An operator at Anchor Fabrication forms a cosmetically sensitive workpiece. Different companies within the Anchor Partners organization share capacities and capabilities (like brakes with specific tonnage capacities), often winning work that individual companies wouldn’t be able to do alone. Metal fabrication is dominated by private businesses, many of them family-owned—or, at the very least, run like a family. Walk into a custom fabricator almost anywhere in the country, and you often get the impression that the employees have known each other forever. It’s part of what gives this business its refreshingly unpretentious character. It’s why people come to work every day, and it’s why some would never dream of leaving. That said, not every family owner has kin that want to take over. The founder’s children might like certain aspects of the business—perhaps solving engineering- or machinery-related problems—but might have no interest in leadership. Or they might choose a different path—not an outlandish decision, considering the effects of globalization and the changes manufacturing’s been through after the 2001 and 2009 recessions. So what then? Succession planning can get tricky...