Family Business Magazine announces 2021 NextGens to Watch

Two Prairie Family Business Association members were recognized as NextGens to watch by Family Business Magazine. The listing includes exceptional family business members across the United States who are 35 and under. The recognition "celebrates NextGens who are working in an operating company, playing a key role in the family council or family foundation, contributing to family education efforts or organizing events or programs at the family gathering."

MAX PATNOE, 32

Liberty Superstores, Rapid City, S.D.

Max is a fourth-generation car dealer in western South Dakota. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in finance, he decided to join his family’s automotive business, Liberty Motors Inc.

Max started washing cars at age 10. While in high school, he did a variety of odd jobs around the dealerships. When he first came back after college, he worked side by side with his father and grandfather to gain experience. He later graduated from the National Automobile Dealers Association Dealer Academy and was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of two additional family-owned and -operated dealerships.

In his role as general manager, Max has helped grow his family business to five dealership locations, a body shop and 10 vehicle franchises. 

Max and his family continue to develop their succession plans as they transition their business through the generations. 

“Max is a passionate leader who is also passionate about continuing his family’s legacy,” says Stephanie Larscheid, executive director of the Prairie Family Business Association. “He Is respectful of his father and has worked with him to attain a positive balance for both of them during the succession transition. He seizes every opportunity to learn and grow.

“Max has led exponential growth of the family business in a short period of time,” Larscheid says.

“He has led an acquisition of another family business that was a competitor, and he’s opened locations in a new town. He’s been successful with these endeavors. Max has ensured success for future generations of the Patnoe family.”

“We are fortunate to have an incredible team of employees,” Max says. “Several of our employees have had multiple generations within their families working in our family business. It’s really rewarding to see the family values of the entire organization come together with our team. Our success and growth would not be possible without our team’s desire to learn, grow and take care of our customers. 

“We have had several growth opportunities over the past few years, including the opportunity to purchase other family-owned dealerships. In these acquisitions, I think it was important for the selling families to know their family-oriented values and legacy would remain in our family owned organization.

“As our industry continues to change and evolve, our family values and philosophy, going back to my great-grandfather, will remain the same. We are here to take care of our customers and our employees, and hopefully make a positive impact in our ­communities.”

MARK MOFFATT, 33

Moffatt Products Inc., Watertown, S.D.

Mark is the third-generation president of Moffatt Products. The company provides mounting solutions to position and support medical devices and other industries and applications.

Shortly after earning a master’s degree in athletic training from the University of Utah in 2013, Mark received a call from his dad, Dave, who asked him to consider coming back to the family business.

“He has had to learn how to operate a manufacturing business from the inside out,” says Stephanie Larscheid, executive director of the Prairie Family Business Association. She says Mark is serving as a “visionary” in the Entrepreneurial Operating System, “helping his team simplify and stick to a business plan that will result in profitable growth with emphasis on maintaining a healthy organizational culture along the way.”

Mark recently took over the president’s role from his father, who retired on June 1. “Mark is an eager learner and has worked his way up through the business, earning the trust and respect of long-time employees along the way,” Larscheid says. “He’s well respected and a trusted leader, and the employees are confident in his abilities as well as the future of the business.”

“My passion is to cultivate a healthy organizational culture along the way to pursuing more growth with innovative solutions at Moffatt,” Mark says. “My athletic training education and experiences taught me to keep calm under pressure and weigh short-term needs against long-term outcomes. I feel those familiar dynamics in manufacturing design projects. I have to get the designs right as quickly as possible, but also plan for the long term in order to keep those items supplied on-time and profitably.

“Every customer, vendor and employee wants to be treated with respect and expects our team to give their best performance every day. It’s exciting to create new products and rewarding to build a solid team and company culture that adds value to all stakeholders.”

Mark’s grandfather was a founding member of the Prairie Family Business Association (PFBA) in 1993, and Mark is now chair of the advisory board. PFBA helped the family and their team prepare and communicate a transition plan.

Mark is also an advisory board member for South Dakota Manufacturing and Technology Solutions as well as Watertown Development Corporation.


To view the full listing by Prairie Business Magazine, please visit: https://www.familybusinessmagazine.com/2021-nextgens-watch-entrepreneurial-spark