HBM recently welcomed Daniel Wright as a VP of Corporate Development. In his role, Daniel seeks to utilize his experience running a global business to add value to HBM and its portfolio companies, as well as further develop HBM’s Associates Program to position them for a successful career.
What were the critical factors underpinning your decision to join HBM?
After spending most of my career working at large, multi-national corporations, I felt it was the right time to join a more growth-oriented, entrepreneurial organization to help drive initiatives within a more nimble organization. When I began thinking about my next move, I did not envision myself moving back into an M&A role. I enjoyed the experiences I accrued in this role but felt that running a global business was more in line with my long-term career aspirations.
Although M&A is an aspect of my responsibilities at HBM, I found the opportunity to lead the corporate development activities provided a perfect opportunity to immerse myself in an entrepreneurial, growth-oriented enterprise and also develop a team of emerging leaders. Learning that HBM’s model is to acquire specialty manufacturing companies and hold them for the long-term, enables me to do what I love – to roll up my sleeves and work with companies to create efficiencies and build profitable businesses. It didn’t take long before I was convinced that this was the firm for me.
Where will you spend the majority of your time?
Diversifying from the 100-year successful legacy of Mississippi Lime – the cornerstone of HBM’s portfolio – we seek to acquire businesses in the manufacturing space with a focus on specialty equipment with end markets in industrial, energy and transportation (excluding automotive). But, we are also actively seeking chemical or mineral processing / manufacturing companies.
Understanding HBM’s overall mission, my time will be split between three key areas that will help the company reach its long-term vision. The first area of my role will be focused on identifying investment opportunities that are in line with HBM’s investment criteria and overarching mission. This will be a strong team effort where we will analyze in detail specific markets and competitive dynamics while also delving into the nuances of a potential new portfolio company to best understand how HBM can be a valuable resource.
The second area will be overseeing and developing HBM’s Associate Program. This bucket will account for roughly 50 percent of my time and will be a huge focus of mine. Through experiences in my career, I have become passionate about helping people reach their fullest potential and become top performers in teams I have led. The Associates Program really excites me as I will have the opportunity to improve my skills in developing high potential leaders with experiences and insights so they can become future general managers of HBM’s portfolio companies. The best way to prepare the Associates for success is to emerge them in high-value projects that will touch the core aspects of running a manufacturing business such as commercial, supply chain, and operations.
The third area will be identifying opportunities for HBM to add value within its portfolio companies. The projects we identify will not only help create efficiencies within a specific facet of a company but also provide a strong training opportunity for our Associates.
How will you define success for your efforts?
Over the next three years, I want to see our Associates “graduating” efficiently from the HBM program and working in our portfolio companies where they are making huge strides in their development while also adding significant value to the business. I would also like to add two additional portfolio platforms that meet the goals set forth in HBM’s vision statement. To me, developing my team and collaborating on strategic projects that will add value to HBM and its portfolio companies will mean ultimate success.
Can you explain how you intend to develop the Associates in your group?
In my position at HBM, I will be responsible for developing the Associate team and ensuring their long-term success at HBM. We would love for our Associates to eventually assume a management-level role at one of the portfolio companies. The program is designed to allow them to gain exposure to different aspects of running a business: commercial, supply chain and operations. A team environment and coaching my team members to excel in their roles is a perfect challenge for me.
What has been your experience thus far with HBM?
Even though it’s been a few short weeks, I already know for certain that this was the right move for my family and me. Six months ago we were living in Germany. Now, we reside in St. Louis and have immersed our three children (and ourselves) into activities including gymnastics, soccer, church and fitness. My favorite non-work activity is coaching the soccer team for my seven-year-old daughter.
I look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead at HBM and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to utilize the knowledge I have accrued during my career to help HBM achieve its mission.