earlier, and staying later – the microscope is always on, and the job is never done. I learned that it takes years to gain credibility, but only a second to lose it. Most importantly, my dad’s advice has always been to “work hard, try your best, be honest, and never give up”.
3. WHAT WERE YOUR ROLES AT WPP WHEN YOU STARTED WORKING THERE AT 18?
When I started at WPP, I was an administrative assistant and receptionist, allowing me to meet all of the customers and suppliers. I scanned documents, and converted the company from paper files to digital. Even with such a routine task, I learned some of the most important skills to date – I learned about the company’s history, the industry, the employees, and I felt even closer to my dad, uncle, and late grandfather.
4. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER FAMILY BUSINESS STUDENTS?
Family business is a community – there are many resources within the Family Business Program. Without a doubt, there is a faculty member, student, or alumni in the program that has or had the same questions or challenges that you do. I have been amazed by the networks and connections that I have made through this outlet.
5. WHICH FAMILY BUSINESS AUTHOR DO YOU RECOMMEND?
My favorite family business author is Randel Carlock – his expertise in family businesses allow him to have a raw and realistic view on companies like mine. I recommend ‘The Goal’ by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. Goldratt does a fantastic job of depicting the challenges that a manufacturing plant faces, and presents practical solutions. While it is not specifically geared towards a family business, this book highlights many of the common obstacles we see at Western Precision.
6. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DOWNTIME ACTIVITY?
In my downtime, one of my favorite things to do is coach the Tigard/ Tualatin middle school dance team. This allows me to feed my passion and be a role model for young girls in my community. I also love to travel, hike, and spend time with my friends and family.
7. WHAT’S YOUR NEXT STEP?
After I graduate in March 2019, I will further develop my skills and experiences in marketing and project management. I’m excited to use the skills I have learned from both Oregon State and Western Precision Products to hone my craft while combining my passions, skill sets, and experiences. I hope to grow sales and company awareness through both social media and personal interactions.