Larry C. Morgan
Morgan Family Ventures
Larry C. Morgan began his entrepreneurial career in 1991 with the purchase of a 33-store tire chain. Under the aegis of the former Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. manager, the company grew to more than 600 stores. After selling the chain and retiring, he entered the second phase of his entrepreneurial career by becoming CEO of Morgan Family Ventures, which counts senior therapy care facilities, commercial real estate and car dealerships among its businesses.
Today the family-owned company comprises both family and non-family employees, and most open positions are filled from within. Self-described as people-focused, trustworthy and passionate, Morgan focuses his management style on empowering his employees, giving them the freedom and authority to make their own decisions limited only by established policy and procedures. For example, dealership general managers are given equity in their stores and the latitude to run their operations. Morgan provides support and counsel only when needed.
An ever-present challenge in his life is the use of leverage, and he believes that the more you have leveraged, the larger the potential return. But rather than worry about the downside, he focuses on the positives of the present and plans for the future, including delegating more responsibility to his son, opening more dealerships, growing the senior care centers and making his real estate ventures successful.
A key example of his focus on people is the Helping Hand Fund, a 501(c)3 organization funded by himself, employee payroll contributions and company fundraisers, including an annual golf tournament. An independent committee manages the fund, awarding assistance to employees who request it and increasing the company’s sense of community. In the greater community he tries to lead by example, awarding new cars to high school students with perfect attendance, holding hospital board positions and donating funds for the new Morgan Heart Hospital at the Morton Plant Hospital.
Robert D. Finfrock
Robert D. Finfrock, president of FINFROCK, does not consider himself an entrepreneur, just a businessman. His innovative spirit, however, has helped shape the company that his father founded in 1945.
Finfrock first began working at his father’s company when he was 14 years old and continued working summers at the company throughout high school and college. At the time the company was solely a precast/prestressed concrete manufacturer, obtaining work primarily as a subcontractor to supply concrete components for various construction projects. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt University in 1965, he came back to work at his ailing father’s business. When he took over the company, FINFROCK had a negative net worth, no financing, broken equipment and outdated facilities.
A quick study, Finfrock understood that most construction projects were sold to the owner as a collection of many discrete suppliers and services. The risk of mistakes under this model and the cost of change orders were great. Under such a system the customer bore the brunt of the risk.
Finfrock sought to change this model, starting with parking structures. He realized that FINFROCK better understood the design and building of parking structures than the architects, engineers and general contractors on the job. Eventually, Finfrock decided it was time to vertically integrate the business and compete head-to-head with general contractors who formerly hired his company. He hired his own architects and redefined the capabilities of his engineers and contractors. He no longer sold components or construction services, but rather sold parking structures that FINFROCK designed and manufactured from beginning to end.
FINFROCK started as a family business and continues to be today. Finfrock has four children. His three sons hold executive positions with the company and his daughter holds a position in the marketing division.
John J. Rattigan, Jr.
president and CEO
Colorado Boxed Beef Co.
John J. Rattigan, Jr.’s role as president and CEO of Colorado Boxed Beef Co. (CBBC) can be compared to that of a head coach. His intricate knowledge of all facets of the business and ability to not only facilitate the broad, overarching strategies of the company, but also understand how each decision trickles down to employees has shaped the company.
As a head coach, Rattigan instructs his general managers like team captains and empowers them to make decisions that improve the integrity, morale and profitability of the company.
One of the unique ways he’s helped management feel more like a team has been leveling salaries among top-level management so that it is clear that everyone is valued equally. In turn, a bonus structure has been set in place to ensure that everyone is appropriately incentivized.
Creating programs that allow team members to move up in the organization is an important part of the company. Most of the management team has up from warehouse positions to leadership roles.
CBBC is a leading distributor of all types of refrigerated and frozen proteins. Started through a strategic partnership with a supplier in Colorado, CBBC has grown from a small distributor with one location to a leader in the wholesale distribution business covering 22 states, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.
CBBC’s commitment to delivering the highest quality products, at the best value, with unbeatable customer service, has allowed the company to prosper. Customers include leading independent and chain retailers, cruise lines, food service distributors, the U.S. military and amusement parks.
Rattigan ensures that CBBC remains devoted to giving back to the community through support and participation with Polk State Collect, the local Boys and Girls Club and the Florida Council on Economic Education.
Michael A. Wynn
Sunshine Ace Hardware
Representing the fourth generation of the Wynn family business, Michael A. Wynn brings strong direction and new thinking to the 75-year-old organization. He leads the Wynn retail hardware business, Sunshine Ace Hardware, consisting of six stores in Southwest Florida.
Wynn began working in the family business at the age of 14 bagging groceries. He became the president of Sunshine Ace Hardware in 2005. He never considered seeking a career outside of the family operation even after he secured his MBA and his CPA — he’s always known that his passion is the family business. In his first two years as president, Sunshine Ace opened its fifth and sixth locations, just prior to the recession and resultant housing crisis.
While the housing market and economy have begun a gradual recovery, Wynn’s execution of his vision has poised Sunshine Ace to acquire eight new stores in the coming years and expand its footprint to other geographic regions.
At the heart of the expansion of the Sunshine Ace blueprint was the complete redesign of the downtown Naples store. That involved customer immersion and the effective use of social media and in-store technology, echoing the company’s philosophy of listening to the market to represent its local and cultural theming.
Wynn’s innovation economy of scale, which he honed with the downtown Naples transformation, is the catalyst that will allow him to move into the unfamiliar territory of expansion and differentiate his brand.
The Sunshine Ace team lives the Wynn family core values, which include humility, honesty, inspiring confidence and driving results. It’s also a culture of listening — employees listen to the customer, management listens to employees, and Wynn listens to both the community and his peers. By living these core values, the Wynn family believes a strong foundation for the company is maintained, a pleasant work environment is created, the bottom line improves and Sunshine Ace positions itself to grow.