Raising Kids in a Family Business Environment

By Molly Varangkounh, Hy-Capacity President


In leading a family business, it can often be assumed that the succeeding generations are handed their roles without going through the same steps that the rest of society generally must take when entering the work world. In our family, we're working hard to develop possible future leaders of Hy-Capacity by instilling a sense of work ethic, a sense of pride in our company's history, and by teaching independence and responsibility. We have no idea if any of our kids will want to come back and be a part of the company, but if they do, we want to make sure they're prepared to be good team members, good leaders, and good community supporters.

The Generations of Hy-Capacity (From left to right, Ella Olson, Vice President David Olson, CEO Steve Olson, President Molly Varangkounh, Claire Varangkounh, Macey Varangkounh)


Back in 2017, we had a short term project at Hy-Capacity that needed some focus in order to keep a larger project moving forward. It wasn't a hard task but required time, and we didn't have anyone who was able to set aside their regular duties and devote themselves to this necessary work. Since my daughter, Claire, had just finished her sophomore volleyball season and didn't plan to participate in basketball, we knew she had some free time available and would be perfect for the job at hand. That night, I asked Claire, "How would you like a job?" She looked up from her cozy little nest of blankets on the couch, and calmly replied, "No thanks," and went back to watching her TV show. I rephrased my question, "Let me put it this way, how would you like to get paid for the job we need you to help with or would you prefer to volunteer your time? Either way, we need your help with a project." She begrudgingly accepted this proposal and went on with her night.


The next day, she came to the office after school and immediately turned to come into my office. I motioned for her to turn right back around and speak with the receptionist and let her know she was here for an interview. She gave me the eyes that said, "Please, will you just tell Kris why I'm here?" I motioned again for her to get to work on applying and interviewing for her very first job, indicating that I would certainly not be speaking FOR her. She survived the interview, landed the job, and has been working as her schedule allows ever since.


Claire is still a high school student, and I'm sure she'd much rather be hanging out with her friends, or even just sitting at home doing nothing, but in our family, that's not an option. We have made it clear that our three girls are expected to have a job if they aren't involved in one of the sporting activities that our school offers. My husband and I are hopeful that although we'll likely never get a formal acknowledgment, someday they might recognize the value of our high expectations and be thankful that we made them do the "hard stuff."

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ABOUT Hy-Capacity

Hy-Capacity was founded in 1978 as a remanufacturer of agricultural clutches, water pumps, and torque amplifiers. Over the years, Hy-Capacity has expanded the product lines to include new items such as seats and cab kits, radiators, air conditioning, front-end, filters, lights and many other parts for a wide variety of agricultural equipment. 

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