In this inaugural episode of Family Business Leadership, Robin Letchinger interviews Richard "Dick" Seaman as he introduces us to the concept of family business stewardship. Through his own experience and stories, Dick shares what it took to assume leade...
In this inaugural episode of Family Business Leadership, Robin Letchinger interviews Richard "Dick" Seaman as he introduces us to the concept of family business stewardship. Through his own experience and stories, Dick shares what it took to assume leadership of the family business at a young age after a family tragedy and then both grow it and prepare it to be managed by his children and grandchildren. Dick highlights the importance of a "stewardship" mentality, family education, and family communication. He also shares his experience with professional managers and leaders. Robin and discuss these topics that Dick also shares in his recent book, A Vibrant Vision: The Entrepreneurship of Multigenerational Family Business.
CEO / Chairman / Entrepreneur / Author
Richard grew up in the family business that his mother and father started with two sewing machines in the basement of their home. He recalls watching his father mix vinyl compounds in his mother’s kitchen and cure them in her oven to develop coatings to apply to nylon fabrics. Those early entrepreneurial and innovative activities evolved into an enterprise of 400 associates that produces colorful industrial fabrics for truck tarps, architectural and environmental applications, roofing membranes, and military applications.
After his father’s passing, Richard oversaw a significant portion of his company’s growth. This early participation and success helped drive his ambition to build a family business that would continue to grow for many generations.
Richard was an early champion of educating future generations about the history and values of the family business. For a business to be sustainable, it is important for all to recognize that family business ownership is not an entitlement, but a special stewardship that requires continued care and feeding.
Richard’s unspoken vision was to create a family business legacy that would survive him and continue into future generations.
Richard was recognized as an Honored Life Member of his industry trade organization, the Industrial Fabrics Association International, and was selected as a Wall of Fame Honoree by the Wooster Area Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, Richard was chosen by Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year in the Family Business category.