Morgan Christen grew up in one of Iowa’s many family-owned businesses. Her parents, Tim and Rhonda Kendrick, founded the sawmill and logging company, Kendrick Forest Products, in 1983 in Edgewood, Iowa - population 866. Kendrick Forest Products quickly diversified their product lines which led into the opening of four additional startup companies, creating a suite of family businesses under the Kendrick, Inc. brand, and becoming Edgewood’s largest employer, employing over 125 people including Morgan and her three siblings: Andrea, Kirby and Kerra.
The Kendrick Family understands the value of building a strong next generation of family owners. Each Kendrick sibling spent time working in positions from entry level jobs in the mill all the way to management positions. Morgan explained how her siblings are involved in the business. “All four of us work in different areas of the operation. We understand that we each have different strengths and weaknesses so we use those to our advantage.”
Morgan is also a member of the UNI Family Business Center’s Next Generation Leadership Development Group where she has gained insight and creative solutions to issues her family is currently facing and roadblocks to come. One topic has been particularly relevant. From this group, Morgan learned that there are many ways to structure family governance. She noted, "Each family is different and it’s important to think outside the box.”
Dan Beenken, Family Business Center Director, is working one-on-one with the family to help provide insight on family governance, and strategic and succession planning. “Dan understands where we are and where we want to go. We discuss roles and responsibilities, team meetings, and new ways to communicate. It is comforting to know that we have resources and that the Family Business Center is there to help” Morgan explained.
It’s clear to see that Morgan and her family are close. Morgan expressed, “The best part of working in a family owned company is getting to work with the ones I love. We trust each other and at the end of the day, we know that we all care for each other and our company.”