SEA's Curt Cyliax interviews Kevin Momenee
Kevin Momenee, this is Curt Cyliax from SEA. Thanks for joining the call this morning.
Oh, you're welcome.
I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about the history of your business, Momenee & Associates.
Well, we're a site development civil engineering company. The company was formed in 1982 during the recession. We thought that most of the engineering companies we knew about were closing up, and we had tried to make provisions to protect ourselves in case that happened to us, so we had a couple of projects that we thought we could leave the prior company with to get Momenee & Associates started. And so we left, and it turned out we lost those projects because of the recession. So we were beating the bushes for six months. We didn't have any real projects. And then we met up with a client that we had previously who had a project that was in jeopardy. He asked if we could help him out, and we said sure. We didn't have anything to lose. So it turned out to be successful, and then he turned out to be our best salesman after that. So from that time on we had steady growth up until today.
An interesting start to business. So when or how did you know it was time to sell your business? What sort of led you to the decision to sell your business to another company and not to the employees?
Well, a number of things. One, I enjoy doing the engineering, and as time goes on I was doing more and more administrative things. And technology has been changing along the years, too. So when we started out I wrote all the software that we used to do our business, and now the software has progressed to the point where I feel that I'm further away from it and haven't been able to keep up with all the current technology. So I feel a little bit more out of it; maybe it's time for some of the younger people to take over and do things. And also from a family perspective, my last – youngest son was graduating from college, and that would free us up financially. My wife likes to travel, so we thought we would, you know, retire and do more of that kind of thing.
Good. Hopefully that's worked out well for you.
Yeah, since my son just graduated a couple weeks ago we're on a steady road to that goal.
Excellent. So you hired an investment bank. I know you hired SEA to sell your firm. If you can just describe the process you went through in selecting an investment banker and the other professionals around you? What was your vetting process like and what went into the decision making process?
Well, it's not something that immediately started out. I had a consultant that I was using to advise me on how to get more focused from a business perspective. And then during the discussion he realized that I was in a position to sell, or at least was interested in talking about doing it. So we had a mutual friend who had just sold his business and was kind of in the consulting business for advising other people about what's involved in selling your business. So we worked with him for a little bit, and he actually brought SEA into it for us, and that's how we got started.
And when you were going through the process, how did you manage running the business while going through the sales process? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience there and what that was like?
I really didn't have any idea what was involved in selling a business. There's a lot of paperwork and researching documents that was involved, but SEA made it very easy for us because you outlined exactly what we needed and kind of reduced the amount of time that we needed to focus, so it gave me more time to run the business. During the transition it was fairly smooth considering all the time we had to spend researching documents and compiling information.
That's great and nice to hear. Thank you. Were there any surprises throughout the selling process that you would forewarn entrepreneurs about or let them know to think about before getting started? Anything that really surprised you?
Well, it's a longer process than I thought, and there's a lot of paperwork involved in putting together information for the due diligence period for the buyer. And I guess unless you're selling the business to a family member, I would strongly recommend that you get professional help because it's a fairly complicated process.
That's most helpful. And when you selected the buyer – I know the company – Karins and Company bought your company. Why did you select them as the ultimate buyer for the company?
Well, one of my major goals was protecting the employees, and also to get the value out of the company. So I think we accomplished both goals by doing that. The company was aligned very closely with their philosophy and they were very accommodating in trying to maintain the employees that we had and provide the same benefits that they currently enjoyed, so that made it easy from that respect. And then I also feel that I got the value – a fair value out of the company from them, so those two goals were accomplished. Since the purchased the business we've been working together very smoothly and it's working out to both of our benefits.
So just for the record you still work with Momenee and Associates as a division owned by Karins and Company, correct?
Yes, we're operating almost as an independent business in Pennsylvania where their main operation is in Delaware. So I'm doing the same kind of things that I did before. Some of the administrative things have changed. I'm here during a transitional period for a couple of years, and then we'll see what happens after that.
That’s great. So in closing, what would be the number one piece of advice you would give another entrepreneur when they're thinking about selling their business? What one lesson did you learn that you would say, "Hey, watch out, or think about this"?
Not having gone through it before, it was a bit overwhelming. So I think professional help is very necessary. Otherwise you just flounder around. Professional help makes it very well-directed, focused. We knew what we had to do and we go there.
Excellent, now you're in your transition phase, and if that comes to an end it sounds like you've got plenty of plans to travel with your wife.
That's correct. And she's also involved in a lot of nonprofits, so between the two things and her "honey-do" lists I should be very busy.
All right, that's very good. Well, listen, Kevin Momenee from Momenee & Associates, we'd like to thank you this afternoon for taking part on this call. We think the information you provided will be helpful for other entrepreneurs who are considering the same course of action that you took. Thank you again.
All right, you're welcome.