These Things Take Time


My parents were happily married for 57 years. She was 17 and he was a 24 year-old army veteran when they got married in 1950. Until 2007 when my father passed away, they rarely spent more than a few hours apart. They lived together, worked together and, as dedicated golf fanatics, they played together every chance they got. Some people might say that sounds like an awful lot of togetherness, but reflecting on their deep commitment to each other reaffirms my belief that family connections are the glue that binds the world together.

I mention that they worked together because it was such a big part of their lives. My parents were small business owners—proud proprietors of an instant printing company on South Grand Ave. When they started their business, “instant printing” was new and transitional technology, but over time it was swept away by the advent of desktop and digital printing. My parents made a modestly comfortable living while it lasted and when they were ready to retire, they made the difficult decision to close their shop for good.

As executor of their estate, I was grateful to find that their legal and financial affairs were in good order when my mother died in 2017. Aside from some knotty gas and mineral rights which my forward-looking grandfather acquired in the 1950’s and bequeathed to his only daughter, the whole process was pretty straightforward. Textbook stuff for the most part but still, unraveling their modest estate was a slog even with a good head for math and accounting. It would have been considerably more difficult if the process had included liquidating or transitioning their business.

For many business owners, the complexities of planning for and making the transition of their life’s work to the next generation of the family can be daunting. Our cover story in this issue is about that very issue and it includes some data you may find surprising: According to the Family Business Resource Center and the Conway Center for Family Business, 88 percent of family-owned businesses think their family will still be running the business in five years and 40 percent of family execs expect to retire within that time period, but fewer than half of these owners have selected a CEO successor and eight out of 10 have no succession plan in place. One-third of those companies won’t survive into the second generation, only 12 percent will remain viable into the third generation, and fewer than 3 percent will survive the transition into the fourth generation. Despite those sobering national statistics, construction-related companies in the St. Louis area provide many examples of families who have safely navigated the rocky shoals of transfer of ownership down through the generations. It’s a great story and, if you haven’t already, we hope it inspires you to consider getting started on a succession plan of your own.

Also in This Issue:

Where the Rubber Meets the Road A tax increase in Illinois has some residents fuming while others look forward to better roads, new building structures and safer bridges. In this issue we cover the large-scale transportation needs that have been on the wish lists of IDOT and MODOT and the direct impact of those future projects on the construction industry.

Embracing Creativity to Make Large Commercial Deals Happen In this story, we delve into the critical function of banks and commercial lenders in making deals happen and creatively financing construction projects using non-traditional tools and resources.

BJC West County Hospital, Florissant Siteman Cancer Center on Track for 2019 Finish Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, a replacement for the existing 47-year-old facility, is being built by joint venture PARIC/KAI and designed by Christner. The 6-story, 260,000-square-foot healthcare destination is part of BJC HealthCare’s overhaul of the 54-acre campus, including construction of an 125,000-square-foot medical office building.

ARCO Ice Rink Projects Score Big for the Stanley Cup-Winning St. Louis Blues When Arco’s ice rink projects are completed, the St. Louis Blues will have a new state-of-the-art practice facility in Maryland Heights and Maryville University will open a $15 million facility at the Chesterfield Sports Complex in Chesterfield Valley.

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