2022 Restoration Industry Leaders Review: Advanced Disaster Recovery, Inc.
In business, smaller companies often get bought up and assimilated into larger companies. It’s part of the game. But for Greg Boatwright, CEO of Advanced Disaster Recovery, Inc. (Advanced DRI) based in New York’s Hudson Valley region, he’s trying to build a family of regional companies that is just that: a family.
From a small family business to a family of businesses
Advanced DRI’s story begins four years ago when Boatwright began working with his partner, Angelo Ferrante, at the Ferrante’s small, family-owned restoration company
called Hudson Valley DKI, which was born out of the family’s 30-year construction and remodeling business. Ferrante and his brother had built the disaster recovery division, but they needed help implementing better business systems and processes to scale the company and continue growing. That’s where Boatwright came in.
With a background in process standardization and business systems, Boatwright joined the company, implemented some changes, and it began to grow. It was at this point that Boatwright reached out to Manhattan-based Brookstone Partners, a private equity firm, with a plan to acquire other smaller restoration companies in the area. Brookstone Partners agreed to offer the financial assistance they needed, and Advanced Disaster Recovery, Inc. was formed about two years ago with those first acquisitions.
Today, Advanced DRI is a leading restoration contractor in the Hudson Valley region of New York. With eight locations and 150 employees, the company offers fire and smoke restoration, water damage restoration, mold remediation, contents restoration, infection control, biohazard cleanup, construction services, and catastrophic loss response.”
As a small family company acquiring other family companies, Boatwright feels it’s important to allow each location to maintain its identity and autonomy while uniting under a single, trusted brand with standardized operating procedures. This approach shows the utmost respect for what these families have built—but it’s not without challenges. Boatwright explains, “We’re specializing in these small family companies, and when you do that, you know, most of them don’t have tremendous structure or any business systems—or sometimes no systems at all—so I’d say that’s a big challenge.”
To meet this challenge, Boatwright says they first had to establish a platform of standardized systems, and then figure out how to implement those systems in each of these small family businesses while allowing them the flexibility to continue to be what made them successful in the first place. “We’re trying to be the biggest little company around,” Boatwright says. Boatwright asserts that good communication with each location is key to successfully implementing new systems. He tries to help each branch location see the purpose and benefit to the new systems while still giving them some freedom to do what works for them.
What excites Boatwright about the restoration industry is how involved they are in the community. This is built into the nature of restoration work—responding to disasters that impact the community—but Advanced DRI is intentional about it as well. “We are really active in our communities, and when we look for companies to acquire or partner with, we look for that culture of family community businesses,” he explains. “The reason we look for that is we get excited working in the community and helping out in the community.”
These family and community values are what sets Advanced DRI apart in the industry. The company’s mission statement is: “We build people, and they build the company.” Boatwright explains that this mission statement is about giving both the employees and the customers a positive experience. He wants his employees to be excited about work and his customers to be eager to refer the company to others.
Growing the family
As for future growth, Boatwright says the company’s goals are clear: to be a top regional brand and continue to grow in their quad-state region. Boatwright enjoys the fact that the Hudson Valley experiences all four seasons and all the different weather elements that lead to different types of restoration work and drive business. In a region that sees everything from hurricanes to blizzards, a diversified menu of services like the one Advanced DRI offers is key—and those services will continue to grow as well.
“We’ll continue acquiring these small companies and adding to our family of companies with two to three acquisitions per year,” Boatwright says. “Beyond that, we’ll make sure we continue growing our environmental services group. We already do a lot of mold work, asbestos, and lead, but we will really grow the asbestos segment in all those regions.” Boatwright goes on, “Our desire is to be that full service. We lead with environmental, water, and mitigation losses with reconstruction supported, so that customers can deal with one vendor.”
In addition to diverse services, Boatwright explains that the company also seeks diversity in market segments—including TPA work, which isn’t always popular among restoration firms.
“We like TPA work,” he says. “We know how to play within that segment, and we like that work, and we work hard to be one of their good providers within that network. We don’t have any one segment. We’re going to play in them all—and do it well and continue growing in that region. “