Port Blakely, Seattle | 2018 Dean's Award for Family Business Leadership
Since 2008 the Dean’s Award for Family Business Leadership has recognized significant family enterprises of the Pacific Northwest. The recipients represent successful businesses with deep family legacies and continuing commitment to their community.
Port Blakely, founded in 1864, is guided by the Eddy family and builds on a deep history of thoughtful resource management and stewardship. The company sustainably manages forests in Washington, Oregon and New
Zealand supplying countries around the world with hemlock and Douglas fir. Guided by the company value “tomorrow comes first” conservation is their highest priority.
The executive leadership transition to fourth generation René Ancinas was carefully planned and the Eddy Family Council exists to maintain the balance of family legacy and corporate innovation.
Ancinas, a fourth-generation family member became CEO in 2010 after serving as president and chief operating officer. He was a founding member and the first president of the Eddy Family Council. A trained clarinetist, with
degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the San Francisco Conservatory, Ancinas completed the Executive MBA program at the University of Washington before moving into his leadership role at Port Blakely.
Q&A with René Ancinas, CEO, Port Blakely
1. BEST ADVICE TO THE NEXTGENERATION:
Have career interests outside the family’s core business. A diversity of experience and perspective among family members will help make sure your company thrives. And if you want to work for – or run – the business, think about getting experience outside the company before you dive in – it will build both confidence and credibility with your family and employees. Either way, find a way to get involved. Family companies need all family members to have a connection – especially if they aren’t employees.
2. GREATEST ADVANTAGE OF FAMILY OWNERSHIP IN BUSINESS:
Families often take a longer view than their competitors factoring in outcomes beyond just the bottom line – like taking care of customers, employees, business partners and communities. This can create a special bond between family members and their company, which in turn strengthens intangible assets like legacy, trust and pride. These ingredients of “patient capital” empower family companies to be more resilient and resourceful while providing sustainable financial returns. They pay different dividends in the long term, a great competitive advantage for family companies.
3. LAST FAMILY VACATION DESTINATION:
I grew up in the Sierra Nevadas near Lake Tahoe – so anytime we can spend an extended amount of time there, I’m very happy. In fact, our annual meeting in June was there. There’s nothing like mountain air, lakes, rivers and trees to restore the soul!
4. RECOMMENDED FAMILY BUSINESS BOOK:
I like a lot of the short, quick reads that are published by The Family Business Consulting Group (www.thefbcg.com) . They are clear, easy to understand and are packed full of ideas and best practices. Financing Transitions and Family Business Succession are both used by our family council and board as reference and educational tools. And of course, anything written by Dr. John Davis (www.johndavis.com and www.cfeg. com) is well worth your time if you really want to understand what makes family businesses work and thrive.
5. BEST BUSINESS DECISION THAT POSITIONS THE FAMILY COMPANIES TO LAST FOR GENERATIONS:
The best decision we ever made was to establish a family governance system, led by our family council, which really fit our family and company. While we had a great board, we needed to engage our current and future owners in the direction of the company. Doing this has made us more cohesive as a family and very proud and aligned with the company, its values and our shared vision for the future.