In this series, we're spotlighting some of the employees within our organization to see how their career path has changed while at Volaris and how they've grown professionally over the years. The person we asked to kick off this series had to be Rick Bacchus, Executive Vice President of Core Operations, who has been with Volaris since October 1998 - almost 20 years!
He had previously worked for Ohio-based Ecotran Corporation, prior to it becoming the first acquisition of Trapeze Group.
In June 1998, Bacchus received a call from Mark Leonard, President of Constellation Software. Leonard was interested in acquiring Ecotran as he was looking for people transportation companies to join Trapeze Group and add to their growing vertical. Although Bacchus did not own Ecotran, he was the CEO hired in January of that year to see the company through some tough economic times and a growing list of operational issues. Bacchus put Leonard’s proposal up to the owner, and, with the owner’s consent to move forward, he started preparing the business for due diligence and the rest of the acquisition process.
“There was a meeting of the minds because the owner of the company was in his late 70’s and was looking for a succession plan. He had three kids, all of which were not able to manage the company. This succession planning issue is something that we’ve seen a lot more of in subsequent acquisitions.” - Rick Bacchus, Executive Vice President of Core Operations
The owner of Ecotran had Bacchus directly work with Constellation and Trapeze Group to get the deal done. He oversaw the entire process, from initial signing of the NDA to due diligence to the signing of the LOI, to purchase agreement negotiations, and finally close. Bacchus agreed to stay on as the Managing Director of this new division of Trapeze Group following the close of the acquisition in October 1998.
As a stand-alone business unit, Bacchus and his management team at Ecotran were tasked with structuring, operating, developing, and growing the business in Constellation’s decentralized business environment. Post-acquisition, they were left to continue running the business as they saw fit, with minimal interruptions or distractions from their new owner. The lessons learned during the Ecotran acquisition became the foundation for a lot of M&A and Integration best practices at Constellation and Trapeze.
“I came from the sell side so this set up my personal perspective on how acquisitions should be run. Now, whenever we're doing an acquisition, I’m cognizant of both sides. I can relate to the management team of the acquired entity and talk through that experience and set the expectations of the process.” - Rick Bacchus, Executive Vice President of Core Operations
Today, Rick manages a portfolio of business units and is actively looking for new acquisition opportunities. His experiences on both the sell side and buy side lend themselves greatly for making high integrity and credible decisions with new businesses brought into the fold. In addition to doing M&A for his own portfolio, Rick has also become an integral asset in overseeing and facilitating several integrations across the rest of the Volaris group. He and his team pride themselves on facilitating very respectful, reputable, credible, and successful integrations.
“We buy employee relationships and customer relationships in the industry that we're in. We're focused on that aspect of things… We don't go in to a new acquisition setting and insist on doing everything our way. In fact we all learn a lot from our new businesses. There is always something more to learn. Being directly involved with one of the first acquisitions for our group, there was a lot of learnings on both sides. I am able to take those learnings and apply them in the integration phase.” - Rick Bacchus, Executive Vice President of Core Operations