Following recent news of Serco’s intent to acquire BTP Systems LLC, based out of Ludlow, Massachusetts, we sat down with Bud Beaudry, the latter company’s founder and CEO, to find out how this came about and his plans after the acquisition is complete.
WashingtonExec: First off, congratulations on the recent news! Before we get into your thoughts on that, let’s go back to the beginning and tell us about your background in the industry?
Beaudry: I have been working in the DOD contracting industry for over three decades now. I started as a technician working at Kollmorgen Corp., now part of L3. I then joined Millitech, where we designed and manufactured components for satellite communications.
I spent 15 years there, eventually working my way to vice president and driving the creation of their satellite communications division. It was at that point in my career that I saw a fork in my career path — I could continue in my current role, or pursue a new opportunity. It was that decision in 2003 that got me to where I am today.
WashingtonExec: Tell us about that decision: What made you take the jump and start your own business?
Beaudry: At Millitech, I saw a future in the maintenance and sustainment of satellites and antennas. Hardware was starting to age, and I was hearing from customers that along with fielding new systems, they also wanted to sustain and modernize the equipment they already had in place.
So with that vision, I started BTP Systems. During our first couple years, I focused on building a client base consisting of federal government customers, including the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, and contractors like Raytheon, General Dynamics and L3. We knew those customers very well and they knew that we understood their challenges. Having that strong base of clients was critical during the early years of standing up the business.
And here we are, 14 years later with 65 highly dedicated people working on some fantastic programs around the world. During the growth of our business, the one constant was that we always listened to our customers. By listening, not only were we able to grow the business, but we also able to strategically grow our toolbox of competencies to continue delivering the solutions and services they needed.
WashingtonExec: When you started BTP, what was your vision for the company? And after 15 years, did you stay true to that vision?
Beaudry: When I started this business, it was very simple: I wanted to create a company that people would come to and want to stay here for the rest of their career. I had plenty of skeptics who did not think it was possible to run a company like that anymore. I took that as a personal challenge and have always been committed to creating and engaging and empowering work environment. I am proud to say that our turnover is essentially zero.
WashingtonExec: So why sell now and why sell to Serco?
Beaudry: I found we were getting to a size that our customers wanted to award us more work but we could not keep up. I had a choice to make — either make a significant investment to enhance the structure of our business, or look to merge with another company who already had that structure in place.
I also recognized that by merging with another company, it would provide more career growth opportunities for current BTP team members. I want my technicians to have the opportunity to become senior technicians and run their own teams; or have the opportunity to take on a new program on the other side of the country. I could not offer that right now, but with Serco, they will have that chance. That was key; I wanted to make a decision that was best for my team.
And you asked why sell to Serco. I had multiple offers on the table, but it took just a few conversations with Serco’s CEO Dave Dacquino to know that our two companies were the right fit. Serco did not see us as just a customer Rolodex for them to buy, but rather a capability that had a spot in their business plans. They understand what BTP is capable of offering and they are ready to capitalize on our services to help grow the company.
WashingtonExec: I am sure 14 years ago, you did not imagine being in a scenario that you would be selling your company. So, what is next for you?
Beaudry: I am excited to say that I have signed on to stay with Serco for the next two years, and I expect to be with the company beyond that. In my new position, I will help Serco identify new business opportunities and contracts that the company can bid on. I am excited because once we integrate BTPs portfolio to Serco’s C5ISR capabilities, there are some great programs on the horizon for us to pursue.
I also plan to find some time to travel. I owe it to my wife and my family after they supported me while I was putting in countless hours over the last 14 years. Needless to say, I expect the next few years to be every exciting.