Meet the Berkleys
Region: California and Arkansas
Success with Vistage
- $0-$20M in 5 years
- Improved speed and accuracy of problem-solving
- Successfully integrated family members into the business
“Among our three groups, we have three separate pools of feedback from some of the most successful and smartest minds in the area. It keeps us from getting single tracked and has really sped up our problem-solving.”– Sean Berkley, VP, Berkley International
Jeff Berkeley sold his packaging business in 2000 to spend more time with his family. Little did he know he would return to business 12 years later to again spend more time with his boys.
During his senior year of college, Jeff’s son Eric persuaded him to start an eco-friendly packaging business, Berkley International. “We hashed through a plan over coffee, and then off we went cold calling for new customers,” says Eric, president of Berkley International.
So in 2012 they started from scratch — no customers, no vendors, no facilities.
Jeff’s advice to Eric was to join a Vistage peer advisory group, where he could get unbiased advice from other executives in a confidential environment and one-to-one coaching sessions with an executive mentor (Chair). “I wanted Eric to have a different perspective than just mine,” says Jeff, who had been a Vistage member when he owned his first business.
Eric’s Vistage group and Chair helped him with some major decisions, such as acquiring a plant in Arkansas and bringing his twin brother Sean into the business. “My Vistage Chair was the largest influencer to help set the stage for a successful partnership with my brother.”
As a first-time owner of a family business, Jeff also saw value in joining a Vistage group again. “There’s very different dynamics in a family business. My biggest concern was that we have a very close family and that that would get destroyed,” say Jeff, who also encouraged Sean to join his own Vistage group.
The Berkleys’ Vistage groups provide them with perspectives and ideas that allow them to process complex issues concerning the business and family dynamics.
“Among our three groups, we have three separate pools of feedback from some of the most successful and smartest minds in the area,” says Sean, VP of Berkley International. “It keeps us from getting single tracked and has really sped up our problem-solving.”
And that’s translated into results.
Just five years after launching, Berkley International’s revenue has grown to $20M, they’ve got 4 plants in California and Arkansas, and a spot as the fastest-growing manufacturer on the Inc. 5000 list.
The growth is also personal too. For Jeff, in particular, “being part of Vistage helps me become the best leader I can be.”