By Lian Bunny, ’17
The St. Bonaventure University Family Business Club organized a day-long trip to tour two family-owned businesses on Friday, Oct. 24.
The trip was funded by Betty Ramming, who donated to the business school in honor of her late husband, Allan Ramming, ’63, owner of Electro Abrasive Corporation.
“Small family businesses are tweaking the economy with their ability to provide sustainable employment while offering a quality product or service that large corporations are unable to provide,” said Mrs. Ramming. “We need such entrepreneurship and business students in small companies that allow them to prove their talents in many areas rather than being pigeon-holed for one specific job.”
Dr. Pierre Balthazard, dean of the School of Business, and Dr. Carol Wittmeyer, associate professor of management, acted as advisers for the trip. They took more than three dozen students to tour Rynone Manufacturing in Waverly, N.Y. and Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport, N.Y.
Rynone Manufacturing is owned by Bonaventure alumnus Dick Rynone, who hosted the tour along with his son, management major James Rynone.
“The attendees learned and observed how a manufacturing plant efficiently produces a product,” said James. “We toured the granite factory and the countertop and cabinet factory. We observed the process of making those products and learned about some of the factors that go into the production.”
The Bully Hill tour was led by St. Bonaventure student Matthew Nesbitt and a Bully Hill employee. Nesbitt has worked at Bully Hill for the past five summers as a sales associate and tour guide.
“I took the group on a tour of the campus,” said Nesbitt. “Throughout my tour, I showed the group all the facilities we use to make wine, where all production is done on campus, and explained to them the rigors of production and the challenges associated with being in the wine industry.”
Wittmeyer typically finds that one-fourth to one-third of SBU students have a parent who owns a business. This made her view marketing differently.
“We market ourselves here at Bona’s as a place you will get to know professors because we are so small,” said Wittmeyer. “After our trip, it dawned on us. The thing that makes it special is that we get to know you. Those experiences happened (on the trip) because of that. We got to know students who are involved in these businesses. Let’s showcase that.”
The Family Business Club is planning to go on another trip to Constellation Brands in November because of the Bonaventure alumni there.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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