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but we’ve seen some consolidation among the contractors we’ve done business with for de- cades,” Leonard said. “In general, consolidation tends to be the way things naturally progress.” He noted the company is in a unique position.


There isn’t much in the way of competition that would negate the completion of a sale. But he said he understands why family-owned bus contractors would opt to sell rather than transi- tion to the next generation. Leonard shared that his family’s succession plan may have benefited from the fact his father was an only child, which eliminated the potential for sibling conflicts or a current-day ownership tangle of uncles, aunts and cousins. “But it’s not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of things going right,” Leonard observed. “It’s definitely not as easy as selling.” For any industry business that is weighing its


options of selling to an outside firm or within the family, Leonard’s advice is to study up. “The most important part for us was to get ed-


ucated. We spent time as a family learning about different resources out there for family business- es, attending conferences through the Cornell Family Business Institute,” he said. “We worked with family business consultants and talked to other family businesses about the pitfalls of suc- cession and had good conversations about what could go well and where issues could arise.” The current business climate, Leonard


observed, has created a significant amount of capital in search of returns. The result? Family-owned and privately held businesses in- terested in expanding are more likely to find the capital they need. At the same time, investors are more eager to buy up those same companies. “I think we’ll continue to see that,” he added. With a smooth but lengthy transition recently


completed, the newly minted president and owner said he doesn’t expect to be part of the merger-and-acquisition trend any time soon. “I’m very focused on our business and its


footprint because I want to make sure we’re do- ing the best job we can to support the area we represent ... service and sales are such a big part of our business,” Leonard added. “Technology, in many ways, is going to drive the industry forward and drive change, so it will be inter- esting to see how all the different technologies entering our industry will affect it. That will be important to keep an eye on.” ●


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