A company synonymous with the holidays is HoneyBaked Ham, but did you know that the President of the HoneyBaked Ham Company Michigan Division is a Walsh College Alum? Lou Schmidt Jr. is the grandson of Harry Honeselarr, the found of HoneyBaked Ham, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1990 and a Master of Finance in 1998 from Walsh. In addition, several of his children have attended Walsh as well.
On Thursday, June 6th, Schmidt returned to Walsh as part of the Walsh Leadership Center Family Success Stories. Schmidt spoke to a group consisting of members from small and family businesses, sharing his family story of the development of the HoneyBaked Ham Company.
One interesting aspect of the Honeybaked Story is that HoneyBaked Ham is split into four regions, which are run by the families of each of the four daughters of Harry Honeselarr. Schmidt spoke to both the benefits and challenges of having this business family setup.
For example, having each family run different regions has helped fuel competition among the different families, which leads to growth and innovation. Each family does not want to be outdone by the other. On the other hand, it can be challenging at times to innovate, as each region has to agree on certain aspects of the business, and it only takes one dissenter to prevent growth through a particular medium.
Schmidt also encouraged his children to go to college and work outside of the company for five years before they could begin working for Honeybaked. His reasoning is that it helps to bring new ideas to the company, and allows his children to mature by living on their own and learning from their mistakes, without them directly affecting the company.
You can learn more about Lou Schmidt’s story about Honeybaked by reading Frank Witsil’s recent article in the Detroit Free Press.