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An Interview with M&A Member, Gary Papay

Gary Papay is the founder and managing partner of IBG Business’s Pennsylvania and North Carolina offices. As a professional intermediary and business appraiser, Gary specializes in the sale and transfer of privately held mid-market, heating oil, propane, and petroleum companies since 1976. Gary is an M&AMI, CBI, Certified Machinery & equipment Appraiser and Senior Business Analyst. Gary has received the Chairman’s Award for Leadership, the International Business Broker Association (IBBA) Tom West Award, the International Business Broker Association (IBBA) Champions Award, The M&A Source Darrell Fouts Award for visionary leadership in the M&A profession, and the  M&A Source Platinum Club Award.

Hi, Gary, please tell us about your pre-M&A career and how it led you to doing this work?

I started my working career after graduating from Albright College in 1976 with a large northeastern petroleum company, Agway Petroleum Corporation.  I became involved immediately in acquisition activity in the Petroleum and Propane Industries as this was our major growth strategy.  I worked for Agway for 18 years in progressive management rolls including extensive experience in business appraisal and acquisitions.  In 1994 my wife, 3 young daughters, and I were at company headquarters in Syracuse NY.  The snow was over the kid’s heads, so we made the decision to leave the corporate world and move back home to PA, where I joined 2 semi-retired executives who were doing M&A work on the side.  I bought them out in 1999 and eventually founded 2 additional M&A firms over the years with colleagues I met through IBBA and the M&A Source.  Today I own 3 firms, CK Business Consultants, Inc.; IBG Business,; and The Oil & Gas Advisor,  In addition, we recently partnered with Eaton Square,, an international M&A firm with 26 offices in 11 countries.

What personal characteristics and strengths have supported your success in this industry?

Patience, persistence, responsiveness, & faith.

What is your greatest M&A accomplishment?

The Darrell Fouts Award, and completing a $17 million deal while visiting my daughter in Hawaii and sitting on the beach ????.

With regard to the majority of your engagements, do you work as a team, or do you handle things on your own?

We typically have one lead deal maker supported by staff and other partners and deal makers as needed.

Do you just do M&A or do you provide other services – like valuations, consulting, etc.?

We provide business appraisals and Machinery & Equipment Appraisals in addition to M&A.

What is the biggest mistake you have made when working on a deal?

Letting attorneys take over the deal and keeping me out of the loop.

What are the three most important qualities that you think a good M&A advisor needs to have?

Integrity, responsiveness, problem solving

What is your most interesting deal that you are working on today?

Lumber & Building Materials Company

How long have you been an M&A Source member and what do you get out of your membership?

I joined IBBA in 1997 and the M&A Source in 2000.  Education; networking; camaraderie with other like-minded colleagues willing to share experiences and advice on how to survive and thrive in this tough industry.

As a seasoned M&A advisor, what changes and trends do you see on the horizon that will have an impact on M&A?

Government overreach, taxes, baby boomer retirements

What advice would you give to new people entering the profession?

Join IBBA and get your CBI – even if you think you have M&A experience in the corporate world. If so desired, move upstream to larger deals, and join the M&A Source.

Please tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with your M&A career?

Family first – has always been that way – my wife and I raised 3 wonderful daughters who are now married and have blessed us with 3 grandchildren – so far!

I love to travel to warm climates during the winter months!  Some of our favorite spots are Hawaii, Aruba, Cayman Islands, Palm Desert, & Florida.

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