Adria and Aaron
Adria and Aaron Bagshaw, owners of W.H. Bagshaw. Aaron is the fifth-generation owner of this advanced manufacturing company in Nashua, one of the oldest family businesses in New Hampshire.
Helping Family Businesses Thrive
The CEO & Family Enterprise Center offers several programs to help family-owned and operated businesses overcome challenges and make valuable connections

mall businesses drive the economies of New Hampshire, Maine, and northern Massachusetts and many of those are family businesses. The personal relationships can present challenges that need distinct guidance.

This is where the CEO & Family Enterprise Center comes in. Headquartered in the UNH Paul College of Business and Economics, the Center, which was started in 1993, provides information, resources, programs, and connections to family-owned and operated businesses as they navigate the shared challenges that all family businesses ultimately face.

“The biggest challenge for a family business is to have a clean ownership structure in place, as well as a clear and communicated succession plan,” said Director Michelline Dufort. “Families don’t always communicate well. Throw a business in the mix and it can get murky and complicated quickly.”

The CEO & Family Enterprise Center has four programs available to family-owned and closely held businesses in New Hampshire, Maine, and northern Massachusetts, each with a separate membership and fee structure — though many members participate in more than one program. An intrinsic membership benefit is being surrounded by a roomful of peers who all face similar challenges and opportunities.

The programs include:

This program provides learning opportunities for best practices in family business operations, as well as engagement opportunities for members of family enterprises to meet, connect, and learn from each other. Cutting-edge topics focus on business acumen and growth, resources around ownership transfer and estate planning, leadership skills, and resolving conflict, among others.

This speaker series features CEOs of highly visible and successful companies sharing their professional paths and personal stories.

These groups are designed for CEOs, presidents, and business unit managers who together become trusted members. Members take turns hosting and sharing monthly updates, any “burning issues” and the group gives advice and input.

Co-run with the Business and Industry Associate of NH and sponsored by Sojourn Partners, this program offers managers, supervisors, and others the opportunity to build leadership and management skills needed to advance their careers.

“We always say our biggest value proposition is that yes, we deliver up meaningful solid programming and advice, but the biggest thing every business should know about us is that once they walk through our doors, they will quickly realize that they are not alone,” Dufort said. “They will be surrounded by people just like themselves; business owners who are navigating many of the same issues regardless of size. They connect and learn and lean on each other. We just set the stage.”

David Greer headshot

2021 Family Business Lifetime Achievement Award

David Greer, CEO of Wire Belt Company of America (WBCA), headquartered in Londonderry, N.H., is the 2021 recipient of the Family Business Lifetime Achievement Award.

WBCA is a multigenerational, family-owned company originally founded in 1919 by J.W. Greer to manufacture automated equipment. David took over as CEO in 1980. Under his leadership, WBCA has been recognized several times as one of the Business NH Magazine’s “Best Small Companies to Work For,” winning the honor of “#1 Small Company to Work For” three times.