Buying a business and shifting from the role of employee to business owner is a transformational experience – and not an easy one, at that. Add putting that business back into a growth mode and you will have an idea of the challenges Carlos Rivera, owner of Control Engineering Group (CEG), faced when he purchased the company in 2017. Fortunately, Rivera had the Florida Small Business Development Center at Seminole State College (FSBDC at SSC), a sub-center of the FSBDC at UCF, to turn to for guidance and the tools he would need for a successful transition.
Control Engineering Group is a state-certified, full-service electrical contractor providing electrical work to commercial and industrial new construction and renovation projects. CEG also offers control panel design, service, and installation for specialized industries, with proven expertise in the agriculture and farming sectors, and is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB).
“It’s the quality of our work and the quality of our employees that sets us apart,” says Rivera. “We adhere to higher standards, and take care of both our customers and our employees like they are family.”
Rivera left a division manager role at a large, locally-owned electrical contractor when he purchased CEG, which had been in business for more than 30 years when he took ownership but had stagnated during and after the Great Recession. “I did everything at the previous company, except be an owner,” recalls Rivera. “And I had never bought a company before. When I did, I wanted to make sure I had solid advice about what to expect, what to look out for and how to negotiate the purchase. That’s when I contacted the FSBDC.”
At the FSBDC, Rivera took advantage of a variety of services, initially its no-cost, expert business consulting and then later its government contracting (through its affiliate, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center) and Advisory Board Council programs. “The SBDC opened my eyes to a lot of the nuances of getting into a business, and then of running one,” Rivera says. “There’s a lot of things involved that people don’t realize. It’s not just putting your name on the door and turning on the lights. There’s a lot more to it.”
“The FSBDC let me know what to look for, things I should be doing to get off to a good start. They helped me fill the gaps,” Rivera continued. “What really helped me was that they guided me in becoming a little more professional in how we presented ourselves, in our marketing, in our contracts and with our most important resource: our people.”
“Everything about working with the SBDC has been positive, to be honest with you,” concluded Rivera. “Their consulting helped me through the due diligence and purchase of my company; their PTAC group helped guide us through getting our veteran certification; and their Advisory Board is helping me right now be a better, smarter and more effective business owner. It’s only been three years, and we’re already a multi-million dollar revenue company.”
For information about Control Engineering Group, please visit https://control-eng.com/.