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Family Business Program wins international accolades (Released: 8/13/96)

by Richard Veilleux, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The Family Business Program, a unit within the School of Business Administration at the University of Connecticut, has been named one of the most outstanding such programs in the world by the International Family Business Program Association (IFBPA).

The barely one-year-old program, headed by Richard Dino, was cited during the association's annual meeting last month for its "explosive development and outstanding accomplishments in such a short period of time," IFBPA officials said in presenting the award to Dino.

During the program's brief lifetime it has recruited six corporate sponsors who provide financial support and expertise to the program; enrolled 28 family businesses as participating members; organized and sponsored eight family business workshops; developed and produced seven issues of the newsletter enterprising family issues; and held a Family Business of the Year awards banquet, recognizing Connecticut's best family businesses. Dino and three colleagues in the business school also worked on nine research projects related to family businesses.

"Rich (Dino) has accomplished in a short time what most programs wish they could accomplish in three or four years," said Bill Bellet, chair of the awards committee. "His accomplishments in the breadth of programming, in getting grants and support, in research activity, in creating awareness of the programs and in getting faculty involvement are all exceptional."

Not resting on his laurels, Dino has already organized the program's second annual Family Business Leadership Awards banquet, to be held Sept. 19 -- proclaimed Connecticut Family Business Day by Gov. John G. Rowland -- at the Farmington Marriott. He also has scheduled eight more workshops during the next 10 months and, as an added feature of the new programs, Dino is offering each of the eight workshops twice -- once in Fairfield County and, either the day before or the day after that forum, again in the greater Hartford region.

"It's all about convenience. By their very nature, family businesses are the most time intensive businesses there are. In all but the largest, owners and managers act as accountant, lawyer, salesperson, maintenance worker, purchasing agent, security person, and anything else you can think of. The cross-disciplinary demands are outrageous. Anything we can do to make their job easier helps them grow and, by extension, helps Connecticut's economy. Dual location events should allow more family business owners and managers to take advantage of the opportunity to participate with others like themselves," Dino says.

Any more participation and UConn will bring home the top award -- Family Business Program of the Year -- after next July's conference, scheduled to be held in Northampton, Mass., says Bellet.

"If he (Dino) continues on this course he will easily win the top award next year, as the best all-around program," said Bellet, who co-founded the 110-member IFBPA and founded the family business program at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., where he is now a family business consultant and a clinical psychologist.

In fact, Bellet said the only reason UConn's program was first runner-up rather than the winner of this year's award was age: UConn's program started in 1995 and the winning program, operating from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn., has been around for more than a decade.

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