On October 19th, in an address at Service World Expo 2022, Service Roundtable co-founder President Matt Michel and Senior Vice President David Heimer announced their year-end plans to step down from leadership roles at the organization.
Matt Michel broached the announcement by taking a moment to acknowledge the significance of Service Roundtable’s impact on the industry. Alongside his colleague David Heimer, Michel addressed supporters, “Please allow us this brief indulgence. Twenty years ago, on September 12, at another conference and show, we launched the Service Roundtable, which is the world’s largest contractor business alliance. Could we bring up the house lights for a moment,” and continued, “If you own or ever worked for a company that has benefitted from the Service Roundtable, would you please stand up?” Members rose to their feet. David Reimer spoke to the moment, adding, “We built the Service Roundtable from the ground up. Today, the Service Roundtable has more than five-thousand-member companies.”
Service World Expo was in Tampa last week Matt Michel and David Heimer announced they would be stepping down from their respective postions. Below is what they told the audience of more than 1,500.
Matt Michel: Please allow us a brief indulgence. 20 years ago, on September 12, at another conference and show, we launched the Service Roundtable, which is the world’s largest contractor business alliance. Could we bring up the house lights for this a moment? If you own or ever worked for a company that has benefitted from the Service Roundtable, would you please stand up? Wow.
David Heimer: After funding was secured, Matt and I would meet at 10:00 p.m. and work until 2:00 a.m. weeknights from April until September. We built the Service Roundtable from the ground up. Today, the Service Roundtable has more than five thousand member companies.
Matt Michel: I would like to recognize two of the first company employees who retired, but are with us today. Janet Thomasson was our Chief of Staff until her retirement. She kept the company straight administratively, kept me straight, managed billing, data entry, and much much more.
David Heimer: Liz Patrick is also here. She started as telephone sales rep and retired this year as Vice President of Strategic Alliances. Liz built Roundtable Rewards, the largest contractor buying group in the service trades. Members receive millions of dollars in loyalty and growth rebates from more than 140 strategic partners each quarter.
Matt Michel: Through the years, we had many milestones. In 2008 we launched the Retail Contractor Coalition, a branding program that has literally introduced hundreds of local, private labeled equipment brands in the industry.
David Heimer: 2008 was also the year we launched Roundtable Rewards. In 2009, we launched the Service Nation Alliance, a contractor best practices program for those who are serious about success. Approximately ten percent of Service Roundtable members have upgraded to the Alliance.
Matt Michel: In 2016, we broke from an industry trade show we co-located our fall meeting with, and launched Service World. It instantly become the dominant residential show.
David Heimer: Our founders and investors were the usual three Fs: family, friends, and fools. But they were also California angel investors. Primarily our investors were “smart money.” They are stalwarts of the industry, who saw Service Nation as an opportunity to give back. They were patient, but after 15 years, they were looking for a return, so we began the process of looking for a buyer.
Matt Michel: With a compound annual growth rate of 39.5% over 15 years, the company was attractive. More than 60 companies expressed interest in us. With our investment bank, we narrowed it to four finalists and chose PaySimple, which became EverCommerce because of the fit, culture, and financial strength. So five years ago, we sold the business but have continued on.
David Heimer: We continued to innovate. This year we launched Alliance Premier, a training, coaching, and mentoring program with coaches coming primarily from the ranks of contractors who have built and sold their companies. These are the people who have been there, done it, and have the skins on the wall to prove it.
Matt Michel: Our mission has always been “to help contractors improve their business and financial performance, leading to a profitable exit strategy.” One of the things we are most proud of is how our members have consistently outpaced the industry growth rate.
David Heimer: Organic same store sales for our members grow three times faster than the industry as a whole. And, we have helped scores of companies achieve an exit and accompanying wealth.
Matt Michel: And, when all is said and done, our founding investors will have received a return of nearly five thousand percent.
David Heimer: One of our most challenging periods was shepherding contractors through the pandemic. In early 2020, ours was the lone voice of optimism stressing the growth opportunities for residential contractors. Not only were we optimistic. We were right.
Matt Michel: Now, we have emerged from that dark period and our work is done. At the end of this calendar year, David and I will be stepping aside and leaving the leadership of Service Nation to others. For those who are worried about the people in charge of Service Nation, don’t worry. The company will be led by Tom Peregrino, a contractor who joined the Service Nation Alliance, became Contractor of the Year, sold his business, joined Service Nation, and built the Alliance Premier program.
David Heimer: Also on our leadership team, we have Jim Hinshaw, who is known throughout the industry. His career includes stints with a manufacturer, working as a contractor, sales trainer and consultant, and working with another contractor alliance. Jim heads up our vertical markets and will also oversee Alliance Premier.
Matt Michel: Pete Danielson was another member of the Service Nation Alliance who built and sold his company. He was also the top territory manager for a manufacturer and worked for a national distributor before joining Service Nation to head up marketing.
Bob Viering: Bob Viering started in the industry as an installer’s helper and has held nearly every position you can in a contracting business. At one point, he quit Service Nation to run marketing for a large plumbing contractor and is the only employee who has left and been welcomed back. He heads up Alliance programs.
Matt Michel: Andrew Kissel worked with us in the early days of Service Nation as a consultant and led the development of ServiceRoundtable.com. He now runs IT.
David Heimer: Peter Galanek has a multi-disciplinary international business background including major trade show promotion, such as Green Build. He worked with Liz Patrick and assumed her role upon departure, building the Roundtable Rewards program even bigger.
Matt Michel: Stephanie Fritz joined us from a competitive organization and has a strong background in sales and business development. She leads the company’s sales efforts.
David Heimer: Sarah Blackhall started with the company as an intern and today runs the industry’s best team of graphics designers. She also runs our events, like Service World.
Matt Michel: Carol Longacre joined Service Nation from her family’s contracting business. With a background that includes leadership positions in local and state trade associations, she is well suited to work with the dozens of state and local associations that have affiliated and aligned with the Service Roundtable. It is because of this team that Service Nation has been recognized by the Dallas 100, Fort Worth’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies, Aggie 100, and Inc 5000, including multiple times as one of the top 75 business service companies in the nation.
This is the team who will drive Service Nation forward to an even better future as part of Evercommerce, a publicly traded company. The future is bright for this team and bright for Service Nation, including the Service Roundtable, Retail Contractor Coalition, Service Nation Alliance, Alliance Premier, Roundtable Rewards, the Service World Expo, and all of you. For all of support and patronage over the past 20 years, thank you. Now, some of you may wonder what David and I will be doing. David, what will you be doing?
David Heimer: I will be launching a new podcast, app, and building a small company around those. How about you, Matt?
Matt Michel: I will continue to write for the trade press and speak from time to time. Plus, I have a couple of books I want to write. I plan on starting on them in 2023, so everyone, give me a card if you want to buy one as soon as it comes available.