Family Business CEOs to Watch 2022

Family Business Magazine
Keith Hoogland
Third generation CEO
Highland Ventures Ltd., Nashville, Tenn.

Keith Hoogland graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1982 with a B.A. in economics and immediately joined his family business. At the time, the business was a small video rental store called Family Video Movie Club. Hoogland took over as CEO in 1995 from his father, Charlie Hoogland.

Family Video, founded in 1978, grew out of the family’s original business, Midstates Appliances & Supply Company, established in 1946 by Keith Hoogland’s grandfather, Clarence Hoogland.

After becoming president & CEO, Keith Hoogland grew Family Video from 40 to 800+ locations across the continental United States.

Hoogland and Family Video strategically purchased all Family Video retail real estate, located in 22 states. With a real estate portfolio currently valued at over $800 million, Hoogland has expanded the business, now called Highland Ventures, into a full-service real estate conglomerate. The real estate arm, Legacy Commercial Properties, selects and develops prime retail sites for national corporate tenants.

In 2013, Hoogland formed a partnership with Marco’s Pizza, becoming its largest franchisee with well over 100 locations. He has founded, managed and sold other retail businesses centered on real estate under the Highland Ventures umbrella.

Hoogland’s oldest sons, McLain and Ben, have joined the family business. Ben is director of operations, and McLain is president of Hoogland Foods, the largest subsidiary of Highland Ventures.

“Our dad is an incredible leader,” says Ben Hoogland, speaking for himself and his brother McLain. “His leadership qualities have allowed him to take a small video store, build it into a massive video rental chain and then successfully transition into a real estate conglomerate with multiple operating subsidiaries. He is fantastic at change management.

“During all of this change, he managed to bring his employees along by utilizing what he knew they were good at and repurposing them to be successful in the new businesses. He took good salespeople and turned them into great leasing agents. He took hands-on leaders and put them in construction. He was able to do this because he trusts his people and he’s a creative problem solver.

“Our dad’s success is in large part due to the support he gets from his people. It’s not a coincidence that a large portion of Highland Ventures’ people have been with the company for over 20 years. He has cared about his team as people, not as employees. He leads with a very flexible organizational structure, empowering his employees to think for themselves, and through this he gives them a ton of opportunity.

“He lives by his values of hard work, ‘family first’ and creative problem solving, amongst many other things. He has always led by example in terms of putting in the effort that’s needed to run a business and never expects his people to work harder than him. Our dad was a father first, businessman second. He expects his employees to live by the same principles.

“Lastly, he believes any problem can be solved, and his constant energy to work hard to solve each problem in a creative way is inspiring. He pushes his people to continue to think outside of the box in any situation.

“Hard work, flexibility, creative problem solving and trusting his people are all the qualities that make our dad a successful leader, businessman and family man. He has built a culture of trust, flexibility and constant innovation. With him at the helm, Highland Ventures will have many successful years ahead of us.”

“I inherited my passion for our family’s business from my grandfather, ‘Pop,’ and my dad, Charlie,” Keith Hoogland says. “Both of these men were the entrepreneurs who got our business off the ground and engrained a down-to-earth culture, creative mindset and strong work ethic that still exist throughout Highland Ventures’ culture. These ideals are what I have tried to pass on to my children and to the next generation of Highland leaders.

“I believe that you have to work hard and achieve professional results outside of the company before being invited into the company. This idea, along with the idea that you must be in the company to retain ownership, allows generations to not feel a sense of entitlement with our family business. It also allows us to consolidate ownership back to the smallest group possible. This is how we’ve retained and cultivated that work ethic and passion for our business that was so important to Pop and my dad.”
November 1, 2022