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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. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

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  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

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