Ep. 20 — The General Counsel’s M&A with Chuck Williams pt. 1

by | May 30, 2023

Welcome to the “Show Me The Way” podcast with David Seitter

In this episode of “Show Me The Way,” Dave sits down with Chuck Williams, former SVP and General Counsel of Performance Contracting Group Inc., to discuss valuable insights into the importance of understanding the buyer’s perspective, establishing a clear strategy, considering cultural fit, and managing the transition process effectively in successful acquisitions.

Ep. 20 — The General Counsel’s M&A with Chuck Williams pt. 1

Chuck William’s Legal Journey

Dave asks his guest to discuss his background and early career.

  • Chuck discusses his past graduating with a liberal arts degree, followed by law school.
  • After completing law school, he continued on to a boutique law firm with about 15 attorneys that specialized in the construction industry, which he really enjoyed.
  • He says that after a period of time, he realized he wanted to work in-house rather than as an outside counsel.

More Than Just General Counsel

Dave asks for Chuck to extrapolate on being an in-house counselor, and what else his job entails, knowing that it is much more than what a general counsel typically does.

  • Chuck discusses how as an outside counsel he felt pigeon-holed into solving a specific problem.
  • He says after joining the company, he realized being a general counsel extended beyond exclusively legal matters, becoming involved in various business issues, internal corporate matters, and human resource management.
  • He notes how this allowed him to provide holistic advice and address issues that might have gone unnoticed without a comprehensive understanding of the business.
  • Chuck says this approach, prioritizing the business’s needs over strictly standalone legal considerations, made him a more effective general counsel to arrive at practical, effective, and ethical solutions.

Acquisition Strategies and Template

Dave then pivots and asks Chuck to discuss more about the strategies and considerations he undertook when looking at acquisitions.

  • Chuck delves into his company’s acquisition process, discussing the vision, strategy, and implementation they developed over time.
  • He says the team created templates tailored to their specific needs and processes, enabling successful acquisitions that contributed to their growth.
  • Chuck shares his experience of acquiring smaller, local or regional companies, which helped enhance their existing businesses and expand their range of specialties.

After Chuck catches Dave mentioning the importance of matching company cultures, Chuck extrapolates on the importance of a good fit.

  • Chuck notes that the greatest asset, especially of construction companies, are it’s people.
  • He continues by discussing the importance of working with the acquisition candidate before initiating the acquisition process to assess cultural compatibility and complementary business opportunities.
  • He also mentions the benefits of having the owner stay in the business for a year or two to assist with the transition and provide consistent management.

Business Acquisition Process and Team

Dave asks Chuck to fast forward after finding a good candidate to the process of acquiring the business itself.

  • Chuck notes many of the considerations come down to diligence, communication, and flexibility.
  • He adds that it’s okay to not finalize the transaction if these considerations reveal issues that can’t be overcome, or if the process reveals that it isn’t the right fit.
  • Chuck then explains more about their process of due diligence, the acquisition team that was developed, and how they apply their principles to each potential deal.
  • He continues by going into how critical constant and open communication plays throughout the whole process, from when LOIs are signed, up to and after the closing.
  • Chuck adds how they would get both the owner and employees involved in the process, and even that company’s customers.

For more details and to learn what potential buyers are looking for in your business, be sure to check out part two of the interview with Chuck Williams.

To reach out to Dave for advice or consultation, please visit www.davidseitter.com or email him at dseitter@spencerfane.com


This podcast is provided for educational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. The recommendations contained in this podcast are not necessarily appropriate for every individual or business. In determining the best course of action, business owners should consult with an attorney on their distinct circumstances.