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
Microsoft Azure Container Services can be used for container deployment in a variety of ways including support for Orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker Swarm and Mesos. However, the abstraction for app development that support application self-healing, scaling and so on may not be at the right level. Helm and Draft makes this a lot easier. In this primarily demo-driven session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, a Cloud Solutions Architect/Evangelist at Microsoft, wi...
Though cloud is the future of enterprise computing, a smooth transition of legacy applications and systems is critical for seamless business operations. IT professionals are eager to start leveraging the cost, scale and other benefits of cloud, but with massive investments already in place in existing infrastructure and a number of compliance and resource hurdles, it can be challenging to move to a cloud-based infrastructure.
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, 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. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
Today most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes significant work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reducti...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
The session is centered around the tracing of systems on cloud using technologies like ebpf. The goal is to talk about what this technology is all about and what purpose it serves. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Shashank Jain, Development Architect at SAP, will touch upon concepts of observability in the cloud and also some of the challenges we have. Generally most cloud-based monitoring tools capture details at a very granular level. To troubleshoot problems this might not be good enough.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software 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. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion 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. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.