A Q&A with Moffatt Products President, Mark Moffatt
Moffatt Products is proud to announce Mark Moffatt as the new President at Moffatt Products. In doing so, he will become the third generation of the Moffatt family to run the company during its 67 years of operation — placing them in rare company as a family-owned business. The average lifespan of a family-owned business is 24 years and only about 13% of businesses make it to the third generation. Moffatt Products has been in business since 1954.
Mark recently replaced Dave Moffatt as President of Moffatt Products. Dave has had an illustrious career, during his time at the company he built Moffatt into a worldwide name for flex arms, especially the Moffatt Lamp. A recent blog post on the company’s website shared the news of the transition and provided context for Dave’s work, his legacy, and what comes next for Moffatt Products.
We caught up with Mark to pick his brain about the past, present, and future of Moffatt Products.
What was your journey to Moffatt Products like?
Each of my siblings and I started working a few hours pretty young, maybe 8 or 10 years old. I was maybe 10 when I started part-time hours and full-time during high school summers. Over the years I got to learn nearly every production task and work center, gradually shifting from upfront in lighting and shipping to the back area working with raw materials and more machinery. I got to work alongside every employee. It was a really, really great part of growing up there.
Then you went away to college. Did you see yourself coming back to Moffatt?
Dad never really talked much about work besides at the supper table. He would mention what projects they were working on, but that’s about it. He’d say things like, “You know, now we’re mounting cameras on golf carts.” (laughs) It was just small talk. We never talked about this on the level of, would you want to work together?
I think Dad was really conscious of the transition with his father, Dillon. He had made it clear that he expected Dave to come back and take over the business. He didn’t talk about it at all with us but he felt strongly against pressuring any of his kids to do the same. He wanted each of us to go out and be successful on our own before coming back.
How did that conversation end up happening with Dave?
He waited until I had graduated with a master’s in athletic training from the University of Utah. We had planned to stay in Salt Lake City for the long term, as we loved the outdoors. I had found a clinical position as an athletic trainer. Right after my graduation, we had our first daughter (who turned eight this year) and Dad called to ask if I had any interest at all in working together. The opportunity to be near family and be a part of the business again was so exciting to us.
My pathway into the business was unconventional. We moved back home, but I was not a mechanical engineer — which might have been the traditional pathway. I wasn’t coming in blind, though. I did have a lot of manufacturing experience. That served as a pretty good foundation for learning the rest of the business, understanding our customers better and beginning to dream about new possibilities for the business.
My pathway into the business was unconventional. We moved back home, but I was not a mechanical engineer — which might have been the traditional pathway. I wasn’t coming in blind, though. I did have a lot of manufacturing experience. That served as a pretty good foundation for learning the rest of the business, understanding our customers better, and beginning to dream about new possibilities for the business.
That sounds instrumental to where you’re at now.
I don’t think I can point to one moment. I originally told him, let’s try this for three years. That’ll be enough time for us to figure out if we think it would be a good decision to work toward a transition officially.
It turned out to be a better fit than I thought. It was more like three months for me to know I wanted to keep the story going and lead the company eventually, but we still hadn’t officially decided if we should go for it. So we started planning for how we could transition leadership.
So this has been planned for a while? How did the Leadership Team come about?
Yes. We started holding regular meetings to talk it through, decide on a pathway in terms of my role and how dad would delegate responsibilities. Then we began spreading responsibility more broadly across the company. It was important to shift from a model where we just used Dave’s (or Mark’s) decisions, to a shared decision-making model.
The model that we’re using is called EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System. It is helping us define our business plan and meet effectively in order to stay on track. And as we grow the business there are plenty of EOS tools to help us stay focused on our customers while making progress on our growth plan. Our team trusts one another and everyone knows how their efforts are essential to serving our customers. That has made it much easier to prepare for Dave’s transition with confidence and continuity.