The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 1, 2013

Lawsuit over control of family-owned MICO ends with $21.8 M award



Transition of power

Brent and Dan followed different career paths on their journey to ultimately owning the family company.

Brent, the older of the two, started working for MICO in 1976. Along the way he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and later a law degree.

Dan’s route to company executive was more circuitous. He earned a college degree in psychology and religion history and planned on going to graduate school. But at the urging of his dad, Dan decided to join the company full time and in 1982 began working in MICO’s marketing department.

In 2002, while Gordon McGrath and his wife, Phyllis, were still alive, Brent McGrath, now 60, was elected president by the company’s closely held board of directors. Dan, now 53, was elected executive vice president.

It was clear Gordon McGrath, also known as Mac, wanted Brent and Dan to run the company together, according to the findings of Nicollet County District Judge Todd Westphal, who presided over the 2010 MICO trial.

“Mac and Dan had a number of discussions which conveyed the understanding that if Dan remained at MICO and dedicated himself to the job that he would have a position with MICO with growing responsibilities and duties including being part of top management,” Westphal wrote.

North Mankato-based MICO is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of hydraulic components and brake systems for heavy-duty vehicles such as large farm tractors and construction equipment. MICO was once called Mankato Industrial Co. and made machine parts during World War II.

Its headquarters is a one-story stone building on the North Mankato hill above the Minnesota River valley. The building, on Lee Boulevard, is not far from the printing empire of Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and the home of Angie’s Kettle Corn. MICO employs about 280 people.

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