Dan’s the man for me

Dan’s the man for me

If I were organising a seminar on family ownership and managing change I’d ask Dan Robinson to lead it. It’s a hot topic now as Baby Boomers near retirement. Business founders and entrepreneurs worldwide are handing over to their offspring in record numbers.

Dan is Hartlepool’s shining business star who, after a 13 year military career that had him flying fighter aircraft for both the RAF and United States Air Force, and a New York entry into private wealth management, returned home to revive Gus Robinson Developments. The building and civil engineering firm was in crisis after the untimely death of Dan’s father Gus.

Now Dan has the company prosperous again. With Steve Bell as his handpicked managing director, it’s currently working on one of the firm’s biggest housing projects yet, a £4.8m scheme at Great Park, in Newcastle, and putting up more homes elsewhere in the city, and at Sacriston in County Durham.

The recovery required not only insights into family business, which Dan acquired working for his father earlier, but mastery also of change management. He has explained how to members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. However, until he commits to a book, helpful insights will also be found in Engaged Ownership: A Guide for Owners of Family Businesses.

This book (Wiley, £23.99, hardcover and e-book) tells how to build dynamic and effective partnerships with trustees, board, and management, and how to succeed as stewards of the family’s financial, human, and enterprise capital. The author, consultant and advisor Amelia Renkert-Thomas, who has worked with diverse family enterprises on strategy, governance and ownership, trains and educates family members and family advisors also. A trained lawyer, she deflates and manages conflicts arising through structures of ownership, such as voting and non-voting shares, trusts, partnerships, and foundations. She herself is the former president of Ironrock Inc., her family’s fifth generation manufacturing business.