Mark Kelly, Safety Marking President and Chief Operating Officer, founded the company in 1973 as a small, family-owned striping business serving Fairfield County, Connecticut. With constant development came broader, more significant contracts and geographic expansion. Since its founding, family has been at the core of Safety Marking, with up to twenty-five family members working for the business since its inception.
“Working alongside members of my family gives me the extra motivation to do my very best every single day. Everything means just a little more knowing the family name is on the line,” stated Bronson Kelly, Operations, Safety Marking, Inc.
As a successful family business, Safety Marking Inc. shares what makes a family business thrive.
Develop a Shared Mindset
When working with family members in a professional environment it is crucial to develop values that strengthen areas of the company. For example, Safety Marking’s vision states, “To be the safest and most professional pavement marking company in the industry.” The company’s mission supports this; “To ensure the safest work environment, using a technically advanced fleet, to provide superior workmanship and unparalleled service delivered by the most well-trained workforce.” Safety Marking’s core values include safety, accountability, communication, teamwork, integrity, commitment, and exceeding expectations. Safety Marking’s vision, mission, and values are based on safety, quality and professionalism.
When expectations are supported by clear and regular communication family members can achieve proactive growth.
“What I enjoy about working in a family business is knowing that we are all working to make sure the business is successful; we all depend on one another to do our very best every day. We cooperate to ensure the company is as effective and as efficient as possible for everyone involved. 2020 has been a great challenge for us and together we have risen to the challenge, supported each other, and made the right decisions as a group. It’s knowing that we are on the same team that I really enjoy,” shares Daniel King, Manager of Learning & Development at Safety Marking, Inc.
Starting as a small family business, Safety Marking understands the importance of getting involved and giving back to the local community. The pavement marking company has long-standing partnerships with the local Wakeman Boys and Girls Club, and the Thomas Merton Center which both encourage healthy citizenship and support those in need.
Family-owned businesses can find value by establishing connections. A way to grow a company’s network is by joining an industry association. Safety Marking has access to National Industry Association partnerships as well as additional sector-specific allied organizations like the Connecticut Concrete Promotional Council (CCPC), Equipment Maintenance Forum (EMF), Young Contractors Forum, Safety Roundtables, Safety Committee Meetings, Annual Safety Conference and OSHA/Conn OSHA Safety Alliance. Network development also increases brand visibility within an industry as well as other established networks. Creating and maintaining relationships with other company leaders in the same sector adds significant value to any company. These relationships can instill growth, innovation, and problem-solving in both the company and industry.
Support Value Creation
Investing in talent development is vital to supporting value and unity building in any company. Family-owned organizations should develop both family and non-family talent. In 2020, Safety Marking Inc. established a Safety Marking Academy, an internal Learning and Development site, to train the workforce on the safe and effective use of equipment and machinery. The company also holds weekly Toolbox Safety Meetings to keep all employees updated and on the same page with safety goals and concerns for the continuing pursuit of accident prevention. The company’s number one safety goal is zero accidents and injuries.
“My father has always been a huge role model in my life – from his work ethic to his family values and being able to learn from him every day is a gift. He’s built a successful family business whether you’re related or not related “we’re all family here” an SMC employee once said to me, and it’s so true. As we grow the SMC family each year, we are creating jobs in our backyard and for our community, and that is the greatest reward because family is everything.” Abigail Kelly, Operations at Safety Marking, Inc.