Growing Up In a Family Business

July 17, 2020 Emerald Staffing

Growing Up In a Family Business

Burton Family Photo July 2020 (Nick, John, Jr., Greta, John Sr.)

My world has been shaped by many aspects of our family business.  

Working in the business has been a rite-of-passage for all of my siblings. From the time I began to walk I remember visiting our office in Kruse Meadows. The aquarium and prospective additions to my pencil collection were the first things to capture my attention. As I grew, my focus shifted to the warm faces in our office who would greet me with smiles after school and be patient with me as I asked them countless questions about their lives.  

A handful of business lessons have served me well over the years. For example, there is no greater sign of respect than showing up early and prepared. On another occasion, I remember explaining the concept of “return-on-investment” to my friends while starting a lemonade stand. Both are honorable but fail to capture the true impact that Emerald has had on me as a person. 

These are the three lessons that have taught me the most: 

The first lesson Emerald imprinted on me is the notion that “People Come First,” as we refer to it within the family. I was taught in and out of the office to treat everyone with respect because you never know who will become a friend and supporter during the highs and lows of both business and life. It is hard not to be someone’s friend when you believe the best in them and want to see them succeed.  

The second lesson Emerald instilled in me is the importance of upholding tradition, while always being willing to adapt. As an intergenerationally-run company, our sense of tradition has preserved the morals we believe to be most important in life and work. It is thanks to my grandparents’ tenacity and perseverance that Emerald has been in business since 1978. They knew transparency and adaptability were the traits that would keep Emerald on track through countless obstacles; however, it was also their keen eye for innovation that has kept the business moving forward.  

The third and greatest lesson I have learned from Emerald is the importance of loving what you do. Every day I would see my grandfather and father put a smile on their face and be overjoyed to go to work. When I was younger, I thought they were doing it because they had to. The reality is, Emerald is my fourth sibling. In many ways, it was my father’s first baby before the rest of us came to be. He has nurtured it alongside his parents since his early days as the receptionist after school and later as a recruiter while he raised a family of his own. His genuine love for seeing the company evolve is evident.  

I feel immensely privileged to not only have grown up in an environment like Emerald, but also to be able to continue growing with it. 


By: Greta Burton, third-generation Emerald employee 



5285 Meadows Road, Suite 190

Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035

503.212.0000. mainline

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