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LEADING QUESTIONS: Burd Ford flies after tragedy

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Leading Questions

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Family-owned businesses rarely plan for the unexpected death of a founder or principal leader. Christine Burd, 41, found herself in that position in November when her husband, 43-year-old Richard Burd, committed suicide in his office at the family car dealership. Although a fixture in Burd Ford's local TV ads, Christine was not actively involved in day-to-day operations. But after consulting with her four children, she decided to continue operating the dealership and took over the leadership role as owner and president.

In the video below, Christine outlines the decisive steps she took in the days after her husband's death to preserve the dealership and get it back on the road to profitability. The tragedy led to renewed focus at the dealership, as well as cost-cutting measures that save the business an average of $109,000 per month, Burd said.



Although the reasons for Richard's suicide were not clear, Christine knew he was distraught over the slow economy and depressed sales. The dealership was nowhere near insolvency, but Richard had a "worst-case scenario" outlook. In the video below, Christine details the bittersweet feeling of piloting the dealership back to firmer ground when its troubles may not have been as dire as her husband believed.





 

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  1. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

  2. Ron Spencer and the entire staff of Theater on the Square embraced IndyFringe when it came to Mass Ave in 2005. TOTS was not only a venue but Ron and his friends created, presented and appeared in shows which embraced the 'spirit of the fringe'. He's weathered all the storms and kept smiling ... bon voyage and thank you.

  3. Not sure how many sushi restaurants are enough, but there are three that I know of in various parts of downtown proper and all are pretty good.

  4. First off, it's "moron," not "moran." 2nd, YOU don't get to vote on someone else's rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the US Constitution. That's why this is not a state's rights issue...putting something like this to vote by, well, people like you who are quite clearly intellectually challenged isn't necessary since the 14th amendment has already decided the issue. Which is why Indiana's effort is a wasted one and a waste of money...and will be overturned just like this has in every other state.

  5. Rick, how does granting theright to marry to people choosing to marry same-sex partners harm the lives of those who choose not to? I cannot for the life of me see any harm to people who choose not to marry someone of the same sex. We understand your choice to take the parts of the bible literally in your life. That is fine but why force your religious beliefs on others? I'm hoping the judges do the right thing and declare the ban unconstitutional so all citizens of Wisconsin and Indiana have the same marriage rights and that those who chose someone of the same sex do not have less rights than others.

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