CEO Hoyt Hsiao of Shaw-Lundquist Associates has survived the Great Recession and the family-business-succession curse.
“When you are second generation in a business, your fear is either driving it into the ground or leaving it in worse shape than you found it,” quipped Hsiao, 50, whose family-owned, Eagan-based general contractor business expects to grow about 30 percent to up to $100 million in revenue this year. “The biggest challenge was navigating the recession years. We made decisions not to cut staff, beyond a couple of people, and we were probably about 80 professional and office staff.
“We had equity. My dad [taught me] to be conservative financially. We lost money for a couple years, but we were able to get some government and other work, and we had good support from our bonding and insurance companies.”
Hsiao is a son of Fred Hsiao, a Chinese immigrant who changed his name to “Shaw,” earned an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota in 1947 and started his own company in 1974. It was one of the first minority-owned contractors in the Twin Cities. And Fred Shaw, who mentored other minority business owners, was a Hall of Fame inductee of Meda, the 44-year-old nonprofit business that provides consulting, financing and marketing services to area minority businesses.
This month, Hoyt Hsiao was named Meda’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year for his long association and participation in the organization’s services, and also for his willingness to share his time, talent and resources through Meda and the community.
“Our community is really lucky to have a Meda,” said Hsiao, whose community service includes Habitat for Humanity, the Minnesota Housing Partnership and Pillsbury United Communities. “Having a place for minority entrepreneurs for education, training and developing a peer network, that’s helpful. Our parents also instilled a responsibility to help. I find this rewarding, to try and make a difference. It’s helped me to grow.”
Shaw-Lundquist has grown to 120-plus employees since 2010. Its clients include Xcel Energy, U.S. Bancorp, Minnesota State University, Mankato, and Mississippi Market.
“The challenge now is managing that growth and ensuring safety on our projects and that we also do our work well,” Hsiao said. “It’s been fun to work with our people, our clients, get better, build buildings and improve lives. Ultimately, we want satisfied clients and long-term relationships.”
Update: W. Broadway construction could renew area
More development is brewing along W. Broadway in north Minneapolis, which has seen a number of new residential and commercial openings and expansions recently.
The city of Minneapolis recently acquired the vacant Western Motors site for $118,000, which it hopes to sell to a residential developer for high-density housing, according to Tiffany Glasper, senior residential project coordinator at the city’s economic development agency.
Last week, across W. Broadway to the north, developer-manager CommonBond Communities opened the $12.3 million West Broadway Crescent rental complex of 54 apartments targeted at working-poor folks, in partnership with the city and the Basilica of St. Mary, which invested $1 million. This is a big step toward filling about half of a vacant span known as “The Curve” along W. Broadway, several blocks east of Penn Avenue.
The city is currently negotiating with an unspecified developer on another multi-family development on the other vacant half of The Curve.
Last month, developers broke ground on the $25 million, 103-unit Broadway Flats housing/commercial complex, just west of W. Broadway and Penn. Businesses, several of them owned and managed by women, are expanding in a serious effort to renew W. Broadway as a vital and colorful commercial artery focused on food, health, art and retail stores. More: tinyurl.com/owt6gd6.
Dakota Plains indemnified in 2013 train-car disaster
Dakota Plains Holdings, which owns an oil loading and sand unloading terminal at New Town, N.D., filled the Lac-Mégantic train’s tank cars with Bakken crude oil before the fateful journey. The destination was a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.
But on July 5, 2013, an engineer for the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway parked and left unattended the 72-car train. Its improperly set brakes gave way early the next morning, allowing it to roll 7 miles down a grade, reaching 65 miles per hour before derailing in town, Canadian safety investigators found.
Dakota Plains was named a defendant in post-accident litigation. But the company said in a regulatory filing last week that Miami-based World Fuel Services, which operated the New Town terminal until last December, agreed to indemnify Dakota Plains under the terms of the deal to dissolve their joint venture. Dakota Plains now operates the terminal with its own employees.
Meanwhile, World Fuel Services said it agreed to pay $110 million (U.S.) into a compensation fund for victims under a settlement with the U.S. trustee and Canadian monitor for the bankrupt railroad.
Dornquast was second top exec to leave Code42 this spring
Matthew Dornquast, who stepped down earlier this month as CEO of Code42, isn’t the only executive to relinquish a top post this spring at the fast-growing backup-and-security software firm.
President and COO Brian Bell quietly left in April. Bell, formerly an executive at Compellent, another Minnesota tech star – which sold to data storage-giant Dell in 2011 – joined Code42 in 2012.
The Minneapolis-based company said Bell left for personal reasons and credited him as “a major force” in the growth of the 400-plus employee company with estimated revenue of $65 million last year.
Dornquast, one of three founders of the firm, will remain as adviser and board member. Code42’s board has launched a national search for new executive leadership to manage growth as a large company.