Business professor, four campus neighbors receive OSU’s Austin Family Business Program awards

An Oregon State professor and two OSU students werehonored recently at the 2008 Excellence in

Clay Dibrell, professor in the College of Business, is earning an award for his research.

Clay Dibrell, professor in the College of Business, is earning an award for his research in family businesses. (photo: Jerome Hart, Portland)

Family Business Awards in Portland.

Clay Dibrell, who does research in the area of family business in OSU’s Austin Family Business Program, received an honor at the event held Nov. 20 at the Oregon Zoo. Joining him will be graduate student Alexis Crawford and undergraduate student Shawn Hillyer.

Dibrell, in his ninth year at Oregon State, recently authored an article on whether family businesses that brand themselves as such receive much benefit for doing so.

“We found that they do have a competitive advantage over non-family businesses,” Dibrell said. The article was published in the Journal of Small Business Management.

“If they can communicate that family quality to their customers, the results are growth and higher profits,” said Dibrell, who earned his doctorate from the University of Memphis.

Six Oregon companies will receive the program’s excellence award, and eight others will be recognized as finalists at the event, said Robin Klemm, director of the Austin Family Business Program.

The awards help inspire new family businesses, she said. More than 140 companies have received the recognition since the awards began in 1988.

From around campus, Olufson Designs of Corvallis and Solar Summit of Philomath were finalists in the micro category, Reece & Associates of Albany in the small category, and Shonnard’s Nursery, Florist & Landscape of Corvallis in the medium category.

The awards are not only a well-deserved honor for the winning family businesses, but an important educational event,” Klemm said. “These businesses represent key role models for all fledgling, challenged, and hard-working family businesses.”

Innovation, entrepreneurship, commitment and community involvement, are guidelines for awards, said the director of the program, housed in OSU’s College of Business. It serves family-owned companies through workshops, seminars and family business management courses.

Two new awards will be added this year: The Dean’s Award will go to Reser’s Fine Foods for its leadership in industry, business, community and family. The Director’s Award for community involvement will be presented to Azumano Travel.

Healthy Pets Northwest of Portland won the award in the micro category, which is open to businesses with nine or fewer employees. The company was honored for its innovative work, brand differentiation and its knowledge of its products and customers.

Glass Alchemy of Portland won in the small category for its succession planning, eco-friendly focus with recycled glass and clean power and its excellent family interactions. The other finalist in the category was Old Dominion Collision Repair of Eugene.

In the medium category (25-99 employees), R&R King Logging of Florence took the top prize for its company’s leadership, diversification, and community service. Naturebake/Dave’s Killer Bread of Milwaukie was the other category finalist.

The top large business this year is Nosler, Inc. of  Bend, chosen for its professional work, respect for its history, employee passion for their work and the company’s model of diversifying the business. The two finalists in the category were Airefco, Inc. of Tualatin and Umpqua Dairy Products of Roseburg.

The Austin Family Business Program at OSU began in 1985 at the suggestion of Joan Austin of Newberg-based A-dec Inc. and was endowed by Ken and Joan Austin in 1994.

Additional information about the Family Business Awards and the Austin Family Business Program is available at

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