Acquisition Success Story | Slater Hanifan Group
Throughout the years, Westwood has completed multiple acquisitions. All have been in collaboration with the firms’ owners focused on delivering positive outcomes for employees, clients, and our combined businesses.
About Slater Hanifan Group
Slater Hanifan Group (SHG) was founded in 2003 by Ken Hanifan, Jerry Slater, Todd Steadham, and Mark Failla, using a few credit cards and secondhand furniture. In a short time, the organization became one of the most respected and recognized engineering firms in the Las Vegas area and in 2016 earned the title of largest privately-owned engineering firm in Las Vegas.
SHG didn’t want to stop there. The owners had a vision for growing the firm’s client base, office locations, revenue, and team, and it wasn’t long before an opportunity presented itself.
Members of the leadership team at SHG had been passively exploring merger and acquisition possibilities for about two years. While attending an annual AEC industry awards event in 2017, the group began conversing with Westwood. After a few conversations between leaders at SHG and Westwood, the idea of joining forces gained traction.
Not only did the acquisition present an opportunity to further diversify and accelerate SHG’s vision, it would bring together strong cultures of like-minded people, and expand the expertise of both teams.
The Acquisition Process
A lot of information is necessary to complete the acquisition process, and Westwood had a well-established process for exchanging information. Moving forward with diligent adherence to a proven schedule enables Westwood to complete a transaction in 90 days or less. This mitigates “deal fatigue” and prepares both organizations to focus on the next stage of increasing value and blending teams.
As with any acquisition, unique obstacles and circumstances will arise. Westwood and SHG worked through those together. To achieve success, both sides committed to a collaborative effort, good communication, and a continual focus on the finish line.
Change can be hard, and is often one of the biggest challenges that both teams have to overcome. Both Westwood and SHG leadership worked tirelessly to support team members on both sides by providing resources to answer questions, address concerns, and communicate the vision moving forward. Leadership also hosted numerous in-person events to ensure two-way conversation.
Employee retention is an important indicator of a successful integration. The goal is to retain 100% of the employees brought on through acquisition; however, some are likely to move on. The retention rate through the acquisition of SHG was high, with only a few lost due to the transaction. Others changed career paths and ultimately became Westwood’s clients!
There’s a phrase that can be seen in many places inside Westwood’s walls: Better Together. At Westwood, every team member’s individual contribution is important to the overall Vision of the company. And acting as one team, we can all benefit from the opportunities that stem from our individual and organizational success.
Today, many former SHG employees are valued members of Westwood’s leadership team, and some took the opportunity to relocate to other Westwood offices to advance their careers. Together, our team benefits from the mutual collaborative efforts which further expand project work across many markets and services. Our people demonstrate that we are better together every day.