The McCarthy-Bush Corporation in Davenport is preparing for the “passing of the baton” to a new generation – the fifth generation of the family, in fact – of owners. Cousins Michael Bush and Ben Bush are that generation, and they now are taking on added work duties and responsibilities as part of the changing times. […]
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The McCarthy-Bush Corporation in Davenport is preparing for the “passing of the baton” to a new generation – the fifth generation of the family, in fact – of owners.
Cousins Michael Bush and Ben Bush are that generation, and they now are taking on added work duties and responsibilities as part of the changing times.
Michael Bush, who just moved back earlier this month to the Quad Cities from Minnesota to assume the expanded duties, joined the McCarthy-Bush Corporation’s Board of Directors in December. He is vice president of Linwood Mining & Minerals, Davenport, which is part of the McCarty-Bush family of companies.
Ben Bush also joined the board in December and currently serves as the commercial manager at Linwood.
McCarthy-Bush Corp., through its subsidiaries, operates in the construction, mining, real estate development, and steel fabrication sectors.
A family company making it to the fifth generation is monumentous because it simply doesn’t happen very often. About 40% of U.S. family-owned companies are passed onto a second generation. About 13% make it to the third generation and only about 3% of companies make it to a fourth generation of family members, all according to Businessweek.com.
The McCarthy-Bush transition is all being done with the blessing of Greg Bush, president and CEO of McCarthy-Bush Corp., who is the father to Michael and uncle to Ben.
Greg Bush likened the preparations for the new generation of owners as the “passing of the baton” in a relay race. But that doesn’t mean his time on the race track is ending soon. The elder Mr. Bush will eventually retire, but probably not for another three to four years, he said.
“I hate to say it, I’m getting older. … I’m trying to step back slowly,” said the 66-year-old company leader, who has nearly 40 years with the company.
Greg Bush said he wants to set up a situation in the next few years where Michael and Ben can “reach their potential.”
“New people have new ideas. It’s always good to get in fresh blood,” he added.
The McCarthy-Bush leader said that the upcoming transition reminds him of the time years ago when his own father retired from the company.
Mr. Bush says his father was a great mentor and he is trying to emulate him. He told a story from many years ago when his father retired and how the retired Mr. Bush still came into work and went to meetings, but left the decisions up to his son.
Greg Bush said his father taught him many valuable lessons including how after transferring the decision making his father never tried to overrule him. The decisions will soon be left to the next generation of the family.
The fifth generation of the Bush family says they are eager to get advice and lessons from the older generation.
“I’m not in a hurry for them to leave. We want to get advice from generation four” and see how they dealt with various challenges, said Michael Bush.
Michael and Ben Bush added that some of the main challenges they face include getting to know the entire corporation and its employees.
The next generation has to come in, work hard and “earn the respect of employees,” Greg Bush put it bluntly. They can’t make the assumption that their family name will help them in the business.
Other big challenges that face generation five include inflation, high fuel prices, recruiting and retaining employees and keeping employees safe on the job.
“You worry about your employees getting home to their families … You worry about a car speeding down the highway and hitting a mine truck,” Michael Bush said.
But even with the challenges, the next generation of leaders say they are optimistic about the future. For example, the new infrastructure bill will help pump money into the construction industry, even though the local region may not see that money at work until 2025, Ben Bush said. “I think there is a really positive outlook for the industry.”
For the current leader at the helm of McCarthy-Bush, discussions about the challenges and opportunities of the future is all part of the big race. “This is like running a relay race and passing the baton,” said Greg Bush.