Family Business Center
Identifying Business Opportunities
Friday, April 25, 7:30 AM
How do you identify business opportunities and then choose the right ones? Many successful entrepreneurs have fantastic stories about chance happenings matched with careful deliberation and perhaps a bit of serendipity thrown in. Hear from a Minnesota entrepreneur and family business owner about how he has carefully identified new business opportunities from accident to execution, and a fourth generation family business owner about how he’s keeping the family business growing through strategic business acquisitions.
Craig Kruckerberg, Minimizer
Starting in 1990, Craig Kruckerberg started working at his father's company, Spray Control Systems, Inc. The company, now doing business as Minimizer, is a successful manufacturer of poly truck fenders, poly toolboxes, custom floor mats, custom mud flaps, bracket kits and truck accessories for the heavy duty trucking industry. He liked the company so much, he bought it.
Currently CEO and chief visionary officer, Kruckerberg worked his way up from the plant through shipping, marketing and accounting. The teams and systems he has implemented allowed the company to grow more than 20 percent year-over-year for the past seven years.
To allow for broader business growth in 2013, he founded Kruckerberg Enterprises, Inc., a holding and management company with a top-tier management team. The objective of the company is to pursue strategic merger and acquisition opportunities, and joint ventures that drive product through existing distribution channels within the company's holdings.
Joe Pritchard, Pritchard Auto Company
At the young age of 19, Joe Pritchard began working for Pritchard Auto Company, a dealership that was started by his great-grandfather in 1913. He currently represents four generations of exemplary leadership in the industry and has continued to grow what started as a single dealership into a multifaceted family enterprise.
As the president of Pritchard Family Auto Stores, Joe’s vision has achieved national recognition. He has been awarded Ford’s distinguished President’s Award on two occasions, is a Ford Motor Company Top 100 Club Member, achieved a spot as Ford’s #1 Volume Commercial Truck Dealership in North America, been inducted into the IADA Hall of Fame, was a Family Business Deubener Award Winner and most recently was distinguished as operating one of Automotive News Top 100 Dealerships to Work For.
Joe is a true entrepreneur and is continually looking for ways to expand his business model through both traditional and nontraditional methods. As he likes to say, he’s never found a deal he hasn’t liked!
David Deeds, Ph.D.
David Deeds is currently the Schulze Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, director of the Morrison Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a fellow to the Family Business Center. During his career, he has held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Dallas, the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and the Fox School of Business at Temple University. He founded the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas and created the concentration in Bioscience Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1994. In 2001 he was a named research fellow at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. In 2007, Deeds was awarded the Haniel Fellowship in Entrepreneurship at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. In 2009-2010 he was the chair of the Entrepreneurship Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society.
Prior to pursuing a career as an academic, Deeds was co-founder, with his brother, of LightSpeed Corporation, a computer hardware and software developer specializing in custom CAD/CAM computer systems, from 1983-1989. He has provided executive seminars for companies around the globe, including Alcoa, Cardinal Health, Digicel, Lubrizol, MedRad, The American Society of Manufacturers, The Industrial Distributors Association, SAFRAN, Ameriprise, United Supermarkets, Champion Technologies and numerous other companies and community organizations. In addition, he has worked as a strategy consultant to a number of companies including ALCOA and Champion Technologies. Deeds’ particular areas of specialization are strategy, technology management, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in corporate environments, and the management of joint ventures and strategic alliances.
He has been published in international journals on family business and teaches a course at St. Thomas focused on entrepreneurship and innovation in Family Business.
A note to family business advisors: The breakfast series is restricted to members of family businesses.