Family Focus: The Mennel Milling Company

Family Focus:

The Mennel Milling Company

AFamily Focus: The Mennel Milling Company   n interview with the current president of Mennel Milling, Donald L. Mennel and his father the Retired Board Chairman addressing small family business issues such as, succession, competition and family roles.

Since its establishment by bankers in 1886 and through its development, The Mennel Milling Company has overcome typical family business challenges. Succession, competition, and family roles have all played a part in the company’s growth and success.Problems between banking families provided the opportunity for the Mennel family to gain control.Also typical in family businesses, the first job in the company for Donald M. Mennel (D.M.), retired Board Chairman, was emptying coal cars.As his education progressed, he was able to carry feed bags and use the broom in the mill,Due to other family business issues, D.M.’s reign as head of the company really began in 1958.

The Mennel Milling Company is currently the tenth largest flour milling company in the country with nearly $100 million in sales.There are four mills within the operation, located in Fostoria, Ohio; Dowagiac, Michigan; Roanoke, Virginia; and Mt. Olive, Illinois.The business and the Mennel family continue to tackle typical family business challenges. Donald L. Mennel (D.L.), the eldest of Don’s three sons, took over as president of the company when his father retired at age 65 to enter law school–graduating three years later from Ohio Northern University.Another son, John W. Mennel, Executive Vice President, is in the sales end of the business. More…

Succession Planning

Succession Planning

by Adriane B. Miller

Small, closely-held companies must confront this thorny issue.

John R. Beever doesn’t know how his business would function if he fell out of an airplane today–but he’s prodding his family and key managers to discuss it.

Mr. Beever, 59, runs family-owned John Dittmar & Sons, Inc., a Baltimore custom woodwork manufacturer that his great-grandfather started in 1876.

But discussing the future raises difficult questions. Mr. Beever’s two sons, Geoffrey and John C. are in their 30s and vice presidents of the firm. Both are enthusiastic about the business, both are bright. Both want to succeed their father. More…