For 2018, the main story behind Pinnacle’s growth and ongoing success had largely to do with integration of acquisitions and new recruits.
On an acquisition front, Pinnacle closed three acquisitions in the fourth quarter of 2017. “We want to grow, but we also want to be sensitive to all the requirements that a new firm requires. We accomplished this in 2018,” Pinnacle CEO Paul Haarer said.
“Pinnacle is here for the long term. Strategic growth through acquisitions will happen, it just can’t be pushed. It makes more sense to buy the right firm, not just any firm. Growing a great company is a marathon not a sprint,” Haarer added.
This didn’t prevent Haarer from examining attractive acquisitions that could add to his portfolio. In fact, Pinnacle signed an LOI in late 2018, with a closing date set in 2019.
Hiring Smart, Hiring Focused
In addition to the growth, Pinnacle understood they needed an expanded management team. Scouting and selecting especially talented personnel, Haarer recognized areas of the business that could benefit immediately.
“I always knew that our growth strategy would require me to broaden and diversify my team,” Haarer said. “Solid day-to-day operations and processes are important aspects of delivering a high-quality experience for families.”
Haarer took his time in tapping veteran operations specialist Shannon Bischoff, and the fit could not have been better. It also came at the right time, as managerial demands were beginning to multiply.
Bischoff is a highly experienced industry insider with knack a for extracting efficiencies, solving problems big and small, and bringing processes, people and vendor products together in a unified manner. She has the right combination of accounting and field operations experience.
Along with her husband and two young children, Bischoff makes her home in Iowa, so a move to Georgia, where Pinnacle is headquartered, was not in the cards.
“It was most important that we get the right person,” Haarer said, “and she has already made a positive impact.”
He and Bischoff had worked together at Foundation Partners Group, and each had an enduring appreciation of the other’s skills, work ethic and personality. Getting Bischoff to join the company was seen as an impressive coup by many who attended last year’s NFDA Conference in Salt Lake City.
In other personnel changes that helped Pinnacle’s bottom line, Haarer struck important partnerships with four talented funeral directors in Fort Wayne, IN.
Again, experience and a determined vision of family-centered funeral care made this a mutually beneficial arrangement. All agreed that returning local care and attention to the Fort Wayne market, which is predominantly serviced by large corporate providers, would strengthen their appeal to families.
To learn more about Pinnacle Funeral Service and available opportunities, including enhanced partnerships, valuations, and acquisitions, we invited you to contact us by phone or email.