Thor Hess, executive vice president of Southeastern Equipment Co., was honored last month with the Next Gen Award at the Conway Center for Family Business’ 20th Annual Family Business Awards Program in Columbus, Ohio. Bestowed annually, the Next Gen Award recognizes emerging leaders who are making an impact in their businesses and in the Central Ohio business community at large.

The Family Business Awards Program was established in 1999 to recognize excellence in family business and has honored more than 250 local family businesses throughout that time. Thirty-five family businesses and individuals were honored in 2018 in the following categories: Community Engagement, Family Business of the Year, Legacy, Lifetime Achievement, Milestone Achievement, Re-Invention, Next-Gen, Rising Star, Succession Planning, and Support of Family Business.

“Family businesses are the backbone of the American economy and are vital to the Central Ohio economy and community,” said Jill Hofmans, managing director of the Conway Center for Family Business. “Thor was recognized for the Next Gen Award for the many accomplishments he’s made as a third gen family business leader.”

“We are very proud to have Thor be a part of the future of this great company,” said Charlie Patterson, president at Southeastern Equipment Co. “His achievements and work ethic are going to go far at our company and this award is a great recognition of that. I look forward to seeing him grow as our next generation leadership.”

The Family Business Awards Program is made possible through the support of Dispatch Media Group, First Merchants Bank, Gryphon Financial Partners, Ricart Automotive, Rider + Reinke Financial Group, Taft/ and White Castle.

The Conway Center for Family Business is Central Ohio’s resource for educational programs, resources and networking opportunities to support the growth and success of family-owned businesses. The Center celebrates the successes of family-owned businesses at its annual awards program and offers peer group opportunities for next-generation leaders, family business leaders, women family business owners, and more. The organization includes approximately 200 family-owned businesses from Central Ohio that employ more than 20,000 individuals. The Conway Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018.

Southeastern Equipment has been renting, selling and servicing heavy machinery since 1957. The company, No. 60 on the RER 100, has 18 locations in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana.