Martindale Family Business Institute

Overview and Mission

Martindale Family Business Institute was established in 2016 in collaboration with Lehigh alumnus Ferd Thun '56, and is directed by Professor Jesus M. Salas, Ph.D.

Most businesses worldwide are family-controlled, including many of the world’s largest firms. In the U.S., families control nearly 50% of the Russell 1000 and 35% of Fortune 500 firms. Outside the U.S. families own and control even larger fractions of large businesses. In Mexico, most large publicly-traded companies are family-owned. This pattern holds true in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. Experts estimate that over 80% of wealth worldwide resides under family control.

Despite these numbers, business education and research has largely neglected the needs of family business owners and the specific challenges they face. This Institute aims to fill that gap. Our mission is to serve as a center of expertise and to provide high-quality educational experiences, backed by world-class research, to assist families in managing, growing, and developing their businesses.


Family Business Workshop Series in Partnership with the Small Business Development Center, Lehigh University

Family Business Series Leadership Breakfasts for Family Business Professionals

Martindale is in partnership with the Small Business Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to deliver valuable information and networking opportunities.   Contact to register. The venue will be Ben Franklin Tech Ventures, Lehigh University, 116 Research Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015. View the program flyer.

Faculty Research

We are working to compile the largest U.S. database on family and privately-held companies.

Student Credit Courses

We sponsor courses in Family Business Leadership, and run a research course examining the performance of family-controlled firms listed on the stock market.

Student Research Opportunities

We offer opportunities for students to contribute to our research projects, and have undertaken a joint research project with EPI (Exit Planning Institute) involving students and faculty.

Academic-Practitioner Research Workshops

Martindale Family Business Institute, in collaboration with Temple University, has initiated a series of workshops bringing together international faculty with family business leaders. This offers a unique forum for constructive exchange between academics and practitioners, and ultimately helps align research with needs and interests in the field.

  • 2017 Family Business Workshop, Iacocca Hall, Lehigh University
    • Research papers
      • “The Extreme Control Choice” - Ron Anderson, Temple University
      • “Exit” - Morten Bennedsen, INSEAD, with Vikas Mehrota and Yupana Wiwattanakantang
      • “Drivers of effort: evidence from employee absenteeism” – Daniel Wolfenzon, Columbia University, with Morten Bennedsen and Margarita Tsoutsoura
      • “Family Feud: Succession Tournaments and Risk-taking in Family Firms” - Hayong Yun, Michigan State University, with Jongsub Lee and Hojong Shin

Contact Exit Planning Institute (EPI)

Scott Snider, Vice President, Exit Planning Institute

Cori Neith, Client Relationship Manager, Legacy Planning Partners

Student Clubs

Student clubs are an opportunity for students to:

  • Meet and network with leaders from family businesses;
  • Invite business leaders to campus to discuss issues specific to family businesses;
  • Initiate opportunities for work shadow and internships;
  • Organize field trips to family businesses;
  • Conduct individual research.