Harold Green launched Chamberlain Contractors, an asphalt paving company, back in 1975, and sold it to Pavement Partners, a portfolio company of Shoreline Equity Partners, in January 2022.
While he always had the end in mind, he brought on a partner who didn't share the same goals.
Green says he had always considered the exit strategy and had started an organization called The Pavement Network in 2000 with the expectation of possibly rolling up the industry.
"Unfortunately, my business partner was not of the same mindset or had the energy or drive, and we never did follow through on that," he says. "But upon his termination and subsequent purchasing of his interest, we were approached by several institutions or equity players and, in short order, I decided that it was worthwhile to make that decision now so that I could then be more engaged in other aspects of other businesses that I currently still am involved in."
Given the conflict he had with his then-partner Green offered some tips so others don't end up in the same situation:
"I allowed my partner to buy in equally, and that was the first mistake," Green says. "I should have maintained control of 51/49 percent — I strongly suggest that. The other thing is I had legal counsel representing my interests as well as that of my business partners and that should never have occurred. We should have had outside counsel to represent each of our interests. So, it was a combination of several factors that, initially at the start of the relationship, probably should have been structured differently so that the ending of the relationship could have been a positive one instead of a negative one. And it actually ended up in arbitration for about 18 months — lawyers, accountants, and everything — and we finally came to some solution. But it could have all been avoided with proper preparation at the beginning of the process."
Green spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about selling the business, how he resolved the issue with his partner, and his recent venture that he's hoping to more aggressively grow as he transitions out of Chamberlain.