Luconda Dager

women in manufacturing velvet ice cream
Luconda Dager is president of her family's 100-year-old ice cream business.

When Luconda Dager says she was "born into the family business," she means it. After she was born, the first stop on the way home from the hospital was her family's plant.

"Honestly, I can't remember a day not being around manufacturing," she said.

Today, Dager, 45, is president of Velvet Ice Cream, a fourth-generation business that's celebrating its centennial this year.

It took her a few years to warm to the idea of entering the family business. After graduating from business school, she spent four years as a buyer at a regional clothing chain.

But in 1994 she told her father she was ready to join him full-time.

"I dabbled in each department: production, accounting, sales. I even rode with the drivers on the delivery route," she said.

20 years later, Dager runs the daily operations of the Utica, Ohio-based firm. Her two sisters also work at the company, but Dager is the one pegged to take over the reins.

She's already grooming her 10-year-old daughter to join the business.

"History repeats itself. She already loves being at the plant and seeing what I do."

First published June 19, 2014: 11:08 AM ET

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