2015-16 Family Business Alliance programming off to a great start at PSWS

Doug Box, author, speaker and family business consultant based in Dallas, Texas spoke to students in the PSWS Linde Family Business Mentoring Program, as well as regional professionals who belong to the Family Business Alliance at Wilkes University.

Doug grew up on the infamous Box Ranch, the original home used by the Dallas television

series, and was the son of Cloyce Box, the storied patriarch, legendary oilman and entrepreneur thought by many to be the inspiration for Dallas' J.R. Ewing. He worked in a family business all of his life, learning the oil and gas, construction, and cement businesses from the ground up. 

His presentation focused on the rise and fall of the Box Energy Corporation, a publicly traded oil and gas giant, as well as a family dynasty believed to be too big to fail.

After his father died suddenly, a destructive family ordeal that lasted four years ensued, pitting Doug and his three brothers against each other. As president of the family holding company, Doug led the sale of the family oil and gas firm under heavily-conflicted circumstances.

Attendees got a first-person perspective of what Doug learned from that ordeal and the fallout that ensued, and gained invaluable insights on what not to do when running a family business.

He told his story with honesty and candor and shared his mistakes and lessons learned to an audience that included owners and members of regional family businesses, as well as Penn State Worthington Scranton business students, who may one day work for a family-owned business.

Since starting a new career as a family business consultant, Doug's focus has been on succession planning, conflict mediation and family governance systems for the family-based enterprise.

He is a frequent presenter at various family business forums across the country as well as a guest lecturer at a number of universities on the topic of family business. Doug has an MBA from Baylor University and a master's in Dispute Resolution from SMU. He also holds the Certificate in Family Business Advising and has been a member of the Family Firm Institute since 2005.

The Linde Family Business Mentoring Program at Penn State Worthington Scranton serves as an opportunity for junior level students enrolled in the Baccalaureate Degree in Business to enhance their educational experience through advanced instruction and participation in special programs and projects.  Students obtain first- hand knowledge of the business world by being paired with a professional in their field of choice. 

The Family Business Alliance at Wilkes University ("FBA"), is a resource for family businesses located in northeastern PA and provides services to family businesses, including educational programing, research, and networking for family firms in northeast Pennsylvania. The Family Business Alliance helps area family businesses achieve their business goals while maintaining healthy and harmonious family relationships.

Two years ago, Wilkes University's Family Business Alliance and the PSWS Linde Family Business Mentoring Program formed a partnership to bring informational and educational programming to both schools related to family businesses. Since that time, both students and members of the business community have benefitted from the programs, which have been hosted by both schools.