Youthful leadership positions this 130-year-old dealership for ongoing success.
The Cannata Report has interviewed dozens of Young Influencers in the past 10 years, and many have moved on to significant roles in their organizations or elsewhere. However, none have acquired a small dealership, merged with a larger organization, and shortly thereafter became the CEO of a 130-year-old dealership until now.
We last met Brandon Meek in 2015 when we interviewed him for our Young Influencers issue. At that time, he worked in the industry as a director of sales in the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton markets. Today, he is now an owner and CEO of Waltz Business Solutions.
This isn’t the first time we’ve profiled Waltz Business Solutions either. The first was in 2017 when the dealership celebrated 125 years of serving the greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky markets. At the time of that interview, Jeff Jehn, the company’s president and one of multiple Jehns in the business, was weeks away from retirement and turning over leadership of the business to incoming president Jerry Jehn. To say a lot has changed since then would be an understatement.
Of course, the biggest change has been the September 2023 merger with DSC Office Systems, a dealership acquired by Meek in 2021. As the press release announcing the merger noted, “With the inclusion of the newly formed ownership and executive team, coupled with the added service offerings, Waltz is poised to emerge as the preeminent independent document solutions provider in Southwest Ohio, and Northern Kentucky.”
Because of these changes, this isn’t the same Waltz Business Solutions we profiled in 2017. As new CEO Meek stated in the press release announcing the merger, “A successful company is about bringing the right people together, and I could not be more confident in our new team. The addition of DSC to Waltz is the perfect merger to take us to a new level as we continue to strive for ambitious growth and expansion.”
A Perfect Match
Left to right, Brady Bosse, Matt Jehn, Brandon Meek, and Josh Jehn.
The merger of the two dealerships does seem to be the perfect match and comes at an opportune time for both companies. Founded in 1966, DSC Office Systems is known for its commitment to customer loyalty and satisfaction. In two years, Meek and his team achieved remarkable growth while at the same time, working with the Jehn family to complete the merger. Moving forward under the Waltz name, the newly formed executive team and ownership group include CEO Meek, Executive Vice President Matt Jehn, Vice President of Sales Brady Bosse, whom Meek worked with at DSC, and Chief Financial Officer Josh Jehn.
“This merger is the mark of a turning point in our long history, said Matt Jehn. “With three successful acquisitions in the past 25 years, we know that the merger with DSC will be the perfect fit for our employees and customer base.”
Added Josh Jehn, “We could not be more excited as we look towards the future with plans for growth and creating new jobs. Waltz will continue to provide excellent customer service to foster long-term customer retention.”
With the merger, Waltz Business Solutions became a larger organization overnight. Headcount grew, as did revenue. Today, the company has 50 employees, 16 more than when we profiled the dealership in 2017.
Waltz Business Solutions’ territory, which extends from Northern Kentucky to the greater Cincinnati market, complements DSC’s customer base, which extends from Cincinnati to about an hour and a half north to Dayton.
The showroom at Waltz Business Solutions.
When Waltz Business Solutions began operations in 1892, its focus was manual typewriters. It would eventually add Kyocera copiers and printers. Today, the dealership offers an extensive range of office technology and services, including document imaging/scanning, document destruction, workflow automation, e-fax service, secure document destruction, and cutting-edge collaboration tools such as interactive displays and security cameras/software.
Kyocera remains its primary document imaging provider. Document management partners include Square9, Century File, PaperCut, and MyQ. The merger with DSC added mailing equipment, digital duplicators, and off-line finishing equipment.
An exciting new offering is Verkada video security solutions. It’s a product category that Meek believes offers huge growth potential. Verkada offers a wide variety of security solutions, including AI-powered camera systems and interactive door locks. “This level of security would fit anywhere from a federal building to a financial banking institution, to a national law firm,” said Meek. “We’re excited about it because we’ve seen other resellers take off in the industry. Most of these are six-figure transactions. They’re not little camera deals, this takes it to a different level.”
OneScreen Solutions video walls and LightTouch interactive displays from Lite the Nite Technologies represent two other product categories with huge potential. “We have customers looking at 25 to 50 interactive displays and others interested in multiple 180-inch+ large-scale video walls,” revealed Meek.
Waltz Business Solutions service vehicles ready to go.
Waltz’s sales reps are responsible for finding opportunities for all its product offerings although they can call on the dealership’s many subject matter experts as necessary. Specialists are available for canning and destruction services, solutions, security, and mailing. This knowledge base is a big contributor to the dealership’s ongoing success.
Although Waltz Business Solutions does not offer managed IT, never say never. “We could be having a very different conversation this time next year,” observed Meek when asked about managed IT. “That’s something high on our list, and we have some interesting opportunities.”
The Waltz Reputation
Asked why people do business with Waltz, Meek referenced Waltz Business Solutions’ reputation for delivering results and quality customer service in the greater Cincinnati market and Kentucky. “That’s one of the reasons why I was excited to bring this together,” he said. “This is a reputation, name, and brand that’s been built over decades. We have a longstanding commitment to customer relationships and a high retention rate.”
Waltz Business Solutions is the official office technology provider of the Cincinnati Bengals and was formerly a long-time technology provider to the Cincinnati Reds. Those relationships have certainly helped with brand recognition.
A Long-Term Vision
A long-term vision is essential, particularly for an organization with youthful leadership. “Ultimately, our goal is to achieve the $20 million threshold organically or through acquisition in the near future,” said Meek. The path to the goal will likely combine organic growth and acquisitions. “We’re definitely open to going wider, outside of our current footprint,” emphasized Meek.
Meanwhile, Brady Bosse reported that the company also wants to increase its sales force. Hiring is challenging for any dealer, even those with strong name recognition like Waltz Business Solutions. However, Bosse is optimistic he can find the right people through referrals. “We have this incredible referral system with colleagues in multiple industries,” he said. But that’s just half of it. “We are actively creating a culture and environment that people want to be a part of,” concluded Bosse.