In this episode we speak with President Pete Douglas and Executive VP Finance and Administration, David Brockbader of the The Douglas Company about their recent transition to employee ownership via an ESOP. The interview also includes Franco Silva, Director, Prairie Capital Advisors who was one of the main advisors for the transaction. In this episode we dig into the importance of preparing for a transition, lessons learned, and the often overlooked emotional side of selling a company.
Mr. Douglas has accumulated over forty years of experience in the construction industry. He is extensively involved in all aspects of The Douglas Company, including project design, estimating, and project management. Mr. Douglas was successfully in charge of the company’s Florida Division office for five years and responsible for all projects completed at that location from 1985 to 1990. He then returned to the Toledo Office and became President. During Mr. Douglas’ sole ownership beginning in 2000, the company has grown 234%, and in 2007, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 was included in Inc. Magazine’s list of fastest-growing companies, also being named in the top 100 of the fastest-growing construction firms.
Mr. Bockbrader’s career in accounting/finance spans over thirty-five years, including twenty-seven years with The Douglas Company. Prior to joining The Douglas Company in 1993, Mr. Bockbrader was a senior audit manager for EY. As Executive Vice President of Administration and Fiance, Mr. Bockbrader supervises all financial, legal, human resources, and technology departments of the company. This includes preparation of all financial reports, review of contracts and other legal documentation, talent acquisition, and development and technology activities.
Franco Silva joined Prairie Capital Advisors in 2007. He specializes in advising middle-market companies on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) advisory, fairness opinions and other investment banking advisory services. Franco serves as an advisor to a diverse range of middle-market companies nationwide delivering highly strategic consultation and financial advisory services. He also completes numerous transactions each year, delivering the best possible outcome for his clients. Franco also leads professional roundtables and educational seminars for Prairie’s ESOP partners and for business owners contemplating an ownership transition event.
This episode of the Owners At Work podcast is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. Fifth Third Bank, headquartered in Ohio, provides a full range of business banking services, as well as expertise and flexibility in constructing ESOP solutions, including Leveraged and Non-leveraged ESOPs, Second stage transactions, Seller note refinancing, and more.
The Owners at Work Podcast is a continuation of the biannual Owners at Work Newsletter which ran for 19 years (1990-2019). We are hoping to continue the same conversations and focus on providing updates on everything employee ownership. We plan to interview practitioners with expertise in different facets of employee ownership, academics doing new and interesting research, and most importantly, individuals who have a personal experience with employee ownership, including current and former employee-owners, mid-level to C suite management, and selling owners.
We want to produce a show that engages with relevant questions and provides practical lessons and information. We want this podcast to include the voices of those who practice employee-ownership each and every day. To that end we want to hear from you! We want to highlight what you are doing, whether you are an employee-owned company, a practitioner, or researcher.
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