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Building partnerships: Carmelo Bueti Vice president of corporate development at J.S. Held, a global consulting firm providing technical, scientific, and financial expertise across all assets and value at risk.


B ueti is used to carrying out complex financial transactions. He’s responsible for assisting J.S. Held (Jericho, NY) in achieving its inorganic growth initiatives and helping businesses to achieve their short- and long-term growth goals. “We view our acquisitions as ‘partnerships,’” Bueti says. “Each and every acquisition we do is either to further develop an existing service line or to expand into an adjacent service. Firms that ‘acquire to acquire’ often run into snags in building a cohesive business. We fully integrate businesses and provide a global J.S. Held brand, which we believe leads to collaboration.” A CONVERSATION WITH CARMELO BUETI. The Zweig Letter: Specifically, when it comes to working with AEC firms, are there any unique challenges re: M&As? How does it differ from say healthcare or digital environments? Carmelo Bueti: Having worked in the tech space prior to joining J.S. Held, the key difference between a product-based

business (such as software, biotechnology, hardware, etc.) and professional services is that the people are the assets in a service business. With that, there must be a focus on ensuring that people are happy, including titles, wages, and benefits. A happy staff, the main driver of billable hours and therefore revenue, is most important. TZL: Personally, what do you enjoy most about helping companies to achieve inorganic growth? What’s the most difficult part of the process and how do you meet that challenge? CB: While cliché, making one plus one equal something more than two is a joy. Watching former owners of businesses connect, cross-pollinate, and work jointly on files to grow revenue is a fantastic feeling. It can become difficult as you approach the finer points of a transaction leading up to a close. Selling a business is a very emotional endeavor. Throughout the transaction, but especially at the close, I find it vital to continue recognizing that a business often is a life’s work realized and someone is parting with that. To approach the


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