presents

2 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Publisher Richard L. Connor President/Executive Director of Sales Deborah Connor Editor Bill Thompson Associate Editor Michael H. Price Managing Editor Anna Caplan Reporters Elizabeth Bassett Betty Dillard Crystal Forester Robert Francis Mary Lou Jacobs John-Laurent Tronche Correspondents Kaitlin Guthrow Laurie Barker James Amy Keen Ken Parish Perkins Mary Rusnak Jeff Seaver Lists Mary Kennan Production Brent Latimer Clayton Gardner Advertising Executives Andrea Benford Daniel Collins Elizabeth Northern Mary Schlegel National Sales Maureen Hathaway/248-496-7490 Sales Manager/Accounting Office Anjanette Hamilton Vice President of Operations/ Human Resources Shevoyd Hamilton Director of Finance Molly Smithee Receptionist Maggie Franklin Marketing/Events Mary Lou Jacobs Photographers Glen E. Ellman, David S. Irvin Glenn Killman, Jon P. Uzzel

Large Business of the Year

Longhorn Dodge Inc.
Page 5

Medium Business of the Year

Brants Realtors Inc.
Page 7

Small Business of the Year

Cooper Supply Inc. September 27, 2007
Community Winners
Siratt Partners ......................................................................................10

Page 8

Heritage Winner
Kube’s Jewelers Inc. ............................................................................20

Community Finalists
Cockrell Printing Company ................................................................10 John Sons Press....................................................................................11 May Advertising International Ltd. ....................................................11 McBee Homes......................................................................................13

Heritage Finalists
Foreman’s Inc. .....................................................................................20 Paris Coffee Shop.................................................................................21 Rapp Ranch ..........................................................................................21

Emerging Winner
Concussion Advertising, Marketing & Design...................................13

Innovative Winner
Teresa’s Treasures .................................................................................22

Emerging Finalists
Lone Star Bavarian Inc. ......................................................................15 Texas Right of Way Inc. ......................................................................15 Thumbtechs Corp................................................................................16 Western Heritage Furniture & Accessories .........................................16

Innovative Finalists
Empire Roofing Ltd. ...........................................................................22 M&M Manufacturing Co.....................................................................23 Printing Plus ........................................................................................25 RPGA Design Group Inc. ....................................................................25

Family Oriented Winner
Stacy Family Enterprises......................................................................17

Longevity Winner
Pulliam Pools ......................................................................................27

A special supplement of the

Family Values Finalists
Drs. Alexander Orthodontics..............................................................17 J&D Inc. ..............................................................................................18 Lasiter & Lasiter Plumbing Inc. .........................................................19 Marketing Management Inc. ..............................................................19

Longevity Finalists
Marvin Electronics Co. .......................................................................27 Woodard Builders Supply ...................................................................28 Bransom Floor Service ........................................................................28

MEMBER 2006

TEXAS PRESS ASSOCIATION

AWARD WINNER

3509 South Hulen Street, Suite No. 201 Fort Worth, Texas 76107 • 817-336-8300 www.fwbusinesspress.com Package Copr. © and ™ 2007, the Fort Worth Business Press. Corporate announcements found herein reflect the views and policies of the individual companies thus portrayed. Reproduction or any use, without permission, of editorial or graphic content in any manner is prohibited.

Well-Managed Winner
Southwest Office Systems Inc./ Puente-Brancato Enterprises Inc. ..........................................................29

Well-Managed Finalists
Central Dynamic Manufacturing Inc. ....................................................29 Aero Components Inc.............................................................................30 Marine Quest ...........................................................................................31

And here’s to the economic foundations
Our cover painting for the Fort Worth Business Press and PlainsCapital Bank Family Business Awards Program hails this sector as the “bedrock of the economy.” The image might even resemble one’s personalized perception of what symbolizes a family-owned business; it suggests the madeby-hand, built-to-last nature of the companies showcased here. I can relate to this spirit: As a youngster in Maine, I watched my father work seven days a week, dawn-to-dusk, in our family’s construction company. The demands didn’t end with long hours at the office or at a work site. Virtually every dinner conversation turned to “the business,” especially when my brothers and I became old enough to work for our father — and to begin telling him how we would run things. But our father must have been doing something right. He sent two of us to private high schools, and all three to private colleges. I felt certain, back then, that I did not want to own a business. But after 20 years of corporate life, I realized that I really did want to own a business. Now, 10 years into the family-business experience, I sometimes wonder how I could have veered so far from the original plan. But the truth is that I love owning businesses, even though I do so with the help of investors. I find it most fascinating to watch any number of family businesses pass successfully from generation to generation. The Connor family business of my youth did not survive into a second generation. And so as the Business Press and PlainsCapital Bank present the 2007 Family Business Awards, we pay special heed to companies that have prevailed as only the “bedrock of the economy” can. Our selections bespeak the involvement of multiple generations. All, from the largest extended-family enterprises to the smallest mom-and-pop operations, have set standards of excellence and endurance. While many big public and private corporations serve our communities well, the family-owned business has always been the backbone of American commerce. Our winners can treasure the accolades not only for themselves, but also on behalf of countless others who have launched businesses, built them and preserved them as a monument to the strength and resourcefulness of the American family unit. —Richard L. Connor Publisher

Sponsors

September 27, 2007

PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

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4 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Large Business of the Year Longhorn Dodge Inc.

Longhorn Dodge Inc.
Richard Adams 4500 South Freeway Fort Worth, TX 76115 longhorndodge.net 817-926-2681
Brian Gibson, Richard Adams, Vickie Gibson, Robert Adams and Gary Gibson

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n the automobile business, a dealer’s reputation is driven by the satisfaction of its customers. That’s why Longhorn Dodge Inc., the oldest Dodge dealership in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, has been satisfying its customers since Richard L. Adams opened the lot in 1971. The dealership’s board chairman has passed along his knowledge of how to sell and service cars and trucks to his daughter, Vickie Gibson, who is president of the dealership; her husband, Gary Gibson, vice president of operations; their son, Brian Gibson, chief financial officer and controller; and Robert Adams, Richard Adams’ nephew and vice president of sales. Vickie Gibson credits the entire family — as well as the dealership’s hardworking sales, service and support staff — with the success of Longhorn Dodge. “It’s about the teamwork,” she says. “My father has been in this business for so many years, so I’ve learned a lot from him. My husband joined us after he retired from the Air Force in 1991. He came home and went back to work, and then worked for my father a little bit. My cousin, Richard, started a few months before I did, and my son joined in 1992.” Gibson says the delegation of responsibilities is as simple as recognizing strengths and talents. “My cousin being the sales-oriented, Type-A kind of person he is, he runs the sales side,” she explains. “My husband is very customer-friendly, and his talents are very good in the repair and parts area, so he’s vice president of that. And I’m more the librarian with an accounting background, so I have to know a little bit about everything going on. My son joined us as a
September 27, 2007

graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio and a CPA, so he’s advanced us in our technology and really getting our books in line, and that helps us reduce our expenses. So, really, it just takes all of us.” Longhorn Dodge, 4500 South Freeway, has remained family-owned and -operated since its start. Gibson cites the family basis as a reason for loyalty among employees and customers. “In corporate stores, you see a lot of employees come and go,” she says. “With a family business, it just changes the face and the atmosphere of the way the employees feel.” Customers, as well, have continued to boost Longhorn Dodge’s growth during its 36-year history, choosing from a wide variety of new and used cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. Among the dealership’s more popular cars and SUVs are the Neon, Caravan, Grand Caravan, SRT-4, SRT-8, Daytona Charger, Stratus and Viper. But Texas is truck country, and, for many buyers, the Dodge Ram series is hard to beat, Gibson adds: “The ’95 model was the big changeover year for our trucks. That’s when they really started selling, and that has been our strongest seller.” And despite rising costs at the gas pumps and an industry-wide slowdown following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Longhorn Dodge has continued to find new ways to compete, Gibson said. “With 9/11, the manufacturers put the high incentives in place to create customers, because of the economic downturn that followed. Plus, we’ve always had rebates of some sort,” she says. Longhorn Dodge

also must go head-to-head with its competitors and import brands on pricing and service to keep sales and satisfaction high, she says. Gibson adds that the autos coming off the factory lines have helped Longhorn Dodge compete with other Dodge dealerships and with import dealers. And that has made the economy’s ups and downs through the years easier to bear. “Our manufacturer keeps making better and better cars and trucks,” she says. “And we’ve picked up servicing where the warranties leave off. Plus, we have a large, high-quality pre-owned inventory.” Longhorn Dodge is a DaimlerChrysler Five-Star dealership; the distinction means the dealership meets Dodge’s criteria in minimum vehicle sales and customer satisfaction, as based on customer surveys, Gibson says. The dealership also is a member of the Tarrant County Dealer Association, and Richard Adams is a past president of the Texas Automobile Dealer Association. Gibson said the dealership is proud of its Web site, longhorndodge.com, where shoppers can view photos and take virtual test-drives. The site also has information about the dealership’s parts and service departments, as well as collisionrepair services. As for the future, Richard Adams has been approved to open a Dodge Jeep dealership in Burleson, giving the Longhorn Dodge management team plenty more to talk about at family gatherings, Gibson says. “Working with your family gives us the time to do that,” she says. –Amy Keen PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Congratulations to all the 2007 Family Business Awards Finalists from your friends at Coors

6 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Medium Business of the Year Brants Realtors Inc.

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hen Harry E. Brants founded his insurance mortgage and real estate partnership in Fort Worth in 1926, he could hardly have foreseen the diverse dealings of his company — from the sale of one of the first homes in Westover Hills, to the development of Ridglea Hills, to work in some of the historic Stockyards’ livestock pens. As Brants’ ancestors have carried on, the name has continued to make a mark, from sales and development to involvement with such institutions as the Amon Carter Foundation and Christie’s Great Estates. More recently, Brants Realtors has worked with such familiar names as Holt Hickman, Anne Marion and Bill Davis and the Tarantula Railroad, as well as Tarrant County College District, the Harris Methodist Hospitals and Mutual of New York. Clay Brants and his wife, Laurie, are the broker/owners of Brants Realtors, which they incorporated in 1978. They speak proudly of the heritage of accomplishments. “When the company started in 1926, there was no such thing as [a real estate company],” Laurie Brants explains. “Insurance companies offered services to find houses for their clients to buy, so that remained an offshoot of the insurance company until the late 1960s, when it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Brants Insurance.” During the post-World War II housing boom, Burdette Brants, one of five brothers, arranged the development and mortgaging of A.C. Luther’s Ridglea and Ridglea Hills subdivisions, according to the company’s Web site, brantsrealtors.com. Shortly thereafter, Clay Brants’ father, Clayton Brants Jr., had developed subdivisions including Highland Park, the Bryce Avenue Town Homes and Mony Street Business Park. By 1950, Doug McKenzie had joined the company to broker commercial and residential properties, with the company’s first independent brokerage office opening in 1962. Within 10 years, Brants Realtors split from the parent company, and its incorporation followed six years later. Clay and Laurie Brants oversee 43 agents. The company focuses on residential sales, although Clay Brants also works on developments. “Clay is doing a development right now in Mistletoe Heights that’s going to look historical and has to be approved by the Historical Commission and the Planning Commission,” Laurie says. Brants Realtors traditionally sells older, high-quality homes, she adds: “We focus on the west and southwest sides of Fort Worth, but we also have a big presence in Aledo and Parker County and Johnson County.” Living in a home that was built in 1893 has given the couple even more of an appreciation for quality craftsmanship, Laurie Brants says: “I surprise myself, because as much as I like bungalows and arts-andcrafts style houses, I like the Frank Lloyd Wright-style houses, too. Sometimes I think we’ve gotten overdone with the Tuscan kind of look, so I tend to like the older-looking homes.” Throughout its history, Brants Realtors has seen home sales ebb and flow along with changes in the economy. When asked about the problems many Realtors are having with slowed sales brought about by higher interest rates and higher foreclosure rates, Laurie Brants says her company hasn’t seen much effect. “We work with … well-qualified buyers, and the ones most affected seem to be outside Loop 820,” Brants says, explaining that that area skews toward newer homes. “It can be tough to sell a 10- to 15-year old house,” she adds, “and the volume builder is still giving them
September 27, 2007

Brants Realtors Inc.
Clay Brants 4541 Bellaire Drive South, #101 Fort Worth, TX 76109 817-731-8466 brantsrealtors.com

Clay Brants and Laurie Brants

away …” She cites “good-quality homes and goodquality buyers” as an advantage: “If a person has a good credit score, they can still get a six-and-a-quarter interest rate.” Brants Realtors continues to add polish to its name with a mission statement emphasizing knowledge, integrity and professionalism. The company offers relocation assistance to homebuyers leaving Fort Worth through its 17-year membership in the RELO Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. The company is listed among Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. Through its affiliation with Christie’s Great Estates, Brants Realtors adds its principal listings with those of other Realtors in a magazine produced by the

renowned auction house. And through the years, Brants Realtors has continued to support Fort Worth by supporting many civic and charitable organizations. Is there a secret to running a successful 81-year-old business? “You just don’t ever quit,” says Laurie Brants. “The work continues all the time.” For a company that has kept some agents on board for 25 years, Harry Brants would likely approve of how his namesake business has turned out in shaping the lay of the land in Fort Worth. –Amy Keen

PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

“People Helping People”

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Cooper Supply Inc. 2524 Minnis Dr Ft Worth, Texas 76117 817-222-9055 phone 817-222-9053 fax Cooper Supply Inc. 216 Santa Anna Ave Coleman, Texas 76117 325-625-3543 phone 325-625-3092 fax Cooper Supply Inc. 1637 N. Lexington Corpus Christi, Texas 78409 361-289-6611 phone 361-289-6617 fax

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8 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Small Business of the Year Cooper Supply Inc.

Cooper Supply Inc.
Bill Paul Sr. 2524 Minnis Drive Haltom City, TX 76117 817-222-9055 coopersupply.com

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hen Bill and Sharron Paul opened their first polyethylene pipe store in Coleman, Texas, in 1983, they likely couldn’t have foreseen that, just a few hours’ drive northeast, their family business would hit another boom: the Barnett Shale natural-gas play. Only nine years later, the couple would open a second location for Cooper Supply Inc., at 2524 Minnis Drive in Haltom City. There, the Pauls and their two children sell polyvinyl chloride pipes and fittings for water and sewer systems and polyethylene pipes and fittings for gas gathering and distribution. The company also has recently opened a third location, in Corpus Christi, says Stephanie Paul, who, works as co-general manager with her brother, Bill Paul Jr. The founders, Bill Paul Sr. and Sharron Paul, are president and secretary-treasurer, respectively. “My dad was national sales manager for Phillips Drisco Pipe in the 1960s,” says Stephanie Paul, “and when he retired from there, he took his knowledge of polyethylene pipe and products with him. His No. 1 customer, when he was a sales executive there, kept asking him every year to leave and join him in his business, and my dad kept saying, ‘No.’ But finally, that customer wore him down, and after my dad retired, he and Clomer Cooper started the business. They named the business after Clomer Cooper, and after he died, we’ve kept that as the name of the company as a way to honor his memory.” Cooper would have been proud to see that the comSeptember 27, 2007

pany has remained in his partner’s hands and expanded to three locations statewide, Stephanie Paul says. “We really consider ourselves a family team,” she adds. “We’ve only got 22 employees in all three locations, so we all wear a lot of hats. Bill and Sharron are great mentors for that. They’ve passed along a lot of knowledge to all our employees in the business.” Cooper Supply has grown as an emphatic presence in the industry, with memberships in both the Southern Gas Association and the American Gas Association. The company also participates in such events as the Texas Petroleum Expo and Annual Meeting. “Our specialization is selling polyethylene pipes for natural gas distribution, drilling and shelling,” says Stephanie. “We also supply PVC pipes for water systems for cities and for farms and ranches.” She said that, with the natural gas industry’s increasing activity within the Barnett Shale geological formation, Cooper Supply likely will continue to grow in sales volume. “We have grown significantly in the past three years,” she says. “We’re pretty aggressive in the marketplace and hope to have our three branches up and running strong and continuing to serve all of Texas in the future.” She attributes much of the company’s success to her parents, and to their having foreseen the prospects for oil and gas drilling before many others in the industry. “We started supplying polyethylene lines for the oil patch in the ‘80s,” Stephanie says. “My mom and dad

are both very astute businesspeople, and they diversified to get into oil before the crash, so now they do both oil and gas pipe supplies.” Cooper Supply provides polyethylene pipes, fittings and clamps for gas gathering and distribution. It also sells PVC conduit and fittings for civil electric needs, and pipes, fittings and storage tanks for water and sewer systems. The company also offers pipe-fusion equipment and repair services, including rental equipment, plus a unique service: fusion training. Cooper Supply has an in-house training facility for no more than eight students at a time to learn how to safely use pipe fusion equipment. Customers also can sign up for the classes and place service orders through Cooper Supply’s Web site. “We have some really great young people working for us,” says Stephanie. “We feel really blessed in that area. And our customers are really loyal. We’re very, very big on customer service, because that’s what gets us our business: doing a consistently really good job with on-time deliveries. If we don’t have the product, we research and dig and find that. ‘People Helping People’ is our motto, and we really believe in it.” The family-business basis, she explains, “has really given us some advantages over larger corporateowned businesses. We consider everyone in our company our family, and Bill and Sharron are always concerned about not only them, but also their families. My brother and I are the stewards of this company, and I love being able to carry that on.” –Amy Keen PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Community Family Business Winner
rucking entrepreneur, real estate developer and all-around family man Don Siratt credits good fortune for his success, despite son Colby’s insistence that his father’s outstanding people skills took him to the top. Don concedes. “I think the only reason I’ve been successful is my ability to just get along with people,” Don says. Symbolic of such success is the west-side neighborhood of Montserrat, which the Siratts are developing on about 210 acres. “When it’s finished,” Don says, “we think it will be the nicest development in Fort Worth.” The project required almost four years of negotiations. The Siratts decided to develop it as a gated community, complete with parks, paths, a tennis court and security. Only about 50 of the 210 lots remain unsold, and most of the purchased lots are being built or designed. Son Donnie notes that such success has come about naturally. “We built it for our needs, and it

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just turns out a lot of people were looking for the same thing,” Donnie says. Don Siratt opened his first business in 1966, delivering Xerox machines. As Xerox grew, so did Siratt’s company – from a truckbed operation to offices in four states – until he sold it in 1997. In 2000, the family re-acquired the Texas locations under a new name, WDS Logistics. The Siratts also have another development – Covered Bridge Canyon, in Parker County – and have partnered with landowner Mike Rader on a venture called Innovative Intermodal. Don cites a family tradition in entrepreneurship. “My family, back from my Dad — they were all farmers, truckers, service-stations operators,” Don says, “They all worked for themselves, and I think I got that from them.” The Siratts remain dedicated to philanthropy — supporting Harris Methodist Hospital, creating the Siratt Women’s Center at Harris HEB and donating $1 million to a new

Siratt family members

hospital for women at Baylor All Saints. “We’ve always believed in giving and sharing,” says Don, “and all the kids have followed me in that.” Colby says the family is similarly dedicated to its 89 employees. Don added: “It’s very unusual [that] people get to work with their children for so long, and, hopefully, I’ll continue for as long as I’m still working and living.” – John-Laurent Tronche

Siratt Partners
Category: Community Oriented Top Executive: Don Siratt Address: 6000 Western Place, Ste. 465 Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-377-8827 Web: spiritofmontserrat.com

Community Family Business Finalist
leat Cockrell established Cockrell Printing operate out of its sole Fort Worth location at Co., in 1964 with a discerning eye for 218 W. Broadway St. “My father and I had a very good relationdetail and a philosophy that printing ship,” John Cockrell says. “I guess it’s kind of an should be viewed not simply as a trade, but as a unusual deal where fathers and sons don’t just form of art. Today, Cockrell’s son John carries on the tra- blow up and disagree with each other. Because dition, employing state-of-the-art technology of it, I was able to come in and grow with the and the same keen eye for detail in producing business.” John, who was 16 an array of projects for when his father opened Fortune 500 companies, Cockrell Printing the business, has worked advertising agencies, Company there practically ever designers, publishers and since. John’s wife, Lynn, educational, health-care is the secretary-treasurer. Category: and cultural institutions. Son John Jr. is the owner Community Oriented When John Cockrell of something of a spintook over day-to-day operaTop Executive: off business, a digital tions as president in the John K. Cockrell printing company in Fort late 1980s, the business Address: Worth called Innovation was recording about $2.5 218 W. Broadway St. Group, which has a million in sales. Today, that Fort Worth, TX 76104 strategic alliance with the number is $20 million. original Cockrell firm. Phone: 817-336-0571 The company, with 85 employees, continues to Web: cockrellprinting.com – Jeff Seaver

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John Cockrell Fort Worth Business Press

10 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Community Family Business Finalist
ohn J. Hernandez still makes his home on the north side of Fort Worth. Even now, in his mid-70s, he can be found working in his yard when the temperature surges beyond the mid-90s. That work ethic is the foundation for the longevity and success of John Sons Press, the Fort Worth printing company founded by Hernandez and operated under the direction of his four sons: Philip, Edward, Adrian and Marc. John Hernandez, center, and sons. Hernandez spent much of his life working two jobs, toiling at a print shop at night and selling printing services during the day. In 1988, he purchased a small printing company, setting up shop off Old Granbury Road and Interstate 20 and setting the stage for one of the hardest-working businesses around. “If you know my dad, there’s nobody that works harder in anything as far as going from the yard to working at the company,” says Adrian, 38. “There’s always something to do, and he was always working.” In 2003, John Sons Press celebrated a move into a 28,000-square-foot plant, tripling the size of the old building. “The neat thing is [that] you’ve seen my dad go from running a press all his life, always working a second job,” Adrian says. “To him, starting a printing company meant taking it to the next level.”

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John Sons Press
Category: Community Oriented Top Executive: John Hernandez Address: 3300 South Freeway Fort Worth, TX 76110 Phone: 817-927-1819 Web: johnsonspress.com

– Jeff Seaver

Community Family Business Finalist
rothers Phillip and Allan Meyer have proudly continued a 60-year tradition at May Advertising, a Fort Worth original started in 1946 by their grandfather, Richard R. May. Back then, the business specialized in advertising and signage for gas stations, the price-per-gallon signs still seen today. Now, May is a leader in screen printing and custom-sign manufacturing, servicing thousands of clients worldwide. The late Mr. May produced the changeable gas-price sign, marketed it nationwide and paved the way for May Advertising to become the world’s largest manufacturer of aluminum gasoline-price signs. Phillip Meyer, Deborah Horn and Allan Meyer The company has 117 employees and employs the most cutting-edge technology available to produce vibrant signage in little time. “Mr. May treated everyone like family,” Allan Meyer says of his grandfather. “He started in his garage and worked his way up to creating a business that offered employment to lots of people as the business grew. “He always instilled a sense of family business. He was always up-front and honest with employees. The people were always the No. 1 asset. We’ve tried to keep that legacy going in how we run the business.” Allan, 35, is the company’s vice president. Phillip, 31, is vice president of operations. Their mother, Deborah Horn, founder May’s daughter, is president. “We’re very proud of our Grandpa and his accomplishments,” Allan May says. “We take a lot of pride in his legacy.” – Jeff Seaver
September 27, 2007

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May Advertising International Ltd.
Category: Community Oriented Top Executive: Deborah Horn Address: 1200 Forum Way South Fort Worth, TX 76140 Phone: 817-336-5671 Web: mayadvertising.com

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

12 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Community Family Business Finalist
earl McBee has overseen the building of 4,000 homes in Tarrant County and has received numerous honors for McBee Homes, but his most cherished achievement is having done much of it with his family members as business partners. McBee, semi-retired at age 59, founded McBee Homes in 1978 and is co-owner with son Chris, 34, and son-inlaw Brooks White, 35. White, McBee Homes’ president, has been with the company since 1992. Chris, who runs Brooks White, Mearl McBee and Chris McBee the land development side of the business, signed on in 2000 after leaving a career with Paine Webber. “It is special, very special,” Mearl McBee says. “In the beginning, there are challenges with family working together. But, as you progress through it, you learn how to cope with it. Hopefully, all ends up in a pleasant environment, which is where ours is.” Located at 1450 N. Jim Wright Freeway, McBee Homes constructs custom houses primarily in Tarrant and Parker counties, stretching south into Hood County and north into Denton County. Housing troubles in much of the nation have not been in felt in Fort Worth, says Mearl McBee, Builder of the Year honoree for 1983. He notes that the company is off only about 10 percent from last year, when it built 185 homes. “That’s not bad,” he says. “It’s a lot better than most.” – Jeff Seaver

McBee Homes
Category: Community Oriented Top Executive: Mearl McBee Address: 1450 N. Jim Wright Freeway Fort Worth, TX 79108 Phone: 817-626-2600 Web: mcbeehomes.com

Emerging Family Business Winner
he Wallach and Yanez families are connected through more than a shared interest in the family business, Concussion Advertising, Marketing & Design. The full-service agency offers creative and strategic marketing solutions — and has found that creative and collaborative staffing measures have advanced its purpose. Allen Wallach and Andrew Yanez, principals, began their collaborative efforts from home-based operations. As their families grew, so did the need for an outside office space. Wallach and Yanez recruited their wives, Kristin and Amy, shortly after the founding of Concussion. The resulting combination of marketing and business talent has resulted in a balance of well-honed skills in advertising, public relations, art direction and media planning, among others. “Each person brings a specific discipline that is beneficial to the company,” Wallach says. Such a work-to-life balance is an uncommon objective within such a
September 27, 2007

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competitive industry as advertising and its related fields. Concussion emphasizes flexibility within production schedules so that families can enjoy school events, Little League games, festive occasions or deal with unexpected developments. Concussion boasts a single-digit turnover rate, with most of the founding team still in place. Since its inception in 2001, Concussion has experienced tremendous success in Fort Worth — thanks, in no small part, to creative recruiting techniques that are employed by the ownership and the employees alike. Such techniques have helped to ensure that the best talent available finds its way through the doors at Concussion. From Australia to Los Angeles to New York City, says Wallach, “we are as diverse a group as you can imagine — we are not just a dusty little Fort Worth shop.” Wallach said that the unique team of professionals at Concussion had resulted from such recruiting techniques as word-of-mouth among

Kristin Wallach, Allen Wallach, Andrew Yanez and Amy Yanez

employees; this practice alone has led to several family members joining the Concussion team. There are, for example, two sets of sisters, a father-in-law/daughter-inlaw combo and several sons and daughters who have come along as interns within the agency. “We do recruit through the normal channels,” explains Wallach, “but family connections and referrals can be very helpful in finding the best talent out there.”
– Mary Lou Jacobs

Concussion Advertising, Marketing & Design
Category: Emerging, Under 15 Years Top Executive: Allen Wallach, Andrew Yanez Address: 707 W. Vickery Blvd., Ste. 103 Fort Worth, TX 76104 Phone: 817-336-OUCH (6824) Web: concussion.net

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Fort Worth Business Press

Emerging Family Business Finalist
hen Trent Cole worked his way through college by managing restaurants, he learned something that would later serve him well when he opened his Lone Star Bavarian Inc. sales-and-service shop in 2001. “With restaurants, if people don’t like the service they received, they can just go across the street to another restaurant,” Cole says. “I didn’t want it to be like that with my shop. “Because my background is different from other independent shop owners, I keep my shop very clean and comfortable Larry Cole, Trent Cole, Patrick Cole, Patricia Cole for my customers, because we want their loyalty.” Dogs: Jessie and Beemer Cole graduated from college and left the restaurant business with an older-model BMW, which steered him toward the idea of opening Lone Star Bavarian. He runs the shop with nine employees, including his father, Larry, and his wife, Patricia, who is also an attorney. The Lovell Avenue shop has grown busy enough that it will be relocated in April closer to downtown, next to Perry’s Motorcycles at 816 S. Sylvania Ave. Cole says he anticipates continued growth. “We think we offer a level of service that’s unequaled by any, or many, independents in the area, because it’s my passion and my hobby,” Cole says. “I was challenged many years ago by a mentor who said [that] if you could find something you wanted to do the rest of your life, even if you weren’t getting paid for it, you’d still enjoy that job many years later. And that’s what I’m doing.”
– Amy Keen
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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Lone Star Bavarian Inc.
Category: Emerging, Under 15 Years Top Executive: Trent E. Cole Address: 3525 Lovell Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-732-4888 Web: lonestarbavarian.com

Emerging Family Business Finalist
nnovative and energetic, Don Valden has long been a success in the right-of-way business. With the recent rise in natural-gas production from the Barnett Shale geological formation, he continues to be on the cutting edge — reaping the rewards with a family business that spans three generations. Valden, who changed his surname from Valdez early in his career during the 1970s, established Texas Right of Way Associates Inc., with his younger brother, Ted Valdez. Their mother, Peggy, handles human resources. Their father, Joe, recently retired from a 43-year career with General Motors Corp. to join his sons’ business. Back Row - Joe Valdez, Peggy Valdez, Rebecca Castro and Cody Cody Ragsdale, Don’s son-in-law, is a team leader Ragsdale. Front Row - Marie Valden, Don Valden, Ted Valdez and and in training to become a right-of-way agent. Cousin Anya Valdez Rebecca Castro is executive administrative assistant. “There are great things about having family in the business,” Don says. “The No. 1 thing is [that] you have trust. Some families say they wouldn’t trust a brother or a sister — but not this family.” Don, a former boxing promoter, and his wife, Marie, are sharing their business success with the community. They will stage the first Barnett Shale Charity Gala on Dec. 13 at the Petroleum Club to benefit the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial and the Salvation Army.
– Jeff Seaver

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Texas Right of Way Inc.
Category: Emerging, Under 15 Years Top Executive: Don Valden Address: 200 W. Exchange Ave., Ste. 3 Fort Worth, TX 76102 Phone: 817-361-8839 Web: texasrwa.com

September 27, 2007

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Emerging Family Business Finalist
efore a tornado struck downtown Fort Worth in 2000, George Fassett Jr. ran his information technology company, GFIT, in the traditional manner of answering service calls and billing customers by the hour. But after getting many of his BankOne Tower clients up and running on their computers within days and collecting large billable hours for his work, Fassett had another idea that became Thumbtechs Corp. “When you’re just waiting for service and dealing in billable hours, you’re not getting paid when the phone’s not ringing,” he says. “So, now, we charge customers George C. Fassett, Jr.; Linda B. Fassett based on how much equipment they’ve got and what service plan they choose. “A small business with about 20 computers and two to three servers is charged $1,850, while a company with more equipment gets charged $3,000 at the Platinum Preferred Service Level, which can give top executives someone to work on their home computers. The benefit is we have several well-trained IT staff to work for our customers, and the clients don’t have to hire their own full-time IT staff and pay them wages and benefits.” Fassett said he hopes to see Thumbtechs expand nationwide from its Web site, thumbtechs.com, or its Camp Bowie West office, where Fassett’s mom and office manager, Linda Fassett, watches his 6-month-old daughter, Paige. Passett sometimes wonders if his daughter will run the company after he and his wife, Erin, retire. “By then, I hope to have exited the business and finally be on a beach somewhere,” he says.
– Amy Keen

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Thumbtechs Corporation
Category: Emerging, Under 15 Years Top Executive: George C. Fassett, Jr. Address: 8205 Camp Bowie Blvd. W, #110 Fort Worth, TX 76116 Phone: 817-923-2419 Web: thumbtechs.com

Emerging Family Business Finalist
sities. But Ron and Tammy McBee would take that extra step. They did so for a Virginia-based customer whose Slate River Ranches in Texas needed turn-key furnishing. As owners of Western Heritage Furniture & Accessories, at 1525 Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford, the McBees call it a matter of pride to provide such finishing touches. Adjoining the decade-old furniture store is a new building that will be called Ron and Tammy McBee the Design Center Furniture & Decor. The team includes manager Deanna Bookout and about 12 family members and friends. “We offer interior designing for free,” Ron McBee says. One reason is because, when the store first opened, there were few such Western-style furniture stores in the area. Since then, Tammy McBee and Bookout began providing free-of-charge design services. Having noted a recent decline in all-Western décor, Ron McBee has a furniture designer in-house to customize pieces by adding or taking away trims or fabrics, to make Western-style furniture fit in with Mediterranean or Tuscan decor. “Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas — that’s who we want to attract next,” he says. “We have the same furniture lines as other stores, but we can make pieces unique by adding cowhide or zebra skin. I’d rather keep the business more local so we can keep a hands-on touch that way.”
– Amy Keen
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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ot many furniture stores would go so far as to furnish a ranch owner’s houses — and then to stock the places, as well, with toiletries, towels and other housekeeping neces-

Western Heritage Furniture & Accessories
Category: Emerging, Under 15 Years Top Executive: Ron McBee Address: 1525 Fort Worth Highway Weatherford, TX 76086 Phone: 817-528-1581 Web: westernheritageweatherford.com
Fort Worth Business Press

16 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

tacy S
FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES

Family Oriented Family Business Winner
he term “family-oriented” is a huge understatement for the Stacy family. Of the more than 200 employees of the Grapevine-based home furnishings retailer, almost 40 of them are members of the extended clan. Four generations of the family work for the company, from administrative positions to sales, buying and accounting. Rick Stacy, owner and chairman, founded the company in 1988 as a furniture wholesaler. Through careful study of what other furniture stores offer locally and throughout the country and by listening to what customers actually need and want, Stacy has transformed a former warehouse business into the largest selection of home furnishings in the metropolitan area. “After much deliberation, we have put together a retail unit that provides a near-total home furnishings package,” says Rick Stacy.

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With showrooms in Grapevine, Allen and Flower Mound plus Dorian’s Interior Designs in Fort Worth, the center includes a carpet and floor coverings store, a store devoted to children’s furniture, a flower shop with custom options, a rustic furniture store, a fullservice appliance store and a complete home media store. “Our main focus is to provide the most personalized shopping bang for the buck,” Stacy says. “We have a sincere desire to help people make their homes truly reflect their personal tastes.” The store takes its family-friendly services to the extreme, offering a lowcost, drop-in child-care center and a restaurant on site that enables customers to grab a bite of lunch or dinner and discuss their purchases with-

out having to leave the facility. “We believe in and practice the Golden Rule,” says Dorian Stacy Sims, president. “We treat customers like we would want to be treated; really, we treat them as family. It’s not just a business – it’s our name and our family. We have fun doing what we’re doing, and we pull together as a family to do it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” The retailer gives back to the community, particularly through its Community Room, which is available to nonprofit organizations and clubs that need a place to meet. “It’s not often possible in this day and age to deal with the real owners of the business,” says Rick Stacy. “It is

Stacy Family Enterprises
Category: Family Oriented Top Executive: Rick Stacy Address: 1900 S. Main St. Grapevine, TX 76051 Phone: 817-424-8800 Web site: stacyfurniture.com

not only possible but easy to get a Stacy on the phone or in person to make sure your needs are met. The entire family has deep roots in the area and is committed to community involvement and customer service.”
– Betty Dillard

Family Oriented Family Business Finalist
n 1964, Arlington was wide open for is a clinical professor of orthodontics at orthodontists. That’s why Dr. Wick Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, said Alexander chose the city to set up shop that working with his father has been “a where, today, he has turned over much of the dream, in a nutshell. By the time I got there, he was ready to turn over the day-to-day practice to his son, Dr. Moody Alexander. Drs. Alexander Orthodontics is now serv- management and control, that’s the key, if ing many of the children of patients that Dr. the son is teachable and willing and the dad is willing to let go. I was very willing to wait Wick Alexander worked on, his son said. He joined the practice in 1995, after grad- until it was my time to do what I had to do. “I’ll continue the privilege of what my uating from Texas Tech father was able to do, University with a prewhich was to take the dental degree, then Drs. Alexander business to a certain working with Campus Orthodontics level,” said Alexander, Crusade for Christ for a father of four. “It’s three years. Category: not necessary for me to “After growing up Family Oriented reinvent the wheel but around dentistry and to take to the business Top Executive: seeing how much my to the next level, with R.G. “Wick” Alexander, DDS, MS dad loved his job and my dad filling in for how he could always Address: me when I’m gone. be home with us at 840 W. Mitchell St. And that’s great, night, I decided it was Arlington, TX 76013 because I know I can the right job for me, Phone: 817-275-3233 trust his work.” too,” he said. Web: drsalexander.com – Amy Keen Alexander, who also

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Dr. Moody Alexander and Dr. Wick Alexander

September 27, 2007

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Family Oriented Family Business Finalist
ew people can say they learned their craft as a teen from their divorced parents, then grew up to work with their mother, only to be fired by her and return to the company after the mother’s retirement to continue making the business grow. It sounds like a movie script, but it’s Juan Antonio Castro’s story. His parents, Juan and Deyla Castro, started an upholstery business, J&D Inc., in the Stockyards in 1976, with Juan Antonio quickly learning the trade and delivering furniture. “We started with just the upholstery, but the business has evolved,” Castro said from his 45,000-square-foot fabrics and furni- Juan Antonio Castro ture warehouse at 2015 N. Main St. “Right now, we’re selling more furniture, fabrics and drapes than doing upholstery, but that’s kind of the way I like it.” Castro, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers, said he credited his mother with teaching him fabrics, but their strong personalities clashed until, four years ago, she fired him. Castro said he actually didn’t mind, because the time off gave him a chance to learn more about the business. “Then, two years ago, the stress got to my mother and she wanted me to come back, so she retired and sold me the business,” he said. Besides selling fabrics, furniture and upholstery to homeowners and designers, J&D also has worked on commercial design projects for clients including the John Peter Smith Health Network and many area colleges. Castro said he would like his wife, Beth, to join him in managing the bustling business. “I want to be the only place people go to for upscale furniture, because, now that Gabbert’s has closed, there’s no outlet for that nearby,” he said.
– Amy Keen
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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J&D Inc.
Category: Family Oriented Top Executive: Juan Antonio Castro Address: 2015 N. Main St. Fort Worth, TX 76106 Phone: 817-626-2365

18 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Lasiter & Lasiter
Plumbing Inc.

Family Oriented Family Business Finalist
fter earning degrees in computer science and cost accounting, David Lasiter realized he wasn’t cut out for a desk job. That’s when he returned to the first job he really loved. “I became a plumber when I was 13,” he said. “I lived across the street from a plumber and I went to work with him to learn the trade. I got my master plumber’s license in ‘74 or ‘75, when I was going to North Texas State [now the Cindy Lasiter and David Lasiter University of North Texas] from 7 a.m. until noon every day, then I’d go to work plumbing, and at night I would study. It was hard work, but it was worth it.” He founded Lasiter & Lasiter Plumbing with his wife, Cindy, about 25 years ago. Cindy Lasiter consults for the company and markets for new business, while David Lasiter works on job sites with home-building contractors to ensure their satisfaction. Brad Roney runs the daily operations of the business of around 130 employees, some of whom have worked for Lasiter & Lasiter for 20 years. Lasiter thinks of his employees as family, providing annual company picnics, Christmas parties and other events for all employees and their families. Lasiter even has a chaplain visit his employees once a week for their spiritual and counseling needs. “This business belongs to God, and he’s blessed it in a great way,” he said. As for the future of the company, “I’ll do whatever God’s got planned. That’s the attitude I’ve taken and I think it’s what it’s got us where we are today.”
– Amy Keen
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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Lasiter & Lasiter Plumbing Inc.
Category: Family Oriented Top Executive: David Lasiter Address: P.O. Box 14638 Fort Worth, TX 76117 Phone: 817-831-4245 Web: lasiter.com

Family Oriented Family Business Finalist
erbert Pease Sr., who established Marketing Management Inc., in 1966, died last year, but his legacy as a visionary businessman and an invigorating and compassionate employer are carried on by his wife, son and daughter. “That’s the reason I’ve been here for 28 years,” said Patti Abbey, who was once the company’s ninth employee, a secretary then and a senior vice president now. “It is a family. There’s a sense of ownership even for the employees because the Pease family treats you that way. “The limitations that you would have here are just the limitations that you would have on yourself.” Throughout its five-decade existence, Marketing Management Inc., has continually diversified services available to clients and has invested in state-of-the-art technology as well its employees, of which there are now 253 in 18 offices across the country. Herbert Pease Jr., who was already running the company on a day-to-day basis, flawlessly made the transition as president and CEO after his father passed away. Mary, Pease Sr.’s wife who was by his side throughout the company’s tremendous growth, is chairwoman of the board. And daughter Kim is treasurer. “The longer you worked with Herb (Sr.) the more you got wrapped up in his enthusiasm,” Abbey said. “He was blessed with keen foresight of seeing things that could happen.”
– Jeff Seaver

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Marketing Management, Inc.
Category: Family Oriented Top Executive: Herbert Pease Jr. Address: 4717 Fletcher Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-731-4176 Web: mmi-home.com

September 27, 2007

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Heritage Family Business Winner
o say Kubes Jewelers Inc. is a family business is an understatement: All the company’s 14 employees are family members in the 62-year-old firm. According to Richard Kubes, comanager of the company with his brother Anthony, his late father, Joseph Kubes, had a philosophy that ensured the longevity of the business. “My father had a very strong strength of conviction and a high level of integrity,” said Kubes. “He said, ‘If you do something right and keep doing it, it will keep paying dividends far longer than you can imagine.’ He was right. It’s still paying dividends.” Kubes Jewelry began in 1945 when Minnesota-born Joseph Kubes was discharged from Eagle Mountain Marine Base. With his new bride, Rita, he established a watch repair service in downtown Fort Worth. Moving into the jewelry business, Kubes became one of the first nine certified gemologists in Texas and the only one in Fort Worth in 1955. The business

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moved several times before settling into its current location at 2700 W. Berry St. in 1963. Besides selling jewelry and watches, Kubes offers appraisals, engraving, custom design jewelry and repair services. Carrying on their father’s tradition, Richard and Anthony are certified gemologists. In 2002, Anthony’s son Brent received his graduate gemology degree in 2002, thereby making Kubes Jewelers one of the extremely rare jewelry firms in the U.S. to have three generations of graduate gemologists, according to Richard Kubes. Kubes Jewelry gets most of its business by word-of-mouth or returning customers and rarely advertises, said Kubes. “My father was very big on having our customers be the center of what we do,” he said. “And that’s paid off because we’re now servicing the children and now the grandchildren of our original customers.” That doesn’t mean the firm isn’t visible in the public eye. The firm donates and contributes to more than

Kubes Jewelers Inc.
227 organization and causes, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Tarrant Area Food Bank, to name a few. The business has also been actively involved in the Berry Street Initiative, which has helped revive a once-neglected area of town. While Joseph Kubes passed away two years ago, his wife, Rita, though retired, remains involved in the business. Kubes believes the business model his father installed and instilled in the family will continue to give the firm an advantage. “My father believed that the measCategory: Heritage Family Business Top Executive: Richard and Anthony Kubes Address: 2700 W. Berry St. Fort Worth, TX 76109 Phone: 817-926-2626 Web: kubesjewelersinc.com

ure of success was quality, not quantity and I think in today’s world that’s not a value you find very often.”
– Robert Francis

Heritage Family Business Finalist
t all started with his cows and horses. When Greg Foreman and a neighbor in Colleyville were looking for a closer place to buy livestock feed in 1974, they decided to start their own store, Mid-Cities Feed. “I bought it out from him two years later, and that was when I was still working for IBM,” Foreman said. “I had a big territory with them, but every time you got a new territory, you had to move, and I didn’t want to any more, so I retired in 1986.” Today, at Foreman’s General Store, 3800 Colleyville Blvd., David Lashua, Greg Foreman, Sue Foreman and the inventory is as varied as the store’s name suggests: lawn Scott Foreman and garden equipment; grain; bird seed; outdoor furniture and grills; organic gardening including bugs for organic pest control; even hot sauces and home brewing equipment for the beer aficionado. Foreman runs the store with the help of his wife, Sue; their son, Scott, who is general manager; their daughter, Traci; and their 15 employees. He said he loves that his job not only gives him the opportunity to meet great people, but to spend time at home nearby, where he has llamas, miniature donkeys and a zebra he got years ago from the Fort Worth Zoo after it arrived with a broken back. He gladly took the gentle animal in. “I can’t imagine ever quitting,” he said. “We’ve added a warehouse behind the showroom, and we’re going to expand our parking lot behind the building to provide more and better service. We’re having fun, basically, and that’s the secret to the store’s success.”
– Amy Keen

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Foreman’s Inc.
Category: Heritage Top Executive: Greg Foreman Address: 3801 Colleyville Blvd. Colleyville, TX 76034 Phone: 817-281-7252 Web: foremansinc.com
Fort Worth Business Press

20 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Heritage Family Business Finalist
ot much has changed over the years at the Paris Coffee Shop, and that’s a real good thing. The old place on West Magnolia Avenue is still serving heaping helpings of Southern hospitality. The fare ranges from omelets, pancakes and biscuits and gravy for breakfast, to chicken-fried steak, hot sandwiches and beef tips for lunch. Not to overlook the selection of homemade pies. Owner Mike Smith, 64, took over the operation when his father fell ill back in 1965. The responsibility sidelined a plan to complete a master’s degree in Mike Smith, Ginger Smith and Troy Smith computer technology; Smith’s destiny seems to have been that of guiding a family enterprise beyond its 80th anniversary. Gregory K. Smith had purchased the coffee shop in 1926 from Vic Paris, who had opened it just a year earlier. Inside the chatty diner, time seems to stand still. “We’re pretty unique about being in business like we have been,” Mike Smith says. “We just wanted to keep it like it was back when: good food, good service and at reasonable price. “People who have been eating with me for 20 or 30 years are still coming in.” If they’re to keep coming in for another 80 years, it just might depend on Smith’s son Troy, 32, to keep the Paris Coffee Shop’s famous red-eye gravy flowing.
– Jeff Seaver

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Paris Coffee Shop
Category: Heritage Top Executive: Michael Smith Address: 704 W. Magnolia Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-335-2041

Rapp Ranch
Heritage Family Business Finalist
hil and Mary Ann Rapp are industry leaders in the top equine performance horse organization in the nation, the National Cutting Horse Association, based in Fort Worth. The Rapps are cutting industry superstars as individuals in their own right, both all-time leading riders in earnings, but it’s what they have created and accomplished as a team that is most notable. Their Weatherford ranch, Rapp Ranch, is home to the second-highest producing mare in the cutting horse business, Playboys Ruby, as well as producing mares yielding 20-25 foals yearly, many of which go on to be champions. Rapp Ranch is an instructing and training facility for Mary Ann Rapp, Ryan Rapp, Emma Rapp and Phil Rapp non-professional and amateur rider cutting horse enthusiasts. Phil Rapp went pro in the cutting industry after an illustrious non-professional career including several championships, and has moved on to become a champion professional rider in the National Cutting Horse Association. Mary Ann Rapp is a leading non-professional rider in the National Cutting Horse Association and was inducted to the Non-Professional Hall of Fame in 1998 with earnings exceeding $2 million. Phil and May Ann Rapp were married in 1994 and divide their time between shows and their Weatherford ranch. They have two children, Ryan and Emma Grace.
– Mary Lou Jacobs

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Rapp Ranch
Category: Heritage Top Executive: Phil Rapp, Mary Ann Rapp Address: 400 Smith Trail Weatherford, TX 76088 Phone: 940-682-7471

September 27, 2007

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Innovative Family Business Winner
ong before Teresa Nelson started her customized themed-gift basket business, she became a protégé and friend of the late Sam Walton. Nelson – then Teresa Walley - was working at a Wal-Mart during high school in Everman when she decided to meet the master marketer. She says Walton’s advice is the basis of how she approached her family-oriented company, Teresa’s Treasures, in 2000. “He told me, ‘If you treat your clients as your best friends and if you treat your employees and colleagues as your best friends, then they will always be your best friends,’” she says. That sage advice plus innovative products and marketing ideas, as well as Nelson’s infectious personality, have turned around the gift-basket industry. Named the 2006 National Designer of the Year, Nelson has numerous awards in recognition of her business acumen.

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A 1993 graduate of Texas Wesleyan University with a degree in finance and economics, she attributes her success to commitment to detail, quality of products, loyal customers that now number 7,000 and teamwork. Employees include husband Dennis Nelson, parents Howard and Betty Walley and cousin Angela Brown. The company offers almost 2,000 products, many of them exclusive, from more than 700 vendors nationwide. Among Nelson’s original marketing concepts are digital imaging of products that can be instantly e-mailed to customers so they may see what they’ve ordered, immediate follow-up phone calls to clients and recipients and special gifts for such unusual occasions as National Puzzle Day. When Nelson saw that there were no available gift products from local businesses that could be given to VIPs and visitors to Fort Worth, she created a

Teresa’s Treasures
Category: Innovative Top Executive: Teresa Nelson Address: 616C Shelby Road Fort Worth, TX 76140 Phone: 817-293-6404 Web: treasuresbyteresa.com

Howard Walley, Angela Brown, Teresa Nelson, Betty Walley and Dennis Nelson

program of city-inspired gift baskets, complete with the city’s logo. It’s the only organized gift program for a city in the nation. The $1- to $100-priced specialty food and gift items, distinctively wrapped in Nelson’s “Western chic” designs, showcase many of the area’s favorite historical and cultural attractions. She hopes the ever-changing range of products will help promote local economic development. “We give back in many ways, provide jobs in a nurturing environment and constantly look for ways to better our product, community and those around

us,” Nelson says. “We live what we believe, and we have been awarded for our commitment to quality, excellence and character. Our family goes beyond blood and encompasses our employees and clients. We never take that for granted.”
– Betty Dillard

Innovative Family Business Finalist
ince starting their commercial and industrial roofing business out of their home in 1982 with only eight employees, Ronnie and Sandra McGlothlin are proud to say seven of those eight have remained — plus another 143, contributing to Empire Roofing Ltd.’s $20 million in annual sales. After roofing since he was 13, Ronnie McGlothlin had learned what to do, and what not to do, to run a business. Still, when he and his wife were young and starting Empire Roofing, they had to assure their parents Cheryl McGlothlin, Sandra McGlothlin, Mark they wouldn’t go broke. McGlothlin and Ronnie McGlothlin “We were only 21 and 22 when we started, and I think we were too young to know better,” Sandra McGlothlin said. “In our minds, there was nothing we couldn’t do.” That self-assurance combined with a strong work ethic and Ronnie McGlothlin’s knowledge of roofing since he was 13 has made the company a success today, with not only the Fort Worth office, at 5301 Sun Valley Drive, but offices in Houston, El Paso, Austin and San Antonio, as well as Memphis, Tenn. The company specializes in flat roofs, and offers an innovation through its Web site, empireroofing.com, call “eleak.” Using that link, customers can report leaks 24 hours a day. Since raising their children in the office, the oldest, Mark, now works in customer service for Empire, while his sister, Cheryl, works in the sales department. Future plans include the likely opening of an office in Mexico, Sandra McGlothlin said. “We always knew we were going to be successful,” she said. “I guess we just didn’t know the business was going to be this big.”
– Amy Keen
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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Empire Roofing Ltd.
Category: Innovative Top Executive: Sandra McGlothlin Address: 5301 Sun Valley Drive Fort Worth, TX 76119 Phone: 817-483-2269 Web: empireroofing.com

22 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Innovative Family Business Finalist
he original M&M Manufacturing Co. shop on White Settlement Road measured all of 2,500 square feet. Nearly 50 years later, with two plants in Fort Worth and outposts in Houston, Garland and Wichita Falls, the company conducts operations in a combined 600,000 square feet. The three-generation business is run by brothers Rod Stepp, 70, and Mike “Butch” Stepp, 67; Rod’s son Randall; and Rob Mike Stepp and Rod Stepp Felton, Rod’s son-in-law. Started in 1958 by M.M. Stepp and L.M. Watkins — they named the company after their shared middle initial — M&M is a national leader in the manufacturing of sheetmetal products. “We’ve been so engrossed in taking care of the business and building the business that we never did stop and take a lot of thought in how satisfying that is,” Rod Stepp says of growing the small family business. “But, in hindsight, it’s very meaningful. Our father’s been deceased since 1982, but … he’d been able to see we made essential progress from a company he started.” Substantial change, however, is taking shape. “There’s an end to the story that has just happened,” Rod adds. “We’re still running it and have equity in it, but we recapitalized with a private investment firm on June 13.”
– Jeff Seaver
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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M&M Manufacturing Co.
Category: Innovative Top Executive: Rod Stepp Address: 4001 Mark IV Parkway Fort Worth, TX 76106 Phone: 817-336-2311 Web: mmmfg.com

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September 27, 2007

PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

23

Philip Combs Design, Inc.
The New Standard in Floral Composition
Located in the Cultural District 1114 Norwood Street • Fort Worth 817.332.7234

www.philipcombsdesign.com

24 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

Innovative Family Business Finalist
hen Sue and Bob Johnson bought out the Wahoo Inc. print shop in 1995, they weren’t just looking to start a new printing press business, but to start a better one. “My husband, Bob, is a graphic designer, and when we bought Wahoo, he was doing designs for Inkwell Graphics, and I was brokering designs through the Printing Plus company. We needed a press company, so we purchased Wahoo,” Sue Johnson said. “Because it’s a corporation, we run Inkwell Graphics under a d.b.a. [doing business as moniker]. You can find us on the Web at printingplusinkwell.com.” Bob Johnson and Sue Johnson The Web site is key to the company’s success, she said. “We have password-protected gateways for our customers, so when they log on, the site lists all the documents we print for them. They can click on a PDF picture of that document so they can order it or typeset it. The Web site will tell them how many of that document we have, and we can e-mail them if they get below 1,000 of a particular document here.” The company is certified by CPrint, which meets with each of the company’s eight employees annually about their concerns or suggestions and compares the company with its competitors to test its viability in the industry. As for the future, Printing Plus, at 2818 Morton St., will continue to provide more digitally based services to customers, as walk-in business has become rare. Still, the building will be well used by Johnson and her husband. “We’re in the middle of a big renovation of the building so can live on the top floor,” she said.
– Amy Keen

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Printing Plus
Category: Innovative Top Executive: Sue Johnson Address: 2818 Morton St. Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-332-2310 Web: printingplusinkwell.com

Innovative Family Business Finalist
s twins, Rick and Robert Garza are accustomed to being together, so it was an easy decision to enroll together at the University of Texas at Arlington. There, they met Javier Lucio, who would become the other key member of their team in what is now the successful and growing RPGA Design Group Inc., founded in 1989. The three worked so naturally together that, after Lucio completed a graduate degree at Javier Lucio, Robert Garza and Rick Garza Harvard, the Garza brothers lured him back by offering him a job as a principal in their firm in 1995. “We like to joke that the three of us are twins,” Lucio says. Each principal has an area of specialization within the company, Robert Garza says. “All of us are architects,” he explained, “and I’m also an interior designer. And each of us focuses on a particular market sector: Rick’s is the high-end residential and large multifamily end; mine is the office, mixed-use and retail end; and Javier’s is the municipal end, such as schools and the city of Fort Worth’s fire stations.” Projects include homes in Mira Vista, the Southlake Town Square Development and the Fort Worth Mercado. Rick Garza says the firm’s growth has prompted a need to expand from the current base at 101 S. Jennings Ave., so they are looking for a building to buy. They look forward to continuing to work together. “My wife still can’t figure out why we work together and want to take vacations together, too,” Robert Garza say. All three principals laughed when Lucio added, “I draw the line at vacations.”
– Amy Keen September 27, 2007
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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RPGA Design Group Inc.
Category: Innovative Top Executive: Robert P. Garza Address: 101 S. Jennings Ave., Ste. 100 Fort Worth, TX 76104 Phone: 817-332-9477 Web: rpgaarchitects.com

PlainsCapital Family Business Awards •

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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Fort Worth Business Press

26 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

uilding a quality product has been a family tradition for three generations at Pulliam Pools. Starting the family tradition was Theodore Cresswell Pulliam, with his brother Frank L. “Pop” Pulliam, with business cards that read “My Motto – Good Work at Reasonable Prices.” Theodore’s son Doren Bates Pulliam took over the business and eventually handed it over to his son, and current president, Barry Pulliam. Barry Pulliam continues the tradition of good ethics, community involvement, programs for employee retention and great customer services by mandating the Golden Rule and to “build pools as if we were building them for ourselves.” The company designs custom inground gunite swimming pools and spas, which may include outdoor kitchens, retaining walls, fire and water effects, fountains, volleyball and/or basketball equipment and a vanishing edge feature. Instead of contracting out service technicians, Pulliam trains its

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technicians on every piece of equipment. Building quality pools begins with happy employees. Pulliam Pools is never open on Sunday in order for employees to spend time with their family, which is different from many pool companies that work seven days a week during the busy months of the year. The company is also closed on Labor Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, four days during Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmas and the New Year. Employees still have other paid time off, vacation and sick days. “Although we could make considerable sales by being open on these holidays, we understand our employees’ family time and time off to de-stress are more important than the sales,” Vice President and General Manager Debra Smith said in the Family Business Award nomination form. “Employees are the most valuable asset a company has, and ours are the best all around.” The company also hosts a pool party

Marissa Pulliam Greathouse and Barry Pulliam

Pulliam Pools
Category: Longevity Top Executive: Barry Pulliam Address: 2725 Alta Mesa Blvd. Fort Worth, TX 76133 Phone: 817-346-4778

each May for employees and family, sends various employees on trips each year and sponsors employees’ children in sports, beauty pageants, dance and other school functions. In addition to helping employees, Pulliam Pools provides scholarships for graduating high school seniors, raises funds and donates a pool for the Shriners annual auction gala benefiting Shriners’ Childrens’ Hospitals of Texas and supports local food banks by hosting food drives at all the open house functions. The company also implemented Tarrant County’s first drowning prevention program in 1996. The program was taken on by Cook Children’s Medical Center under its Safe Kids program. Pulliam continues to contribute financially and host functions. For the customer, Pulliam does not set unrealistic expectations. From the

beginning and throughout the pool building process employees ensure customers fully understand the details. Customers must sign a Contract Checklist before work will begin. According to the company, Pulliam had the first gunite rig in Tarrant County and, most recently, introduced the rolled beam for spa coping, which allows a more comfortable neck position in the spa.
– Crystal Forester

Longevity Family Business Finalist
osing a striking contrast with a big-box world of massmerchandising conformity, Marvin Electronics has proved a standout with its unique personal touch of sales, service and custom installation. Celebrating its 60th year, Marvin Electronics remains a one-store, family-operated business offering cutting-edge video and audio products, including everything in the realm of high-definition. A visit to the company’s 10-year-old facility at 2750 S. Hulen St. typically finds a member — or three — of the Schuster family on duty. Marvin Schuster founded the business in 1947 and still Ricki Schuster, Chris Hahn, Melinda Hahn, Scott Schuster and Stuart Schuster frequents the store. His son Stuart is president, and grandson Scott is vice president for sales. The team also includes Stuart’s wife, Ricki, as systems manager, Scott’s sister, Melinda Schuster Hahn, as bookkeeper; and her husband, Chris Hahn, as sales manager. “It’s the hardest, most rewarding thing you can do,” Scott says. “We’re a true family business. If you come in here, at any given time, you’ll find me, my sister, my mom, my brother-in-law — we all work in the store.” To commemorate the 60th anniversary, Marvin Electronics will stage a festive showing of new products on the evening of Oct. 11. Dealers from throughout the country will be on hand to demonstrate the latest products and equipment. “We do it every year,” Scott says of the new-merchandise event. “But this is going to be the biggest one ever.”
– Jeff Seaver September 27, 2007

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Marvin Electronics Co.
Category: Longevity Top Executive: Marvin Schuster Address: 2750 S. Hulen St. Fort Worth, TX 76109 Phone: 817-927-5311 Web: marvinelectronics.com

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PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Longevity Family Business Winner

WOODARD BROTHERS BUILDERS SUPPLY
Longevity Family Business Finalist
our generations and 71 years after provide hardware for all kinds of projects. Woodard Builders Supply started We’ve sold to schools and hospitals, to where the Fort Worth Convention Sonics and Taco Bells, and to some resiCenter stands now, the commercial hardware dential projects.” Most of Woodard Builders Supply’s supplier has shown no signs of slowing business comes from within a 100-mile down. And that pleases its owner, Eddie radius, the hardware has been sent to jobs Woodard, who, in his school days, worked in Colorado and Canada. He credits the with his father at the shop when it was at company’s success with its 30 employees taking customer service seriously, and with 1204 Main St. downtown. “We were there until about 1963 or ‘64, the company providing high-quality merwhen we moved out here,” Woodard said chandise. “We’re just better at what we do,” he of the company’s current location, 6405 said. Airport Freeway. Although Woodard originally hadn’t There, Woodard, his sons Ed Woodard Jr. and Gene Woodard, and his grandsons planned on making running the store his life’s work, he’s provide both weekend glad he has stayed. warriors doing home And he hopes the Woodard Builders Supply renovations and conbusiness contintract builders with ues into the Category: Longevity hardware for residenfuture. tial or commercial job Top Executive: Eddie Woodard “I’d like to see sites. Address: it go into a fifth “We sell all kinds of 6405 Airport Freeway generation,” he hardware, from wood Fort Worth, TX 76117 said. and metal doors Phone: 817-831-6423 – Amy Keen to floors,” Eddie Trey Woodard, Ed Woodard, Eddie Woodard, Gene Woodard and Ben Woodard Woodard said. “We

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Bransom Floor Service
Longevity Family Business Finalist
f D.W. “Sonny” Bransom III and his brother, Charles Bransom, grew up with sawdust in their veins, it isn’t hard to imagine why. They learned as youngsters how to sand and install custom wood floors from their father, D.W. “Dub” Bransom Jr., who had learned from his father, D.W. Bransom Sr., since 1937. After the war, the elder Bransom moved his Bransom Floor Service into his garage shop at 4013 E. Rosedale St., where it stayed until he died in 1978. By then, Dub Bransom, had learned how to install wood floors with custom patterns and exotic wood inlays, even while he kept his job as a Fort Worth police officer. “My brother and I had grown up in the business, and we bought the business about 15 years ago,” Sonny Bransom said. Although his father, now a Charlie Bransom and Sonny Bransom Tarrant County constable, has retired, Bransom’s wife, Elisa, also works with the company, in its office. Bransom attributes the company’s success not only to the brothers learning wood flooring while they were young, but to Bransom learning customer service principles at Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. and his brother learning how to follow orders as a Marine. “We specialize in doing a lot of inlay work and making the picky customer happy,” he said. The company serves high-end homeowners, but also has done restoration flooring for such projects as the Kimbell Art Museum and the Mineral Wells courthouse. “We’ve also been asked to scrape the old blood off some of the wood floors in the Stockyards while keeping their historical look and feel,” he said with a laugh. And even though Bransom said it’s not always easy to work so closely with his brother, he wouldn’t trade jobs. “Sometimes we’re in here with the office door shut and have to let off steam, but then we’re fine,” he said. “We’re brothers.”
– Amy Keen

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Bransom Floor Service
Category: Longevity Top Executive: Charlie Bransom Address: 917 Woodward St. Fort Worth, TX 76107 Phone: 817-334-0321 Web: bransomfloorservice.com
Fort Worth Business Press

28 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Well-Managed Family Business Winner
or more than four decades, the Puente family’s businesses have stemmed from one man’s entrepreneurial vision. Now the family is involved in an array of businesses, from office document solutions to airport concessions to wine, thanks to each family member bringing expertise to a specific domain. Victor Puente Sr., founder of SOS, was born in Breckenridge and left the city at 16 to come to Fort Worth. He joined a national company repairing typewriters and on the weekends and evenings ran a wholesale repair shop out of his home, said Vince Puente Sr., one of Victor’s sons. “When I was 7, 8 years old I was in there cleaning typewriters for a quarter, a dime, something like that,” said Vince. Victor started Southwest Office

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Machines in 1964, leaving his corporate job to work for himself. His sons, Vince and Buddy (Victor Puente Jr.), did lots of work for the growing company, and when their sister, Gina Puente-Brancato, was born, she too was reared in the business. “So many families don’t engage their families in their work — you’re raised in the business because its part of your life,” Vince said. Vince said he didn’t intend to work for SOS, but he was a young adult using his father’s office and phone to call around looking for jobs when a company employee asked if he could make a delivery. Vince asked if he would be paid, and after he was told yes, he made the delivery, he said. After about a year of making deliveries and doing other work for the company he realized he was indeed working for the family business.

Vince and Buddy took on more responsibilities in SOS, and in the late 1980s Victor heard of an option to buy a newsstand at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The company got a contract for three newsstands, and Vince and Buddy decided to let Victor handle that side of the business while they focused on SOS. Now, the Puente family has split the management of its companies in order to be efficient. Victor, who will be 81 in November, is the chairman emeritus, while Vince and Buddy take care of SOS and its affiliated companies as president of sales and marketing and president of finance and administration, respectively. Gina is the president and CEO of La Bodega Winery, which has several locations at D/FW, as well as other airport concessions and La Buena Vida Vineyards in Grapevine and other ventures.

Southwest Office Systems Inc./ Puente-Brancato Enterprises Inc.
Category: Well-Managed Top Executive: Victor Puente Sr. Address: SOS Plaza, POB 612248 DFW Airport, TX Phone: 817-255-8602

“We use each other as consultants,” Vince said. “We’re not a big family but what family we do have is involved.”
– Elizabeth Bassett

Well-Managed Family Business Finalist
isty McCoy is 27 years old and always gets the same question: How long have you worked in the family business? Her mother, Sheryl McCoy, said Misty answers the same way every time: “Her answer is, I’ve always worked here.” Central Dynamic Manufacturing Inc., is indeed a family affair. The company originally started with Sheryl’s husband Lyle McCoy, Sheryl McCoy and Misty McCoy Lyle McCoy’s family in 1983. The couple, married 30 years, bought the manufacturing business from Lyle’s family in 1999. Sheryl serves as president and primarily handles finances. Lyle is vice president and shores up customer service. They’ve worked together in the business since 1988. Misty, one of the McCoy’s three children, is office manager. “Having Misty involved,” Sheryl said, “is very rewarding.” The company, which has about 40 employees and moved from Kennedale to Mansfield four years ago, specializes in manufacturing various parts to meet the needs of their clients, which include oil field, valve and energy-related operations. “We’ve been through hard times, but hard times make you appreciate the good and make it worthwhile,” Sheryl said. “It makes you appreciate where we are today.”
– Jeff Seaver September 27, 2007
PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

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Central Dynamic Manufacturing Inc.
Category: Well-Managed Top Executive: Sheryl McCoy Address: 300 Industrial Drive P.O. Box 679 Mansfield, TX 76063 Phone: 817-473-3899

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Well-Managed Family Business Finalist
ort Worth-based Aero Components Inc. has provided quality aircraft parts and a family-business approach to big-name customers for more than 30 years. CEO Jon Williams Sr. started the business in 1976 after returning home from working on an aircraft carrier around Vietnam. That experience, along with years spent working for Lockheed Martin, helped with the transition to business ownership. “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time,” Williams says. “I knew the business and how to go about getting Jon Williams Jr., Vecki Blake, Jon Williams Sr. and myself into the business.” Becki Cate Williams explains that Aero Components started small but has grown to include 65 employees producing more than 6,000 product lines for governments and companies worldwide. Aero Components boasts more than 400 contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as certifications with Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter. Williams entrusts the day-to-day operations to his three children. Eldest daughter Vecki is vice president, younger daughter Becki is comptroller and his youngest, Jon Williams Jr., is president. Williams ascribes his success to a foundation of great employees. “In any business, you have to have good employees and keep them,” Williams said. “You have to pay them well, you have to treat them well … The employees are the business.”
– John-Laurent Tronche

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Aero Components Inc.
Category: Well-Managed Top Executive: Jon Williams Sr. Address: 5124 Kaltenbrun Road Fort Worth, TX 76119 Phone: 817-572-3003 Web: aero-components.com

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30 • PlainsCapital Family Business Awards

Fort Worth Business Press

PHOTO BY JON P. UZZEL

Well-Managed Family Business Finalist

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ince 1989, brothers Marcel and Dwight Bosworth have battled both floods and droughts to keep their marina business afloat. The Bosworths’ Marine Quest has experienced significant growth from modest beginnings.. “We started with a little marina over on Benbrook. We had about 35 boat slips. Now we have about 3,500,” younger brother Marcel says. “We started small and just worked hard – every day creates a new challenge.” The brothers now own nine marinas – and are about to open a 10th – on waters around Texas, including Travis, Eagle Mountain Marcel Bosworth and Dwight Bosworth and Texoma lakes. Each marina features such amenities as 24-hour security, fuel, storage and service. Marcel says he and Dwight began the business as a way to go skiing everyday, but quickly it became a job. Hard work paid off and the company grew from its original two employees – Marcel and Dwight – to about 150 today. “Our whole mentality is [that] friends and family are the reasons we’ve been successful,” Marcel says. And because of that, Marcel adds, Marine Quest gives back to its community by supporting the Carroll Independent School District, sponsoring the Athletes of Texas varsity basketball team and educating people about water safety through an outdoor learning center in Southlake. The brothers also lend a helping hand outside the community – older brother Dwight coordinated with the American Red Cross and U.S. Coast Guard to fly people by helicopter from roofs to hospitals during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
– John-Laurent Tronche

Marine Quest
Category: Well-Managed Top Executive: Marcel Bosworth, Dwight Bosworth Address: 305 S. Kimball Ave. Southlake, TX 76092 Phone: 817-410-7450 Web: marinequest.net

September 27, 2007

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