Monday, October 12, 2015

This Third-Generation Family Business Thrives on Service

Greg and Joshua Owen, a father and son team, lead their third generation family business, Tri-Modal Distribution Services. The company is based in Southern California and provides global logistics. warehousing and distribution services to retail shippers. Greg, the dad, is the head coach and sets the vision, while his son, Joshua, oversees the day-to-day affairs of the company.
Bill Owen, Greg's dad, started City Transfer, Inc. in 1947, later City Freight Lines, which he sold to his employees in 1984. Bill started with one truck servicing the Port of Long Beach. He picked up luggage from families returning from vacations and transported it to their houses. Greg remembers sitting in his dad's truck when he was 3 years old. He became president at age 27, making him one of the youngest owners of a major trucking company. He left in 1982 to start Tri-Modal.

I met Greg at the Rotary International District 5400 Conference, where he was a special representative to Rotary International's president. He has an extensive history of service with the organization, and uses his family business to help improve the lives of others around the world. Here are some key lessons from Greg, a coach/dad, running a business with his son.

A coach may be better.

Josh wanted to become a documentary filmmaker. Greg did not force Josh to join the family business. What he did was allow Joshua to discover and attend a business program. In one class, Josh was surrounded by classmates who were already experienced in their own companies and industries, but had started in upper management after graduating from college. Josh worked his way up in the family business, starting around age 9. He was intimidated at first and called his dad to question whether he could make it. Greg reminded him of his experience and reassured him that he belonged. Like a good coach, Greg encouraged his son by reminding him of his experience in the family business.
Read more about this family business

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