RGS Associates

Client Profile

RGS is a land development consulting firm founded by Richard G. Stauffer in 1991. RGS grew quickly under Dick’s leadership and added significant talent early on, including future partners, Mark Johnson, Mark Hackenburg and Joel Snyder. Very early in his ownership tenure, Dick laid the foundation for succession. In fact, an internal sale to the new owners took place less than 15 years after the firm was started. RGS continues to have a significant impact on senior living, commercial and residential development and other significant land development applications throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania.

 

The Challenge

North Group was invited to work with RGS to establish a sustainable internal platform for leadership development and ownership succession. Dick recognized early on that in addition to strong finance and legal support, a successful transition would also require the expertise of a leadership consulting firm. He also foresaw a need to transition the organization from a single owner entrepreneurial model to a model that would be sustainable for the new owners.

 

Our Approach

From the beginning, North Group worked closely with the candidates Dick identified as potential new owners. Fortunately, all three of those candidates, Mark Johnson, Mark Hackenburg and Joel Snyder were both interested and capable of taking on ownership and leadership.

Dick had great foresight in bringing in excellent professionals, in addition to North Group, to assist with the transition, including experts in finance and legal matters. He also assembled a very strong and helpful advisory board, which played a key role in the transition.

We engaged with Dick, the future partners and a subsequently hired firm administrator to establish a leadership approach that would be sustainable for the new owners. Our services included strategic planning, leadership development coaching and team building within the new ownership team. A successful ownership transaction from Dick to Mark, Mark and Joel took place in 2004. Shortly thereafter, we entered the great recession, a very difficult time period for any firm engaged in land development and construction. While the recession proved to be a significant challenge for the new owners, a relentless focus on the organization’s mission and values along with a commitment to annual planning, saw the firm through the recession with their partnership intact.

North Group continues to provide consulting, coaching and planning support to this outstanding firm as it continues its client acquisition and geographical growth. For well over a decade, we have experienced a collaborative and productive working relationship with RGS.

 

Results

RGS successfully moved from 1st to 2nd generation non-family ownership with little or no impact on client or employee retention. The firm moved from a single leader/entrepreneurial model of leadership to a partnership firm emphasizing managed growth. The firm effectively withstood the recession and has come out strong and positioned for outstanding growth. Most recently, the firm made a further shift to a managing principal approach with Joel Snyder functioning in that role. Meanwhile, Mark Johnson and Mark Hackenburg continue to provide outstanding leadership for a potential third generation of leaders, currently being developed within RGS.