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The Stevens Center for Family Business podcast series features interviews with SCFB Members – founders, owners, and other leaders -- about FB fundamentals and the unique lessons they’ve learned as they’ve nurtured their enterprise and integrated family members into the business over the years. 

The podcast interviews provide rare insight into the unique experiences of family business leaders with the founding and development of their companies; the managing of the family along with business operations; and the rewards, challenges, and successes they’ve encountered along the way. 

Additionally, the interviews engage and connect Members through personal stories about the realities of family business ownership and leadership – the trials and tribulations, as well as the deep gratification of establishing an entrepreneurial legacy.

The SCFB podcast series is produced in partnership with Cliff Duvernois, host of The Call of Leadership podcast, and founder of MOTIONSPLASH Solutions, Inc.

SCFB Members interested in participating as potential interviewees in this podcast series, please contact Casey Stevens at

The SCFB podcast interviews are also available on the following outlets. 

 Listen on SpotifyListen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Podcasts

Denise Ilitch from Little Caesars to Major Leagues: The Ilitch Family Story

Denise Ilitch, Owner of Ilitch Family Companies and President of Ilitch Enterprises, LLC, shares the remarkable story of how her parents' founding of Little Caesar's Pizza in 1959 has resulted in the third largest pizza chain in the world with stores in more than 27 countries worldwide. The family-owned business is now a large holding company with privately held businesses, including the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, and many others.

The Maple Grille with Josh Schaeding, Chef and Owner

Josh Schaeding shares the amazing story behind a staple in Hemlock, Michigan: The Maple Grille. He dives into the restaurant’s origin, its commitment to serving locally sourced, farm-to-table dishes, and the challenges of running a multi-generational destination restaurant in a rural area. The Maple Grille is renowned for its wood-fired cooking and open kitchen concept, which complements his family's distinctive farm-to-table restaurant.

The Hausbeck Pickles Story with Tim Hausbeck, Third-Generation, President

Hear the fascinating journey of Hausbeck Pickles and Peppers, a family business that went from humble beginnings to playing on an international stage. The interview with the president and CEO of Hausbeck Pickles and Peppers, Tim Hausbeck, third generation owner takes us through his early life, education, and the decision to join the family business. He talks about the challenges the company faced, their growth journey, and their transition from supplying local grocery stores to becoming a major supplier of Burger King, Subway, and other fast-food chains.

Casey Lowery, President, Applied Innovation

In this episode of Total Michigan, host Cliff Duvernois sits down with Casey Lowery, the President of Applied Innovation, a technology company based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They discuss the company's journey from a startup in the copier and printer industry to its explosive growth into a tech giant with a strong presence in various states. As part of a family-run business, Casey discusses his experiences stepping into different roles within the company and his transition into his current position as President. The discussion provides unique insights into how Applied Innovation maintained its customer-focused ethos while growing and diversifying their services. The company's unique culture, transition into the IT space, and their approach to customer service are all discussed, revealing a story of perseverance, strategic growth, and the power of a service-centric approach. 

Chris Shepler, President and CEO, Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry

Chris Shepler, President, and CEO of Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry shares the history of his family business. For over 40 years, the Shepler family has worked hard to ensure that people have a safe and wonderful experience when they travel by ferry boat to Mackinac Island.

Jon Hall, CEO, Glastender Incorporated

Jon Hall, CEO of Glastender Inc., shares the two core philosophies his family business is built on which are incorporated throughout the business with the relationships they have with their employees and customers.

Beth Thieme, President and CEO, Amigo Mobility International

It's not every day that an invention sparks an entire industry.  But this is what Al Thieme did when multiple sclerosis robbed a beloved family member of her independence.  Al decided to build something that gave it back to her.  And his invention, and his company, now helps tens of thousands of people to regain their independence every single day.  But their journey was not an easy one.

Family Business Owner, John Shelton, Zehnder's of Frankenmuth

Sometimes it takes an outsider to ask the right questions to bring about massive change.  That's exactly what John Shelton did.  After decades of handling the Michigan winter months the same, John Shelton proposed an idea.  An idea he had no idea would work.  But the results of John's idea transformed Frankenmuth's winter months from extremely slow to one of Michigan's Premiere Snow Festivals - Zehnder's SnowFest.

Family Business Owner, Wayne Bronner, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland

For most of us, Christmas is something we think about for a month or so. For Wayne Bronner, his family, and his staff, it’s a year-round event in Frankenmuth. In this episode, Wayne shares the history of Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, and the future of Bronner's.

Family Business Owner, Tyler Kluck, Kluck Nursery

Tyler Kluck, fourth-generation owner of Kluck Nursery, shares what it’s like to assume the mantle of V.P. of a successful family business, what role 100 years of history has in making decisions, and the impact staff retirement has on the business. Every Christmas, over 5,500 people decorate their homes with Kluck Christmas trees, but their business impacts the community with more than trees.

Family Business Owner, Terry Duperon, Duperon Corporation

You could say that the odds were stacked against Terry Duperon who was born with dyslexia, dropped out of high school, and never learned to read and write. Despite these obstacles, Terry learned that his dyslexia was a gift and he harnessed it to start the Duperon Corporation. With his daughter and business partner, Tammy, the family business has grown 25% year over year.

In this episode, Terry shares:

  • How to Turn Failures into Gifts
  • Finding Inspiration in the Power of Dreams
  • How to Embrace the Life You Have

SCFB Membership Coordinator, Casey Stevens

Family business accounts for 60% of US businesses and are responsible for nearly 80% of new job creation. And the Stevens Center for Family Business is designed to help family businesses survive and thrive.  Today, Casey Stevens shares with us the mission behind the Steven Center and how the Center is helping keep this important Michigan economic engine firing on all cylinders.

Family Business Owner, Kathie Fuce-Hobohm, SPACE, Inc.

Going from school teacher to CEO of one of Michigan’s top 50 businesses to watch. Kathie Fuce-Hobohm stepped into the CEO role because she loved what she was doing. In this podcast episode, Kathie shares the history of her company Space Inc, the succession of her family business to the second generation, and causes she strongly believes in.


Director - Rejeana Heinrich
CCB 313 Scott L. Carmona College of Business
(989) 964-4035

Acting Assoc. Director - Casey Stevens
CCB 313 Scott L. Carmona College of Business
(989) 964-2776

Program Coordinator - Andrea Henning
CCB 313 Scott L. Carmona College of Business
(989) 964-2850