Six Duda generations mark 25th, 20th and 10th milestones of Viera


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Donna Duda, Duda Family Council member and manager of Corporate Communications for DUDA, left, and Valerie Duda-Miller, Duda Family Council Philanthropy Committee chairman, present a donation by the Duda family on July 15 to Keith Winsten, executive director of the Brevard Zoo and Chris DeLorey, director of education for the zoo.

Photo by Stephanie Byrd

Members of the Duda family that founded Viera brought a gift to celebrate the community’s 25th birthday: a check for $2,500 to the Brevard Zoo to pay for summer camp next year for children who could not otherwise attend. 

The July 15 donation to mark the Aug. 4 milestone was small in comparison to past gifts ― the Duda family donated the land for the zoo and continues to provide substantial support ― but it was packed with symbolism.

The money was raised during the annual reunion of all Duda family members in June via a raffle of a variety of items. Part of what is called the Philanthropy Project, the goal was to raise $2,500 to mark 25 years, and send 10 children to camp to mark the 10th anniversary of the Duda Family Council. The reunion was held at the zoo and the project picked to mark the zoo’s 20th anniversary.

“An underlining goal of these projects is to encourage the participation of the family’s youth, and expose them to philanthropy and the Duda family’s shared value of giving to others as a means of making an eternal difference, providing an opportunity for the family to practice its Christian values and grow together,” said Stacy Mello, the Duda Family Council chairman and senior director of planning for DUDA. 

“During the past 88 years, the generational evolution of the Duda family has seen the ownership of DUDA pass from the patriarch and founder, Andrew Duda, to a partnership between his three sons: John, Andrew and Ferdinand, then to a collaboration of cousins in the third generation and now the fourth and fifth generations,” Mello said.

As part of this ownership evolution, the Duda family established a Family Council in 2004 to address some of the governance issues that family businesses in their third and subsequent generations must begin to deal with. The Council’s mission is: One family, growing together, making an eternal difference. The Family Council is made up of elected family representatives and is responsible for developing processes and structure for the family and owners.

It was developed under the guidance of a consulting firm used by successful European family dynasties dating back hundreds of years, according to Viera Company CEO Tracy Duda Chapman. One of the Council’s goals is to recruit and groom new Dudas ― the sixth generation starting in 2008 ― to enter the business and eventually take on management roles.