A Look At Family Business

By Rick Dandes
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Mercy College’s Dr. Mark Sirkin, a psychologist who has been consulting family businesses since 1994, said there are many advantages to working with family, like knowing all of the players in the game and shared values and expectations. But the same familiarities can lead to drawbacks.

The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.

Mergers, acquisitions and Wall Street mega-deals might headline the daily economic news, but family businesses, where adult children work with or for their parents, is still alive and well in the Valley — and the U.S., according to the Family Business Alliance, Wilkes University.

“Family-owned businesses are central to the U.S. economy,” said Sue Reilly, executive director, Family Business Alliance, on Thursday. In addition, she said, “Family owned businesses contribute 64 percent of the U.S. GDP (that’s $5.9 trillion), employ 62 percent of the workforce, and are responsible for 78 percent of all new job creation.

Nearly 5.5 million businesses in the U.S. are family owned.

“There’s something special about working for your father, especially if you’ve grown up ‘shadowing’ him, going where he goes and admiring his energy and dedication,” said Vanessa Venios, of Milton.

Dr. Jessica Pagana DeFazio has worked with her father, John Pagana, for 17 years, and sees him not only as a partner but also as a senior advisor.

Another advantage of working with your father is being able to call on his experience. “You can’t call your partner at 2 a.m., but you can call your dad at 2 a.m,” DeFazio said, laughing.

Mercy College’s Dr. Mark Sirkin, a psychologist who has been consulting family businesses since 1994, said there are many advantages to working with family, like knowing all of the players in the game and shared values and expectations. But the same familiarities can lead to drawbacks.

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