We are rounding out our first month as a member of ATS Integrated Solutions. We thought it would be the perfect time to tell you bit about ATS and how we made the decision to join their family of brands.
At ECT, we started talking to ATS back in 2020 when we started to consider a change in ownership. Once the pandemic hit, those conversations slowed a bit and by chance we came back in touch a few years later, when the time was right.
Jeff Murphy, CEO of ECT, says there are several reasons why being acquired can make sense to a smaller business. For ECT, these included the following:
- Resources: People, support, tools, money
- Standardization: Automation, Estimating software, Web based portals, Established methods
- Opportunities: Immediate expansion of existing business to other offices across the country, new areas of potential for team members
- Bigger Ideas: Instead of thinking in terms of a $1M project, we can now think in terms of a $20M project. This changes how we go to market.
Once the deal was on its way to closure, transparent communication with the ECT team was prioritized. Says Jeff,
We had an unusual deal in terms of timing. We signed the deal in June with a projected close date in September. This required a great deal of trust by both parties. Because our cultures are so similar, we felt this type of transition would best fit everyone. We felt the need to let the team know immediately, upon signing the deal, rather than waiting until the deal closed. This was risky, because people could get nervous. However, I would rather have our team take the ride with us, than surprise them with a paystub from a new company in September. We all value our team members and know they are the life blood of what makes us successful. By doing the deal in this manner, it allowed our two teams to get to know one another along the way and deal with concerns and issues openly and quickly, before we dropped the final flag. The team reacted well to this. While there are always concerns with change. The feedback has been excellent! Everyone appreciated understanding what was happening up front and I could sleep very well at night knowing we had done the right thing by trusting our team to know the information and process it appropriately. We essentially had no turnover due to the deal.
Brad Allen, CEO of ATS, says he knew ECT was a good fit for their group of companies because of their shared history, to start. There was a lot of commonality among people between the two companies and having that shared history was a huge factor in deciding to pursue this opportunity, according to Brad. He also indicated that ECT is a great geographical fit that allows ATS to serve customers. This, coupled with common product lines and processes, made for acquisition to be the right decision.
Brad says, so far, the one thing that has been a pleasant surprise is what a great group of people comes with ECT. “Every company is different and has its strengths and weaknesses, but I haven’t worked on a deal similar to this that had such a strong team of leaders that are staying on long term. And beyond that, I’ve just had a lot of really positive interactions with people throughout the organization.”
Overall, it sounds like both leaders feel that the companies coming together come from a place of doing the right thing. Though there were some negotiations to get through, as expected with any business deal, the requests were mostly reasonable and that made for a quality negotiation overall.
Jeff plans to stay on with us to provide a smooth transition to the newly selected leader and then he’s set to ride off into the sunset… errr… retire. Retirement includes working with his wife on some key ministry areas focused on marriage and finance and they look forward to traveling, enjoying grandchildren, and living life.
As for Brad, his take on the process is as follows:
“Being one month post close, everything has gone according to plan, and rarely does that happen. I’ve been so impressed how the Louisville team and ATS support team have come together and quickly solved issues as they arise. It really has been impressive, and just re-enforces what a great fit this is. I’m personally looking forward to everything the Louisville team can accomplish with the backing of the larger ATS team.”
We are glad to welcome the ATS team to the ECT team, and plan to make the transition going forward seamless and a positive experience for all team members.