IMTRA: Growth from Within

(Photo: IMTRA)
(Photo: IMTRA)

IMTRA, the New Bedford, Mass.- based producer and also importer of services and also items for the marine, power and also transport markets, lately went through a modification in possession. But also under brand-new proprietors, a lot regarding the firm, including its make-up and also offering, will certainly continue to be the same. And that’s since the brand-new proprietors are the firm’s existing workers.

Eric Braitmayer, head of state and also chief executive officer, stated IMTRA’s management– consisting of vice head of state of leisure sales Chip Farnham, 3rd generation of the household that established IMTRA some 70 years back– was preparing for the future when it made a decision a modification in possession framework would certainly be needed. But they additionally recognized they wished to preserve as much of the firm’s DNA as feasible, including its nimbleness and also customer-first attitude.

“We felt really strongly that bringing in outside ownership was going to impact our culture—not necessarily in a bad way,” Braitmayer stated, keeping in mind that with brand-new financiers might possibly come brand-new obstacles or undesirable adjustments. “We felt really strongly that we had a special formula here, and we had 70 something people that had invested their careers in this, and we didn’t want things to get derailed quickly.”

So Braitmayer and also IMTRA’s administration group did their study, evaluated their alternatives and also established that marketing the firm to its workers would certainly be the very best step. IMTRA revealed in January that 100% possession legal rights of the firm had actually been marketed to its workers via anEmployee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which enables the management group to remain in area while supplying an affordable return for the investors– without the prospective obstacles that frequently feature a modification in control of a very closely held organization.

“It really checked a ton of boxes for us,” Braitmayer stated. “There’s a misinterpretation that if you sell to your employees, that somehow you’re going to receive less than you would from another buyer. And I don’t believe that’s actually the case.”

“You get to keep your management team intact, and you get to basically involve all your employees. Personally, I believe that employee ownership is also a great opportunity for us in the states to address wealth inequality. And while that sounds really philanthropic, which I believe in building that out, I don’t feel that came at some sort of discount that the [previous ownership] had to give. We feel super happy with the price that we got and the way that the transaction played out. And I’m really excited about what it’s going to do for our employees as we go forward.”

“We have a core of really great mid-career people,” Braitmayer stated. “With this setup, the employees, all of them, they’re going to earn their ownership stake. . . Now we just have to develop great leaders that are going to be able to run the business, maintain the culture, continue to be focused on our customers, finding new products, finding new solutions for the customers that we work with, continue to do what we’ve done for 70 years, and the ownership part will take care of itself.”

Growth strategy
While the firm has actually been expanding, it has its views established on a lot more development. “Since May of 2020, we have been on a torrid stretch where we’ve seen our top line numbers grow by about 35%,” Braitmayer stated.

He kept in mind that IMTRA is spending to expand its physical impact to extra successfully manage its boosted circulation of items, which it is functioning carefully distributor companions to comprehend their supply chain obstacles and also just how to ideal maintain items moving for clients.

“We’re continuing to invest in our people, which is our number one resource,” Braitmayer stated. IMTRA has actually been including team and also is aiming to employ for numerous extra placements, especially for offering the business aquatic market where the firm sees considerable possibilities.

According to Braitmayer, IMTRA is popular in the business aquatic area for numerous essential items, such as Sleipner thrusters; Norsap chairs; Exalto, Decca and also Roca wipers; plus a big spread of both self-manufactured and also sourced illumination services.

“We’re continuing to look to expand our commercial portfolio. In the last couple of years, we’ve added a couple of great relationships,” Braitmayer stated. The exec pointed out development possibilities from collaborating with Norwegian firm Libra, which provides doors and also hatches, along with a current collaboration with KPM Marine, an English producer that does air handling systems and also bilge pumps. “And we’re always looking for more.”

Braitmayer described that IMTRA “very strategically” selected to do a lot of the ESOP funding via existing possession to preserve the firm’s loaning power and also sources need to the appropriate chance develop. “If a new product line comes on and we need to invest in inventory, we’re more than able to do that. If the right acquisition opportunity came up, we’d be eager to consider those things as something that we could leverage for the future,” he stated. “When we structured the deal on the ESOP, we wanted to make sure that how we did it didn’t hamper us from those kinds of normal business growth trajectory, things that we would’ve been doing, whether we did the ESOP or not.”

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