or generational differences
created con;icts or oppor-
Russell: I am the youngest family
member involved, at 30 years old,
and my father is the oldest at 56.
We each bring our own views to the
table, but ultimately always have
the same goal of achieving successful, pro;table projects and exceeding client expectations.
Klatskin: I was born in 1964,
the last year of the baby boomer
generation. Sam Seiden is 36, so
he is a Gen Xer. We have had no
con;icts, but we have discovered
opportunities working with a different generation. Those opportunities
involve translating the wisdom of
the past into the future.
What, if any, efforts is
the company making to
engage younger family
members and prepare
them to lead the company
in the future?
Klatskin: To prepare the next generation, they need to work for someone else who doesn’t [care] about
them. They need to see how the
real world works, because not everyone is nice. But there are additional
reasons. Real estate is actually
made up of ;ve or six ;elds, including construction, engineering, law,
accounting, ;nance and marketing.
We need people of the next generation to come into the business who
can add value with expertise in one
of these six ;elds. I think working
;ve to 10 years at other businesses
is suf;cient. If possible, it is bene;cial to have a 10-year overlap of
generations to pass on wisdom from
the older to the younger generation.
Wyllie: All of the [members of the]
;rst and second generations of the
business are gone. We have four
members from the third generation,
including me, and four members
of the fourth generation. We third-
generation folks are all in our late
50s and early 60s; the fourth-generation group are in their mid
to late 20s and early 30s.
About 15 years ago, we third-generation people came up with
a playbook for family members
getting into the business. We called
it a “family protocol,” which is just
a rule book. We spelled out that you
need to get an education, and then
you need to work somewhere else
for a period of time, preferably in a
business that has something to do
with what we are doing here.
The four fourth-generation people
have varying backgrounds, but they
have all received advanced degrees
and have all worked elsewhere. We
frown on people coming here out of
college. We say a minimum of a year
working for someone else [is good],
but more is better. We think these
kids should get a perspective, get out
there in the real world and get beat
up a little. There is a ;fth genera-
tion coming along, but they are all
still running around in diapers.
Russell: My father gifted my sister,
brother and me a small amount
of stock in the company with the
caveat that any of us who are not
working at the company by age 30
would need to sell their stock back.
My brother and sister are younger
and, at this point, are not working
in the business, so they may end up
selling their stock back in the future.
Gifting us stock was a good way for
him to teach us about the business.
The company culture is very entrepreneurial and has a strong emphasis on
continual learning and professional
development for both family members and other employees.
What is unique about your
What makes you most
proud of it?
Russell: What is unique and what
I am most proud of is that we grew
from a small company in 1983 to
[one that is now] one of the largest
general contractors [in the region]
NAIOP National Forums
NAIOP’s National Forums program brings together successful commercial real estate executives from leading companies across the U.S.
and Canada in a noncompetitive environment where they share industry knowledge and help each other solve problems. These focused
groups serve the needs of senior-level NAIOP members and provide
them with an opportunity for exclusive networking and experience
exchange with their peers. National Forum members gain and provide
practical advice, creative ideas and industry wisdom.
The program began in 1995 with 100 members in four Forums. Since
then, it has grown to 669 members in 44 Forums, including Capital
Markets V, Developing Leaders X and E-commerce II.
The ;rst Family-owned Business Forum began in 2004. Seven of the
14 individuals in the group’s current roster are founding members.
Increased interest in this Forum resulted in the formation of a second
group in 2017. The Family-owned Business II Forum met for the
;rst time in April at the National Forums Symposium in Indian Wells,
California. This Forum is interested in expanding its membership and
is accepting applications during the program’s current recruitment
period, which began in June and runs through September.
To learn more about the Forums program, contact Bennett Gray, vice
president, National Forums, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-647-1436. ■