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Built To Last

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 by Web Developer

Author: Allied Log

Lake Polan III and Customer

The business graveyard is littered with family enterprises that surged but ultimately faltered, a fact Allied Logistics CEO Lake Polan III knows well.

Roughly 70 percent of family-owned businesses fail or are sold before the second generation takes over, according to the Harvard Business Review. Just 10 percent make it to the third generation intact. Founded in 1922 by Walter Lewis Sr., Allied has defied the odds, thriving now in its fourth generation.

Polan has managed Allied in part by maintaining a long view, developing the Huntington, W.Va., company from a single warehouse to a full-service global logistics firm operating in seven states.

“Any company that fails to expand its capabilities is in trouble,” Polan said. “You need to be able to meet the needs of your customers. If you can’t, you’re not going to survive.”

Polan still is looking ahead, this time to succession, with his daughter Rebecca set to take the helm.

“The selection and preparation of the next generation of family leadership is the most important task of my career,” Lake Polan said. “My father set the example by recruiting me to the business, training me and then having the trust to turn me loose to succeed (or, of course, to fail).

“My job is easier because my daughter is more focused and skilled than I was at this point in my career. I have complete confidence that our business will have a great future with the leadership that she and our management team have to offer.”

Rebecca Polan is braced for the challenge. In 2011, she took over as president of Allied Realty, the corporate hub for the logistics business and the company Lewis formed 92 years ago. She obtained master’s degrees in public administration from American University and business administration from William & Mary, and she holds a certificate in supply chain management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Growing up around my father and this company has given me a unique understanding of how it all works and a real appreciation for how we do things,” Rebecca Polan said. “I’ve learned from a great leader.”

Under Lake Polan’s watch, Allied has transformed from a family business to a family of companies, including Reo Distribution, a logistics firm led by Reo B. Hatfield, president of Allied’s Virginia operations.

“Lake is a visionary. He’s constantly looking ahead, and he’s developed a diverse base that allows us all to meet customer needs working together,” Hatfield said. “He really is a pioneer.” The product of that pioneering entrepreneurial spirit is a company offering warehousing, trucking, logistics and processing services.

“What we’ve been able to do is really attributable to a great deal of forward thinking on Lake’s part and a commitment to doing things the right way that I think really is part of the family values that we bring to our operation,” said Jeff Smith, president of Allied’s West Virginia operations.

That, Lake Polan said, springs from a recognition of the value of relationships. “Our customers are a part of us,” Polan said. “We’ve had to develop as their needs have evolved. That’s a big part of why we’re where we are and who we are.”

This website is owned and operated by the Allied Group of Companies, including but not limited to: Allied Realty Company, Allied Warehousing Services, Inc., Allied Transportation Services Company,
REO Distribution Services, Inc., Allied Processing Services, Inc., REO Logistics Company, Nalop Realty Company LLC, Kenova Warehouse Company, Lewpol Company LLC, Nitro Management Company,
Valley Pike Management LLC, Solutions Way Management LLC, Rosemar Management LLC, Delphine Management LLC, PBS Management LLC, and Orsmby Management LLC.