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The Family Biz Show

Oct 6, 2023

Ep 91- The Power of Vulnerability & Authenticity in Family Business Leadership 

Ben Brandstetter from Brandstetter Carroll joins us on this episode of The Family Biz Show to  share his personal journey and how he joined the family business after obtaining his professional engineering license, the importance of succession planning and exit strategies for business owners, the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the significance of vulnerability and authenticity in leadership. We also enjoyed dispelling misconceptions about family-owned businesses and the importance of celebrating successes and fostering collaboration within one’s family business.



Ben Brandstetter* 

Mr. Brandstetter is a Professional Engineer with over 20 years of experience in the industry He currently serves as the President of Brandstetter Carroll Inc. (BCI) BCI is a regional Architecture, Engineering, and Planning firm based in Lexington, KY with additional offices in Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH, Dallas, TX, and Norman, OK The firm was founded in 1979 by Larry Brandstetter and Mike Carroll In 1982 Larry’s brother Bruce joined the firm and opened their Cincinnati office to focus on Engineering services Since the founding, the firm has had a focus on serving units of local government such as Townships, Villages, and Cities Over time, the firm has grown to also serve State, Federal, and private clients.   

Currently the firm has approximately 80 employees and has enjoyed consistent growth over the history of the firm.  Gross revenue for 2023 is projected to be greater than $20M which constituted a doubling of revenue from five years ago.   

Since its inception, the firm has had “family” and “non-family” members in leadership and ownership roles This has continued as the firm has transitioned from the “first generation” of Larry, Mike, and Bruce to the “second generation” that Ben is currently leading Ben and his partners completed their ownership transition on March 1, 2020 and are currently in the process of bringing on another partner this year.  

The firm’s Mission is to “Enhance Community and Quality of Life” and this is implemented on every project that the firm works on In some way the work of BCI impacts people on a very local level.   

Because of that Mission and the underlying values of the family, Ben has been engaged in a number of different community efforts where he lives in Kentucky.  He has served on the Boone County Planning Commission for six years He was appointed by the Governor to the Council on Postsecondary Education which oversees all public Higher Education Institutions across the State While on the Council he served as Chair of the Finance Committee, Vice Chair, and ended his term of Chair.  He currently serves on the Executive Committee of BE NKY which is the Economic Development organization for Northern Kentucky.  In addition, he also serves on the Northern Kentucky Port Authority.   

Ben lives in Hebron, KY with his wife Karen whom he met while at Georgia Tech where they both studied Engineering He studied Civil Engineer while she earned a degree in Industrial Engineering They have two sons Adam is a Senior and Tyler is a Sophomore in High School Both boys play golf, basketball, and baseball for their school.   

In his spare time Ben has built a real estate portfolio consisting of office, restaurant, and industrial properties as well as urban surface parking.  Some of which have a family business component. 


If you’re a family business or a family business consultant and want to be on the show, share your story and help other family businesses, send us an email to or visit us at The Family Biz Show | Family Business Podcast With Michael Palumbos ( to fill out our web form! 


*not affiliated with Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. 

Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.