Broker Check

Episode 66: Bringing Your Own Experience to the Family Business

In a recent episode of "The Family Business Show," host Michael Palumbos welcomed Steve Davis from Tapecon Inc., offering an insightful exploration into the dynamics of a thriving family business. The discussion peeled back layers on the evolution, challenges, and triumphs of Tapecon Inc., an enterprise with deep roots extending over a century and currently navigating its fifth generation.

Tapecon Inc., originally initiated by Steve's great-great-grandfather in 1919, has witnessed a series of entrepreneurial pivots, shifting from its initial venture in advertising machines to becoming a key player in the industrial printing sector. This adaptability is not just a business strategy but a family ethos, reflecting a legacy of innovation and resilience. Steve detailed the journey from working summers in the factory to his role today, encapsulating the blend of personal growth and business evolution.

The discussion highlighted the critical role of workforce development, emphasizing Steve's efforts to create sustainable training and recruitment systems. This initiative is not merely a strategy but a testament to the family's long-term commitment to their business and community. Steve's involvement in local workforce development boards and collaborations with similar businesses showcases a proactive approach to ensuring the company's and the community's future prosperity.

Family dynamics, an inherent part of any family business, were also touched upon. The Davis family maintains a structured approach to involving family members in the business, balancing personal aspirations with the company's needs. This structured yet flexible approach is evident in their family charter, outlining clear guidelines and expectations, fostering a performance-based culture that integrates family values with business objectives.

Moreover, the discussion delved into the significance of company culture, anchored in clearly defined core values and behaviors. This cultural framework isn't static; it evolves, ensuring alignment with the company's vision and the family's ethos, exemplifying how tradition and innovation can coexist harmoniously.

In conclusion, Tapecon Inc.'s story, as shared by Steve Davis, is a compelling narrative of a family business that adeptly balances heritage with forward-thinking strategies. It's a testament to the enduring power of family values, adaptability, and a committed workforce in shaping a business's legacy. For family businesses at any stage, Tapecon Inc. offers both inspiration and practical insights, demonstrating that with the right mix of tradition and innovation, longevity and success are within reach.

Episode 66 Transcript


00:00:00.000 --> 00:00:01.580

Kristina: Are I going to go?



00:00:04.320 --> 00:00:23.110

Michael Palumbos: Hello! Welcome everybody to the family business show. I am your host, Michael Columbus, with family wealth and legacy in Rochester, New York, and we've got a wonderful show with for you today. Steve Davis, from Cape Town has joined us, and I just want to say, Thanks, Steve. Welcome,



00:00:23.120 --> 00:00:24.390

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: hey! Thanks, Michael.



00:00:24.400 --> 00:00:37.810

Michael Palumbos: Good to be on good to be here, So we have a tradition where we just ask guests to tell us their journey to getting into the family business. How did that work for you?



00:00:38.570 --> 00:00:39.790

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Family beds?



00:00:39.800 --> 00:00:41.710

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, I mean um it.



00:00:42.370 --> 00:00:49.579

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yes. Well, it goes all the way back. It was all the way back, probably to Summers, I mean, of course, in my family it's like



00:00:49.820 --> 00:01:01.640

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: when you turn fourteen, You, you know, catch a ride with dead and go to the factory and work the summer right? So it was summers fourteen through. I don't know



00:01:01.720 --> 00:01:16.089

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: seventeen or eighteen, yeah, you know. So you kind of get introduced to the family business because of, you know. Dad was going to work, and I was able to catch a ride and and work summers and and pocket some cash, but it was an opportunity to,



00:01:16.330 --> 00:01:36.029

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I mean, I think, when I was fourteen I was just cleaning machines, which is kind of sent around to clean stuff, but eventually I believe I don't know what it is now in New York State. But when I turned sixteen I was able to kind of operate equipment, so at that point in time. Um! Then I got into some of the production assets and was able to do some printing and some cutting and materials and whatnot, so



00:01:36.040 --> 00:01:44.840

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: that Ah, I guess all the way back into high school, really, but it wasn't it's not like I was thinking this was going to be the end. All in high school, you know I went,



00:01:44.850 --> 00:01:59.559

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: but it did influence, I think my college trajectory, because I ended up going to Clarkson University, and my degree was manufacturing management. So of course, it's influenced. There was an influence there, but I had. I eventually changed, though, to more of an engineering degree



00:01:59.570 --> 00:02:18.680

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: midway through. But um so So I think I was locked on thinking, or i'm in a family business. But then maybe Sophomore junior year of college. I think my my mindset shifted, and I was like, Oh, i'm not going back to the family business. And so after college I hired on to a fortune one hundred company for



00:02:18.690 --> 00:02:33.559

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: of five years. I think I was with them, but I I hired on to their manufacturing engineering Development program at the time it was cooper industries. But now people have been buying up everybody, so I think it's now Dan or her ultimately. But um,



00:02:33.660 --> 00:02:40.959

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Then, through that experience I really wasn't planning. I come back to the family business. I thought i'd have a career in a long career in that



00:02:40.990 --> 00:02:42.730

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: organization. But



00:02:42.860 --> 00:02:44.610

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know um.



00:02:45.240 --> 00:02:51.760

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: How do I? Long story short, This, you know, a combination of personal stuff wanting to get back to Western New York kind of



00:02:52.080 --> 00:03:08.959

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: sucked back into a consideration of Western New York on the family business kind of rear to Ted. When I was five years into a what I thought was an alternate career, and then I found myself um entertaining coming back to the family business. So i'll stop there. I can. I can comment more, I think, on the



00:03:08.970 --> 00:03:17.739

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I think my my father's psychology, that I had this thought of whether or not he's a genius, or whether he was crazy on his psychology on how he got me back



00:03:17.750 --> 00:03:20.089

Michael Palumbos: i'll i'll come. I'll come back to that.



00:03:20.100 --> 00:03:22.189

Michael Palumbos: I love that. That's what you're having in. That's



00:03:22.200 --> 00:03:25.410

Michael Palumbos: you know a lot of times You hear people talk and say,



00:03:25.420 --> 00:03:44.020

Michael Palumbos: you know you need to do that three years that leave minimum someplace else, and you didn't it wasn't purposeful, but by default you didn't find yours out, and my gut says you were successful in the career, and could have stayed doing that, and it would have been fine. But you know there was an opportunity to come back and help the family out.



00:03:44.030 --> 00:03:51.279

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, Well, yeah, there actually is construct to that, though, too, in our family charter, we do have a rule that says that you have to be



00:03:51.290 --> 00:04:07.770

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: eight years gone, but it includes four years of college. So in the Charter it outlines four years of college plus four years somewhere else. I'm not sure if my grandfather called it like the by obe policy, like. Bring your own experience beer to the party. But



00:04:07.780 --> 00:04:17.549

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: maybe I just put that those words and stuff I don't know, but that's how I've always kind of referred to it. So yeah, I got my five years, which obviously you know, was beyond the four-year kind of quota



00:04:17.560 --> 00:04:30.580

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: but there actually was structure there. But I I think at the time when I was, you know, in my five years, at that fortune one hundred company I I wasn't like counting the days to four. It just kind of ended up being the the timeframe that it was.



00:04:30.590 --> 00:04:45.990

Michael Palumbos: I think that is a phenomenal acronym. We're going to start using that hope. So with my team, and as we're talking clients, B. Y. Op it it would bring your own business experience. There they go by, Obe.



00:04:46.230 --> 00:05:05.160

Michael Palumbos: Love it. Well, let's do this. Let's talk about. Take Con a little bit. Give us the history you you mentioned, Family charter. I want to go back today. You mentioned your father's psychology. I want to mention that, but I think it's important to understand the history of the company. How we, what generation are you? What is the company kind of you know?



00:05:05.400 --> 00:05:07.890

Michael Palumbos: How is it transformed itself through the years?



00:05:07.900 --> 00:05:26.170

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, and I I I might not do as good of a job as my father could do on on the history side, you know. But i'll try to give the a lot of this is on the website, too, So I want to bore people listening to this like, Okay. But I mean, yeah, we're one hundred and two years old now. So in one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. My great-great-grandfather,



00:05:26.180 --> 00:05:41.369

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: um in essence, patented a machine, and it's kind of interesting time in one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. Right So there was electricity and things kind of coming on board, and so he created what was called the Davis Bulletin machine, which was a



00:05:41.380 --> 00:06:00.549

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: in essence. We we joke and call it the original Powerpoint, because, you know, static signs became variable with the Davis Bulletin machine. So we had a hand painting division that in essence took It was like an ad agency with a painting division, and then the machine. So we would.



00:06:00.560 --> 00:06:08.859

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: In that sense it was an advertiser. It was an advertising machine, and so there was a series of posters that would rotate in the Davis Bulletin machine.



00:06:09.430 --> 00:06:29.050

Michael Palumbos: They're putting variable content in front of people. My grandfather, I don't maybe this might be me throwing words in his mouth again. But I remember he always hearing, like, you know, the girl who used to walk across the stage announcing the next act, and, like the Rodbill theater, very put her out of business, because our machine would just sit on the end, and it would rotate, and it would show the next act.



00:06:29.100 --> 00:06:56.839

Michael Palumbos: And there's a a rumor mill, and Ah is that Ah Abbot and Costello, or sales reps of our company selling Um! Ah! These machines in the fiberal theaters and catching commission. So that's way back in the day, and but in essence um that so? The company was founded on a patent, and we were inventors. We were founding inventors. But when that, by the way, that was wicked cool about that, that is, you know, and that's



00:06:57.050 --> 00:07:05.089

Michael Palumbos: from a family business perspective. What we look at today and say, you know, where do we come from? And I don't want to bore people.



00:07:05.100 --> 00:07:21.249

Michael Palumbos: It's so important to think about. You know your great great grandfather did something pretty miraculous created something that didn't exist, you know not just a business which you know is like crazy, but you know, inventing something back in one thousand nine hundred and nineteen. The



00:07:21.260 --> 00:07:28.169

Michael Palumbos: has developed a legacy, and we're going through it today, and you know even big impact. It's very cool.



00:07:28.180 --> 00:07:49.749

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, Yeah. But there was a series of I'll say, entrepreneurial pivots, you know, along the journey which which which is interesting I mean the you know the machine when it when it lived. Its i'd say it's useful life. Well, hand painting became screen printing. So obviously that's a core competency that we still possess today, although we're doing, you know, a more functional printing in our traditional graphic pretty much.



00:07:49.760 --> 00:08:09.489

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: But that that competency of screen printing was built to literally hand print, hand screen print signs. And so, when the machine kind of you know, lived its useful life, or maybe patents ran out. I don't know the full history, but in the fortys there was the war effort. We started printing water, slide off details for Bell, aircraft, and Curtis, and



00:08:09.500 --> 00:08:24.920

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and so we kind of became serving an oem market in terms of being a tier one supplier of graphics to support aerospace. So any kind of evolved from there. So we kind of became an industrial printer, where we no longer kind of,



00:08:24.930 --> 00:08:39.290

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and there was a pivot there, because obviously there was a decision made of machines, not a core, not core to the business. We're going to take this printing capability and create a new customer base in a new business model. And so there was a pivot there,



00:08:39.299 --> 00:08:51.550

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and that was, you know, another generation's problem, right? But they they solved that problem We've been on that road. Still, we, the majority of our sales is oem sales where we're playing.



00:08:51.560 --> 00:09:05.980

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: We're playing a role in the as an outsource manufacturing partner to be either producing a component of our oem customer designs, or in some cases where they're one stop shop, we're doing their full product



00:09:05.990 --> 00:09:29.049

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: for them, and in also providing a lot of engineering consultation design services with that. So that's still a tenant in the business. And what we're we're continuing to evolve. So we're serving the health care, medical device, space and industrial oem space as a not just printing. Now we've got a variety of different capabilities that we help. I'll say brand owners



00:09:29.220 --> 00:09:45.169

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: either launch a product or make product line improvements or scale up their product, launch opportunities. So we serve the new product introduction processes of our oem customers through a variety of service, including a full outsource manufacturer



00:09:45.340 --> 00:09:46.390

Michael Palumbos: love it.



00:09:46.400 --> 00:10:00.119

Michael Palumbos: I mean a lot of people over the last three years. This is the first time they've heard the word pivot. Um, and you know, having to get through. You know what we went through with Covid. But for you guys, historically, it's really neat to You know.



00:10:00.470 --> 00:10:07.199

Michael Palumbos: You had pivots in the past, and I think it's important from a family business perspective



00:10:07.210 --> 00:10:31.430

Michael Palumbos: to take that into consideration. What was done in the past may not be the future going forward, and we, you know, I think, what gets hard. It's easy for you to look at it and say, Okay, I might have to do something different than Dad did. But for Dad or grandpa to look at you and say, How could you be doing something different?



00:10:32.030 --> 00:10:42.839

Michael Palumbos: Got us here? But what got us here may not get us there, and we need to be open to the potential to pivot. I think that's really important point. Well, it takes less pressure on me,



00:10:42.850 --> 00:10:55.549

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know. Maybe us us adapting and changing when I can look at the history and say, Well, that's exactly what we've been doing for the last one hundred and two years. You know a lot of flexibility adaptability, read and react, and



00:10:56.020 --> 00:11:06.550

Michael Palumbos: but there's been some I mean, there's other stuff in the history, too. I mean. Obviously, the company's name is not Davis Bulletin, So there's a whole history of how Cavecon came in.



00:11:06.560 --> 00:11:22.320

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: There's a whole long history which I don't need to bore everyone on all the details of history. But i'll say that there was outside partners involved in my grandfather's generation. And then there was a by selling place in,



00:11:22.330 --> 00:11:42.260

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and you know, whatever you know, people die, and things change, and things just kind of happen, and and um, the outcome is the outcome. And then sometimes you get off a path. But then you're on a path. But obviously the continuity through a lot of this has been, You know, the Davis family involved as owners working in the business.



00:11:42.270 --> 00:12:03.599

Michael Palumbos: Yeah and well. And and again, the purpose of this show is to allow other people to have not gone through all the things that your family has gone through a hero, so that you know that history is super cool when you start thinking about. You know we change because of a by celebrating, we've changed because products were different. We changed because machines were different,



00:12:03.610 --> 00:12:22.819

Michael Palumbos: and I think all of those things are super important. And again, you know, I, my father, was, you know, first generation wealth, adviser, serving family businesses, but he served, you know it wasn't just family businesses.



00:12:22.830 --> 00:12:34.100

Michael Palumbos: Um. My father, when I started telling him that we're going to help coach businesses to get their strategy right? He's like That's not what we do. I'm like. That's not what you did,



00:12:34.110 --> 00:12:59.790

Michael Palumbos: but you know it's. And so it was really difficult for him to hear. You know what we do, and thank goodness that we made that pivot, because, you know, Our belief is that you know, managing assets and managing the wealth and helping the family with all those stuff. And those things are great, but their biggest, and for our our clients is the business. And here we are saying, we're gonna help you with your will



00:12:59.800 --> 00:13:21.670

Michael Palumbos: and their biggest chunk of Well, we we didn't get. You know the the tools necessary to do that. So we went out and did that, and it's It's a game changer in the industry for us to be able to help a company go from ten million to forty million dollars with some new ideas and thinking um no different than for you guys to sit there and say, you know the the machine served its purpose.



00:13:21.680 --> 00:13:40.020

Michael Palumbos: Um, Well, you recognize that. What got you here did won't get necessarily. Get you there. And yeah, I feel like, you know, the external environment's different for each generation. I mean, everyone's dealing with, you know, so many different external opportunities and threats that need to be considered, and reality is is um



00:13:40.030 --> 00:13:50.289

Michael Palumbos: a business model. Changes based on what's orbiting you orbiting around you. You're either going to be conscious of that, or put your head in the same.



00:13:50.300 --> 00:13:55.749

Michael Palumbos: And the other piece to that is, how do we honor the legacy of the past?



00:13:55.790 --> 00:14:14.920

Michael Palumbos: You know a lot of times when you talk about like you've changed the branding through the years, and it wasn't just based on the machine and the you know the the cornerstone has always been a Davis family member involved in the ownership. But I bet you the branding that was there forty years ago



00:14:14.930 --> 00:14:34.690

Michael Palumbos: doesn't look like the branding today. And so and that's a lot of time. It's like, How do I? How do I hold on to that legacy that you know. Brahman drew that first logo, you know, way back. When and how do I take that? But make it fit on the shelves today? It's difficult. It's it's hard.



00:14:34.700 --> 00:14:43.690

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, I probably don't do a a good enough job in, you know, telling the story as well as I could, one of our raw material suppliers I was. If they're touring



00:14:44.040 --> 00:15:05.460

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: about the last quarter. I can't remember when I was up there, but they had an entire room, and then they were a multi-generational family business, but they had a whole room set aside. It was like a museum. I mean it was beautiful. And I I took pictures, and I not been making me feel like I had to follow up on it, but you know they took us in. It was part of a tour, and It was a dedicated room, and everything was encased in glass, and



00:15:05.470 --> 00:15:12.399

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: they really had a conscious effort to preserve some of the artifacts along the journey, and just a lot of



00:15:12.630 --> 00:15:27.019

Michael Palumbos: yeah, I guess. Just staying, staying in tune and valuing that along the way and telling a really good story. So they're a much larger company than we are, but you know i'm sure they have overhead. They can allocate to that, but still not an excuse. You know I I



00:15:27.030 --> 00:15:43.940

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know it's a project I gotta get my father on, now that he's kind of it it towards the tail end of his career. I gotta try to convince him to take that project down, and really put that together because I don't, I don't honor it as much as we should, and and and plus, you know, when you, when I was going through their tour,



00:15:43.950 --> 00:15:53.139

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know you can just see kind of a theme of innovation through the through the timeline which you know, which is, which is just fun, and it definitely



00:15:53.150 --> 00:16:03.960

Michael Palumbos: at the end of the day. It's kind of meaningful work, right? I mean, we're here working, and you, like. Everyone likes to cling on to kind of that identity. Since a person's sense of purpose and work and the history helps,



00:16:03.970 --> 00:16:15.870

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: i'll say, reiterate that purpose over time to show, not just verifying purpose, but but validating purpose. And there's a difference between verification and validations. And just you can see it over timeline.



00:16:16.240 --> 00:16:37.840

Michael Palumbos: And I think internally, as you're bringing new people in for them to understand that and understand. You know, pivot and understand. You know where we came from. Um. It can be super helpful for them to understand purpose and values, and those things that have been built up over over one hundred years. So good for you guys. That's very cool.



00:16:37.850 --> 00:16:46.819

Michael Palumbos: But through the years you know, what are some of the obstacles that the family or the business has overcome. You talked about. You had a buy-cell agreement if you you know



00:16:47.060 --> 00:16:54.789

Michael Palumbos: those I a lot of times. I think the stories that we talk about in the history. It's so important, because that's what we learn from. We,



00:16:54.800 --> 00:17:08.590

Michael Palumbos: you know, and you, Don't, learn from all the successes as much as you learn from stubbing your toe and saying, Okay, that hurt. Let's not do that again. Um, Do you mind talking about? You know. What are some of the stories of obstacles that the family or the business of overcome through the years.



00:17:08.599 --> 00:17:24.209

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, I mean, i'm sure that there's plenty prior to my time that you know I wouldn't be able to speak to as much, but I you know I I re-entered the family business in two thousand, and five. So I came back to the company. I came in as a manufacturing engineer, and kind of working my way up from there. But



00:17:24.220 --> 00:17:28.790

Michael Palumbos: um, I think you know. So what recession was away right? So we



00:17:28.800 --> 00:17:40.580

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and I remember, you know. So it was three years in, and then we we had a facility in Rochester location. We had our buffalo facility, and the way those two facilities in essence, the customer mix was laid out



00:17:40.590 --> 00:17:49.360

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: where the Rochester Division was primarily producing more health care, product revenue out of that space in the Buffalo Division was more



00:17:49.370 --> 00:18:06.450

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: of an industrial space where the customer mix was much more general industrial, and I remember the Buffalo division took a big hit. I mean, we were doing layoffs and all kinds of stuff, because I think we were down forty, five percent, some really tough number.



00:18:06.460 --> 00:18:13.450

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: But but the interesting thing, though around that time, if you remember what was happening in parallel with the



00:18:13.460 --> 00:18:33.119

Michael Palumbos: with the recession and away was also the swine flu. You know It's funny you think about Covid now, right? But the swine flu was happening then. You know this other pandemic didn't hit the States, or whatever. But it was in in the swine flu actually um. Some of the healthcare products that we sell into were correlated to



00:18:33.130 --> 00:18:43.469

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: programs that would scale in the event of those situations. So we actually had an increase in sales in that division, and it kind of leveled the ship. And I think



00:18:43.520 --> 00:18:56.929

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: what it taught me was especially in a family business. It's kind of like. I kind of report to the family like. Of course I report to all our employees, too, but but I report to the family, and it's kind of like in the strategy. How do you bolt in



00:18:57.270 --> 00:19:06.460

Michael Palumbos: risk aversion to ensure longevity? So you don't want too many eggs in one basket like if we would have been all in industrial



00:19:06.700 --> 00:19:26.519

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: during that time like it could have really threatened. You know the organization, but because of the diversity that we had in the customer mix and the product mix that we had, we were able to kind of weather the storm, and we got through that um, you know, without much issue. I mean some pain. No, Obviously we had to make some some tough choices, but



00:19:26.530 --> 00:19:33.519

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: but the company wasn't severely threatened. So um you know, that comes to mind as is just a lesson of



00:19:34.310 --> 00:19:50.900

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: if if the family business's goal is to stay in a stay in business, at least in the current business model, and not kind of get up ended, and have to re and and start from scratch, founding a new business. Then, consciously, being consciously having



00:19:50.990 --> 00:19:59.090

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: diverse type of mix. To be risk. Averse is kind of part of the strategy. You know what I mean. So so I've been kind of aware of just not.



00:19:59.280 --> 00:20:09.089

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: You know. We want to take risks, but not not risk to the point where the downside isn't protected, and then, all of a sudden, the entire family enterprise is at risk,



00:20:09.100 --> 00:20:27.349

Michael Palumbos: love it, and when we do that through what we call market map. Um! We love to map it out everything from the customers, the channels to the suppliers and associations and partners and competitors, and then and then you draw lines to go through to say, Okay,



00:20:27.360 --> 00:20:40.020

Michael Palumbos: where is money flowing through the market? Not just us, but through the market, so that we can look at it and say, Oh, and I'm often surprised when I do this with a family business. You're like,



00:20:40.030 --> 00:20:40.790




00:20:40.800 --> 00:20:49.759

Michael Palumbos: Forty five percent of our revenue is coming from one place we might want to think about that a little differently



00:20:49.770 --> 00:20:56.590

Michael Palumbos: on you for for recognizing that that's great. You talked about the family charter.



00:20:56.600 --> 00:21:12.489

Michael Palumbos: I wanna I wanna hit on that a little bit. Talk about. When did the family start putting those kinds of things into place? What was you know? What if you don't anything, highlights of your family charter, if you don't mind talking about them, that'll be great to share.



00:21:12.500 --> 00:21:15.269

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah. So my grandfather,



00:21:15.420 --> 00:21:45.209

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I think I got this right Well, He He went through a University of Buffalo Center for entrepreneur leadership program. And um ended up partnering with this class major in your act still is running practice today, and they ended up putting in place a um some more family structure to the to the family business. One of those components was kind of this concept of a family charter, and I wasn't there to kind of obviously in terms of how it was formed. But in that sense. We have a document that



00:21:45.670 --> 00:21:47.549

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know outlines



00:21:48.080 --> 00:22:06.339

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: just a lot of basic things, you know. I mean. I already mentioned the ah by obe policy, you know, and that that's that's kind of in there. But um, you know, at the time they they in essence um put structure to all that they were inclusive of all the people in the business at the time, got some outside



00:22:06.350 --> 00:22:10.130

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: consultancy to kind of put it together, and it's created kind of you know,



00:22:10.160 --> 00:22:25.279

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know guidelines for the family. You know It's It's got guidelines in terms of um, you know. Succession planning um kind of defining kind of the family business culture. You know for us that we've we've chosen to really be



00:22:25.290 --> 00:22:47.350

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: really outline everything in a i'll say performance-based accountability system. So you know, for example, um compensation is all by market pay. You know It's it's gonna be What's the value of the position and then as if it's a regular non-family. Business and measure everything up to fair market type



00:22:47.360 --> 00:23:04.189

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: program. Um. Every owner still goes through a normal, you know. We're employees right? So it's kind of it was really meant to put a performance based culture around everything and have high level of accountability, and not a lot of distinction with



00:23:04.200 --> 00:23:07.950

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: being a regular employee. So I, and so



00:23:08.130 --> 00:23:16.359

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I think that's answering your question. But that's just one example, and then but it also goes into just kind of like, you know, who can enter the business under what condition?



00:23:16.370 --> 00:23:29.029

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Who can't enter the business, and all those are kind of hired out in the family charter. It's still under construction. I mean, we uh that was put in place, you know what in the nineties, or something. But then, in two thousand,



00:23:29.910 --> 00:23:35.500

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: thirteen or fourteen, I think we we were founding members of



00:23:35.710 --> 00:24:01.559

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: the the program doesn't exist anymore. There was a family business family business program that came out of the center for entrepreneurship, and we participate in that also as a family. So at the time my father and my uncle, my brothers, and I all enrolled in this class, and we took the class together and had all these outside kind of presenters, and it was really good, because we would. You know the class would be like five to seven, and then we'd go, you know. Grab um dinner beers after and talk about. You know the class,



00:24:01.570 --> 00:24:18.470

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and it was an opportunity for us to kind of pull that charter back out, dust it off. Um revisit it. Um! We also started talking about family business values, and we went through a family of family business values exercise, you know. We did disc profiles, for all the family members talked about



00:24:18.480 --> 00:24:23.460

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: kind of our personality types and interpersonality kind of situation stuff,



00:24:23.530 --> 00:24:34.390

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and so it just keeps the dialogue open. And I think that since that class, you know, we've had ongoing um kind of family family meetings. When I say, family, I mean



00:24:34.680 --> 00:24:36.790

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: working in the business family.



00:24:36.800 --> 00:24:52.109

Michael Palumbos: Okay, All extended family and um, just to kind of keep that narrative going and kind of keep these things all refreshed. That's just kind of agenda-driven topic driven to stay ahead of it and it's all just kind of at the end of the day I just boil it down to



00:24:52.690 --> 00:25:08.880

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: ah protecting the downside being proactive, not reactive. Um plan. Now for all the contingencies, so that you know something does go awry. We're not running around um huffing and puffin, and we've got somewhat of a guiding guiding light. So



00:25:09.050 --> 00:25:10.300

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: also



00:25:10.660 --> 00:25:12.390

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: people don't get too crazy, You know.



00:25:12.400 --> 00:25:21.629

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, Well, it's if you think about that, your grandfather did this work, Grandfather was G. Three.



00:25:22.090 --> 00:25:25.489

Michael Palumbos: Your generation three. Is that right? Go ahead. I've got that right?



00:25:25.500 --> 00:25:29.289

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, Yeah. Because when I mentioned Yeah, Because there's my great-great-grandfather.



00:25:29.300 --> 00:25:29.990

Michael Palumbos: Yeah.



00:25:30.000 --> 00:25:35.889

Michael Palumbos: And then there was another generation involved in the early founding. Then my grandfather and my father, Then my my brothers had



00:25:35.900 --> 00:25:43.659

Michael Palumbos: This is It's interesting because it's It's typically right at that. That third generation. When you start to say



00:25:43.750 --> 00:26:13.359

Michael Palumbos: we might have had a lifestyle business, not saying you did, or you didn't. But if we want to make it to that one hundred year, mark that is, you know, having that family charter, or, you know, putting some family governance in place, really makes a difference. And you guys made a very conscious decision to say, we need to make sure that we keep this performance base. We need to make sure that we have people that buy into the company that want to work at the company that their family members that want to be here. So by spending eight years



00:26:13.540 --> 00:26:28.309

Michael Palumbos: i'll get a minimum. It's like, Okay, I've spent that time out. I've developed my career now. I'm going to pivot and go back. And do you know, work in the family business? Um, I need to be by Obe, and make sure that i'm bringing some stuff to it.



00:26:28.460 --> 00:26:30.420

Michael Palumbos: I really you know



00:26:30.860 --> 00:26:50.050

Michael Palumbos: it's I've been doing this for twenty years, plus, and it's rare to see people to make that pivot Um. And so kudos to you in in order to, you know, to make it to that fourth fifth generation. I really do think that those are the kinds of tools that really help. So



00:26:50.060 --> 00:26:52.610

Michael Palumbos: um, I think the theme there is just kind of like,



00:26:53.010 --> 00:27:12.039

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know, allowing outside influence, you know, diversity of thought, or if you want to, or we want to put a title on it. But being open minded, you know, to hearing people getting into a network and allowing that network to have some influence on the way. You're thinking about things. And I think you know, obviously my grandfather did that he rolled the program,



00:27:12.050 --> 00:27:29.050

Michael Palumbos: and you know, question is, would would he have done it if he wouldn't have, you know, enrolled in a program and and and went through some type of portal of facilitated um network creation and building a building of relationships and people that he could trust to kind of open up of what the situation was, and clearly he



00:27:29.060 --> 00:27:47.299

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: took some advice or listen to some people. So it's just that opening, and you know again, you know there's a lot of tools you put in place that I haven't even mentioned, you know. Skip, skip-generation trusts and for state planning purposes and just starting to really put good practices in place to sustain



00:27:47.310 --> 00:27:50.660

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: the business, you know, on the stock gifting strategy, and



00:27:50.720 --> 00:27:53.870

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know how answering little questions like. Well,



00:27:53.940 --> 00:28:06.590

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: how was my, You know my answering the question of my grandfather's retirement, you know, and getting on the same page, getting getting himself and my father on the same page, and how that was gonna how that was going to go, and which is now informed.



00:28:06.600 --> 00:28:19.340

Michael Palumbos: You know how my father is um exiting the business, so it's nice to have the precedent, and you experiment with it and try it out. And to that point I want to. That's a really



00:28:20.830 --> 00:28:24.559

Michael Palumbos: neat observation is that it wasn't just business.



00:28:24.570 --> 00:28:42.020

Michael Palumbos: It was my estate planning my tax planning, and all of those things. When you push on one button, another one pops up, and so you know It's kind of like whackable. And so you know your grandfather was smart enough to say, I don't know all the answer this, but i'm open to learning new ideas.



00:28:42.140 --> 00:29:11.789

Michael Palumbos: The The piece that I you know, want to make make make sure people here is that as the business grows as the family grows. As the wealth grows, the complication also grows. And so the advisory team, the attorney, the account, the wealth adviser that got you where you are right now. It sometimes it's worth trying to do. An an Rfp. On those people to say, should I be looking to say, you know, Am I missing anything? Um! And I I just had a a client that was going



00:29:11.800 --> 00:29:30.950

Michael Palumbos: through that transition from G two to J. Three, and we did something totally different than very rarely does a family need to do this. Um! But their wealth has gotten to a point where it's like It's time to start thinking about. You know, some asset protection strategies that are just different



00:29:30.960 --> 00:29:35.929

Michael Palumbos: than what you've been used to, and they're like. Why are we doing this now? I'm like one.



00:29:35.940 --> 00:29:54.790

Michael Palumbos: Your wealth was tiny before it didn't really matter but two, you know It's just that as things change you, you have to be open to those changes in the pivots, and it's not just in the business. It's also in the plan and techniques and things that you know that you might do so



00:29:54.800 --> 00:30:04.160

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I don't know how I I don't know how anyone would know all this stuff, I mean. I'm seventeen years in which is scary for me to even say that number seventeen years in I've joined in a family coming back to the



00:30:04.410 --> 00:30:13.850

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and I mean, there's so much that I still don't know in terms of just yeah, I got to re-read the cheryl, or, you know, like fifteen times to even understand all the legalese



00:30:13.860 --> 00:30:28.200

Michael Palumbos: and um and everything's kind of connected, and it's all situational dependent. I mean everything's so customized There's not just a one size. Fits all here. Here's your playbook, because everything's changing all the time. And then, of course,



00:30:28.210 --> 00:30:37.570

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: things are just evolving. You know my brother's not. You know there's There's more generations coming, you know, as kids know, and all these things going on, and



00:30:37.580 --> 00:30:55.570

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: it's not something that you can just kind of like, say we're done here, you know, and just tuck it away. So I I think, having the regular cadence is really important for us, because things are changing all the time. It's just okay. What's What's the new business on the table that now might be a new input to consider into this model,



00:30:55.580 --> 00:31:06.489

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: or what's new in the external world. You know it could be anything, you know. Laws, regulations, new approaches, hearing what other families are doing. But I mean I I have yet to meet anybody who's doing the same thing.



00:31:08.190 --> 00:31:11.560

Michael Palumbos: I love it. How many family members are in the business today?



00:31:11.780 --> 00:31:16.290

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Well, my father's still in the business. He's still working in the business,



00:31:16.300 --> 00:31:38.179

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: obviously not full time. And then my two brothers. So my brother Greg is our supply chain manager. Currently our brother Jeff is our sales and marketing manager. Currently I'm. President currently. And so That's kind of the roles that we're all in right now, and we're the fifth generation now working in the business. So all three of us are on the the management team of the company also,



00:31:38.190 --> 00:31:42.780

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: but it's it's so. It's exciting. It's an exciting time for our company, because



00:31:42.840 --> 00:31:47.890

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know everyone's kind of learning and growing. You know we're all fairly, you know



00:31:47.970 --> 00:31:56.769

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: younger, I guess you know, to find younger. But you know we got a nice. We got a runway in front of us that we can do some exciting things, you know, to



00:31:56.850 --> 00:32:02.620

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: hopefully grow the company uh and do some fun things. So it's kind of an exciting time here.



00:32:02.630 --> 00:32:03.630

Michael Palumbos: Great



00:32:03.940 --> 00:32:05.630

Michael Palumbos: um



00:32:06.170 --> 00:32:11.810

Michael Palumbos: for you. What are some of the best parts of being part of the family business?



00:32:14.200 --> 00:32:16.349

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Well, I mean. Obviously, you know



00:32:16.360 --> 00:32:18.590

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: we don't have any outside,



00:32:18.600 --> 00:32:31.799

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know, equity partners. We're not private equity, and and none of those people are in the house right? This is wholly owned. Ah, family kind of voting control. So so the nice thing is, of course, and



00:32:31.810 --> 00:32:45.589

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I guess I don't know it any other way, you know, at least for the last seventeen years, and, like I said, I had a short state and fortune one hundred, but I never. I never had a leadership position where I was reporting up to, you know, publicly traded type, environment, or anything like that. But



00:32:45.600 --> 00:33:02.650

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know, the first thought when you ask that question is just kind of you know. You kind of feel like you're in charge of your own destiny. You kind of feel like you know you feel entrepreneurial in nature. You feel um an individual responsibility to. You know the employees with the community, the customers



00:33:02.660 --> 00:33:10.009

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and um, your teammates, and everything to kind of just put together a environment in a business model that everyone's kind of



00:33:10.550 --> 00:33:20.429

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: getting meaning and purpose and joy. And we're getting some successes, You know. I always played team sports. My brothers all played team sports, so I think we both have. We all kind of have a



00:33:20.490 --> 00:33:36.799

Michael Palumbos: just a common ethos of um. It's fun when you win as a team. And so and and it's nice to know that we're in kind of control of that team, you know, and ultimately we can make those decisions that we want to make, and we're not beholden to.



00:33:36.810 --> 00:33:44.189

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: You know some third party that's putting on some external pressure that doesn't align with. You know the ideology that we kind of want on hold. So



00:33:44.200 --> 00:33:47.190

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I think that's it. You know you kind of It's a classic, you know



00:33:47.200 --> 00:33:50.789

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: It's nice, being an entrepreneur or a from your type mindset.



00:33:50.800 --> 00:34:06.200

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: And of course you know you get you get to kind of personalize it and and personalize it to the culture that you kind of that, you that you kind of have. So of course there's a I mean, I I haven't really asked people directly. This like, How much does this feel like



00:34:06.670 --> 00:34:21.079

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Davis? Family culture versus just the business culture? I don't think I've ever asked it that way. But, um! I have to imagine that you know there's some type of family um touch on to the corporate culture, you know,



00:34:21.090 --> 00:34:25.040

Michael Palumbos: agreed how many employees at the company



00:34:25.050 --> 00:34:30.520

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: We usually range between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and thirty. I don't know our exact count, but it's somewhere between there



00:34:30.530 --> 00:34:58.130

Michael Palumbos: and here's the part you just talked about Davis family culture and the business. My gut would say, you know to be where you are today. They're probably pretty well intertwined. Um, and that you know everybody in the company could do that. But what's really neat is, and I just was going through this statistic with somebody. The average family is what four point three people today. And so, when you think about,



00:34:58.140 --> 00:35:17.029

Michael Palumbos: you know all the people that are part of your business, it's really not. It's not the one hundred and twenty, or the one hundred and thirty. But it's all the families that they go back to. So by having that great company culture and making it a place where they're happy to come to work and happy to leave to go home to their families. It's kind of nice to have.



00:35:17.040 --> 00:35:24.640

Michael Palumbos: You know that kind of ripple effect out into the community. You know, in the areas that you guys serve. So



00:35:24.750 --> 00:35:41.179

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: yeah, I mean, when we went through our um. When I was named President two thousand and fifteen, we I kind of made my first. My first mission really action, was to rediscover our core ideology as a company, so we So I ended up, and of course my brothers and family was involved. Um, but



00:35:41.190 --> 00:35:46.160

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: we, you know I pretty much interviewed every single employee in the company, and we talked about.



00:35:46.170 --> 00:36:11.650

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: You know the the purpose behind the company we talked about. You know what there was a series of questions I had. I had to pull out my notes to see the exact questions, but it was along the lines of you know what type of behaviors do. Our best employees, you know, exhibit that really defined the core value and and behavioral statements of our company, and we brought that body of work all in and kind of re-established a set of core values for core values, with



00:36:11.660 --> 00:36:18.889

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: three distinct behavioral statements: under each of those four core values which there's my card here



00:36:18.900 --> 00:36:22.259

Michael Palumbos: through those and sharing them.



00:36:22.480 --> 00:36:44.690

Michael Palumbos: Sure, I mean I You know I don't know. I hope it isn't boring for people listening to this. But yeah, I mean. So our first core values. Learning is a lifestyle. We've got three behavioral statements under under that core value. Our second core values improve it, which is really a spirit of continuous improvement. But there's three very distinct and very chosen word words on of behavioral. Give me an example of that,



00:36:44.700 --> 00:37:01.190

Michael Palumbos: because I mean. This is so important. People miss this all the time. What you're doing is phenomenal, and I think you know you take it for granted. Is this is not boring. This is the core of how do we get to the next level right here? Because



00:37:01.220 --> 00:37:30.849

Michael Palumbos: there's one hundred and twenty people that work there one hundred and thirty people and people are attracted and magnetically attracted to culture more than anything else. It's also, they're magnetically repelled. And so poor company Culture, you know, is detrimental. And when we're living in a world right now, where hiring and finding people is hard, if you don't have a culture that that is alive and well, and that's what you did is you did the mission of Mars we call, and you go out and find out



00:37:30.860 --> 00:37:47.330

Michael Palumbos: what are other people that are here saying about who is the best of the best in our company, What's alive in our company, and that's what you're doing. So having the core values and the behavior statements. I think again, you could teach a course on this stuff, Steve.



00:37:47.340 --> 00:38:06.240

Michael Palumbos: Listen. I i'm an applied engineer by Carbson University engineer and graduate. So I don't really invent anything. But really my whole thing is, I find someone that's smarter than me that has a really cool concept, and I apply it. And so in this case I actually listen to Anne Rhodes. She was the



00:38:06.250 --> 00:38:20.340

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: the executive who worked for Southwest airlines, and they went to jet blue and did a lot of their core ideology work, and she really opened up my eyes to thinking about adding distinct behavioral statements under just a core value because a lot of people just have core value,



00:38:20.350 --> 00:38:38.810

Michael Palumbos: but the three behavioral statements. So with three legs to each stool or a core value. So I mean, you ask for an example. So our third core value is is connecting collaborate. So one of our behavioral statements, which I like under connect and collaborate is Um, have the courage to be respectfully honest and forthright,



00:38:38.820 --> 00:38:58.989

Michael Palumbos: and I really like that one, because respectfully honest and forth right is different than just honest and forth, right? And so a lot of times I use these behavioral standards in some of my messaging right now. I actually yesterday we're pushing out a the leadership three hundred and sixty survey that our employees are going to be participating in. So in my mailing yesterday I wrote



00:38:59.040 --> 00:39:02.919

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and communicated in a video, too, because I do video and and written,



00:39:02.930 --> 00:39:23.610

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I said, Um, listen. I I'm really looking for everyone to be recorded respectfully honest and forefront, you know I mean in in in in line to that core value, because we really want to get that input, to improve our leader skill sets and and be able to co-chair the years to be better leaders. But it's not going to happen if we can't be respectfully on this and forth right and then Um!



00:39:23.790 --> 00:39:42.149

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Oh, there's just little things like that. We have. Our fourth core value is embrace the challenge. And um, I like we have one behavioral statement under that core value that says, Accept our customers challenges as our own. And I like that one, too, because sometimes things change, and you know you're going to own it or not. And so



00:39:42.160 --> 00:39:52.649

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: so, yeah, it just helps in those behavioral statements. And those behavioral statements, of course, are embedded in the reward and recognition program on positive consequence kind of



00:39:52.790 --> 00:40:05.139

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: in situations or or in our performance management system in terms of kind of, and you know ultimately kind of being measured at the end of the day to those core values and behavioral statements. Also,



00:40:05.150 --> 00:40:17.369

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: it's always under construction. I'm not sitting here for anybody listening like I'm offering. You know, angel from God on poor values. And this stuff i'm on my journey, too, I mean, I think we got a lot of things right. We took our time with it. It literally took,



00:40:17.380 --> 00:40:31.740

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I want to say, two years, really to from start to finish, from, when the early inception of of of of me saying, Hey, let's do this to where it finally shook out, and we started, really and and bringing it into the organization and people were really owning it.



00:40:31.750 --> 00:40:50.809

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, it was two of them. That's a great point. It took two years what I would say. It's probably when you take thirty years, and It's going to take thirty more, because things will change, and what you want the values to stay the same. But at the same time they may not be alive and well. There might be some other things because of pivots that you make,



00:40:50.820 --> 00:40:55.930

Michael Palumbos: or where you decide to go with the business



00:40:56.250 --> 00:40:59.289

Michael Palumbos: to that point, though when someone, you know,



00:40:59.330 --> 00:41:16.190

Michael Palumbos: if if someone was hired that you felt was a culture fit, everything was right and everything was good. But you know, three months or three weeks into their the position. You can just tell that I mean It's It's like nails on the chalkboard from a culture perspective



00:41:16.200 --> 00:41:22.000

Michael Palumbos: of you guys, What is your How do you? How do you coach that, or what do you do in a situation like that?



00:41:22.240 --> 00:41:29.550

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Well, what's the What's the quote that's rolling in my head, as you're saying that so like people define culture or spirit,



00:41:30.110 --> 00:41:37.010

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: the cultures defined by the people and systems, you know. So. And it's not one of the other like you can bring a bunch of



00:41:37.020 --> 00:41:55.159

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: people that maybe align with the culture, but with the systems in our environment that they're within, they can can maybe get soured over time or whatever. Whereas also you could have the best systems in the world, where, if you bring someone in that's inherently, maybe perfect. For your core values. The system will eventually



00:41:55.170 --> 00:42:12.479

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: um or the the system where the people can eventually kind of turn. And so it. It's a balance, I I think. Um from a system standpoint, which is why i'm at that point Um, you know, from an onboarding a recruitment and onboarding. It's about having seamlessness in the interview process and the recruiting stages



00:42:12.490 --> 00:42:26.489

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: in those core values. But then, in the onboarding process, we have a We have a thirty, sixty, ninety day review, and, generally speaking, by day seven. B. You know there should be a pretty good understanding of whether or not things are going to work out or not, and then B seventy one,



00:42:26.500 --> 00:42:42.419

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know. Ah, you exit that person. If they're not if they're if they're showing all the signs that you have so hopefully. Um! Those things are prevented through a good onboarding process. That's that's on the system side, you know. But um, you know, at the same time, though. Um,



00:42:42.880 --> 00:42:47.789

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know, people kind of have to be self-accountable, and they're either gonna make a decision whether or not they're gonna you



00:42:47.800 --> 00:42:55.010

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: be on board or off board with things Hopefully, you can bet that out. You know. It's funny when I get called in for interviews i'm usually in the second or the third round.



00:42:55.040 --> 00:43:08.209

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I don't round. I never ate. I don't even barely look at the resume. I mean I come into the interview, and I figured all that's been done right, and it's for me. It's questions more around purpose and values. I ask a lot of questions about



00:43:08.220 --> 00:43:33.009

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: um, you know, behavioral statements so situational, or things that that I can then align with a behavioral statement, or or ask about core purpose, kind of like, get out of that reason will they have a passion gear for our company, because they like either the the the industry that we're playing in, or the customers that we're serving, or the solutions that we're that we're providing, or they like the effect that we're kind of born in buffalo grown in buffalo, and they've got like



00:43:33.020 --> 00:43:50.119

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: you know their hardcore buffalo, I mean I can kind of sniff out, you know. I try to sniff out, and i'm not saying I can, but I try to clean out some of those things to prevent having that turnover down the road and having a I'll say a misalignment, because the interview and recruitment process. I always think of it as



00:43:50.130 --> 00:44:09.589

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: i'm not really interviewing them. I I kind of feel like It's two way, you know they're interviewing myself. They're interviewing the company, and we're also interviewing them, and it has to be that has to be a match for both sides, you know. Otherwise it's like what we're going to live our life and die, and it's like I don't have time for those types of misalignments



00:44:09.600 --> 00:44:14.839

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: so, and they shouldn't even either. So it's just being trying to be honest and forthright about



00:44:14.990 --> 00:44:19.789

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: whether this is a good fit before we engage in this relationship.



00:44:19.800 --> 00:44:29.550

Michael Palumbos: No, it's, but that's well, sad, very well done, and you're an entire slow and firefast, basically. But there's a lot, you know, that's easy to say that.



00:44:29.560 --> 00:44:54.800

Michael Palumbos: But when you're when you're going through the process. There's a lot of systems that need to be put in place. Where did you? You know you talked about the the former Ceo of Southwest went on to jet blue um for your core values. You know, work and purpose work that you did anything that you you know, any thought leaders that you leaned on for um hiring, or, you know, bringing people in on boarding.



00:44:54.840 --> 00:45:12.890

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Yeah, I mean It's still under construction. Now, I mean, everyone's having workforce problems, right? So you know by no means. Um. We don't have any in-house expert on this, so we we leverage third party kind of you know people to to get inspired, or you know people are always sharing various articles and different things, and we try to



00:45:12.900 --> 00:45:23.180

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: tune it up so I don't think I can speak too much on the recruiting side in terms of us world class. But but it's just all these systems kind of just staying connected and just



00:45:23.840 --> 00:45:24.790




00:45:24.800 --> 00:45:27.439

Michael Palumbos: Yeah, No, we're improving them, you know. Improving them.



00:45:27.450 --> 00:45:37.390

Michael Palumbos: Yup. I I try to share the name, Brad Smart, an awful lot with the top grading. I think that their organization has done a really great job of



00:45:37.400 --> 00:45:54.829

Michael Palumbos: taking exactly what you're talking about, and Patrick Luncione his, you know, work on the ideal team player. I think isn't pretty nominal. You kind of reverberate exactly the the things that they talked about. So good stuff.



00:45:54.920 --> 00:45:56.189

Michael Palumbos: Um



00:45:56.200 --> 00:45:59.880

Michael Palumbos: taking a look at where you're at right Now, what are the top?



00:46:00.050 --> 00:46:05.400

Michael Palumbos: What are you? What are your top initiatives that you're working through today?



00:46:06.670 --> 00:46:15.190

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Well, I can tell you what I did this morning, So I mean what my front burner right now is. I've been doing a lot of work on workforce development.



00:46:15.200 --> 00:46:32.299

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I mean, I kind of see my role right now is I really at the end of the day I kind of go to the constraint. You know Everything's kind of a theory of constraints for me, and and when I look at our our growth strategy right now, one of the largest constraints is on the skilled labor, particularly the directly reside



00:46:32.310 --> 00:46:40.890

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: of our factory. And so it's a problem, I mean. Obviously, you hear a lot about workforce going on right now. So one of the things that



00:46:40.900 --> 00:46:59.189

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: i'm really engaged on, and which took up most of my morning, was building a workforce pipeline here in our community. So i'm on the Eerie Buffalo Area County Workforce Investment Board. So i'm on that board already, and I'm engaged in some workforce Development committees and our Trade Associations.



00:46:59.200 --> 00:47:02.909

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I'm. Trying to in essence build a



00:47:02.920 --> 00:47:32.900

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: upskilling workforce Training center uh collaboration, a pipeline uh workforce development pipeline that can on several several fronts. One entry level, ringing people from you know, various communities like buffalo has got a pretty large refugee resettlement community. There's opportunities to pipe into that. Um. There's some unemployment in certain areas of the city. There's areas. There's opportunities to have in the back, so bring people through an upscaling program to get them to a baseline, so we can bring them into our organization



00:47:32.910 --> 00:47:34.580

as an entry level higher,



00:47:34.590 --> 00:47:53.430

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and then um get them into our organization, and then that's kind of tier one. Then then a second stage program i'm working on is a incumbent. By the way, i'm not doing this by myself, so I forgot to layer in that. Um I've been collaborating with um local people in our community that have similar



00:47:53.440 --> 00:48:12.610

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: similar capabilities, or have similar types of manufacturing processes in us. So in this particular case I called a printer converter council, and so it's a sector based approach. So there's about seven employers involved right now, and I've kind of brought everyone together to form council under the Alpha Niagara manufacturers lines, umbrella



00:48:12.620 --> 00:48:42.060

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: to work as a cohort where we can aggregate our demand signal and send that to signal up into the supply chain of You know, as talent, pipeline, management, supply, chain and generate and meet that that demand. So entry level coming in, and then, once they're in the door, we would have a registered apprenticeship model for an incumbent worker training program to upscale them even further up a career pathway. So it's It's about sustainability. And I think well, I guess, since i'm on a family business podcast. It's kind of like.



00:48:42.550 --> 00:49:00.009

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Why am I putting so much effort into all this? Why am I calling not really competitors, but like local companies that you know, we kind of do some similar things with that um that really are pulling from the same workforce. Why am I? So on. This rising tide raises all ships kind of mentality, and it's because



00:49:00.020 --> 00:49:14.530

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: i'm not looking one year out like i'm looking. I'm looking twenty years out twenty five years out. There's a Major long-term view here that i'm personally invested in. So you know, if if I was publicly held, or just was in this position as a president of Joe below Company



00:49:14.540 --> 00:49:29.389

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Um on the New York State or New York Stock Exchange. I might not be as invested to be putting my time and effort into this type of program, but but I see it as the only way to build a sustainable workforce pipeline into the into the future. So



00:49:29.400 --> 00:49:39.309

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: well, maybe that's an inaccurate statement that I just made about not doing that. If I was publicly trail it's probably unfair. I think someone in this role should be doing that. But my point is,



00:49:39.340 --> 00:49:55.030

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I think the long-term view has a lot to do with wanting to build a a system that's going to be sustainable, and that I can rely on in the future. And that's that's what I've been. That's first in it, kind of My, Not that I don't have anything else going on, but that's that's definitely one of my priorities right now.



00:49:55.040 --> 00:50:24.199

Michael Palumbos: I love it. Um Tupolo, Mississippi is a community. That is a five time all American City award winner. No, major roadways, No, major, you know waterways to get into two below, and this goes back many, many, many, many years ago, where somebody said, If we don't start at helping the people at the lowest level, if we don't work at the lowest common denominator and give them ways to work and make money. Then they're not going to be able to,



00:50:24.210 --> 00:50:41.570

Michael Palumbos: you know, Spend their money at the hardware store in the grocery store, or whatever. So we need to be able to do that. That model has been something Um, I think Vaughn and Grisham might have been the guy that has done a lot of writing about it, and I have not had shouted that model



00:50:41.580 --> 00:50:59.189

Michael Palumbos: um to many, many economic development people, and I don't think I've ever been really heard. But what you're talking about is exactly that model. So if I can get a my my fingers on one of the articles or something. I'll z that over to you, because, understanding how they made those transitions might be helpful.



00:50:59.200 --> 00:51:00.300

Michael Palumbos: It's all



00:51:00.310 --> 00:51:26.840

Michael Palumbos: very, very, very cool this didn't, you know, went in so many different areas that you know I had my my script, my show format, and we just threw that right out of the window, and it was ten times better than what I had anticipated. I really appreciate, you know, in that one statement I talked about your pain point what your focus and what you're working on at the same time. What is my vision for the future? Twenty years from now came out of one statement. So



00:51:26.850 --> 00:51:49.989

Michael Palumbos: really, you got all your your family's done a lot of work and has a lot to be proud of, and i'm not just blowing smoking. Yeah, Yeah, I I really think that you know a lot of the too, and I hope people take the time to not just listen to this once. But listen to this a couple of times, because there's some really great nuggets that you shared um, and that we teach, you know, as we're as we're dealing with families. So



00:51:50.000 --> 00:51:53.410

Michael Palumbos: um totally out of the topic.



00:51:53.540 --> 00:51:58.169

Michael Palumbos: Name a family tradition, the Davis family tradition that you just love the



00:51:59.540 --> 00:52:23.330

Michael Palumbos: a guy a little bit disruptive with Covid. But um! First thing that popped into my mind is, you know, I think the skull is all the way back to my grandfather's influence in scouting, but we do an annual uh camping trip. We up in Algonquin Provincial Park, north of Toronto Spot, from up in the middle of nowhere. But um!



00:52:23.340 --> 00:52:45.820

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: We? Ah, every may we do that! And that's a lot of fun, and it's, you know, Hiking Lake The lake put the canoes on the back of portage between the lakes and um, you know, trolling in the canoes, for you know, deep water, lake, trout and stuff, and it's just something that um is, has been a tradition, you know, and and all the way back to



00:52:45.830 --> 00:52:54.289

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: since I was maybe three years old we'd just do it, and my father he'd rent. Sometimes, when we were younger we'd run Kevin's or something, but most of the time



00:52:54.300 --> 00:53:10.110

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: um I mean pretty much it's it's always it's tent camping and hiking lake, the lake and stuff like that. Just look forward to it every year, and um got a little disrupted with the border hopefully going to get back into that. And so that's the thing that first popped into my head. So



00:53:10.120 --> 00:53:38.819

Michael Palumbos: I love you know that in doing it that way my family has done Columbus family vacation we call it Pmb. For we're on twenty three years. But as the family has grown staying in places and finding a place to do. That is really difficult. I might share your idea, because with camping, all right, so we just need more tense. Okay, we just need more, you know. Ah more campsites to to take over. That's a totally different way to be able to say we can make this happen.



00:53:38.830 --> 00:53:42.119

Michael Palumbos: Mm-hmm love it um



00:53:42.400 --> 00:53:43.490

Michael Palumbos: ah it!



00:53:43.500 --> 00:53:51.680

Michael Palumbos: If you're sitting down with three family businesses that are the next generation getting ready to take over the business.



00:53:51.690 --> 00:54:03.429

Michael Palumbos: What are the you know? What are your words of advice to them. If you know you're you're having that chat to say you want to make it to the next sixty years. Here's my words of wisdom for you.



00:54:03.880 --> 00:54:09.609

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: Oh, geez, I mean I don't even know that's a tough one, I mean just uh



00:54:10.100 --> 00:54:13.390

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: I so cliche, but just communication, you know, I mean that.



00:54:13.400 --> 00:54:17.460

Michael Palumbos: Actually, I guess it's just if you don't talk It's like, you know,



00:54:18.250 --> 00:54:28.810

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: and I just go back to somebody I mentioned on this and forth right, but I mean It's like people need to be honest and forth right. But what's going on? I know you know, for my brothers and I. We're talking a lot about, you know, as we're starting to get um.



00:54:28.820 --> 00:54:40.180

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: You know I have families and things like that, and it's like Well, what's the vision of you personally. What's the vision of the family, and then bring those visions? Now What's our ownership vision, and it's like this,



00:54:40.190 --> 00:54:55.030

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: You know cascade of vision and exercising, you know, but all that stuff requires um self-reflection number one, because if you can't self-reflect on it, and and i'm working on it i'm a working broad That's just like anyone else. Try and really iron out with that



00:54:55.040 --> 00:55:08.819

Steve Davis, Tapecon Inc.: what that looks like, and then be, and then be had the courage to be honest and forthright about what that says, and so that it's on the table, because if it's not on the table, it's a surprise later, and



00:55:08.910 --> 00:55:15.879

Michael Palumbos: there's nothing but nothing but spikes and pain when it's a surprise later. You know what I mean, agreed



00:55:15.890 --> 00:55:20.300

Michael Palumbos: Progress. Not perfection. That's we. We like to live by that,



00:55:20.760 --> 00:55:49.119

Michael Palumbos: Steve Davis. Take on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. Um! This has been a really great show, and everybody listening. I hope that you got a lot out of this. This is one that go back, and I haven't said this about very many of the shows. Go back and re. Listen to this, and listen to the words that you know Steve's use, and there's a lot of great tools buried inside of this one hour conversation. So thank you all. Uh. My name is Michael Columbus. We're family, wealth and legacy



00:55:49.130 --> 00:56:00.870

Michael Palumbos: in Rochester, New York, and you've been listening to the family. This show cannot wait to have you listen to the next episode. We got some really exciting ones coming up in the near future. Thanks, everybody, and have a great day.

If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to or fill out a contact form here!

*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.

Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.