ENVIRO AgScience, Inc.

succession planning

Leave an Inheritance to Your Children


I don’t know what’s harder: raising children or building a business. But after doing both for several decades, I can say that, without a doubt, it’s more important to raise children. Nothing gives you more pride than watching your children develop into thriving adults. It’s our charge from God, and it’s one that my wife and I took very seriously.

God also instructs a good man to leave an inheritance to his children, and what better inheritance than to leave them than the business I started 30 years ago. So, when it looked like my time to step aside, step down or just step away was approaching, I prayed long and hard about how to pass the torch. My three children had all become accomplished in their own respective career paths, so I first had to transition them into the business. Then, I had to figure out how to transition the business to them.

As always, God sent me clear guidance and direction from a number of advisers and consultants including the Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center.   My family and I began working with them about three years ago and learned right away that succession planning is not just about letting someone –even with your last name – step into your role. It’s about relinquishing the reins to the right person and making a smooth transition of power that doesn’t interrupt or disrupt the success you’ve created.  Sure, I’ve given my children many presents throughout their lives, but this was different. It wasn’t about wrapping up the business in a pretty package or putting a big C-suite key in a box. This was about preparing them, and myself, to pass down a legacy.

We all worked with the consultants to develop an action plan that would minimize the pitfalls that other businesses face when they fail to plan. We identified and talked about our strengths, challenges and vision for the future of the company. Coming in agreement, we found the right mix of skills, talent and aspirations to carry my vision forward and ensure success for those we work with and employ.

At the same time, I learned to step out of their way and not dictate to them how to lead. They each bring something unique to the business, and it’s my duty as the retiring CEO and their father, to help them develop their own leadership style. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

While new leadership brings change, I am proud that my children have kept and embraced the Biblical guiding principal that I used — Proverbs 16:3.   ENVIRO AgScience, Inc. continues to contribute time and resources to pay our civic rent in the communities where we do business.   I’m proud of the adults my children have become, and I’m growing increasingly proud of who they are becoming as the new leaders of ENVIRO. I thank God for providing me with capable, loving hands to pass the torch.

Dr. Lynn

Learn | Lead | Success

Don’t Ruin Thanksgiving Dinner

Adrienne Lynn Sienkowski

“Don’t ruin Thanksgiving dinner.” That’s the Lynn family mandate passed down from my grandmother.

This simple directive reminds us that working with and for family is not just business; it’s personal.  We’re family first, with other families depending on our business decisions every day. And that’s a responsibility we take seriously.

With that charge in mind, I didn’t step lightly into the family business. My 15 years in corporate America, working for major brands such as Sonoco and Campbell’s equipped me with transferrable skills and tools needed to run a business. Yet, my opportunities were limited.  Launching new products, rising through the ranks and working with some talented and amazing people was great, but my impact was limited. Ultimately, my tombstone would not read: “Adrienne was the best engineer we’ve ever had, thanks for this product launch!”  But the family business offered me leadership on a broader scope: touching more areas of strategy, contracts, IT, finance, etc. But most importantly, it offered endless opportunities to leave a legacy.

So, when relocating closer to home became an option, I not only moved geographically, I moved professionally. I carefully strategized with my family as making this transition would prove challenging for everyone involved. Succession planning for family business is critical, and there’s no road map on HOW to do it. It’s a deliberate, proactive and continuous process. We’ve worked hard on the succession plan going from a tricycle to a bike, and eventually to a car.

Along the way I’ve discovered that while corporate may shut down for the day, entrepreneurship remains open 24/7. I find myself thinking about ENVIRO almost all day every day. I’ve also learned that all of my corporate skills did not transfer directly to my new career with ENVIRO. The business models are different, and the people are different, so it wasn’t an apples-to-apples switch.  But, I’ve been able to use my experience to balance with the family business model.

I’ve also acknowledged that there’s only one Dr. Lynn, so I was not trying to replace him or fill his shoes. Krystal, Bryan and I have our unique personalities and talents that we bring to ENVIRO, and we’re building a team that believes in the company’s vision and future. Dr. Lynn provides us with his rich history, advice and knowledge, and we work together to continue growing the company. Like any business, ENVIRO has its ups, downs and challenges; but our goal is to build upon the amazing foundation my father has established.

Working with family in this capacity is truly a blessing.