Meet Alumni Who Carried Family Business Traditions Into a New Generation

  • Jean Ann Harcourt smiles with her family members inside her company's warehouse
    Jean Ann Harcourt (second from right) took the reins of her parents' school supply company and broadened its mission for the 21st century. (Photo by Domenic Centofanti)


Logo that reads All in the Family: A 3-part series

The example set by the Ball brothers is the oldest tradition going at Ball State. The five brothers, who made their fortune in glass, dedicated their lives to their business, their families and their community. But what does it take for families in the 21st century to stay in business while maintaining generational ties? How is it harder in today’s marketplace compared to when they started out? The alumni behind three such businesses talked to Ball State Magazine, sharing the reasons they wouldn’t work any other way.


A photo of Jean Ann Harcourt with her brother Joe Harcourt
Jean Ann Harcourt Took Reins of Parents’ Pencil Company, Sharpened its Mission

The Ball State alumna and trustee has expanded Milroy, Indiana-based Harcourt Industries far beyond its school supply origins.

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A photo of Ball State alumni Sonya Hill-Outlaw and Bruce Outlaw.
At Elkhart Insurance Agency, a Policy of Faith Guides Husband and Wife

Alumni Bruce Outlaw and Sonya Hill-Outlaw, parents of two and grandparents of five, work in the same building where her father once hung a shingle.

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Wasson Nursery founder and CEO Dan Wasson Sr. (center) is photographed with sons Bob and Danny.
A Father Builds a Nursery Business; 2 Sons Help Him Spread Its Roots

Ball State grads Bob and Danny Wasson help their father, Bob Sr., plan the second expansion of the 40-year-old nursery and landscaping business in a decade.

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