This episode features Tracy Burzycki, Senior Operating Partner GTM and Revenue at Graham Partners. Tracy is a top line growth specialist focused on value creation activities that drive profitable portfolio growth at Graham Partners portfolio companies.
Tracy’s focus is on strategy, process improvements, and execution of all aspects of commercial excellence in sales and marketing. Prior to joining Graham partners, she held several senior commercial leadership roles at Danaher, the global life sciences and technology company.
About Graham Partners
- Graham partners is a middle market industrial technology private equity firm based in in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.
- In business for several decades, they are currently deploying capital for their fifth fund.
- They recently brought to market another product offering, Graham Partners Growth.
- They invest mainly in industrial technology but also the food and packaging and healthcare sectors.
Tracy Burzycki and Her Role
- Has been involved in private equity for three years.
- Was drawn to private equity to use her decades of experience in corporate America to drive value creation and growth in middle market companies where she could have an impact quickly, and to coach and advise leaders to build their companies bigger and better.
- Her training and accomplishments at Danaher make her uniquely suited for private equity. Danaher functions like a private equity company when they acquire great businesses and apply the standard work that has made them successful.
- Graham was looking for someone with Danaher experience because they know the training and background is directly relevant.
How They Engage
- With a breadth and depth of experience across different functional areas, Tracy and her associates partner with the deal teams during the diligence process.
- Once exclusivity has been signed, they aid the deal team with the types of questions to ask or the areas they should investigate.
- They do additional analysis and back-office work while the deal team is front facing with the company.
- It’s about building trust and rapport with the senior leadership. It's a partnership and a two-way conversation around what's best for the business and their organization.
- Graham has a standard approach broken into three segments: the Onboarding and Stabilization phase, the Value Creation phase, and the Exit phase.
- In each of those phases, there is a playbook where they focus most of their efforts.
- They put foundational aspects in place around human capital, financial and operating controls, and environmental and sustainability.
- Then they build on the financial operations and revenue creation functional areas of expertise.
Level of Involvement
- Is highly variable, depending on company needs.
- Early on, they tend to be more involved because there are certain plays, including some non-negotiables, they run for go to market, PPV, strategy and alignment, and pricing.
- Once they get the company stabilized and working towards their value creation phase, it can transition into more coach, train, and advise
- Tracy continues to have bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly calls with the teams she’s engaged with to make sure things stay on track.
- They also respond thoughtfully if something starts to go sideways.
Common Challenges or Roadblocks
- Every company has its own unique challenges.
- Because Graham works with entrepreneurial founder-owned businesses, there are some financial controls and process problems that they find across every company.
- Also, some more nascent, early-stage, commercial effectiveness processes.
- They see the same kind of issues based on the maturity of the company.
- But once they get that done, the problems are unique to the business and the markets.
Working with Third-Party Resources Like Chief Outsiders
- Are a critical element of Graham’s resource pool.
- With a limited full-time staff, they scale up and back their engagement depending on what's going on.
- Resources like Chief Outsiders, their advisory members, and senior advisors are critical in making that process work. It's highly variable and they might have some urgent requests.
Words of Advice to Others in the Operating Partner World
I'm a big proponent of building the relationship and the rapport with the companies. It really is more about influence and collaboration than command and control. Resources like Chief Outsiders and others are a critical element to the ecosystem that we create for our companies.
We can help make them successful, but at the end of the day, they're the ones running the business. And so, it really is about enabling their success as much as we possibly can.