Sunday, July 18, 2010

Stunning Announcement! - ABC Imaging captures PBSJ's reprographics business!



ABC Imaging and PBSJ agree to FM print services deal
Washington, DC—July 16, 2010—ABC Imaging announced today it will provide on-site print services for PBSJ, a leading infrastructure engineering and architecture firm.

PBSJ operates more than 80 offices in the U.S. The Florida-based company has considerable expertise in a wide variety of engineering and architectural services in both the public and private sectors. PBSJ's projects have included everything from theme parks to toll booths and its services range from hazardous waste management to structural engineering for bridges.

"Our agreement with PBSJ represents ABC Imaging's commitment to the AEC industry," said Medi Falsafi, President, and CEO of ABC Imaging. "With the PBSJ account, we add to our position as a leader in enterprise-wide facilities management programs."

According to Don Vrana, PBSJ's Chief Financial Officer, "This is a new step for the corporation, and a departure from our traditional operations. However," Vrana said, "we are confident that our arrangement with ABC will provide new efficiencies and cost savings to the company that we expect will have a positive impact on our bottom line for the long term."

ABC Imaging will begin installing printers and other hardware in the early summer. Of the more than 80 locations, 19 will be manned locations with at least one ABC Imaging employee assigned to the client site.

End of Press Release.

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Joel's comments:

Long ago (back in the 1980'), after we had accomplished selling our first 6 or 7 staffed FM (OnSite) deals at our first company (Rowley-Scher), I remember making a remark to one of my reprographics industry friends about selling FM programs, .... "the more you have, the more you get." Meaning, the more programs you have, the higher your credibility at providing that service, and increased credibility leads to additional sales of that service. In the mid 1980's, we took one of ABC's largest accounts away. That account was HOK's Washington, DC office. Prior to that, ABC was providing reprographics services to HOK's DC office, but not in an FM environment. Bob Abrams (our DC Sales guy at the time) and I had a one hour meeting with the four principals who were then managing HOK DC's office - we were there to "pitch" our FM concept and program (and, at that time, all of our FM's were staffed FM's.) At the end of the hour meeting, we responded to about 30 minutes (or so) of questions; the very first question they asked, "who are you already doing this for?" We verbally listed the A/E firms we were already providing FM services to, and you could, literally, see the balls (meaning, their eyes) rolling - it was, for us and for them, an issue of credibility - and we had that, credibility, in the bag. We implemented the HOK DC FM service and it lasted (remained with my ex-company) for at least a dozen years, if not longer. (The HOK DC FM went to NRI at that time.)

While I certainly don't know how many separate FM deals ABC Imaging has country-wide, ABC has, in the past, issued press releases that reveal a few of its "national" FM deals, including its deals with HNTB, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and Perkins & Will. And, now PBSJ. What is VERY INTERESTING to me is that, five or six years ago, ABC wasn't doing much business "to speak of" in Florida, and the deal that they just announced is with a major FLORIDA-BASED firm. And, PBSJ is not just a major Florida-based firm, PBSJ is an "old-line" very traditional firm. I joined NGI (which is a Florida-based reprographer now owned by ARC) in late 1997. Shortly after that, our CEO (Martha Korman) introduced me to several of PBSJ's top people. And, for me (and for our CEO), that began an extended "off and on" pursuit of PBSJ (to convince them that they should go the FM/OnSite route), a pursuit that lasted my entire 10 year career at NGI! An UNSUCCESSFUL pursuit at that! During that ten year period, I (we) met a number of PBSJ's officers and top managers, including PBSJ's CEO, two different PBSJ CFO's, two different PBSJ Presidents and a whole host of others, all in an attempt to convince PBSJ that "going the FM way" would be the optimum business model for their firm. When I met him for the first time several years ago, Don Vrana, PBSJ's CFO, who is mentioned in the ABC Imaging press release, was new to the engineering industry and brand new to PBSJ. [He was hired by PBSJ to replace Scott DeLoach (the former PBSJ CFO who was arrested and later convicted for embezzlement.] I (we) had several meetings over the course of time with Don. One of those meetings was a 3-on-2 meeting; The CEO of NGI, me and one of our then Board members together with PBSJ's then President (Todd Keller) and PBSJ's CFO (Don Vrana). That was not the first meeting we had with PBSJ officers to share with PBSJ the workings of an FM relationship and how that business model would improve their business model. And, that was not the last. When I first joined NGI in late 1997, I was forewarned that PBSJ was a very, very traditional firm and was very set it its ways, reprographics-wise. They preferred to own or lease their "in-house" equipment and outsource whatever they could not handle "in-house." They were a substantial customer, one that I had (and still have) a great deal of respect for. All in all, great people at PBSJ, lots of business .... and they paid their bills on time. But, even though we had a great relationship with PBSJ, it, still today, gives me a headache that I was (we were) unable to convince them that they should commit to an FM relationship.

And, that, my blog-site readers, is why I chose to refer to ABC's PBSJ FM (OnSite) announcement as stunning. When I was there, we lobbied PBSJ for 10+ years. I've been gone from NGI for 2 & 1/2 years, and I would imagine that, even after I left, NGI continued trying to convince PBSJ that an FM service would be in its best interests. And, now, some 12 & 1/2 years after we began our efforts, ABC has now "swept all of the chips off the table." My congratulations to the ABC Imaging team on this stunning development, ...... but, I do think that Mr. Falsafi should send me a note of thanks for the extensive seed planting we did during the 10 year period I was with NGI. Smile.

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