business & professional
Fathers any Sort
As Father's Day approaches, we look at how father-son relationships
are strengthening three local firms.
Matt and Gary Ran of Telemus Capital Partners
hen Gary Ran and his son Matt
say they work together, they
really mean it.
Not only do they work for the same com-
pany, they share the same office.
Gary is chairman of Telemus Capital
Partners, the company he founded in 2005.
Matt, 27, has been working for his father
since 2008. Gary and his wife, Rhonda,
and Matt and his longtime girlfriend, Jodie
Schram, live in Bloomfield Hills and belong
to Temple Israel. Both are active in the Jewish
Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Matt is
an executive board member of NEXTGen
Detroit, the Federation's young adult division.
Gary came up with a shared-workspace
idea six months ago, removing the couches
from his office on the eighth floor of Two
Towne Square in Southfield and bringing in
Matt's desk, which now faces his own.
"I think we're both finding it works well:'
he says. "Just before Matt moved in here, I
was having him do more things for me, so
I was constantly getting up to go see him.
Now we talk constantly, and I get to hear him
work and provide guidanc'
Matt agrees. "It's great. It's probably
strengthened our relationship:' he says. "This
is better than getting 35 phone calls from
him in 12 minutes. I'm learning a lot, and
when I don't want to hear him, I just throw
some headphones on."
Telemus has 35 employees in two loca-
tions. Its mission is to help people manage
their money and make smart decisions. The
company advises on more than $2 billion for
wealthy families in Metro Detroit.
Although his younger brothers Michael
and Jeffrey decided to pursue other interests,
financial planning caught Matt's attention
when he was in high school.
Alan and Danny Kaufman of the Kaufman Financial Group Jordan and Jerry Acker of Goodman Acker P.C.
"I took a finance class' he recalls. "One of
our first projects was to pick 10 stocks to see
how you did. Growing up with a dad and two
uncles in the business, I got interested in it
Matt attended the University of Southern
California in Los Angeles and returned to
Michigan in September 2008 to work with
his dad. He came on board as a trainee on
the investment side of the business.
"When I took him under my wing to start
working with me with my clients, that's when
I moved him in here," Gary says.
"I'm shorter with him than with other
employees only because he's my son," he
adds. "I have higher expectations of him, but
I don't treat him that much differently. I hold
him accountable, like I do with myself'
Working together means that sometimes
business creeps into other aspects of the
father-son relationship. The Rans are part-
ners in a golf league, "so it still comes up at
7:30 p.m. on the ninth hole' Matt says.
Gary adds that their shared-office arrange-
ment is not permanent
"It's temporary. Ifs a baby-bird-leaving-the-
nest kind of thing' Gary says. "At some point,
he'll have an office of his own again:'
And looking much further ahead, Gary
offers the following vision.
"Maybe someday he'll have a son sharing an
office with him' he says. "I'd love to see that:'
Together, From a Distance
Alan and Danny Kaufman are another
father-son team working in the family busi-
ness together, albeit from farther apart than
Alan, who lives in Bloomfield Hills with
wife, Sue Ellen, and attends Adat Shalom
Synagogue in Farmington Hills, is founder of
Farmington Hills-based Kaufman Financial
Group, which provides a multitude of servic-
es to insurance brokers, agents and carriers.
The company is parent to Burns &
an independently owned insurance whole-
sale broker, started by Alan's late father,
Herbert, in 1969.
Danny, 28, left Michigan for Chicago to
attend law school at Loyola University after
graduating from the University of Michigan
in 2007. After graduating, he worked for a
Chicago law firm before expressing interest in
joining the family business.
"I was very pleased," Alan says. "I hadn't
pressured him to join the business; I had
always encouraged him to do whatever he
wanted to do:'
Once Danny had been admitted to the
Michigan Bar, Alan started him out learn-
ing the family business in the firm's Chicago
offices, where he's worked his way up the lad-
der and now runs it
"He's doing an excellent job," says Alan,
who notes that the office has more than dou-
bled in size since Danny took the helm. "I'm
trying to get him involved in other aspects of
the business, such as the international aspect
of the company. He's done some work in
Danny says the experience he's gaining in
Chicago has been invaluable, but he plans to
return to Michigan to work in the corporate
offices within the next few years. "At first, I'd
thought I'd move home right away, but ifs
made more sense to work in the field, build-
ing experience and clients:' says Danny, who
makes several trips home each month for
business and personal reasons.
The Kaufmans make an effort to keep
their personal relationship and business rela-
tionships separate. Danny does not report
to his father. "He reports to a regional vice
president, who reports to an executive vice
president," Alan says.
Despite their distance, the pair still makes
time to talk with each other every day. "I love
working with my dad',' Danny says, "but it
can be complicated. We see things differently
sometimes, but do a great job of separating
business from our personal lives:'
A Pending Homecoming
Jerry Acker, co-founder of the Southfield-
based personal injury law firm Goodman
Acker P.C., is getting ready to welcome his
son, Jordan, 28, to the family business.
The University of Michigan gradu-
ate went to American University in
Washington, D.C., for his law degree. After
graduating in 2010, Jordan went to work
for the Obama administration, first in the
presidential personnel office and then as
an adviser of the Department of Homeland
"Working in Washington has been an
incredible experience, but I never planned
on it being permanent:' says Jordan, who will
be returning to Michigan in August with his
wife, Lauren, who will be teaching fourth
grade in Detroit Public Schools. "We always
had the feeling we would move at some
point. Michigan has always felt like home,
and we thought this was where we could
make the most impact:'
Jerry Acker and his wife, Caryn,
of Huntington Woods, members of
Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park, are
kvelling about Jordan's return.
"He's always had an offer to work here,"
Jerry says. "Jordan is the smartest kid I know.
He understands what we do here and is com-
mitted to the kind of social justice that we
care about. We're thrilled to get him here:'
Jordan is thrilled as well. "Ifs going to be
exciting working for my dad," Jordan says.
"I know that he's always worked hard for his
clients and has made a difference in the com-
munity. I'm excited that I will be involved
with that, too:'
Managing Editor Jackie Headapohl contributed
to this report.
June 13 • 2013