Great Things Are on the Horizon As We Set Our Sights on Growth
Spring has sprung, and in just a few weeks, we will start our busy season and another long summer. Already, I can see we are going to be back to a normal level of business activity — more like 2019 than the reduced level we saw last year during the pandemic.
The last time I checked with HR, we had 150 job openings — mostly for technicians, as service areas ramp up for the expected increase in volume. That may sound like a lot of openings, but keep in mind that CoolSys currently has around 3,000 employees, so 150 openings translate to just a 5% surge in staffing. Check out our employee referral program. It looks like install will also be busy, as many of our customers return to more normal spending on capital projects (remodels, new stores and so forth).
In terms of mergers and acquisitions, 2021 is shaping up to be our biggest year ever. I fully expect CoolSys to grow by up to 50% this year alone! There are some bigger companies in our pipeline that will yield a real explosion for our efforts to build density in many verticals outside of grocery. (Translation: Look for a lot of growth in the number of non-grocery customers!)
Keeping It Organic
But is it all about mergers and acquisitions? Absolutely not. CoolSys is also growing organically. In 2020 — during the worst of the pandemic — we added over 6,000 new customer locations. That includes over 1,000 Walgreens locations and several hundred CVS locations. In total, we grew our location count by almost 12% last year. That’s a huge number!
Sometimes, in certain markets, we lose customers. That stings, and I hate to see anyone go. But running a company like CoolSys is more like a baseball season — long and filled with streaks of both winning and losing — than it is a 100-yard dash.
Big Promise in Cold Storage
I’d like to introduce you to James Dooley and Ken Lind, who have joined us recently after working at Trane for the past several years. They are classic examples of how CoolSys not only acquires companies that help us pivot to new verticals but also invests in people to help us grow organically too.
James and Ken have been instrumental in Trane’s growth in industrial and food-related cold storage projects. Over the years, their efforts resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. I’m very interested in what they do and how they can help CoolSys build our presence in the world of cold storage. With Ken’s and James’s expertise, we have already scored some big service wins with some of the largest food and beverage distributors in the U.S., and I expect to see a large uptick in installation in this customer vertical too!
Over the past four years, CoolSys has already been very successful in completing some huge cold storage projects for several customers. In fact, we have gained somewhat of a reputation as the U.S. experts in large transcritical CO2 installs, as more and more customers seek alternatives to ammonia. Take our history, marry it with the skills of people like James and Ken, and *poof* — we are becoming a player in a new space with lots of growth potential!
The best companies on the planet grow both organically and through acquisitions. CoolSys is no different. Based on what I’m seeing from the “bridge,” a billion dollars in revenue is in sight on the 12-to-18-month horizon. The worst of the pandemic appears to be behind us as we enter a period of clear skies and calm waters. So, it’s full speed ahead for the remainder of 2021!