The Private 150: Bigger But Leaner

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Articles - July/August 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014


34 30 Fortis Construction Jim Kilpatrick 96 96 2003 Construction manager/general contractor
35 43 Columbia Helicopters Michael A. Fahey 850 425 1957 Helicoptor operations in oil and gas, government services  and forestry 
36 37 Harsch Investment Properties Jordan Schnitzer 226 116 1950 Real estate investment, development and property manager
37 45 Collins Eric Schooler 706 427 1855 Wood products supplier
38 41 Plaid Pantries William "Chris" Girard 800 770 1963 Convenience store operator
39 40 Stoel Rives Robert Van Brocklin 814 360 1904 Law firm
40 39 Sherm's Thunderbird Market Sherman Olsrud 615 615 1967 Retail grocery store operator
41 55 Jubitz Corporation Frederick D. Jubitz 191 168 1952 Fuel and fuel manager
42 46 Membrane Holdings Larry Keith 445 315 2007 Provider of lead acid separators and engineering services
43 35 Walsh Construction Robert S. Walsh 299 178 1961 Housing construction firm
44 52 Leatherman Tool Group Ben Rivera 1443 498 1983 Designer and maker of multi-purpose tools, knives and flashlights
45 48 Capitol Auto Group Scott Casebeer 229 229 1927 Auto dealer
46 49 Tyree Oil Ronald L. Tyree 85 85 1988 Distributor of petroleum products
47 53 Consolidated Supply Co. Karla Neupert Hockley 330 185 1928 Wholesale distributor of plumbing, waterworks and hydronic heating products
48 50 Shari's Management Corporation Bruce MacDiarmid 3373 1597 1978 Restaurant chain
49 51 Carr Auto Group* Brad Preble 269 228 1941 Auto dealer
50 NR Tripwire James B. Johnson 396 236 1997 Provider of risk-based security and compliance solutions
51 NR Dutch Bros. Coffee Travis Boersma 2200 1070 1992 Drive thru coffee chain


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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

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