Meet The Team: Tom Hewlett – Managing Director of the S. New Jersey & Philadelphia Metro Regions

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

Where did you study for college?  I earned my undergraduate degree from Penn State (B.S. in Quantitative Business Analysis) and my MBA with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.

What was the first job you had out of college? What was the most important lesson you learned there that has stuck with you for your entire professional career?  That’s an interesting question because out of college I continued to operate a seasonal family business and began selling insurance.  While the two may not seem connected, they definitely were in that I learned every business was first and foremost about people.

What drew you to working with A Neumann and Associates?  Having worked in M&A previously both at a boutique advisory firm and another business brokerage, I was quite familiar with the industry when I discovered the opportunity with A Neumann & Associates.  Not only had I researched other firms, but I was fully aware of the “right” way and the “wrong” way to conduct business. I can confidently say with absolutely zero reservation that Achim has built a very professional, successful M&A firm that truly does it the “right” way.

What counties and states do you represent?  I represent Philadelphia, Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania.  In New Jersey, I cover Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem counties while in Delaware my territory includes New Castle and Kent.

What do you feel makes your region unique compared to others? (tax benefits, special laws, etc.)?   The region is a leader nationally in Diversity and Inclusion efforts which translates into more opportunity for minority entrepreneurs.  World class educational universities including Penn, Villanova, Drexel, Temple and St. Joe’s to mention a few, provide the region with a competitive edge nationwide, particularly in the area of professional services and biosciences related industries.  Additionally, the middle market business sector is a very strong driver of the region’s economics with a projected annual revenue growth rate 4.8 percentage points higher than the middle market sector in peer MSAs nationwide. Of particular note from A Neumann & Associates perspective is the fact that 90% of the middle market companies in the region are family owned.  And of course we have the Eagles, E-A-G-L-E-S, the “Process,” the Phillies and the Flyers!!

What do you find is the biggest challenge in your region compared to others? The biggest challenge in the region would definitely have to be the burden and complexity of the local tax and regulatory environment.  In fact, according the Middle Market Action Team – a sub-group within the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce – 38% of surveyed executives indicated the burden and complexity of navigating the local tax and regulatory environment as a top challenge. This definitely hampers business growth.

What do you find is the biggest advantage working in your region compared to others?  The biggest advantage would have to be the pure volume of opportunity is my region…approximately 9,000 potential clients I believe.  Even more appealing is the fact that Neumann & Associates has maintained an active presence in the region for quite some time.

What do you think is the most underrated opportunity in your region?  I would have to say the most underrated opportunity in my region is simply providing a professional, highly ethical and very effective way for a business owner to plan and execute a successful exit from their business that they worked so hard to build.  If you’re a large enterprise with hundreds of millions in revenue, there are many qualified, highly professional people to guide you. That’s not really the case in our marketplace. The opportunity is straightforward – guide the thousands of clients in my region through the exit process in a professional manner that results in a win/win for my clients, their families, their customers and their employees.

What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had working in your region?  I recently met with some folks that unfortunately had been exposed to the wrong way to sell their business.  While they definitely were ready to sell, they were understandably hesitant because their experience with a competitor left them very uncomfortable.  After speaking with them and explaining the “right way” to get their business sold, they immediately saw value in that and were anxious to move forward.

Best advice for someone considering selling a business in this region?  Your business is like one of your children.  While perhaps unruly at times, you have put years of hard work into nurturing and growing it.  Selling your business will be one of the biggest decisions and most impactful events of your life.  Do it the right way by entrusting that process with Neumann and Associates. Our years of experience successfully closing hundreds of transactions will get you across the finish line!

Best advice for someone considering buying a business in this region?  Well, let’s put first things first…you’d probably be well served to become an Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies fan…and certainly not a Cowboys fan!  Joking aside, the region is a tremendous place to live, raise a family and attract the quality team you will need to grow your acquisition. Capitalize on the strong work ethic that is the norm rather than the exception for the folks living here. You are figuratively speaking within arms-length of the majority of the businesses in the U.S. – the business world really does wait just outside your door.  Take advantage of the diversity of the region and the rich educational environment. Keep in mind the attractive commercial real estate costs in the region as you grow and expand. And be proactive regarding the tax and regulatory environment. There are most likely valuable tax credits and other economic incentives for your business…you only need seek them out. Good luck!