Article by: NJBIZ Magazine, June 2014
Lisa Hirsh didn’t grow up dreaming of taking over the family business. In fact, when she graduated from Smith College in 1982, she was just like any other college kid. “I needed a job,” she said.
When she got one at the company her father owned, Accurate Box, she still didn’t think the family business was in her future: “I figured I’d work here for a year,” she said. More than 30 years later, she’s still there, serving as president of one of the largest independent box manufacturers of litho-laminated packaging in the U.S. Her ascension, however, did not happen overnight. It was more than a decade in the making and her father, Charlie Hirsh, still serves as the company’s chairman.
It also serves as a key reminder for family businesses: Finding someone in the next generation to take over is only the first step – giving them enough transition time to learn the job is just as important. “Family businesses may not always be successful because the older generation holds on to too much and can be critical of the younger generation,” Hirsh said. “Or, family businesses let the next generation take over immediately, giving someone in their 30s with no real experience the presidency and walking out the door. These are the things that have caused families to struggle.” Charlie Hirsh found out how difficult transition can be first hand. In 1950, Charlie left Bowling Green at age 20 to help his father’s small and troubled folding-carton company in Newark.