“Some of them feel bad that it’s a big machine and it’s a lot larger than it used to be,” he says. “It’s not the family business that it was.”
LeMaire says he explained the positives of the deal as a way of dissipating any worries and erasing some of the doubts.
“Once we went through that and explained to them it’s a much stronger company, has much longer longevity and if Brian falls over from a heart attack, the company will roll on they felt better about it,” he says.
He also focused on the growth potential that came along with the acquisition.
“We talked about us wanting to acquire different technologies and growing the company and them all being able to move up in their positions,” he says. “They can become anything in the company they’d like, as long as they are qualified. We wanted them to be better trained and more professional than our competitors, and we are willing to do that with them. Before, they all had jobs, but now they can have careers. We are looking for people to grow with us.”
LeMaire also had to handle the changes in how CuraFlo’s culture would mesh with Cohesant’s culture. LeMaire and another member of the CuraFlo team were the only two moving from Vancouver to Cleveland before the company moved to Beachwood in February.
While most of CuraFlo’s workers will stay in Vancouver, there were some procedural changes. LeMaire said it was just a matter of explaining the changes to the workers, such as “the way they would report their time or how future pay raises would come and the evaluations they would go through,” he says. “Things like that, that would affect them on a daily basis.”
LeMaire said the biggest changes affected the managers and, especially, himself.
“We spoke to them about what a public company is and what does that mean,” he says. “What is a public company option and are they available? Can they buy shares?
“We brought them up to speed on how a public company works and the ability to go online and watch the value of the stock every day. Most of these guys didn’t know the difference between a public and private company.”
Self-preparation was also key in LeMaire adjusting to the corporate lifestyle.
“For me, as a private business operator and entrepreneur, to go into a public company was a pretty significant change,” he says. “The reporting requirements and board meetings. It was a significant change. Before I accepted the position to move to Cleveland, I discussed it with everyone I knew. I certainly felt I needed to go as a major shareholder in the company. I accepted that I had to conform to the public executive lifestyle. It’s still difficult at times, but you do what you got to do.”
HOW TO REACH: CuraFlo, (800) 714-9259, (216) 416-7000 or www.curaflo.com