Family Business Alliance member, Doyle and Ogden, is a 3rd generation family-owned insurance company in West Michigan. This year, they are commemorating their 65th business anniversary which is no small feat. According to the McKinsey Institute, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company is about 18 years, so celebrating these impressive milestones is important. Especially when there is no one-size-fits-all approach to family business.
To honor and celebrate our members who have achieved “Milestone” anniversaries, we are sharing their family business history and a few of the milestones that got them to where they are now. Let’s take a look at what third generation family member, Shannon Heads, has to say about the family journey 65 years in.
How did the family business begin?
In 1958 my grandparents welcomed their 11th of ultimately 12 children, my dad, Mike Doyle. At the time, my grandfather, Del Doyle, was working as an adjuster for Wolverine Mutual. With that any mouths to feed, my grandpa decided to find an additional source of income. That is when he decided to open his own insurance company, and several years later, he also started a travel agency.
Over the years, more of the family members got involved with the travel agency than the insurance company, as it is a more glamourous industry. At the time, only one of his sons had decided to go the insurance route. However, when my grandfather passed away in 1984, my father, Mike, was called back from the other side of the country where he was living at the time to help his brother run the company. I personally worked for an insurance company for more than six years prior to joining the family insurance agency in 2014.
What’s been most surprising about your family business journey so far?
Being in the family business has made me feel even more connected to my grandfather than I ever have been. He started the company and passed away shortly before I was born, but being here every day to help continue his legacy has been so impactful. It continues to strengthen the thought of how blessed you can be both with the family present in your life now and the legacy of those who no longer are.
If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
To breathe and know you have time to accomplish all your goals and they won’t happen overnight, life is a marathon.
In Doyle & Ogden’s 65-year history, what do you identify as the family business’s most important contribution?
The creation of our family foundation and the work we have done in the community to give away thousands of coats to children over the last 13 years.
All photos are courtesy Doyle & Ogden. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Family Business Alliance strives to help family businesses with the tools, resources, and connections to help businesses succeed. Learn more about our resources including Leading Forward, Succeeding in Succession, and Navigating Governance that help to advance family business in our community.
This feature is part of our Member Anniversary Program. For more information or if you are interested in exploring opportunities to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.