A Seamless Transition

Moehl Millwork purchased by BMD, Inc.

Creating a great company culture takes years. Merging two cultures is even harder. So the successful, practically seamless transition Moehl Millwork achieved from individual ownership to part of a larger corporation is something of a wonder.

Late last year Home Factories, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Building Material Distributors, Inc. (BMD), which is headquartered in Galt, California, acquired Moehl as part of its specialty building products businesses.

Moehl Millwork was founded in 1964 and has been doing business in its current location for nearly 15 years. Known as a premier millwork and trim company, Moehl supplies doors, molding, cabinets, and premium windows for both commercial and residential projects.

Jeffrey Gore, President and CEO of BMD, Inc., explains, “It’s difficult to mesh company cultures. It takes a long, long time. So when they mesh at the beginning, like this one, that’s a great thing.”

Bob Lane, Vice President of Sales at Moehl, agrees. “From a customer standpoint, and even from our employees’ perspective, I don’t think the transition has changed how things work at all.”

Former owner and CEO Don Rudd continues at Moehl as an independent contractor rather than owner. Aside from that, no other leadership changes have taken place.

Rudd says, “We started investigating options in April, and we closed the deal November 30. That’s pretty unusual. But the people we worked with on the deal did a terrific job. NCP Inc., our financial advisors, did a terrific job, as did Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., our legal counsel. It wouldn’t have gone that well without all of them together.”

“Bob Lane still runs the day to day; finance and sales have all stayed the same,” explains Gore. “The way Don ran the business is the way we do business at BMD: doing the right thing, being accountable, holding others accountable, and all the while providing great products and great service. That really has made the transition nearly seamless.”

Protecting the interests of his employees was one of the key objectives former owner Don Rudd had when he began investigating the sale of his business. “At some point in time, at my age, you realize that you’ve got to do something differently, and you’ve also got to take care of the people that are relying on you. That was a critical point in this process for two reasons: It’s difficult to find people who are committed to the job and the process, and it’s even more difficult to keep them, because everybody wants them,” he says.

That’s one of the reasons BMD attracted Rudd. “We had lots of people interested. But from the beginning, what I highlighted about BMD was the employee-ownership factor. When we made the announcement to our employees, I had people come up and thank me. It made the transition less stressful for them.”

Gore says, “The employee-ownership structure creates stability. Our intention is that we will be an employee-owned company in perpetuity. That gives employees stability—they’re not worried about what’s going to happen next. Plus, everyone is accountable to the same results. We get more engagement, and we all share in the rewards.”

Lane says those benefits pay off for everyone. “I can even benefit from the employee ownership, even at my age. I like that. It’s the best company we could have picked to take it over for everybody involved. And the growth, I’m excited about that. But it takes time. It’ll take some planning and some changes, but there’s tremendous opportunity ahead.”

Although no changes are anticipated for the immediate future, the new relationship offers potential for growth and new markets. “We tend to be pretty straight and narrow in our decision making,” Gore explains. “We hold ourselves accountable; we hold our customers accountable. We do what we say we’re going to do. I thought that matched really well with how Don and Bob run the business. As we move down the road, we’ll look at opportunities for new products, new services that the market demands. But that’ll come over time.”

BMD is a nationally recognized distributor and manufacturer with facilities across the country. Each of its divisions—from wholesalers to showrooms, from windows and doors to high-end garage doors—offers premium products to the residential and commercial construction markets. Moehl is the first millwork business BMD has acquired and the first company focused primarily on interior products.