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A Day in the Life: Acquisition Manager

Chris Griffin, Acquisitions Manager for AmeriGas

For our next Day in the Life blog series interview, I sat down with Chris Griffin, one of our Acquisitions Managers. We discussed his role here at AmeriGas, favorite part about his job and even his current grilling skills.

Explain your role at AmeriGas.
I work in the Corporate Development group at AmeriGas, as an Acquisitions Manager, along with two other Managers and a Director.  We are led by the Group Director.  We manage the process of acquiring smaller propane companies, beginning with developing relationships with their owners We complete a financial valuation and present an offer to the owner, present the opportunity to the executive team, negotiate various points of the offer, and participate in due diligence activities. Finally, we manage the closing and integration process.

The acquisitions program at AmeriGas is definitely a collaborative effort.  When we acquire another company, people from nearly every department participates in the process in some way or another.  Whether it be operations employees in the field, IT, HR, legal, marketing, accounting, audit, supply, fleet, or national accounts; everyone contributes to our success.

What is a typical day for you?
This is a tough one because no two days are alike.  A typical day in the office consists of developing the “acquisitions pipeline”, which means reaching out to owners to gauge their interest in selling. We follow up on leads that come in through the field employees, as well as: completing valuations of businesses that we have existing relationships with, negotiating various aspects of acquisitions in process, meeting with the executive team to present acquisition opportunities, and working on integration activities for recently acquired companies.

A typical day in the field involves meeting with an owner either at their office, or over lunch or dinner at a restaurant.  We talk about the acquisitions process and the benefits that AmeriGas has to offer someone in their position.  We also do as much valuation work as we can ahead of these meetings so that when we meet with an owner in person, we can present them with a valuation range and see if they are interested in going further.  At the major industry conferences, we might also try to sneak in a round of golf (wink!).

Busiest time of year for you? 
My busy time is outside of the traditional heating season, generally late March through early October.  We find that most people in our industry are very busy during the heating season months and focused on customer service and making deliveries.  Once the spring time comes around, they start to think about longer term goals such as retirement or succession planning.  And if someone does decide to sell to us, we like to close the acquisition prior to the start of the following heating season.

Best question you ever received from a customer/potential acquired company?
A seller asked me if their cat would be able to  stay at the office after we acquired their business.  Apparently, the cat was considered the “company mascot” and lived at the office instead of the owner’s residence.  We were only renting the office for a short time because we owned another one in the same town, so I said it was OK.

Favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of my job is that no two days are alike.

Any hidden talent that you have mastered and want to share with us?
My best hidden talent is the ability to avoid getting assigned to a middle seat on an airplane.  I have only had to sit in one middle seat so far in two years of traveling for the acquisitions program at AmeriGas.

Do you have a helpful hint that you could offer to our propane users?
The best tip I can offer is to start thinking about your propane needs for the next season early.  Take advantage of our pre-buy programs and Summer fill campaigns when propane prices are usually at their lowest points of the year.

What is your “Props to Propane”?
Propane, along with advances in appliances and technology is enabling people to save money and live more comfortably.  For example, a tankless water heater fueled by propane reduces monthly expenses while ensuring that you don’t run out of hot water.  A home generator fueled by propane ensures that you have electricity during a storm.  Many of our commercial customers use vehicles with engines fueled by propane to save money while reducing emissions.

Favorite grilled meal to eat or cook?
Right now, I consider myself a beginner and my favorite meats to grill are hamburgers, hotdogs, and the occasional boneless chicken breast.  I do hope to learn more about grilling steaks and maybe even tuna.

Favorite propane application?
My favorite propane application is the 20lb. grill cylinder.

Once Chris graduates to grilling steaks and tuna, he may even favor our AmeriGas grill cylinders even more! If you would like to learn more about our acquisition team here at AmeriGas, click here.

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