Geoff Kuzio, now CEO and owner of Universal Transportation Systems (UTS), had spent his younger career years in large corporate settings. He worked as an executive level at both PepsiCo and Campbell Soup Company. But with Dino Lucarelli’s help, he is now headed on a new path of entrepreneurship.
“It was on my 40th birthday that I decided to make a change and act on a lifelong desire to own and run my own company,” say Geoff, reflecting on his leap from the corporate ladder.
Dino was referred to Geoff by a friend who had also bought a company with Dino’s support. They sat down together. They had a good rapport. Then, they decided to work together for the next 18 months, when they closed the sale as a team.
Dino’s Two-Part Role: First, Opportunities
What Made UTS the Perfect Fit?
“A good fit is also about finding the right partners. I wanted to make sure that the people who previously owned the business would continue working with us. Any business you buy, it’s important to make sure that it’s a good personality fit with the current management and staff. One thing you can’t do, is walk in and say, ‘Ok, now it’s going to be my way.’ That can be absolute disaster.``
Carolyn Burer, the former owner, has maintained her role as president while Geoff takes over. “We share an office so that I can literally sit next to her and learn from her on a daily basis. She’s in contract for at least a year so she can continue to run operations while I get a firm understanding on where we can go strategically in the future.”
Dino’s Two-Part Role: The Process & The Numbers
“Dino really delivered on understanding the financials behind the business. That’s key because at the end of the day, getting a deal done can become a numbers game. You’re never going to get the support of the bank without being able to dig deep for a solid understanding of the financials.”
“A lot of mid sized companies don’t keep the books in a way that you would at a fortune 200 or fortune 500 company--that’s just the reality. He dug in to provide the thought leadership––and man power to collect all the data and analyze it properly.`` With Dino’s help, Geoff (and his bank) felt as confident as possible about the true value of UTS.
Transitioning the Operations
Geoff is still transitioning, but with so much choiceful thinking and strategic planning upfront, the business procurement is going as well as possible. “At this point, I’m really getting into understanding this business. There’s still a lot to learn, including fact finding, creating processes that will help us run smoothly and making some tweaks as we go along.” But thanks to Dino and his team, Geoff–and all of Universal Transportation Systems–is geared up for success.