A seasoned entrepreneur in the construction trade, Jerry Abendroth started his cutting-edge building envelope consultancy in Texas in 2008. Soon, dynamic growth and a desire to secure the future for his “family of employees” led him and his younger partners to consider their sale option.
At the time we believed, and I still believe this today, we were visionaries,” says Jerry Abendroth. With decades of specialist experience in construction and contracting – both as a senior level employee, and as an entrepreneurial business owner – he is well placed to judge. With two younger partners, Jerry founded specialist engineering firm, Building Exterior Solutions LLC (BES), in 2008. Originally based in Houston, Texas, BES focuses on construction consultancy for the “building envelope” – walls, floors, roofs, fenestrations, and doors.
“The building envelope consulting business in the United States had just mushroomed and we were on the cutting edge of that trend,” Jerry explains. “We were going to remain a smaller firm, but just three weeks after opening the business, a major hurricane hit Houston.” Demand for their niche expertise increased almost overnight: “We had to increase the size of our business greatly in the first six months just to cover the work that was coming from insurance related claims and better-than-expected organic growth of the business. There were many engineering firms, but very few of us that were pure building envelope people.”
BES continued to expand quickly, but Jerry freely admits this was client-led, rather than strategic: “About three years later we moved into the Dallas market, mostly because our clients drove the train. I wish I could say I was more of a visionary in expansion! But in the Texas market it really makes sense to have offices in Dallas, Austin-San Antonio and Houston, because that’s the tri- sector. One of the engineers who worked in the Houston office was asked if he would move to Austin-San Antonio. He agreed, and opened a small office there. Since 2016, that particular office has doubled in size.”
Looking beyond BES
Even during the company’s strong growth phase, Jerry was performing three to five year forward-planning and exploring his exit options. Ultimately, a number of factors were behind the decision to sell. Jerry was seeking an improved work/life balance, but his partners didn’t want to assume complete control and management of the business. As a strategic move, the partners brought in a new CEO as part of succession planning, but the new hire was suddenly taken ill. This unexpected development convinced the partners to accelerate the business sale process, and in 2014, BES engaged BCMS to help them explore the market of potential buyers.