OpEx Awards winner Americas: Riverside Company – Health and Safety Institute

Acquisitions helped widen Health and Safety Institute’s training and compliance services under Riverside’s ownership, in one of two OpEx Awards wins for the GP this year.

Based in Eugene, Oregon, Health and Safety Institute is an environmental, health and safety compliance and training company, acquired by Riverside in 2015, and sold to Waud Capital Partners last year. Riverside has a longstanding relationship with the business, having originally invested in 2006 before exiting in 2012.

During its latest four-year holding period, Riverside executed four strategic acquisitions to expand the addressable market, grow market share and increase the recurring revenue mix. The acquisitions added a full set of workplace compliance solutions, including digital workplace training safety programmes; document management, reporting and tracking software; chemical inventory management software; and on-site inspection services. The target companies included Safetec Solutions in 2015, Comprehensive Loss Management in 2017, Vivid Learning in 2018 and EMS Safety last year.

Riverside enhanced the management team, including bringing in chief executive Chad Birckelbaw, who the firm had previously partnered with at FairPay Solutions. The firm also hired a new chief financial officer, a new VP of sales and a new VP of marketing, as well as several new second and third layer managers.

In addition, Riverside invested in sales, marketing and software development capabilities to accelerate HSI’s organic growth rate. The firm improved HSI’s regional sales leadership with new hires. It consolidated the sales team from three offices to one and almost doubled the size of the sales and marketing team. It also improved the company’s pricing strategy, revamped its website and enhanced digital marketing efforts.

Single platform

Indeed, investment in IT was critical. The firm migrated all the bolt-on acquisitions onto a unified platform that can pull a customers’ entire organisation together around safety and compliance in one system.

The results of these initiatives were significant. At the point of acquisition, HSI serviced around 48,000 authorised trainers in the US and Canada. When the firm exited, it serviced more than 54,000 authorised trainers, as well as 4,300 workplace compliance solutions customers, across a diverse range of end markets.

Over the course of the investment, HSI’s workforce expanded from approximately 100 to almost 300 staff members, EBITDA grew by 104 percent and topline revenue growth reached 122 percent.

“A great story about a high-quality firm that can repeatedly create value when partnering with successful management teams,” said one judge. “HSI’s ability to become a leader in a crowded training market is a big accomplishment and Riverside has been instrumental in both developing the strategic plan and helping the company execute.”