Sid Johnson & Co. receives state recogntion
The business earned the Excellence in Family Business award from OSU
Sid Johnson & Co. of Baker City is one of six Oregon companies and three individuals receiving recognition from the oldest family business awards program in the nation – Oregon State University’s Austin Family Business Program’s Excellence in Family Business Awards.
OSU’s College of Business announced the awards for 2009 Thursday. Winners and finalists will be formally recognized at an awards dinner Nov. 19 at the Oregon Zoo.Sid Johnson & Co. is the winner of the Excellence in Family Business Award in the small family business category (10-24 employees). The finalists were Fitzpatrick Painting and Second Glance/The Annex, both of Corvallis.
Family businesses are nominated for the award by employees, advisers and owners. Nearly 200 nominations were submitted and more than 100 completed applications were judged.
Sid Johnson & Co. is a licensed and bonded contractor founded in Baker City in 1956 by Sidney R. Johnson. The General Contracting firm was incorporated in 1975 as Sid Johnson & Co. dba Johnson Homes – a family held corporation.
“I was driving down the highway when I got the call from Robin Klemm, director of the Austin Family Business program, that we won the award for our business category,” said Mark Johnson, who runs the company today along with Jeff Givens. “I had to pull over because it was just kind of overwhelming, the joy I felt for the whole family, for all their hard work and sticking with it and believing in it.”
Mark Johnson and Jeff Givens have managed the company since 1987 when the founder, Sid Johnson, retired. Mark is Sid’s son and Jeff is Sid’s son-in-law.
Sid’s father, Syd Johnson, also worked for the company for many years.
“All of Syd’s kids were employed in the company at one time or another,” Mark Johnson said.
“One of the things they liked about our business is the family involvement,” said Johnson, whose son Kyle is a student at Oregon State University’s School of Business and submitted the nomination.
“The award pointed out and made us think about all we had done, just going about our business,” Johnson said. “The family working together was a lifestyle.”
He and his wife, Heather, who is also involved in the business, are both graduates of Oregon State University, and over they years they and other family members have participated in some OSU business and succession planninng seminars.
A chart showing family members who have been involved in the business shows Sidney and Nancy Johnson at the top, followed by their children, Jean, Sid Jr., Sigrid, Mark and Kelly Johnson, Shannon Moon and Tamara Perensovich.
Moon, works works in the office, said in addition to the family involvement, the Austin Family Business people liked the longevity of employees like Fred Meyers, who is a construction foreman/superintendent.
“One of the things they liked was how long our employees have worked for us,” Moon said.
Sid’s grandchildren who are currently active in the company include Robert and Grant Johnson, and Moon’s son Josh Rohner.
“When we got the phone call that we were finalists, it felt like you knew you did good in some manner,” Johnson said, adding that point he still wasn’t expecting to win because there were so many good businesses in the competition.
Prior to being named an award winner, the Johnsons were called on to put together PowerPoint show about the business and present it, along with other finalists at a dinner meeting in Portland.
“When we finished with that presentation, it brought it all together in a way we never thought of before,” Johnson said. “The Austin people brought the whole family business thing together.”
He said the longtime employees and the Baker City community as a whole made the award possible.
“We didn’t do it all ourselves. We are fortunate to be part of this community. We couldn’t do it without the community,” Johnson said. “There’s a ton of family businesses around here that are just as qualified.”
Sid Johnson & Co. has experience at all levels of project development, management and construction, employing a full time staff of project managers, supervisors, CAD draftsmen and skilled workers.
Johnson describes the company as a “nuts and bolts” construction firm.
“We are builders by trade and we perform a large portion of the actual construction work in-house,” Johnson said. “Our crews take a personal interest and pride in each project. Our business maxim is that once a project is begun, we will concentrate our energy and intensity, without distraction, on the successful completion of each project,” Johnson said.
In addition to the winners of the 2009 Excellence in Family Business Award being recognized at the Nov. 19 awards presentations, seven additional companies will be recognized as finalists.
More than 160 companies have received this recognition from the OSU Austin Family Business Program since the awards were first presented in 1988.
The awards recognize the achievements of family businesses in innovation, entrepreneurship, commitment and community involvement. The Austin Family Business Program, in OSU’s College of Business, serves family-owned companies through workshops, seminars and family business management courses.
“It is especially important this year to recognize the contributions of family businesses,” said Robin Klemm, the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business and director of the Austin Family Business Program. “These businesses will be around for many years and are going to play a significant role in Oregon’s economic recovery.”
Other 2009 Austin Family Business Award winners and finalists being recognized Nov. 19 include:
• James W. Fowler Co. of Dallas was the winning family business in the large category (100 or more employees). Umpqua Dairy Products Co. of Roseburg was a finalist in the large category.
• Fall Creek Farm Nursery, Inc. in Lowell won in the the medium business category (25-99 employees). The finalists were NatureBake, Dave’s Killer Bread in Milwaukie and Beacock Music Company in Vancouver, Wash.
• Corvallis Custom Kitchen & Bath took top honors in the micro business category (nine or fewer employees). Olufson Designs of Corvallis and Rainbow Carpet Cleaning, Inc. of Albany were finalists.
• OSU College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge selected R.B. Pamplin Corporation to receive the Dean’s Award for Family Business Leadership.
• Pendleton Woolen Mills was chosen to receive the directors award from Klemm, acknowledging the deep roots of a dedicated family that has been in the business of providing the nation with quality woolen textiles and blankets for six generations.
• Donald Neubaum, an associate professor of management at OSU will receive the Faculty Award. Sean Krause of Newport and Mark Goracke of Goracke Farms in Monroe will receive the graduate and undergraduate student awards.
More information and tickets to the awards dinner are available at 1-800-859-7609 or online at www.familybusinessonline.org.