Case Study: Bob Boswell

Bob Boswell of Boswell Oil is a Meridian M-Power™ and M-Power Elite™ member, and has been with Meridian since the early 2000s.

Bob Boswell knows how to grow a Petro business the right way. He’s made tough buy/sell choices, created great communication with remote teams, and is doing succession the right way.  See his story below.

Be more like Bob and thrive through this disrupted market. Join Bob and other Petro leaders at The CEO Exchange.

Case Study: Bob Boswell

Bob Boswell of Boswell Oil is a Meridian M-Power™ and M-Power Elite™ member, and has been with Meridian since the early 2000s.

Bob Boswell knows how to grow a Petro business the right way. He’s made tough buy/sell choices, created great communication with remote teams, and is doing succession the right way.  See his story below.

Be more like Bob and thrive through this disrupted market. Join Bob and other Petro leaders at The CEO Exchange.

Bob Boswell is a 3rd generation Petro marketer, and owner of Boswell Oil based in Athens, GA. Today Boswell Oil is a thriving petroleum and lubricant business with plenty of new growth.

However, two years ago they had reached a point where they were boxed in geographically, and Bob was faced with the hard decision of acquiring other companies to grow, or sell and get out. So he called Meridian.

“I called Betsi and said, ‘I’m really struggling with what to do. Stay in and get bigger or get out and get some cash.” She walked him through understanding what he wanted and how to ask his son if he wanted to take over the company, in a low pressure way.

Robert, a 4th-gen marketer, said yes.

On the close working relationship he’s built with his son Robert:

“My son is thirty. He is hugely intelligent and a great guy, and we’re jammed in too small of a space—which comes with growth—so he sits at a conference table in my office. So we’re in the same room all day, every day and we have more fun than the law should allow. Life doesn’t get any better for me than it is right now.

 

On the energy created when working with next-gens:

“(On his son, Robert) He’s just undaunted. And that’s what I needed. I needed a source of energy that I didn’t have myself. So when I get a little worn down, I just plug into him and recharge and we just keep rolling. We’re better together, you know?”

 

On preparing his son for succession:

“You know, [there’s] no worse teacher or mentor in the business world than your dad. So it’s really nice to have somebody (in our case, Betsi) that’s not emotionally invested and maybe got some personal history or anything, you know, so that’s ideal for me. I don’t think I’m one of these dads can’t let go. I’d let him have it right now, but yeah, she sees where he needs help.”

On the need for building good communication quickly, especially with remote teams who don’t have a long history together:

“So we had this cultural communication challenge that I had never faced. And it’s this communication thing that’s been very effortless (before acquiring new companies) and now you’re 200 miles away and not only can people not overhear what you’re doing, they can’t read your body language, they can’t see your facial expressions. They can misinterpret what you say. People are sensitive, they don’t know. They hadn’t been around you for 20 years and they can think you’ve got an agenda.”

 

How they built a system for clear communication at Boswell Oil:

“So Betsi got us together and we had a strategic planning session and spent two days with her. Tom (Otley) is going, look, you need to identify your core values, your purpose, then you need to set some goals far out, close up monthly commitments, stuff y’all do…And, so we spent two solid days doing that and came out and suddenly on a piece of paper, everybody knows what they’re supposed to do for the next month. So it was fantastic.

Bob started working with Meridian after 2000:

“I called her when we’d pretty much gone up on the rocks. I consider her my lighthouse. I had made a series of bad decisions and allowed a guy I’d hired to run the business and I was somewhat removed. Then bam, we were bleeding and leaking oil, almost overnight. We couldn’t figure out where we were bleeding. I called Betsi…After looking into the numbers she said, “Your trucking company is killing you. You need to sell it.” I said fine and she found us a buyer. If we had stayed the course, we would have run off a cliff into the abyss.”

 

On having outside eyes to assess a situation:

“That was a case in which I was in a horrific storm…(Betsi) was able to identify the problem very quickly, lay out two or three solutions and very assertively say, Bob, this is what I think you need to do. She’s very good at that.”

 

The one story Bob tells about why working with Meridian is different:

“As we got close to closing the buyer got cold feet and the night before closing they wanted to postpone the closing. So I called Betsi at  8pm. I’m in Athens, Georgia. She’s in Texas. The buyer is in Ohio. So she caught a flight at 3:00am, and met me in Atlanta at 5 or 6am, and we were in Ohio before 7:30am waiting on the owners and executives of this company. And we went in there and sat down and stared them down and said, ‘Are y’all going to honor your word?’ And they did. So I owe her my life.”

About Bob & Boswell Oil

Bob Boswell is a 3rd generation Petro marketer, and owner of Boswell Oil based in Athens, GA. Today Boswell Oil is a thriving petroleum and lubricant business with plenty of new growth.

However, two years ago they had reached a point where they were boxed in geographically, and Bob was faced with the hard decision of acquiring other companies to grow, or sell and get out. So he called Meridian.

“I called Betsi and said, ‘I’m really struggling with what to do. Stay in and get bigger or get out and get some cash.” She walked him through understanding what he wanted and how to ask his son if he wanted to take over the company, in a low pressure way.

Robert, a 4th-gen marketer, said yes.

Working w/ the Next Generation

On the close working relationship he’s built with his son Robert:

“My son is thirty. He is hugely intelligent and a great guy, and we’re jammed in too small of a space—which comes with growth—so he sits at a conference table in my office. So we’re in the same room all day, every day and we have more fun than the law should allow. Life doesn’t get any better for me than it is right now.

 

On the energy created when working with next-gens:

“(On his son, Robert) He’s just undaunted. And that’s what I needed. I needed a source of energy that I didn’t have myself. So when I get a little worn down, I just plug into him and recharge and we just keep rolling. We’re better together, you know?”

 

On preparing his son for succession:

“You know, [there’s] no worse teacher or mentor in the business world than your dad. So it’s really nice to have somebody (in our case, Betsi) that’s not emotionally invested and maybe got some personal history or anything, you know, so that’s ideal for me. I don’t think I’m one of these dads can’t let go. I’d let him have it right now, but yeah, she sees where he needs help.”

Communication w/Remote Teams

On the need for building good communication quickly, especially with remote teams who don’t have a long history together:

“So we had this cultural communication challenge that I had never faced. And it’s this communication thing that’s been very effortless (before acquiring new companies) and now you’re 200 miles away and not only can people not overhear what you’re doing, they can’t read your body language, they can’t see your facial expressions. They can misinterpret what you say. People are sensitive, they don’t know. They hadn’t been around you for 20 years and they can think you’ve got an agenda.”

 

How they built a system for clear communication at Boswell Oil:

“So Betsi got us together and we had a strategic planning session and spent two days with her. Tom (Otley) is going, look, you need to identify your core values, your purpose, then you need to set some goals far out, close up monthly commitments, stuff y’all do…And, so we spent two solid days doing that and came out and suddenly on a piece of paper, everybody knows what they’re supposed to do for the next month. So it was fantastic.

Working w/ Betsi & Meridian

Bob started working with Meridian after 2000:

“I called her when we’d pretty much gone up on the rocks. I consider her my lighthouse. I had made a series of bad decisions and allowed a guy I’d hired to run the business and I was somewhat removed. Then bam, we were bleeding and leaking oil, almost overnight. We couldn’t figure out where we were bleeding. I called Betsi…After looking into the numbers she said, “Your trucking company is killing you. You need to sell it.” I said fine and she found us a buyer. If we had stayed the course, we would have run off a cliff into the abyss.”

 

On having outside eyes to assess a situation:

“That was a case in which I was in a horrific storm…(Betsi) was able to identify the problem very quickly, lay out two or three solutions and very assertively say, Bob, this is what I think you need to do. She’s very good at that.”

 

The one story Bob tells about why working with Meridian is different:

“As we got close to closing the buyer got cold feet and the night before closing they wanted to postpone the closing. So I called Betsi at  8pm. I’m in Athens, Georgia. She’s in Texas. The buyer is in Ohio. So she caught a flight at 3:00am, and met me in Atlanta at 5 or 6am, and we were in Ohio before 7:30am waiting on the owners and executives of this company. And we went in there and sat down and stared them down and said, ‘Are y’all going to honor your word?’ And they did. So I owe her my life.”

How can Meridian Help Your Business?

If you’re a Petro leader looking for solutions in some of the areas Bob and Boswell Oil have worked through, we have an event just for you.

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