Richard Seaman

Board Chairman of Seaman Corporation

Richard was recognized as an Honored Life Member of his industry trade organization, the Industrial Fabrics Association International, and was selected as a Wall of Fame Honoree by the Wooster Area Chamber of Com­merce. In 2015, Richard was chosen by Ernst & Young as Entrepreneur of the Year in the Family Business category. 

 Richard is an avid skier, sailor, photographer, and tennis player. Richard and his wife, Judy, live in Wooster, Ohio. They and the families of their three chil­dren are committed to being active owners and stewards of their family business enterprise.

My family business is my legacy…

I grew up in the family business my mother and father started with two sewing machines in the basement of our home. I watched my father mix vinyl compounds in my mother’s kitchen and cure them in her oven to develop coatings to apply to nylon fabrics. Little did I envision that these early entrepreneurial and innovative activities would evolve into an enterprise of 400 associates, that produces colorful industrial fabrics for truck tarps, architectural and environmental applications, roofing membranes, and military applications.

Because my father passed away in 1978, at the premature age of 55, the vast majority of this growth has occurred on my watch. In addition to my desire to keep my father’s innovative spirit alive, I also wanted to build a family business that will continue to grow and be sustained into future generations.

I recognized the importance of educating future generations about the history and values of our family business and to help them understand that family business ownership is not an entitlement, but a special stewardship that requires continued care and feeding, regardless of career decisions.

My unspoken vision was to create a family business legacy that will survive me and will continue into future generations.

Speaking

Speaking

Topics

  • How To Build A Business That Survives You
  • From Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves: Why Just 1 in 20 Businesses Survive to the Third Generation
  • How Multigenerational Family Businesses Can Help Address Income Inequality

Creating a Lasting Legacy:

The Higher Calling of Entrepreneurship

Today, almost nothing seems impossible to create online and as a result, younger generations are increasingly turning to the gig economy or the exit-strategy entrepreneurial model.

Richard has a fresh message for new entrepreneurs who seek quick gains over traditions and legacies: you have a choice.

Richard is passionate about educating young entrepreneurs about the importance of the multigenerational family business model, including, the economic and social impact on the community, the financial impact on the American economy, and the benefits of a quality of life balance for the business owner.

A skilled and detailed interviewer, Richard is an excellent candidate for Q&A, roundtable, and fireside chats.

Media

Redefining ownership as shareholder stewardship

Family Business | September/October 2020

The common narrative in American family business at that time, and continuing on to today, was that if you want to have anything to do with the family business, your career must be in the business.
Read More

Redefining ownership as shareholder stewardship

Thirty years ago, I was faced with a typical family business crisis. My father, the founder of our family-owned industrial fabrics company, Seaman Corporation, had passed away prematurely at the age of 55. The management team and I ran the company out of our headquarters in Ohio…

Family Business | October 2020

Look to multigenerational family businesses to survive economic disruption

As we face economic challenges thrust upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses could learn a lot from multigenerational family businesses that are prepared to withstand this current economic disruption.

Crain's Cleveland Business | April 19, 2020

Entrepreneurs Should Consider Doing These 3 Things Before Building a Company With an Exit Strategy

Building a company with an exit strategy in mind can feel like the only option for entrepreneurs — but it isn’t. Richard Seaman, chairman of the Seaman Corporation and author of A Vibrant Vision, says that the exit-focused rhetoric and unicorns that dominate our headlines are not what powers our economy.

INC. | January 22, 2020

Media