Greystone Interview: Thoughts on the Ability To, Inc. Acquisition

Peter Melby, Greystone Prez
Peter Melby, Greystone Prez

With Greystone’s recent acquisition of Ability To, Inc., we thought it would be fun to hear a bit of the story of how this all came about.  I (Gary Aronhalt, Director of Business Relations) asked a few questions of Peter Melby, Greystone President, and Nick Hemmert, Ability To, Inc. Founder, to learn more…

GA: Nick, give us a brief history/ timeline of how you started Ability To.  What’s in the name?  Where’d that come from?

Ability to…, Inc was started in Ohio in 2002 as a part time business helping neighbors, family and friends with IT.  I would work my normal 9-5 and then spend nights and weekends working on a variety of projects.   I had aspirations to move full time into my own business at that point, but needed ramp up enough customers to make the move.   In 2008, I was contacted by a colleague of mine who asked if I wanted to make the transition  to full time and within 6 months I had quit my job and moved my family to Colorado.

My passion is to empower people to harness their own potential.  I have always had a knack in taking really complicated requests from clients and turning them around into small enough chunks that they would be able to understand and work with themselves.  This was the logic behind the name Ability to…, we have the ability to help you with your technology needs.

GA:  Peter, how did you guys first connect?

Peter: Nick and I met in an executive leadership group in 2008 that was supposed to be exclusive as far as not putting anyone in overlapping industries in the same room.  During first day introductions we realized that we weren’t just overlapping, we were trying to do the same things generally the same ways.  We agreed that the market of dissatisfied IT service customers was large enough that we could strengthen each other by sharing our secrets and experience without stealing business from each other. 

Nick Hemmert - Ability To Founder and President
Nick Hemmert – Ability To Founder and President

GA: How did the conversation about joining forces begin?  What instigated that discussion?

Peter: We have kept in touch since, some years more than others.  Last spring we started exploring ways to combine forces.  We found that while we still weren’t taking business from each other, we were pursuing the same kinds of employees.  Assembling our team is the hardest challenge Greystone has.  We hire less than 3% of the people who want to work for us and since we were both looking for the same uniquely suited IT professional, we started to discuss how to combine rather than compete.

Nick: Love that answer. I could add some smartass comment about how our offices are 2 blocks away from each other and you were always taking my team members, but no need for that.    =)

GA: What excites you guys about this opportunity?

Nick: I am very excited about small businesses and their growth potential here in Colorado.  It has always been a very exciting market for me at Ability to and as we grew our customer base, this growth potential is what led to us to look for a long term partnership, as we could not meet the demand.  Joining forces, I now can take that passion and come through 100% with the resources that we have at Greystone. 

Peter: I’m thrilled about this because adding to our size, in a quality way, creates such an amazing pool of new opportunities.  Nick and his team bring strengths that will benefit the longstanding Greystone clients and processes, and Greystone brings a structure and scale that allows Nick to deliver substantially more to the client base he’s been so successful in building.