28 - May 2018 Woodall’s Campground Management Do I want to operate it for 10 years, 50 years, then pass it on? “Or your target date could be based on valuation,” he continued. “You have to ask yourself how much you want the asset to be worth. Maybe you want it to be up to $10 million before passing it down.” Then too, perhaps the owner wishes to keep the park in the family, but the next generation is not yet interested or simply not readytotakeiton.Insomecases,theperson passing down the family business does so moreslowlybecausetheywanttheirchildren to work in the system for a certain number of years before taking it over. “Youneedtoclarifykeyrolesthattakeinto consideration the abilities and/or the willing- ness of the next generation to run the park,” said Brownfield. “You may have someone willingbutnotableorablebutnotwilling.You need a clear understanding of the ‘who’ and the ‘how’ within the context of the family and keep all of these things in mind. “Ifyouhavealreadyidentifiedthatperson, start mentoring them,” he added. “Involve them. Train them. Start investing in the successor so they will be ready when the time comes to hand down your park.” In the Randalls’ case, they heeded expert advice in crafting legal documents that are versatile. The wording of your wills or trusts, they noted, should be imparted with breathing room. Such latitude will create opportunities for children to make decisions based on what would be best at that time, according to Randall,addingthatifalegaldocumentistoo rigid and controlling it could make it difficult or impossible for heirs to run the business efficiently. InadditiontohavingaplanA,theRandalls recommend you have a plan B in place. “Sometimes our offspring die before we are out of the picture or perhaps no family member shows interest in taking over your business,” said Randall. “So, you must make agoallistandatime-tableforplanstosellthe camp. “Sometimes adult children have other plans for their lives, different from what we might wish for them,” she continued. “Say the Serenity Prayer, accepting what cannot be changed to your liking and move on. Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans. However, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Part of the Randalls’ plan was having Sue delay collecting social security until turning 70 last year, which has allowed her to draw a larger sum as she heads toward retirement. The Randalls have also been proactive in soliciting advice early to formulate their exit strategy. “Several years back, our lawyer’s advice San Diego-based Kampground Enter- prises Inc. (KEI) is a third-generation family businesscelebratingits50thanniversarythis year. KEI is unique in that it boasts active, working relatives from three generations. Ted and Carol Bell launched the San Diego KOA in 1968, building it with their own hands. Ted is still very active as you will find him three to five days a week working on projectsatthepark.Apassionatebuilder,he said he has loved the opportunity to create the physical amenities that enhance the campground experience. Carol, for her part, was chief bookkeeper during her 35 years of working in the busi- ness. She handed down the head account- ing role to her grandson, Josh Bell, about 15 years ago when she retired, although she stays informed and keeps an active, vested interest. “We are very fortunate to have great role models—andthefactthatmygrandparents are active and engaged in the business makesitthatmuchmorespecial,”saidJosh, KEI family member-owner. “My dad, Mike Bell,servesasthepresidentofourcompany and he has been involved since graduating college in the 1970s.” Josh’sbrother,Clint,andhissister,Molly, alsoareengagedinrunningKEI,whichtoday consists of six KOA franchise properties, park management and consulting services and U.S. sales of Eco Structures, an Aus- traliancompanythatspecializesinglamping tents. There are several family members in- volved in the day-to-day operations, with an equal number involved in the ownership though not actively working in the business. Josh, Clint and Molly grew up immersed inparklifeandworkedattheSanDiegoKOA beginning in elementary school and contin- uing through high school. While the former generations hoped the third generation would become part of the family legacy as adults, there was never an expectation placedonanyonetojointhefamilybusiness. “There was also not a guaranteed job waiting for us at the park, either,” said Josh. After college, Josh and his siblings each spent time working outside of the family campground. Working outside of the busi- ness for a few years is advice that the Bell family would pass along to any park owner as they start to evaluate their succession planning. Years later, they each wanted to takeanactiveroletojointhefamilybusiness. The experience gained working outside the business provided a broader foundation to grow the business. Three Generations of Active Ownership Three Generations – continued on page 31 From left to right: Ted Bell, Clint Bell, Molly Bell Crawford and Mike Bell all play active roles at KEI Enterprises Inc.