Hear from high growth, award-winning family businesses that incorporate continuous change and innovation as a foundation for building their business for generations. Understand how the creative process works within family businesses and how these leaders create inspiring environments to generate fresh ideas that advance the business.
Family Business Speakers
Steve Smith, Owner, Tec Labs
Steve is the second generation CEO of the company his Dad launched in 1977. Tec Labs' flagship product is Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser. Tecnu was originally developed in 1960, during the cold war years, by his father Dr. Robert Smith, a chemical engineer, as an effective, waterless cleanser capable of removing radioactive dust from skin and clothing. Steve’s Mom accidentally discovered that Tecnu would cleanse poison plant oils after exposure to poison oak in their own backyard. She didn't want their children to keep suffering from the plants so she went out back and pulled them out with her bare hands, even though she knew she was highly allergic to poison oak and ivy. She decided to clean up with Tecnu afterwards and it worked for her. Steve has created an employee-centered culture that is very unique and has earned Tec Lab recognition as one of the Top Oregon Places to Work in 2011 by Oregon Business Magazine. They won the
Excellence in Family Business Award in 2005.
Tara O’keeffe Broadbent, Inventor, O’keeffe’s Working Hands
Tara is the founder of Okeeffe’s Working Hands Crème. Her father Bill O’Keeffe was a rancher who loved working with his hands. The tough lifestyle, however, took its toll on his hands and feet. The day-to-day act of working with his hands in an arid climate dried his hands and cracked his feet to the point that he could hardly shake hands, and it was painful for him to walk. With his daily work dependent on his hands and feet, there was never enough time for them to heal. Feeling helpless due to her father’s constant pain and frustrated by the ineffectiveness of over-the-counter and prescription treatments, his daughter, Tara, was driven to find a way to relieve her father’s suffering. Applying her skills as a pharmacist, Tara and her father spent years creating and testing various formulations mixed in her kitchen, until, many years later, she discovered a skin care product that actually helped the healing of her father’s damaged skin. This was the basic formula for what has become O'Keeffe's Working Hands. Their dogged-determination resulted in a product that allowed him a better quality of life, and it has since expanded into a booming business helping others with severe skin issues. Tara has received a patent for the packaging that was designed as the product was launched for nationwide distribution in Lowe’s. She won the Excellence in Family Business Award in 2002 and was recognized as Oregon’s Small Business Person of the Year in 2009. Last year Tara sold the company to Gorilla Glue which moved the production to Cincinnati. She still lives in Bend and is a frequent speaker.
Catherine Mater, President, Mater Engineering