Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good Governance Makes Good Sense: Laying a Strong Foundation for the Future

L to R:  Jim Taylor, Lynn Clarke, Rob McIlroy
Jim Taylor, ABARTA Board Chair and Oil & Gas President and CEO, participated in a panel with two other board members from privately-held companies to address a group of approximately 100 family business owners in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, November 6th.  This was one of nine educational seminars hosted annually by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business (

Because Jim knows first-hand the value of ABARTA’s Board of Directors, he was able to speak from experience about what he perceives is one of our greatest resources.  ABARTA Board Member Lynn Clarke, who is CEO of (, and Rob McIlroy, Board Secretary and Vice President of Robroy Industries, also joined Jim on this panel. 

The role and importance of a board – including why and how to establish one – were among the topics discussed.  Panelists enumerated reasons to have a Board, explained the four types of Boards, detailed what makes an effective Board, and gave the Top 10 Benefits of having a Board.  Jim says that he was about 35 years old when ABARTA was transitioning from the 2nd to the 3rd generation of owners, and that is when they adopted an independent Board of Directors.  Statistics say that only about 12% of 3rd generation family businesses survive, and fewer than that grow and thrive.  ABARTA’s leadership wanted to ensure the company’s success and survival. 

Our independent board, made up of members who have specific industry and functional expertise, provides essential support, encouragement, guidance and helps to make ABARTA a better company.  They ask tough questions and are not afraid to ask about touchy subjects.  They anticipate issues, guide key management, set goals and enforce follow through, act as a sounding board and bring outside perspectives to the table.  This provides for more creative thinking and decision making and ultimately will help our family business leadership achieve its vision.

The ultimate goal is not only survival but success, and ABARTA appreciates the role our independent board plays in that success.