Continuing the Journey: Questions about 3Pillar’s Funding

1024 576 David DeWolf

This past week 3Pillar announced that we received a strategic investment from CIP Capital. The deal was the result of a deliberate process. We initiated it to provide liquidity to our existing investors and set us up for our next phase of growth. I could not be more elated with the outcome.

So many of you have reached out to congratulate and ask me more about the transaction. How do you feel? Are you excited? What does this mean for you? What are you most proud of? Unfortunately, it would be impossible to return every text, voicemail and email that I’ve received. I will answer a few of the more personal questions I’ve been asked and leave corporate questions for official channels.

What does this mean for you?

As the company disclosed in its announcement, “the 3Pillar management team will continue to lead the firm during its next phase of growth and retain a significant ownership stake alongside CIP Capital,” I will continue to serve as CEO and a member of the Board of Directors.

While it’s fun to celebrate milestones like this, the reality is that this is simply a financing event. Beyond a deliberate acceleration of our strategy, not much will change. Specifically, I will be leading the expansion of our leadership team, assembling a new board and seeking to acquire companies. These are all things I love to do. And, as we do more and more, I will continue to seek to take my leadership to the next level. Beyond that, it’s pretty much more of the same!

How do you feel about this?

I genuinely could not be more excited. I’m fortunate to love what I do. I not only love the work, I love doing it with others. As part of this transaction, a handful of our most senior leaders were given the opportunity to co-invest alongside CIP Capital. Everyone that was given the option decided to not only participate, but to participate at levels we never anticipated. I’m ecstatic that we built something they believe in. I’m excited to take it to the next level with this team and add even more great people to the team.

I’m also excited about the relationship with CIP. I was fortunate to have my choice of private equity investors. I am confident that CIP shares my vision, supports our strategy, and most importantly, is aligned with our values and culture. They are sharp, good people. I have confidence that we complement each other well and will make a strong team.

What are you most proud of?

In summarizing our annual performance just a few months ago, one of our executives shared that what she is most proud of in 2019 was how we achieved our record setting results. She shared the story of a daughter who was given the time to take care of her ailing mother, a son who was given the space to take care of aging parents and an employee who was supported through her fight with cancer. This may have been one of my most proud moments at 3Pillar. 

Nothing is more important to me than how we go about our business. Very few businesses reach the point we have just reached. Even fewer do it the right way. At 3Pillar we fundamentally believe in the intrinsic dignity of every human person. We live that value. You can see it in the way we care for our people. You can see it in the fact that women make up 50% of our leadership team. And, you can see it in the decisions we make. We have not only built a great business, we have built it the right way. 3Pillar does the right things. We take care of people.

What are you most looking forward to?

Raising capital is hard work. I can honestly say that I’ve been working the equivalent of two full time jobs for the past 9 months – one running the business and another seeking investment. I’m pretty sure that Teresa would say it has felt more like 3 jobs. Launching a book at the same time probably wasn’t very prudent. And, while I really enjoy deal making, I’m looking forward to getting back to focusing on what I love. That is, building a team and culture, driving vision and strategy and being in the market. I also love to stretch and grow. I can’t wait to grow into the leader that 3Pillar needs me to be over this next phase of growth.

Most importantly, though, I’m looking forward to getting a little time back so that I can connect with people. The truth is that for the past year I’ve been a horrible friend, a pretty lousy husband and a not-so-great dad. I’ve been a weak manager, an absent boss and a less than ideal teammate. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve enjoyed getting back to being the husband, father, CEO and friend that I want to be. At the end of the day, it’s our relationships with each other that really matter.

I couldn’t have done it without you.

There are so many people who have been instrumental to the 3Pillar journey. On the home front this never would have happened without Teresa’s and the kid’s support. They’ve been amazingly patient with a distracted dad. And, to my mom, dad and the rest of my extended family. I’m so grateful for the care you gave my family while I was on the road for extended periods. This type of milestone simply doesn’t happen without that kind of support from your friends and family.

In the trenches, I have learned so much and enjoyed working with so many good people. I think of former teammates like Brian Walsh, Bobby Christian, Blaine Hall, Paul Doman, Todd Bramblett, Brian Burke, Ann Thompson, Ken Quaglio, Maria Izurieta, and Tony Orlando who all helped build a business and shape me into the leader I am today. And, of course, I can’t help but be grateful for John Bernardi, Heather Combs, Scott Varho, Elisabeth Beller and Jamie Whitacre whose leadership continues to drive the firm forward and whose fingerprints are all over the organization.

For those now getting off the bus.

I could go on and on, but, I’d be especially remiss if I didn’t thank my board. Those who’s time it is to now get off the bus. For Ed Johnson, who served on the board for a full decade. Ed, your leadership example has always inspired me to take care of people. For Michael Dering, who served as our chairman for nearly 10 years. Michael, you believed in me before anyone else did and mentored me into becoming a real CEO. For Mary Dridi who was never afraid to roll up her sleeves as a board member. From helping me hire and learn to manage my first CFO. For helping to develop my financial literacy and business acumen. For helping navigate those early financial surprises. Mary, you were there for me in so many crises and tough times. I am always amazed by your willingness to serve and get your hands dirty. And, finally, for Marc Lederman who invested our first institutional capital. Marc, I’m most grateful for the confidence you placed in me and proud of the relationship we built.

The 3Pillar story is a #OneTeam story. It’s all about great people coming together to achieve what others thought was impossible. It’s about having an outsized impact on each other’s lives and becoming the best version of ourselves. I’m both grateful for the journey and excited about what the future has to hold.