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Sustaining a Legacy: Weaver Transitions to Next Generation

weaver familyWe recently completed a successful ownership transition as our founder, Mel Weaver, sold the business to his sons, President Ken Weaver and Executive Vice President Randy Weaver. The transition marks a major milestone coinciding with the company’s 40 year anniversary. It is also a pretty significant accomplishment in its own right, given that two out of three family businesses fail to transition successfully to the next generation.

According to analysts at the wealth management firm Abbot Downing, “articulating a clear vision that reflects a family’s deeply held core values” is the key to a successful transition. Knowing that makes us appreciate Mel’s leadership even more.

In a recent tribute, employees talked about Mel’s vision and leadership. Their comments reveal several common themes that hold the key to our continued success.

Dedication to lifelong learning

One of the most common themes that emerged was Mel’s dedication to lifelong learning. “I think one of the greatest gifts Dad gave me was the opportunity to learn and to grow, to make mistakes and to learn from them,” said Ken. “I always got the sense that he supported me even when I messed up.”

“Mel always pushed us to learn and to step out beyond our comfort zone,” said Steve Garman, a former employee who joined Weaver at nineteen and went on to build his own business many years later. “He trusted us to learn even though we made mistakes sometimes.”

Caring for people

Another aspect of Mel’s leadership that came up very frequently was caring for others. Mel organized many mission trips over the years and did a lot of work in the community. When a neighbor’s barn burned, Mel led teams of volunteers who rebuilt it within a week.

“Mel’s love for missions has impacted my life,” said Linford Burkholder, Construction Project Manager. “He supported me when I had a desire to do a short term missions trip. He even helped fund the trip and kept my position for my return.”

“Because of Dad’s example, caring for others is deeply woven into my DNA and the company’s culture today,” Randy said.

Treating others as we want to be treated

“One of the traits I’ve learned from Mel over my 15 years here is how he has treated customers, coworkers and everyone in general with a lot of respect,” said Quinten Zwally, Construction Project Manager. “Mel cultivated a culture of family here at Weavers.”

“One thing I learned from Mel is to relax,” said Connie Gehman, Secretary. “In my experience, Mel was not quick to get worked up when things didn’t go right. He didn’t overreact or make me feel inadequate.”

“Dad taught me the value of caring for our employees, whether it was helping them through a tough time or providing great benefits,” said Ken. “He recognized that they were the key to the success of the company.”

Keeping Promises

If a shared vision and deeply held values are the keys to sustaining a successful family business, Mel Weaver laid a strong foundation to carry Weaver Construction and Roofing into the next generation. “He was never afraid to share his faith and try to live what he believed,” Connie said. “He built his company on values of trust, honesty and fairness.”

“Dad taught us to always do what we say we’re going to do, even when it cost us,” said Randy. “At the end of the day it always came back to doing the right thing and keeping the client happy. Because of this, we are proud to say that we are building on a foundation of Promises Kept.”

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