Her two daughters are in their late teens, and one joined
her during the 2017 PEI Women Spring Conference.
It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, however, if the third
generation of Bravo passed on the opportunity. The PwC survey shows that fewer family ;rms plan to pass the business on
to the next generation. Of the 17 percent of ;rms that foresee
an ownership change in the next ;ve years, 52 percent of
them plan to keep the business in the family. Two years ago,
that number was 74 percent.
“We don’t talk much about them getting involved in the
business just yet, although in my heart, I truly hope they will
do so one day,” Paola Bravo said. “But one never knows.”
Emil and Mark Pawuk
Mark Pawuk, 60, is the second-generation leader and
president of his family businesses, Empaco Equipment Corp.
and Emil Pawuk and Associates Inc. His father started
Rich;eld, Ohio-based Emil Pawuk and Associates Inc. more
than 50 years ago. The company is a PEI af;liate member.
“People still come up to me at the trade shows and talk
about him being a man of character,” Pawuk said.
The elder Pawuk died from complications related to Lou
“He was a great guy, a really great guy,” Pawuk said.
The elder Pawuk also predicted his son’s future.
“When I was a baby, my mom and dad said I’d take the
registers off at home. Then I was building go-carts — I started
racing go-carts,” Pawuk said. “My dad said I was going to be a
race car driver or a mechanic. My mom said no, a pianist.”
The Pawuks’ only child became a professional stock car
driver. He’s a six-time national winner. But he also worked on
and off for his dad.
“I always wanted to work with my dad. We always got
along so well,” Pawuk said.
“I started working for him back in the 70s when I was in
Pawuk started by ;lling orders. During college, his duties
advanced to sales and afternoon service calls. And in 1978,
father and son began working together full time. The next
year, the younger Pawuk started Empaco, a PEI Service &
“I really didn’t like sales that much, then the oil embargo
happened,” he said. “I taught myself how to run an excava-
tor. That was the start of our construction business. I taught
myself how to pull out tanks and recertify them. I was just
fascinated by the whole business.”
Between the two companies, Pawuk employs some
70 people, including two who have been there since he
came aboard. The companies operate in Ohio, Western
Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan and lower New York.
“I really love the business,” he said. “I don’t know if
I’ll ever retire, just like my dad. It’s an honor for me to be
in business this long, and I have a good group of people
Pawuk has a son and a daughter, both of whom are col-
“My son’s been working here in the summers,” Pawuk
said. “I’d like them both to get experience outside the business
;rst. I told them ;ve years.”
That’s becoming a global trend in family businesses.
In another PwC survey of 250 next-generation leaders
worldwide, 70 percent worked outside the family ;rm
Pawuk said he’s seen other businesses run into the ground
because the next-generation leaders didn’t have experiences
and mentors outside of their families.
“They need to get out into the real world and see what it’s
like before they try to step into somebody’s shoes,” he said.
It’s not how Mark Pawuk came to the family business, he
said, but then again, he learned from the best.
Kristen Wright is managing editor of the PEI
Journal. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.