As part of DWT's latest Legacy Series event, partner Joe Weinstein recently sat down with Todd Butson and Toby Murray of Murray Pacific, a Tacoma-based family business that was founded in 1911 and has managed thousands of acres of timberland during its time in the industry.


As family businesses evolve over time, many of them face the decision of selling their core operating business. Often, the proceeds of sale are distributed with each segment of the family then pursuing their own independent direction.

There is, however, an increasing phenomenon of family offices, which remain together as an ongoing investment business focused on investing the combined family resources, whether in public securities, real estate, operating businesses or other diversified investments.

The evolution of Murray Pacific is the story of one family that has made this transition from family business to family office. Todd, who is currently CEO, and his cousin Toby, the immediate prior CEO, share their story and experiences of the evolution from forest products to family office.

The topics covered in this Legacy Series with Todd and Toby included:

  • What drove the initial strategic decisions to exit the core family business;
  • The factors involved in deciding to create a family office (vs split the funds into totally independent groups);
  • The investment strategy and how that strategy continues to evolve; and
  • Maintaining involvement of the family in this journey.