Pat Tracy's recent address at the Tri-State Manufacturing Conference at John Wood Community College contained some valuable information about the importance of a company's connection to the community where it's located.
"We do as much work in the communities as we can," said Tracy, the retired chief executive officer of Dot Foods in Mount Sterling.
Dot Foods' headquarters are in Mount Sterling, where 2,600 employees from eight surrounding counties work -- but the company also has distribution centers spread across North America.
Tracy said the company purposely tries to leave a meaningful footprint in all of those communities.
That footprint is a major one in West-Central Illinois, where Dot built a YMCA and restaurant in Mount Sterling. The company also has been a behind-the-scenes player in numerous efforts and causes all across the region. Most recently, the company donated $1.3 million to Quincy University's financial recovery plan.
Dot's reasoning for this kind of assistance is simple.
"Dot believes that when our communities thrive, we all thrive," Dot CEO Joe Tracy said.
Dot's commitment to its communities can be traced to the company's family roots. The Tracy family started and has operated the company for 57 years.
Pat Tracy said four items are essential among family leadership:
º Good communication is critical. The company even employs a family council "to talk about things."
º Conflict resolution is a must.
º Shared values are essential.
º A family vision is the guiding light to provide necessary business parameters.
"Family has been a strength for us, fortunately," Tracy said.
Pat Tracy said Dot Foods has also used a five-year plan through the years to direct many of its key decisions.
"In five years, you can accomplish anything," he said.
Tracy said one year is designated for research and formulating a budget, a second year is used for planning, and the final three years are set up to complete the task.
Tracy said it is also important to be able fine-tune and make adjustments during that five-year period.
What others are saying
º Forbes.com: "To determine the ‘true' cost of owning a given car or truck, one has to look beyond the transaction price and consider long-term ownership expenditures, including a vehicle's depreciation, fuel economy and insurance premiums. Usually far more difficult to research and compare are the annual costs of maintenance and repairs, the differences in which can add up to several thousand dollars over a five-year ownership cycle, depending on the make and model."
º CNN Money: "You may not have noticed it, but on the wall right next to the lavatory door is a tiny ashtray that pulls out from the wall. Each lav has two, on or next to the inside and outside of the door, despite smoking's full prohibition on flights in and out of the U.S. since 2000, it is an essential safety feature of every flight ... because there still needs to be a safe place to put out a lit cigarette. It's required by law. Specifically in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter I, Subchapter C, Part 25, Subpart D, Section 25.853, Paragraph g: ‘Regardless of whether smoking is allowed in any other part of the airplane, lavatories must have self-contained, removable ashtrays located conspicuously on or near the entry side of each lavatory door,' according to the regulation."
º New York Times: "Get ready to pay more to borrow. When it comes to economics, certainty is usually elusive, but in the case of the expected decision by the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates by a quarter point on Wednesday, the impact on consumers is clear. The typical credit card holder who is carrying a balance will quickly see annual interest charges rise to 16.75 percent from 16.5 percent. Rates on auto loans and home equity loans will also creep higher, as will mortgage rates, albeit over a longer period of time. ‘It will be a direct pass-through to credit card holders,' said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst with Bankrate.com. ‘This is a rising tide that lifts all boats, and you're going to feel it in equal magnitude wherever you sit on the credit spectrum.' "
The top five
Boston.com ranked all 22 flavors of Dunkin' Donuts. These were the top five:
1. Chocolate frosted: "What's the only thing that can make a glazed doughnut better? Just the slightest touch of chocolate. The chocolate frosted takes the crown because it is the perfect balance of puffy pastry and more pronounced chocolate frosting. It's safe to say that Dunkin' has this one down to an art."
2. Glazed: "The glazed doughnut is so effective because of its chewy texture. The flavor isn't too aggressive, but the sweetness makes it melt in your mouth. This one may not have all the bells and whistles, but it's classic for a reason."
3. Glazed chocolate stick: "In theory, the glazed chocolate stick shouldn't taste any different from the chocolate glazed doughnut, but the taste-testers were unanimous in recommending the stick. Not only is it advantageous for dunking, but it has a crustier texture, which makes a world of difference."
4. Glazed stick: "The glazed stick presents another solid dunking option, but with a bit of added sweetness. Many testers noticed a distinct, nutmeggy flavor that was not found in the glazed doughnut, which is likely the addition of an artificial sweetener called Vanillin."
5. French cruller: "Despite popular belief, the French cruller tastes quite different than the glazed doughnut. In fact, its fluffiness makes this doughnut taste fried, the way a doughnut should be. Some testers thought it was almost too hollow, though. The airiness gives it a bit of a dry consistency that the French may not approve of."
Words of wisdom
Bronze medal: "You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong." -- Warren Buffett.
Silver medal: "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers.
Gold medal: "My son is now an ‘entrepreneur'. That's what you're called when you don't have a job." -- Ted Turner.