Laird Coatings Founder Ed Laird Details Transition to New Family Leadership After 50 Years, in New Video by Family Enterprise USA


Taking Advantage of Expiring Estate Tax, Gifting Laws, Coatings Founder Laird Discusses Estate Planning with Family Enterprise USA’s President Pat Soldano


With advantageous estate tax and gifting laws running out in 2025, Laird Coatings founder Ed Lairds decided the time was right to hand over company reins to his children.

In a new video hosted by Family Enterprise USA’s Pat Soldano, Laird details how after 50 years in business in Huntington Beach, Calif., and as a leading aviation and plastics coatings supplier, he decided to shift leadership and management of several companies to his son and daughter.

Planning and preparing family businesses for the next generation of leadership is not without some deep consideration, Laird says, but the stark realities of not making the change were facing him head on.

“If we didn’t make the change now, my children would have to sell the company after my passing, just to pay the taxes,” Laird says. “It been a wonderful experience making this change, if fast, and my children are performing wonderfully.”

Laird agrees there are many critical decisions family businesses face when looking at the next generation of leaders, and the delicate issue of bringing family members into the business is not easy.

Laird Coatings is a $30 million business with 50 employees, many of which have worked for the company since the beginning.

“Many of the workers I brought in twenty years ago are still working for us, and now I see their sons are working for us, too” Laird says of his multi-generational workers. “It’s great to have this kind of loyalty and longevity in our workforce.”

Laird Coatings grew with the burgeoning southern California aerospace and aviation industries, but it also felt the pain of the state’s tough environment regulations. As a result, he says, a large percentage of chemical manufacturing has “moved to other states, or to Mexico.” Those onerous regulations have brought him into local Orange County politics.

“The environmental rules need to be modified and our local congresspeople can be very helpful in making that happen,” Laird says. He and Laird Coatings are now active not only in politics, but in local charities like the Boy Scouts and other local county non-profit organizations.

Family businesses like Laird Coatings have to grapple with leadership issues head on or face truly dire decisions, like selling the company just to pay government estate taxes,” said Soldano. “The best solution is to wisely begin estate planning now, train the next generation of leadership, and rest comfortably knowing you’ve planned safely for your business’s future.”

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That's why Family Enterprise USA is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill. The issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC include high income tax rates, possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax, enactment of a wealth tax, and the continued burden of the gift tax, estate tax and generation skipping tax.

Family Enterprise USA promotes generationally owned family business creation, growth, viability, and sustainability by advocating for family businesses and their lifetime of savings with Congress in Washington DC.  Since 2007, Family Enterprise USA has represented and celebrated all sizes, professions and industries of family-owned enterprises and multi-generational employers. It is a bi-partisan 501.c3 organization. Family foundations can donate.

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