Lessons from a merger: Exhaustive plans set stage for major growth at Kenjya-Trusant Group

(Columbia, MD. March, 2016) One year after executing a meticulously planned merger of their two small companies, Principals of The Kenjya-Trusant Group, LLC say their new firm is poised to enter a period of explosive growth.

Created from The Kenjya Group, Inc. and Trusant Technologies, LLC on March 2, 2015, Kenjya-Trusant has landed several large, federal contracts within the past year, expanded its service offerings, streamlined and upgraded back-office operations, improved employee benefits, and strengthened its strategic planning capabilities.

“When you start executing a plan, such as a merger, you sometimes discover that the plan wasn’t quite as good as you thought,” said Larry Medler, Principal. “In this case, the plan worked out better than we thought.”

That kind of business success, however, did not happen easily nor surreptitiously. Overcoming the challenges of a business merger required Kenjya-Trusant’s team to master robust business practices and weather months of complex execution.

Plan Every Detail

In August 2014, the Principals of The Kenjya Group and Trusant Technologies – four former Army officers who had known each other for more than a decade – dug into a very deliberate process of analyzing every aspect of both companies to determine how to successfully structure a merged company.

“We held weekly meetings with strict agendas – and homework assignments – that covered everything from how we put together contract proposals to how we handle staff parties,” said Rich Kubu, Principal.

Months of weekly meetings produced an operating agreement that not only outlined accepted operating practices and best-in-breed standards for The Kenjya-Trusant Group, but also determined how to deal with a failed merger. In a corporate version of a prenuptial agreement, the Principals worked out how to handle any potential ‘divorce’ in a manner that would safeguard the interests of the Principals and the company itself.

Leverage Individual Strengths

While structuring The Kenjya-Trusant Group, the four Principals seized on an opportunity to divvy up responsibilities within the new company. Rather than overseeing all aspects of running the firm, each Principal agreed to leverage their individual strengths and focus on one of four areas – finance, business development, internal operations or IT/engineering services.

“Each of us has taken a lane and we are diving in deep,” said Vince Marucci, Principal. “It is producing real benefit. We are becoming more efficient at operating, our pipeline is growing, we are able to forecast and control costs better, and it is because we all became much more focused. We are making better educated decisions and we are analyzing those decisions at a much more granular level and in a much more strategic way.”

Protect Employees

Throughout the merger, the leadership team also focused on keeping their employees happy. The planning included clearly defining the nature of each company and determining if the corporate cultures were compatible. The Principals vowed to “do no harm” to employee compensation and benefits and worked to ensure employees received equal or improved benefits within the merged company.

After announcing the merger, the company also held monthly meetings to discuss details of the merger, the status of various internal changes, the reasoning behind company decisions, and employee questions.

Brace for Complications

Despite the best-laid plans, the Kenjya-Trusant merger still ran into challenges.

“A merger is a strategic move. What gets lost in translation sometimes is the tactical part,” said Joe DiGangi, Principal. “The tactical portion, the day-to-day fixing of things for a merger is probably three times as hard, as detailed, as expensive as you think it will be.”

From migrating e-mail systems to combining 401k plans to novation of federal contracts, the merger required nine months of hard, patient, extremely detail-oriented work to complete. “In a prior company, I was directly involved in an acquisition, and it was much easier than our merger!” said Marucci. “In an acquisition, most of the processes of the acquiring company are just implemented, and the acquired company has to change to assume the processes within their new home. In our merger, we questioned almost every process, vendor, and employee benefit in our past – was yours better, was ours better, can we combine both to make something better, or should we do something completely new? So even though we are much stronger today, it was not without change – and change is just painful, even when it is change for the better.”

Yet all four Principals say the effort is already proving to be an extremely wise investment.

“It was nine hard months, but my goodness, it is going to be an explosive growth year for us, and 100% growth is a very conservative estimate.” Medler said.

About The Kenjya-Trusant Group, LLC

The mission of The Kenjya-Trusant Group, LLC is to implement, support and protect the nation’s advanced technology systems, business processes and high-technology facilities. Working with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the Intelligence Community, state and local governments, and commercial clients, Kenjya-Trusant provides cyber protection, information technology, engineering, construction management and acquisition-support services designed to protect the nation. A service-disabled, veteran-owned, small business, Kenjya-Trusant was founded by four, former Army officers in 2015 through the merger of The Kenjya Group, Inc. and Trusant Technologies, LLC. www.kenjya-trusant.com/