Editor's Note: On Jan. 7, 2021, Advanced DRI announced its merger with A. Molly Company. This Q&A with Advanced DRI's CEO, Greg Boatwright, gives a more personal view of mergers in the restoration industry today.

When did discussions on a possible merger begin, and how long did it take for it all to become a reality?
Casual discussions started in late spring 2020. The pandemic made visits difficult, but we were able to complete deal in about four to five months. 

What do you believe are the top three benefits to this merger?
There are many, but we expect numerous benefits for customers, employees, and the company:

  • The customers now have a full-service provider that has the size, scale, equipment, and expertise to handle all types and sizes of jobs. With our multiple locations, customers will experience short response times and will also will have the added convenience of partnering with one provider for mitigation, remediation, and reconstruction.
  • We believe in fully supporting our employees because they are essential to growing our company. With a focus on training, we like to say “build our employees and they will build the company.” Our new company will have the culture, benefits, training, and opportunities that will position us as a preferred employer.
  • The company will benefit from this merger because we will have the opportunity to share and implement best practices regarding our service offerings, marketing, and operations. This will allow for profitable growth.

Were there any unexpected hurdles along the way that other restoration companies considering similar moves should know?
I wouldn't say unexpected. A key task is ensuring financial statements are accurate and complete according to GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles). If a company is thinking of selling, the company should have a good accounting team to support the process.

Have the companies rebranded as a result of the merger? If so, can you share a little bit about that process and how you were able to combine visions and values of both companies?
The two businesses now operate under a parent company, Advanced Disaster Recovery, Inc., and will continue that way for the foreseeable future. We believe there is deep value in our brands in our service areas. We work with a full-service firm to help with branding decisions. The two companies were a fit because they operated with similar values. The cultures focus on the doing the right things for our customers and our employees, starting with a commitment to service excellence. We have fun at work, care deeply about our clients, and celebrate our successes.

Why do you believe mergers and acquisitions are so prevalent in the property damage restoration space today?
In today’s economy, it is more challenging for small companies to survive and thrive. Growing a company requires absorbing the costs to operate, and additional costs to market and grow the business. The operational requirements in different channels require resources. By combining good companies, we’ve put those resources in place.

What advice would you give independent restoration companies, like yourselves, looking to grow and thrive in a marketplace where a lot of big players are buying up competition?
If you have an exit plan of selling your business, get a professional team in place to help get things in order. That would be an accountant, lawyer, etc. Companies want to buy good companies. If you want to remain an owner, focus on training your team, maintaining your integrity and doing the right thing for everyone you work with. Your customers, employees and community will support that kind of company.

About Greg Boatwright

Greg Boatwright, Chief Executive Officer, started working with the owners of Hudson Valley DKI, the predecessor of Advanced DRI, in 2018 to improve processes and grow the business. Greg’s career has been largely in operations; he specializes in process improvement and best-practice implementation. Earlier, Greg was COO at Anomatic (2013-2016), VP of North America Manufacturing at Euramax International (2011-2013) and VP of Operations for Euramax Exterior Products (2007-2011).

From 2000 to 2007, Greg was rapidly promoted through a series of positions with increasing responsibilities at Alcoa Home Exteriors, becoming Vice President, Operations in 2005. Prior to Alcoa, Greg was plant manager for Owens Corning and Business Unit Manager at Reynolds Metal Company. While at Reynolds, Greg developed a process for making polymer-coated magnet wire in one manufacturing step. The technology is protected by U.S. Patent 5,151,147.

Greg earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.