Douglas Sibila stays steady at the wheel as Peoples Services pursues acquisitions

 

Smart growth

When looking at potential acquisitions, Sibila likes to see an engaged management team, one that isn’t hung up on hierarchy. He says it stems from a culture in which managers on his team, including himself, worked up through the ranks doing just about every job, from sweeping floors to driving trucks.

“If I have a manager that isn’t willing to pick up a broom and sweep the floor, then I probably don’t want him to be part of that team,” Sibila says. “And, for example, walking through the warehouse, if there’s a piece of broken pallet, do they stop and pick up that piece of pallet or do they expect someone else to pick it up?”

He says that behavior shows a willingness to do what it takes to be part of the team as opposed to telling someone else what to do.

In meetings with owners, Sibila is looking at how they interact with their employees, which can reveal more of the culture. Is it a team atmosphere or is it very hierarchal? Were people able to speak their mind?

“As we’ve learned from some past acquisitions, if there are issues with the culture, you can turn it around, but it may take longer than what you had anticipated,” Sibila says.

With nearly a decade of successful acquisitions behind him, Sibila has an aggressive revenue goal he expects Peoples to hit in 2020.

Going beyond that will require considerations for infrastructure and resources, the potential formation of an advisory board, and access to capital beyond traditional financing, possibly through private equity or other institutional investors short of going public.

Regardless of the approach, Sibila says the emphasis will be on smart growth, not just growth for growth’s sake.

TAKEAWAYS

» Relationships and reputation create opportunity.
» Culture is critical to value.
» A disciplined approach keeps companies ready to act.