Patagonia Family Business

Patagonia Family Business cover


August 16, 2016
Business | Workplace Culture | Child Care | Parenting
ISBN 978-1-938340-53-6
Cloth cover, 400 pages
10 x 8½  in.
$45.00 US | $58.50 CAN



Patagonia (Ventura, CA)

Publisher of Family Business: Innovative On-Site Child Care Since 1983, written by Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway


Elena Meredith | 512-481-7096 | | @elenameredith



  • In 1983, Patagonia became a leader in support of working parents by founding one of the nation’s first corporate-sponsored on-site child care programs, the Great Pacific Child Development Center
  • Patagonia has recouped 91% of GPCDC costs through taxes, employee retention, and employee engagement
  • Other benefits from the GPCDC include more women in management, greater employee loyalty, and stronger workplace culture of trust
  • Children in the GPCDC spend more than half their time out-of-doors with an emphasis on unstructured play and outdoor learning
  • Patagonia supports families by addressing issues important to working parents like on-site nursing and involving dads from the beginning
  • In April 2015, President Barack Obama named Patagonia a “Champion of Change” for their family workplace policies
  • Family Business provides insight for both child development leaders and business leaders


In 1983, Patagonia made a historic move in support of working parents, becoming one of America’s first companies to launch a corporate-sponsored on-site child care center. Over the past three decades, the Great Pacific Child Development Center, located at Patagonia’s headquarters in Ventura, California, has become an integral part of the company’s culture and business. Patagonia has compiled a visual guide illustrating why their on-site child care center is essential to working families in a new book, Family Business: Innovative On-Site Child Care Since 1983.

Family Business features perspectives from key players in Patagonia’s working parent initiatives, including GPCDC co-founders Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway, along with hundreds of full-color photographs that give readers an insider’s look at the child development practices that anchor the on-site center. The book is the visual story of how one corporation provides the support working families need to preserve American ingenuity that begins in early childhood.


  • Why/how a clothing company opened one of the nation’s first corporate-sponsored on-site child care programs
  • Why businesses should care about families
  • The costs and benefits of supporting working parents
  • Lessons learned in 33 years of corporate-sponsored on-site child care
  • Involving dads: The value of paternity leave
  • How corporate-sponsored child care programs create a culture of trust
  • The importance of unstructured play, and other core principles of GPCDC


Dean Carter is Patagonia’s Vice President of Human Resources and provides strategic leadership and direction of Patagonia’s global human resources, finance and legal teams. Since May of 2015, he has been charged with developing initiatives to support Patagonia’s nearly 2,000 employees worldwide in carrying out the company’s mission. Carter is an avid hiker, snowboarder and swimmer. He has a BS in speech/organizational communication from the University of Texas at Austin and is a Workforce Science Fellow of Northwest University School of Law in Chicago. In 2013, Carter was awarded the Top 10 Breakaway HR Leaders by the Global HR Summit.

Rick Ridgeway is Patagonia’s Vice President of Public Engagement and represents and promotes the company’s core values with external stakeholders. He is one of Patagonia’s key spokespersons in all its global markets. During his 12-year tenure at the company, he has developed environmental and sustainability initiatives, including the Footprint Chronicles and Worn Wear. Rick is recognized as one of the world’s foremost mountaineers. With three companions, he was the first American to summit K2, considered the hardest of the world’s high-altitude mountain to climb. National Geographic honored him with its “Lifetime Achievement in Adventure” award. Rick lives with his wife Jennifer in Ojai, California, they have been married for 33 years, and they have three grown children.

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