Welcome!

News Feed Item

Gift of $10 Million Establishes Smith Family Business Initiative at Johnson at Cornell University

John Smith, MBA '74, and spouse Dyan promote education as key to founding and fostering family businesses across generations

ITHACA, N.Y., Jan. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cornell University and its graduate business school made a big difference for John Smith, MBA '74, and perhaps an even bigger difference for the family business, to which he returned after earning his MBA. For while Smith was studying at the then Graduate School of Business and Public Administration (BPA), he became convinced that federal deregulation of his family's freight trucking business was inevitable.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140120/NY48707)

"You have no concept of what the competitive pressures are going to bring on your business in deregulation," said Smith. "I met the right professors at Cornell, who convinced me that this was going to happen, and we'd better be prepared."

Education and the preparation it inspired paid off, and today, CRST International of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is among the 10 largest U.S. truckload concerns. And of equal importance, the company remains a family business. Their wish for family businesses of all kinds to be owned and operated by subsequent generations moved the Smiths to make a $10 million gift to the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University to found the John and Dyan Smith Family Business Initiative.

"It is in the best interest of family businesses and the country for these businesses to be carried on for many generations," said Smith. "With a focus on family businesses at Johnson, good research will be conducted, educational seminars will address the unique needs of family businesses, and prospective students will be drawn to Johnson because of the family business expertise on campus."

"One of the main reasons we are moving forward with CRST remaining within our family is because of education," added Dyan Smith. "The initiative is the next step to putting Johnson in the forefront of family business management."

The Smith Family Business Initiative will be housed in Johnson's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, and will fund three key additions to the institute:

  • The John and Dyan Smith Professorship of Management and Family Business, who will serve as the initiative's lead faculty member
  • The Smith Family Clinical Professorship of Management, who will serve as director of the initiative
  • The Smith Family Research, Program, and Faculty Support Fund, which will support a number of activities, including course offerings, student and alumni programming, marketing and outreach, presentations by visiting executive speakers, and faculty recruitment

The Smith's son Ian, currently earning his MBA at Johnson, is among many students from family businesses, who have joined Johnson over the past several decades—a trend that Soumitra Dutta, the Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean, expects to continue.

"With the Smith's generous gift, we can now put in place a systematic program to help prepare students for starting, scaling, and managing a family business," Dutta said. "The Smith Family Business Initiative will have a profound and lasting impact on family business and graduate business education at Johnson and Cornell."

The Smith Family Business Initiative is likely to be a game-changer for Johnson and for Cornell, both in the U.S. and the world, said Wesley Sine, faculty director of Johnson's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute.

"Family businesses are the most common type of business on the earth, particularly in developing countries," Sine said. "The greater the extent to which we help family businesses across the globe be more successful, the greater our relevance and the larger our impact."

Recognizing that family businesses are the foundation of economic growth worldwide, Johnson is moving forward quickly with both research and new and innovative curriculum specific to them. Sine is currently developing the Smith Family Business Initiatives first two programs—a course that will focus on the benefits and challenges that are peculiar to family businesses; and the Smith Family Distinguished Family Business Lecture Series, which will bring executives from the world's most successful family businesses to the Cornell campus.

Ian Smith, MBA '15, will likely graduate before the Smith Family Business Initiative is in full swing. That doesn't concern his parents, though, who already see how Ian's Cornell graduate education will help advance CRST International. Ian plans to join the board of the directors of the company immediately upon graduation, and immerse himself in learning all aspects of the family trucking business.

"Ian has a very strong background in finance and strategy," said Dyan Smith. "He likes to figure out the best way for the company and family to grow and change  in the future, " –what John Smith calls "up at 20,000 feet looking down; seeing how the pieces fit together and where we should be going."

Bringing the next generation into the family business was critically important to the Smiths, as it is for most families in business together. Yet there are many obstacles to be overcome. Infightings and misunderstandings can overwhelm a business, the Smiths said. Divisive issues are often emotional rather than business related.

"Who do you go to for help in addressing these problems and proceeding into the future? Where do you go for information on starting a family business and keeping your children in it?" said Dyan Smith. "We hope Cornell will flourish in being the source for family businesses."

About Johnson at Cornell University
Johnson at Cornell University prides itself on being an intense, collaborative community that functions like a high-performance workplace. Our world-renowned faculty educates leaders for the connected world through five MBA programs, PhD Program and non-degree executive education. Johnson also offers programs across Latin America, Mexico, and China.

SOURCE Johnson at Cornell University

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Building a cross-cloud operational model can be a daunting task. Per-cloud silos are not the answer, but neither is a fully generic abstraction plane that strips out capabilities unique to a particular provider. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Wolf, VP & Chief Technology Officer, Global Field & Industry at VMware, will discuss how successful organizations approach cloud operations and management, with insights into where operations should be centralized and when it’s best to decentraliz...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, pane...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Most Influential ‘Smart Cities - IIoT' Account and @BigDataExpo has been named fourteenth by Right Relevance (RR), which provides curated information and intelligence on approximately 50,000 topics. In addition, Right Relevance provides an Insights offering that combines the above Topics and Influencers information with real time conversations to provide actionable intelligence with visualizations to enable decision making. The Insights service is applicable to eve...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...