OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU honors state's top family businesses

11/15/1996

CORVALLIS - A Portland newspaper, two Rogue Valley firms and a Salem home center are among Oregon's annual Family Business Award winners.

The awards, given annually by Oregon State University's Austin Family Business Program, were announced during a campus ceremony on Friday, Nov. 15, said Patricia Frishkoff, program director.

The Skanner Newspapers of Portland earned the state's top small family business award (50 employees or less), Frishkoff said.

Owned by Bernard and Bobbie Foster, the newspaper was founded in Portland in 1975. Judges cited the company's commitment to showcasing the successes of youth and family.

Beaverton's Loy Clark Pipeline Co. earned honors as the state's top medium firm of 1996 (51-249 employees). Loy Clark started the business 40 years ago. The company has expanded into road boring and paving, sawcutting and electrical divisions. Judges cited the firm's innovative products and service, as well as being a family business with a "glow."

The top large firm in the state is Portland's Speed's Towing.

Founded by Harold "Speed" Coe nearly 40 years ago, the company has several locations in Oregon and Seattle and employs 320 people. Among the factors cited by judges were the firm's commitment to ethics, integrity and customer service, encouragement of personal development and dedication to a "tow for life" campaign to prevent drunken driving.

Leupold and Stevens, a Beaverton optics firm, received top honors in the oldest category (in business for more than 75 years).

Now entering its 90th year, the company originally focused on surveying equipment, but has since made its mark in sports optics, such as shooting scopes. Judges cited Leupold and Stevens for operating with integrity, having a mind-set for innovation, a nonstop quest for quality and respect for workers.

Top new business (less than 10 years old) in the state is Ornelas Enterprises of Hillsboro.

Founded in 1991, the company provides contract mechanical assembly and circuit board assembly. Ornelas is honored for working to retain small company closeness, despite tremendous growth. Judges also pointed to the firm's commitment to ethics and morals and their support of employees in donating time to charitable work.

Portland's Air Filter Sales and Service was named the state's top women-owned business. In business since 1953, Betty Kaufman took over leadership after her husband was killed in a traffic accident in 1979. The company has developed a formal plan to pass the business to the second generation. Judges also cited commitment to integrity as well as moving forward and growing, even in the wake of a tragedy.

Five firms also received Austin Family Business Program Special Awards, Frishkoff said.

Western Fluid Power Corp., headquartered in Portland, was honored with the MassMutual Award. The firm earned accolades for living out a sense of responsibility to employees, community and the environment, as well as for valuing education and recognizing its critical role as a transitional tool.

Two Medford firms earned special awards. Medford's Batzer Construction, Inc. earned the Stoel Rives Award. Founded in 1955 on "$400 and a prayer," the company has grown to 90 employees. Judges noted the firm's inventiveness, and dedication to total quality service.

Sabroso Co., the world's largest producer of fruit purees and concentrates, earned the Wells Fargo Award. Among the distinguishing characteristics noted at the Medford company were the firm's linking of three factors: traditional values, today's work force and the cutting-edge technology of tomorrow.

Salem Building Specialties, which does business as Kelly's Home Center, received The Business Journal Award. The Salem appliance, electronics and lighting retailer was noted for its recognition that the key to family unity is respect. Also cited was commitment to the philosophy that anyone can make a sale, but only a professional who cares can make a customer.

Portland's Olshen's Bottle Supply, Co. earned the 1996 Perkins Award. The company distributes glass and plastic containers and metal and plastic closures. Judges cited the foundation of rock-solid people, commitment to the critical importance of employees and appreciation of support of family.

OSU's Austin Family Business Program, founded in 1985, responds to the needs of Oregon's large number of family-owned businesses. Program research centers on succession planning, ownership transition and community service.