Founder & CEO
“We were both in our twenties with a ton of energy.
It was 1994 and my future business partner and I were working in sales for a wire company. We were sick of the lack of innovation in our industry, so we brainstormed ideas for business improvement. But, when we pitched our ideas to management, all we got back was, “Thanks, now get back to work.” However, we knew that we could make the wire business better, so we decided to strike out on our own and founded Windy City Wire.
We launched the company and (after some early growing pains) we grew rapidly through innovation and leveraging technology to provide a superior customer experience. Although we were consistently profitable during each and every quarter our first 10 years, we had to reinvest everything back into the business to fund our continued growth.
Naturally, we were inclined to look for a better way to finance further growth.
Additionally, my co-founding partner, Gary, was interested in liquidity. However, I wasn’t nearly finished yet—there was so much opportunity ahead. We were looking for a flexible deal that could achieve both my and Gary’s goals. I had met with other private equity firms prior to being introduced to Seidler, but was turned off—most had control (not partnership) in their DNA, and wanted to use maximum debt and charge fees on my business. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Seidler’s roots in a family business and their partnership approach were quite different from the pack.
I remember very well the first time we met the Seidler team in late November 2005.
That’s because our initial phone call was the Monday before Thanksgiving…and they flew from LA to Chicago that Friday to visit us. (I had only offered to meet on the day after Thanksgiving to call their bluff.) Their straightforward approach was completely different from the private equity crowd that had been hounding me for years. We reached a handshake deal within a week and closed without a hitch in January (six weeks later).
The personal fit was great from the start. They allowed my co-founding partner to take a meaningful estate planning distribution, while allowing me to maintain my hard-earned equity. We were also able to keep a debt-free balance sheet and retain control of the Board and day-to-day operations.
More than 15 years later, we still have a successful, collaborative partnership.
Over the years, the Seidler team has helped us close three highly accretive acquisitions. They have also provided valuable insight and guidance as we’ve transformed our business from only distribution into a vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution model. This transformation enabled us to offer the highest quality and most innovative product set in our industry.