Preserving Family Tradition
Alumnus Jack Williams ventures into the world of entrepreneurship.
With the business showing potential for growth, Williams finds himself with a decision to make. How big does he want Great Gran's Pickle Company to grow?
"I've looked at options for expansion, including moving production out of my home to a commercial facility and hiring staff," he said. At age 63, he has a comfortable retirement income and a variety of hobbies to keep him busy. Being an entrepreneur has been fun and rewarding, but becoming a full-time corporate executive may not be what he had in mind for this stage in his life.
As for the fifth generation of the family, Williams' children have careers and families of their own. His daughter, Sandy, is helping him part time with the business end of his operation, and two sons and their families are supportive of his success. Being realistic, he would like to grow the company to a point where it would be attractive for purchase by a larger company. During his career with Hallmark, he developed transition plans for the purchase of smaller companies, so he sees the potential for the continued growth of his company under different leadership.
"Another option is to keep it exactly as it is, continuing to work out of the house and producing and selling the volume of product I choose," he said. "At some point you have to balance this kind of success with what else is going on in your life."
Williams also gives his alma mater credit for bringing him to a point in his life where he has such exciting choices.
"My education at UCM was very instrumental in preparing me for a job after graduation," he said. "My instructors not only did a great job of educating me, but also instilled in me a strong work ethic. Everyone at UCM was so positive and supportive. That carried over during my careers with Hallmark and the military and continues today as I develop and grow my company. My military experience also contributed in a very positive way. It takes good planning and effective execution to accomplish any task."
Both of Williams' sons attended UCM, and their wives each earned degrees. To assure that future generations of UCM students will receive the quality education he received at UCM, Williams has created scholarships that will benefit the School of Technology and the U.S. Army ROTC program at UCM.
For Williams, it has been a rewarding and enjoyable venture into the world of entrepreneurship.
"I didn't really set out with a fixed goal of wealth or fame," he said. "I have the time to do it, and I am having fun with it. But I think my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother would be pleased with the results."