Harmar works way up food chain

‘If we continue to grow the business, there are going to be other funders,’ says new CEO
Friday, June 6, 2014

SARASOTA, Fla. – Drew McCartney, Harmar’s new president and CEO, has made a career for himself shaking up the go-to market strategies of private equity backed healthcare companies. He helped to grow Senior Care Pharmacy from three to eight locations and to double its revenues and triple its EBITDA over a two-year period. Here’s what McCartney had to say about why he’s taking the long view on Harmar’s future.

HME News: Congrats on the new position.

Drew McCartney: Thanks. I’ve been privileged to go into a number of businesses that are backed by private equity and more often than not there are things that are broken that need to be addressed. This is truly a growth platform.

HME: How do you plan to help Harmar grow?

McCartney: I want to look at the processes to bring products to market and see how they can be improved or realigned. Central to that is bringing our customers more intimately into those processes.

HME: What can customers bring to the table?

McCartney: We need to make sure our products are consistent with the needs of those who are finding themselves in the disability and mobility challenged demographic. The boomers that are becoming seniors—they have a much more comfortable view toward technology and they have much more disposable income. We want to be associated with products that are unique; we don’t want to be selling Oldsmobiles. We want to look at how we can take our technology to the next level so it’s embraced by this new wave of clients.

HME: How do you hope to reach these customers?

McCartney: We’ve had a certain view of the stair lift market— that it’s for the country club set—and it’s not as mired in that part of the socioeconomic demographic as we thought. We’re doing lifts in modest neighborhoods for people with modest incomes. So part of it is rethinking the market.

HME: How does that affect how and where you sell products?

McCartney: The Internet channel has grown 3 times to 4 times since the last planning cycle was completed. We need to think about how to make Harmar the stair lift of choice in those channels. We need to look at how we can do that and continue to invest and grow alongside our dealers. The dealer network is indispensable, yet we can’t ignore other channels. Harmar, nor its dealers, want that on our tombstone.

HME: Harmar is owned by the Cortec Group. How does that affect how you move forward?

McCartney: We’re taking the long view. As I shared with the team when I first came to Sarasota: I look at Cortec as an episode. If we continue to grow the business, there are going to be other funders. I know of a company that’s on its fifth—they’re getting passed up the food chain.

HME: You’ve replaced Chad Williams, who founded the company and served as president and CEO since 1998. Why was it time for new leadership?

McCartney: It was truly a collective recognition. Cortec is Chad’s second private equity group. The prior one doubled the size of the business in a three- to four-year run, but the set of challenges that face the business at this intersection differ and there’s some complexity to them. This is all I’ve ever done.