- Edward McDonnell, CEO
- Trilogy Board Member
- Scott Alderman
- Seattle, WA
- B2B Services
Botanical Designs is led by Edward McDonnell, who acquired the company in early 2018 after a 22-month search. Edward launched his search fund, Monroe Hill Growth Partners, in June 2016, and based his search in Chapel Hill, NC. During his search, Edward pursued opportunities in HOA management services and indoor landscaping, among other industries.
Botanical Designs, based in Seattle, serves one of the fastest growing commercial real estate markets in the U.S. Edward and Trilogy were attracted to this market growth, the company’s strong market position, and the opportunity for follow-on acquisitions. Trilogy was actively involved in the acquisition process, with Scott Alderman joining the Board of Directors and TSP Operating Executive Mike Mullen assisting with accounting support before and after the transaction closed.
Post-acquisition, one of Edward’s goals was to augment a strong management team with additional resources to prepare for additional scale. In the first two years, Edward recruited a COO and other key hires in Accounting, Recruiting, and Human Resources. An expanded team, along with other operational improvements, have allowed Edward to grow the business and delight customers. Looking beyond Seattle, Botanical Designs recently acquired a commercial interior landscaping company in Denver.
Prior to launching his search, Edward spent two years as an automotive design engineer for Honda, followed by three years as a rocket propulsion engineer for Aerojet Rocketdyne. He received both his BS in Mechanical Engineering and MBA from the University of Virginia.
Q&A with Edward McDonnell
Tell us about a challenging moment during your search – how did you persevere?
“I had a deal on the East Coast under LOI where we discovered that an employee had embezzled a significant amount of money from the company over a 10-year period. That particular business managed finances on behalf of clients, and so the deal died immediately. It’s tough to pick everything up from the ashes of a busted deal, but it worked out, since Botanical Designs is a much better fit for me. Also, a laser focus on the goal of ‘buying one great company’ always points a searcher in the right direction. I knew ahead of time that there would be challenges and setbacks during the search, so I was already mentally prepared for that situation to a degree. It also helped to have a smaller set of attainable weekly goals, so that there are some small wins. A search is not ‘won’ or ‘lost’ in a day. It takes continuous, incremental improvement and effort (and some luck) to get to where you are going.”
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing at the start of your search process, what would it be?
“Everything takes longer than you expect. Fundraising takes longer. Getting the search process humming takes longer. Getting something under LOI takes longer. Getting that LOI to close takes longer. This all prepared me to be a CEO where, as you might have guessed, it takes longer to make something happen than I originally expected as well. Manage your own expectations on timing, and don’t get discouraged. Just keep moving forward.”
What’s your favorite part about operating Botanical Designs?
“Without a doubt, it’s the people. We have a company full of passionate and supportive people, who constantly lend a helping hand to one another, which is really inspiring to me. My job is to provide the tools and data for individuals and teams to grow and blossom. We’re now at a point where I can set the course for the company and really empower our people to do great things, which then attracts more amazing people to the company. The combination of great people, the right tools and the right data is what moves mountains.”