Succession planning is about actively listening to the needs and wants of business owners, discussing realistic goals based on experience and crafting a practical and achievable plan. Brown Moskowitz & Kallen recently advised River Edge, New Jersey-based leading landscape and hardscape company, Let It Grow, Inc. in the development of a succession plan that would sustain the legacy of its founder Paul T. Imbarrato.
Established in 1986, the Company is renowned for its expertise in the planning, execution and delivery of world-class design/build and landscape projects throughout the Northeast. With Mr. Imbarrato at the helm, Let It Grow has evolved into a leading regional firm serving prominent organizations such as Prudential, Unilever, Rutgers University, NJIT, and Westfield Garden State Plaza, among many others.
The succession plan was a collaborative effort developed over the course of several conversations involving Mr. Imbarrato, the Company’s incumbent accountant, an investment banker, a family office consultant, a benefits and insurance consultant and BMK. Ultimately, Mr. Imbarrato shared equity in Let It Grow with certain team members pursuant to a vesting schedule designed to motivate the recipients and ensure continuity of management. The succession plan also enables Let It Grow to remain independent while creating an incentive for the continuing recruitment of key industry talent. While Mr. Imbarrato is not ready to retire, his objective, in part, was to create a pathway for eventual retirement that does not require acquisition by private equity. Rather, Mr. Imbarrato wanted to ensure the Company’s sustainability for many years ahead.
“I was seeking a way to continue my firm’s legacy while enrolling my existing highly valued team in ownership of the Company,” said Mr. Imbarrato. “I take great pride in having built Let It Grow to the success it is today. I am now confident that success will continue in the hands of my employee owners even after I am no longer engaged in the day-to-day activities of the Company. BMK was instrumental in helping me transform my vision into a comprehensive and practical plan. ”
“The Let It Grow succession plan is a key example of how BMK listens to client needs and devises innovative solutions that align with their professional and personal desires,” said Stuart M. Brown, Partner and Co-Chair of the Commercial Transactions practice at BMK. “We knew Paul Imbarrato did not wish to sell his Company as his means of exiting the business he painstakingly created over several decades. He has great faith in his dedicated and talented employees. While no one can predict the future, Paul takes comfort knowing that he implemented a succession plan providing for continuity of management upon his retirement and establishing a means for the Company to continue to grow and thrive..”